Better Health, Together Forum

Better Heath, Together.

WA Primary Health Alliance is pleased to partner with the Department of Health WA to deliver on the Primary Healthcare Round Table election commitment through hosting discussions at our biennial Better Health, Together Forums.

COVID-19 and Long COVID – the emerging picture

Following his extremely well-received presentation in November 2021, the Better Health, Together forum welcomed esteemed Professor Jeremy Nicholson as keynote speaker for our May Forum.

This time, Professor Nicholson shared his insights on:

  • COVID-19 as a systemic disease.
  • COVID-19, Relationships with diabetes, and long-term cardiovascular risks.
  • Children, COVID-19 and Multiple Inflammatory Syndrome.
  • Omicron, BA2 and other variants and possible roles in Long COVID.

Thank you to all those that attended the Better Health, Together Forum on Friday 6 May.

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COVID-19 and Long COVID – the emerging picture

Watch our most recent Better Health, Together Forum presentation with Professor Jeremy Nicholson.

Previous Forums:

COVID-19 as a systemic disease: Living with COVID could be harder than we think

November 2021 Forum

November 2022 was the inaugural Better Health Together Forum delivered in partnership with the WA Department of Health under the State Government’s Primary Healthcare Roundtable election commitment. This is the first of many as it strongly aligns to WAPHA’s vision of better health, together and the partnership principles under the Enduring Strategies of the SHR. The healthcare system in WA should be considered as one system and we all share a strong commitment to achieving the best possible care for our communities.

Over 70 stakeholders gathered to hear from Professor Jeremy Nicholson, the Emeritus Professor of Biological Chemistry at Imperial College London (2018-2025) and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at Murdoch University (October 2018-onwards). He is also Director of the Australian National Phenome Center which opened officially in October 2019. Professor Nicholson shared his research and insights onCOVID-19 , a respiratory and multiorgan systemic disease with complex emergent phenotypes and patients have a wide range of signs and symptoms and show variable recovery profiles both symptomatically and biochemically. He talked to Long Covid or Post-Acute Covid-19 Syndrome (PACS) and how symptoms may be maintained for months or years. An issue which can affect patients that were mildly affected during the acute phase of the disease.

We were reminded, our understanding of COVID-19 is still superficial, and the dynamic/evolving character of the disease requires further study to better inform future healthcare policy around disease management and to create new vehicles for mitigation of long-term effects of COVID-19 in the general population.

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Budget insights from leading health policy expert

May 2021 Forum

About 70 representatives from the WA health and social services sectors gathered at our recent Better Heath, Together Forum to enjoy an insightful analysis of the recent federal budget delivered by Grattan Institute Fellow, Professor Hal Swerissen.

With a budget that he noted promised little in the way of primary care structural reform, Professor Swerissen was nonetheless optimistic about mental health funding commitments, notably in prevention but also in community based treatment delivered by the emerging adult mental health centres and the youth focused headspace program.

Telehealth was singled out as another promising area, particularly for people living in rural and remote areas, but also for those with home or community-based care needs.

Professor Swerissen described a future scenario where a video call made from the GP’s office will allow a secondary consultation including specialist clinicians to take place, with obvious clinical benefits, and convenience for the patient.

He also talked about an increasing focus on the consumer, signalled by the expansion of care navigator roles in the aged care sector to ensure person-centred care so the consumer gets what they need.

Professor Swerissen highlighted opportunities for PHNs as local commissioners, the importance of joint regional planning with state health systems and the maturing of PHNs and the Commonwealth appreciation of their importance.

“The COVID experience has demonstrated to the Commonwealth that coordination through Primary Health Networks has been very important to deliver on a range of challenging issues,” Professor Swerissen said.

This has included setting up GP Respiratory Clinics, distributing PPE, and, for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, managing the expression of interest process for general practices to participate in the program and residential aged care facility vaccinations for residents.

Better Health Together Innovation Forum

August 2020 Forum

On Thursday 27 August, WA Primary Health Alliance hosted the first online Better Health, Together Forum, a facilitated, online conversation on what Better Health, Together should look like in this fast evolving COVID world. It was an opportunity to learn from service providers and share how they have been responding, what they have been seeing and how they have been adapting in these unprecedented times.

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Better Health Together Forum with Professor Hal Swerissen

November 2019 Forum

Professor Swerissen presented a compelling vision for primary care and challenged us all to collectively approach the unique opportunities we currently have in WA.

Professor Swerissen is a leader in policy, management and program development, particularly in the analysis, evaluation and quality improvement in health, community services and tertiary education. As well as being a Fellow at the Grattan Institute, he is also an Emeritus Professor at La Trobe University, a Director of Murray PHN and a Director of the Bendigo Kangan Institute.

He has worked in senior roles as an advisor to the Australian Government on health and community services, and an advisor to the Victorian Government. He has published more than 150 books, articles, reports and conference papers on health and community services, policy and program development and evaluation.

In response to feedback from the Better Health, Together Forum held earlier this year, the event included networking on arrival and a collaborative question time after Professor Swerissen’s presentation.

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Better Health Together Forum

May 2019 Forum

In May, WA Primary Health Alliance hosted the first Better Health, Together Forum exploring the Primary Health Network priorities in the context of the national PHN Program and setting the scene of the broader healthcare environment of WA.

A key feature of the agenda was Commissioning for Better Health, a new report that demonstrates WA Primary Health Alliance’s commitment to working with partner across WA to improve health inequity in the Western Australian community.

Presentation slides and short videos from the Forum are available to download.

Over 40 questions were raised through the slido app during the event, with time for only a small number to be answered in the Q&A panel session.

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