Region's strategic health plan launched

MEETING: Eyre and Far North Local Health Network board members Bruce Green, chief executive officer Verity Paterson, Dr David Mills, Tina Miller, Michele Smith, Jamie Siviour, Leanne Dunchue and Chris Sweet at the Ceduna meeting. Picture: Luca Cetta
MEETING: Eyre and Far North Local Health Network board members Bruce Green, chief executive officer Verity Paterson, Dr David Mills, Tina Miller, Michele Smith, Jamie Siviour, Leanne Dunchue and Chris Sweet at the Ceduna meeting. Picture: Luca Cetta

The Eyre and Far North Local Health Network (EFNLHN) hosted its annual public meeting in Ceduna on Thursday, at the start of its regional consultation tour.

EFNLHN chairperson Michele Smith and board members were in attendance, as were staff including chief executive officer Verity Paterson, at Ceduna District Health Services.

The meeting also saw the launch of the EFNLHN's five-year Strategic Plan.

Ms Paterson said they were consulting with community members, staff, partner organisations and practitioners on the development of the plan.

"It was pleasing to see a number of community members attend the recent launch of the strategic plan at the annual public meeting, with many voicing their key health priorities and asking important questions about their local health service," she said.

"The EFNLHN strategic plan will include the mission, vision, values and key objectives which will be the guideposts for decision making about all aspects of the local health network until 2025."

Ms Paterson noted during the meeting there was a "critical shortage" of general practitioner staff across Eyre Peninsula and the Far North, stating they were about 20 GPs short of where they wanted to be.

Ms Smith praised Streaky Bay's perseverance and the community's assistance in helping to keep health services afloat as the hunt for a permanent doctor continues, while models at making health services across the region were also being explored.

She noted that it would make sense if towns in close proximity such as Ceduna and Streaky Bay worked together to deliver health services, however numbers in Ceduna would have to be propped up before any arrangement could be made.

EFNLHN members are touring Eyre Peninsula across the next week, visiting West Coast towns including Streaky Bay, Elliston and Wudinna, then moving across to Cleve and Cowell, before heading to Tumby Bay, Cummins and Port Lincoln, with a later visit to Oak Valley and Yalata also on the agenda.

They will be meeting with local communities, giving them a chance to discuss and provide feedback on what they want to see in the plan.

"From this engagement period, we hope to importantly gain a better understanding of what the members of our community consider to be health priorities for the future and what matters most about their local health services," Ms Paterson said.

An online survey can be completed at surveymonkey.com/r/EFNHEALTH.

A draft copy of the strategic plan is expected to be completed by April 2020.