The Western NSW Local Health District has released a significant report on the health and well-being of the region, which will form the basis of the organisation’s plan for future service development.
The 2013 Health Needs Assessment (HNA) is a collaborative effort between the Western NSW LHD and Western NSW Medicare Local in a bid to work together to improve the health of the population the two bodies serve.
Findings from the HNA will go into the formation of a Strategic Health Services Plan to provide the framework and direction for Western NSW LHD operations during the next three years.
The HNA is the result of a number of consultations with stakeholders, outlining an analysis of the health of the geographic region of the LHD which takes in more than 250,000 square kilometres and 271,000 people.
“This is a crucial snapshot of the people living in Western NSW and what health problems we are facing as a community. The HNA is a hugely important tool for the LHD to see where we need to channel resources and expertise and ultimately make some significant gains in improving the health of our population,” said Western NSW LHD Chief Executive Scott McLachlan.
Some of the HNA findings include:
- Population growth in the district has been minimal - 2.0% over the past 5 years, with areas closer to Sydney growing, those further north and west of Dubbo declining
- The largest growth in population is for the 65+ ages - 6,500 persons or 17% growth from 2006 to 2011
- The proportion of the population that is Aboriginal rises from 4% in Bathurst to 11% in Dubbo and to 27% in 'Remote' (this compares with 2.5% for NSW). Overall 9.4% of the LHD's population identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI), and 16% of the children (0-14 years)
Some of the priority areas identified by the HNA where health care interventions are likely to give the greatest benefits include:
- Smoking prevention and cessation
- Nutrition and physical activity interventions, including obesity prevention
- Diabetes prevention and management
- Well child care, particularly for Aboriginal children - the first 1000 days
- Mental health - continuing and strengthening the current community services
“Aboriginal health outcomes need all health providers to focus on improving the results through strong partnerships with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (AMS),” said Mr McLachlan.
“Western Medicare Local is looking forward to the opportunity to work with the LHD in pulling together a strategic healthcare plan for the region,” said Western NSW Medicare Local Chief Executive Officer Jenny Beange.
The Western NSW LHD is also using other work that presents the community’s expressed views on the health services and their access to them, and profiles of those services in its Strategic Planning process.
“The Plan will include an outcomes framework that will allow us to measure our progress in improving people’s health across our key health and wellbeing priorities. Assessment of the community’s health needs is a critical foundation for ensuring our services are responsive and relevant,” said Mr McLachlan.
Feedback on the HNA from communities, groups and individuals across Western NSW is being encouraged and can be sent to: email@example.com.
The Health Needs Assessment can be found at www.wnswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au under the ‘Health Services’ tab on the left-hand side of the page.
Note: The HNA incorporates data from both the Western and Far Western Medical Local regions which are overlapped by the Western NSW Local Health District boundary.
For further information or to arrange an interview
Rebekah Bullock 6370 7807 / 0407 959 781
Kate Hennessy 6369 3287 / 0417 280 903