Mar 03
Orange Hospital welcomes new graduate nurses specialising in critical care

Orange Hospital has welcomed six new second-year graduate nurses.

These graduates will spend the next twelve months training in the treatment of critically ill patients, through the transition to speciality training pathway.

Orange Hospital Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Joanne Dean said, “The Transition to Specialty requires a commitment to undertake formal education covering the theoretical knowledge and skills required to practice in critical care".

“The new graduate nurses will gain experience in caring for patients in a variety of settings, including intensive care, coronary care, stroke and the emergency department. 

In 2020, the transition to speciality pathway had a retention rate of over 86% of participants. It started in 2016 and has proven to be a successful training pathway and an effective way to grow a competent skilled workforce in rural hospitals.

“This is an exciting time for the hospital and the community. Over the next twelve months, the graduates will gain vital skills and exposure to looking after critical care patients.

“The training pathway has been extremely successful with the majority of the new graduates deciding to stay working at the Hospital or other rural health services, which is great for our communities," said Ms Dean

The new graduates will spend the next three days at orientation before starting rotation in each department.

​“The investment of time and effort to support and educate these new graduates is significant. However, the benefits for staff, facilities and our communities are many. Our goal as an organisation is to help them develop and continue working with us beyond their transition year". Ms Dean said.  

Mar 01
Choose to challenge gender inequality on International Women’s Day
​This year’s International Women’s Day them is encouraging us all to ‘choose to challenge’ the barriers faced by women in all parts of society.

Around the world, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. 

We are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions, and choosing to create a more gender equal world is no different. 

Lorna Brennan, Local Facilitator of Buninyong Schools as Community Centre, said ‘COVID-19 has showed us how important women and the many roles they play are to everyone’. 

COVID-19 and drought have had significant impacts on us all. For many women it has meant an increase to the amount of unpaid work they already do. Women are more likely to be in casual or temporary work, or industries that have been affected by shutdowns. 

Lorna said, ‘The work women do at home, at work, and in the community is often not recognised. This year’s theme ‘choose to challenge’ encourages us to think and work to dismantle the barriers that contribute to gender inequality’.

The recovery following COVID-19 relies on the work women do at home, in the workplace, and in our communities. 

Western NSW Local Health District Women’s Health Nurse, Joanne Philips said, ‘International Women’s Day is a reminder that as long as one woman or girl faces discrimination, harassment, or inequality, we all do’. 

The Dubbo International Women’s Day Committee is inviting businesses in Dubbo to show their commitment to gender equality. Attending or hosting an event, window displays, and using #choosetochallenge on social media are some of the ways people and businesses can get involved. 

In Dubbo, local community organisations are grouping together to host a morning tea at the Church Street Rotunda. Representatives from local community organisations, including Connecting Community Services, Orana Support Service Buninyong & Dubbo West Schools as Communities Centre, Uniting, Mission Australia and Wilay Café and Western NSW Local Health District will be there on the day.

Joanne Philips said, ‘the morning tea is an excellent opportunity to bring friends and meet new people who share the same goal of equality for women. Social connection is such an important part of health and wellbeing.’ 

The event runs from 10am to midday, and is an opportunity for women and anyone interested to network over a free morning tea. COVID safety measures will be in place, and anyone experiencing a fever or who is unwell should stay home. 

Dubbo Community Agencies International Women’s Day
Monday 8 March 2021
10:00am to 12:00pm
Church Street Rotunda, Dubbo

Feb 24
Visitor restrictions ease at WNSWLHD MPS’s

​There are no longer restriction on visitors to aged care residents, including those in Multipurpose Service (MPS) across the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD).

The following conditions will apply:

  • ALL VISITORS are subject to COVID-19 screening and temperature testing.
  • There are no longer restrictions on the number of visitors a resident can have each day or at one time.
  • Visitors are not required to wear a mask.
  • Subject to conditions, residents may leave to attend events.
  • Local visiting rules may apply. Please follow the directions of Health Service staff.

​WNSWLHD Director Rural Services, Sharon McKay, urged all local residents to continue to be vigilant and to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“It's great that we are able to permit visiting, but COVID-19 remains a very real risk, particularly for vulnerable people such as the elderly, and those with existing health conditions.

“It's incredibly important that we continue to screen visitors to aged care residents carefully. If you have even the mildest symptoms, or if you've recently been to a location where COVID-19 has been a concern, then please leave your visit to another time.

“If you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 it's really important that you self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until you get a negative result."

For the latest information on COVID-19, including symptoms and where you can have a test, go to

Feb 17
WNSWLHD welcomes Brenshaw Medical to Coolah
Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) would like to welcome Brenshaw Medical to the Coolah region.

WNSWLHD Rural Health Director of Medical Services, Dr Shannon Nott, said “Brenshaw Medical started operating in Coolah this week.

“This will provide the Coolah region with confidence knowing Brenshaw Medical will be coming to Coolah and working with the Multipurpose Service. 

“Brenshaw Medical knows the community and are experienced in working in rural health care. They already have practices in Condobolin and Gilgandra.

“They are also familiar with WNSWLHD practices which assists with a smooth transition. We look forward to our successful working relationship". Dr Nott said.

The WNSWLHD will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government's Primary Healthcare Network, Council and other local organisations to develop opportunities to attract more general practice services to the District

Feb 16
Drive-through COVID-19 testing in Bathurst

The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) and Laverty Pathology will be providing a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic in the lead up and post the Bathurst 500 event. 

It will be operating every day from Monday 22 February to Friday 5 March 2021. It will be open from 9.00am to 12.00pm. 

“There are currently no known cases of COVID-19 in Bathurst. WNSWLHD has tested more than 5,977 people over the past four weeks,” said Director of Public Health, Priscilla Stanley.

“We need to keep testing people, so we can stay on top of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 tests are always available through GPs and our hospitals. Our plan is for the mobile service to visit a number of smaller communities. 

“The testing service will be set up at the Bathurst Hockey Grounds Car Park, Lions Club Drive, Kelso. 

“The service is free of charge, and you don’t need a referral or appointment to attend.”

“It’s a drive through service so you won’t have to leave your car. Our staff will be able to come to you, do a short assessment and get your details, and then do a swab from the back of your throat and then the back of your nose,” said Matthew Brumby, General Manager Laverty Pathology.  

“The tests are then sent away for analysis which normally takes about 24 hours. If your test is negative, you can request to get those results by text message. 

“People who are tested are asked to self-isolate until they get their results.

“If the demand for testing increases, we will also be able to increase our services”, said Matthew.

COVID-19 testing is available for people who have experienced even mild symptoms that can be associated with the disease. Those symptoms include: fever, a sore or ‘scratchy’ throat, a cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, tiredness and muscle aches. 

“The symptoms of COVID-19 can be very mild, so it’s important that we increase our testing. While most people who have COVID-19 will recover, some people can become very sick, particularly older people or people who are already ill. 

“Right now, our message is very simple – if you have any symptoms, even mild ones, arrange to be tested. 

“Speak to your doctor – it’s always best to call ahead. The Western Primary Health Network has set up respiratory clinics in Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange, with more to come in other centres. In Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo there are fever clinics set up at the hospital, and testing can also be arranged in all our other hospitals.

“If you have any questions or concerns you can ring the National Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080 or healthdirect on 1800 022 222.” Ms Stanley said. 

Feb 15
Rural Doctors in Orange for specialist training

The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) has held the first Obstetric Workshop, as part of NSW Rural Generalist Medical Training Program, delivered by the Health and Education and Training Institute (HETI).

The two day workshop was held at Orange Health Service, for doctors enrolled to do their Advanced Skills Training to become Rural Generalist Obstetricians in NSW.

State-wide Director of Training NSW Rural Generalist and GP Procedural Training Programs (NSWRGTP), Dr Louise Baker said, “Some people spend Valentine’s Day delivering roses, these six doctors spent the weekend learning how to deliver babies”.

“There were six doctors trained over the weekend including three from across the Western NSW Local Health District from Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo. The three others travelled from Moruya Queanbeyan, and Tweed Heads. 

The training covered delivering a baby, managing common obstetric emergencies and caring for a newborn in the event they need resuscitation

The doctors were supported by a team of trainers, including local Rural Generalist Obstetricians, Dr Kelly Bradley, Rural Director of Training NSWRGTP, Teena Downton and State-wide Director of Training NSW Rural Generalist and GP Procedural Training Programs (NSWRGTP), Dr Louise Baker.

“The Doctors were supported by staff from Orange Base Hospital included Specialist Obstetrician and Head of Department, Dr Ronald Vaughan, Specialist Paediatricians, Dr Allan Kerrigan, Anna Elder and Midwife and Simulation Lab Coordinator, Michelle Johnston.

“The training team was also supported by John Flynn Scholar medical student, Melanie Bird.

“This weekend of education and training has given the doctors an opportunity to hit the ground running in Obstetrics care. In twelve months’ time it will lead to more Rural Generalist Obstetricians working in rural NSW, “said Dr Baker. 

Feb 11
Welcome to new Rylstone Health Council members

The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) would like to welcome its newest members to the Rylstone Health Council.

The WNSWLHD is committed to community consultation and participation. The local Health Council plays a vital role in providing information on the health needs of the Community.

Rylstone Health Service Manager, Susan Gawthorn said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome new members James Johnson, Virginia Doig, Marion Crossman and Joel Fuller to the health council. 

“They will join existing members Robyn Oaks, Berenice Board and Barbara Eordogh.

“The Rylstone Health Council provides advice to the health service on the needs of the Community. The council covers communities around the Kandos and Rylstone region.

 “All the members are keen to hear from the Community and we encourage members of the public to contact the health council with any feedback or suggestions,” said Ms Gawthorn.

The email contacts for the Rylstone Health Council are:
Marion Crossman - 
Virginia Doig -
Berenice Board - 
Joel Fuller -
James Johnson - 
Robyn Oakes - 

For more information about Rylstone Health Council, you can email Rylstone Health Service Manager at

Feb 11
Nursing and midwifery graduates join Western NSW hospitals

More than 100 graduate nurses and midwives will start working in Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) hospitals this year as part of their annual new graduate intake.

WNSWLHD Nursing and Midwifery Transition and Workforce Manager, Jackie Corliss, extended a warm welcome to the new nursing and midwifery recruits.

“We’re so excited to have 104 new recruits joining us. We wish them well as they embark on this unique and rewarding career.

"The recruits will be based across the District, including ten mental health nurses located at Bloomfield Hospital,” said Ms Corliss.

More than 54,000 nurses and midwives currently work in the NSW public health system, an increase of 24.7 per cent since 2011.

The NSW Government has invested in a record total 8,300 frontline health staff over four years, including an additional 5,000 nurses and midwives, including mental health and palliative care nurses. 

WNSWLHD graduates from February 2021 cohort will work in the following hospitals:

Bathurst Health Service – 12 nurses
Orange Health Service –16 nurses, 1 registered midwife
Dubbo Health Service – 28 nurses, 2 registered midwives
Bloomfield Campus – 10 registered nurses
Metro/ Rural Exchange Program –  4 registered nurses, 2 registered midwives
Southern Cluster – 11 registered nurses
Northern Cluster – 7 registered nurses
Central Cluster – 11 registered nurses.

Jan 29
Unique opportunity to be involved in the WNSWLHD Board

The NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Brad Hazzard is inviting applications from persons interested in becoming a member of the Western NSW Local Health District Board. 

WNSWLHD Board Chair Scott Griffiths said, “We have a number of vacancies opening up on the Western NSW LHD Board due to the retirement of a number of members including myself, and I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in health to consider putting yourself forward by completing an expression of interest”.

Mr Griffiths stated that “this is a skills-based Board and members are required to actively contribute to the effective governance WNSWLHD, which provides a broad range of health services to the residents and visitors across our region”. 

Mr Griffiths said, “The Board is responsible for overseeing an effective governance and risk management framework for the district, setting its strategic directions, ensuring high standards of professional and ethical conduct are maintained, involve providers and the community in decisions that affect them, monitoring the service delivery and financial performance of the district against its targets and holding the chief executive accountable for their performance”. 

WNSWLHD Chief Executive, Mr Scott McLachlan said “our local Board plays an important role within the Local Health District. Individuals wishing to apply should demonstrate the capacity to represent the interest of consumers of health services and the local community”. 

Persons completing an expression of interest must indicate any affiliations with universities, clinical schools or research centres, as well as skills and experience in one or more of the following areas: 

  • Corporate governance
  • Health manager/health administration
  • Business/financial management/public administration
  • Clinical practice/provision of health services to patients 
  • Expertise, knowledge or experience in relation to Aboriginal health
  • Understanding of local community issues
  • Understanding of or experience in primary health care. 

To apply or find out more head to the NSW Health website​ 

Expressions of interest close on Sunday 28 February 2021.

Jan 27
WNSWLHD project recognised on national stage

The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) has showcased the SOS (Signs of Strangulation) Project at the National, Stop Domestic Violence Conference. 

Danielle Allen and Julieanne Potts, presented their project; Improving Responses for Victims of Domestic Violence Presenting with Non-Fatal Strangulation at Orange Emergency Department. 

WNSWLHD Executive Director Integrated Care Julie Cooper said, “This project started as part of the Clinical Leadership Program, but has turned into something so much bigger”. 

“Danielle and Julieanne were finalist in the for the WNSWLHD Living Quality & Safety Awards 2020- Secretary’s Award- Integrated Value Based Care Award and have now shared their findings and research on the National stage”. 

The project included the development of a vital medical alert resource card to provide to victims of Domestic and Family Violence (DFV); S.O.S (Signs of Strangulation) card. 

“The S.O.S card is now being used by the majority of NSW Local Health District’s and other service providers including other government and non-government services who assist victims of Domestic and Family Violence”. Julie said. 

“During the project implementation at Orange Health Service Emergency Department, we saw a vast improvement in service provision, the development of education and resources and new processes and guidelines for responding to victims of Domestic and Family Violence. 

“As a result and success of the project we have updated the way staff respond to victims of domestic and family violence presenting with Non-Fatal Strangulation. It is being rolled out across all facilities in the WNSWLHD by the PARVAN (Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect) team.

“I am extremely proud that we have turned this into a whole of Local Health District (LHD) response. The safety and health of our patients in every part of the WNSWLHD is important. The WNSWLHD stands against any form of domestic and family violence. 

“The commitment to creating positive change for our LHD by Danielle and Julieanne is inspiring”. Julie said. 
Danielle and Julianne are part of the Western NSW Local Health District PARVAN team with the Integrated Care Directorate. Danielle is a Safer Pathways Co-ordinator for Domestic Violence and Julianne is the Senior Clinical Lead for the Sexual Assault Service.

Julieanne Potts_Danielle Allen DV conference.jpg

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No, this isn't actually my picture. I just haven't gotten around to updating this section. It's good to know that someone is reading every last word though. Thanks!