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The PHN Publishes Preventative Health Framework

The Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (the PHN) has published a Preventative Health Framework. The framework aims to leverage established systems and associated projects to inspire healthier people and communities. The framework will also support increased understanding of how primary health care clinicians (allied health, general practitioners, nurses, pharmacy) contribute to a persons’ wellbeing.

Chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, impacting significantly on health costs. Key risk factors associated with chronic disease include poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, high body mass and high blood pressure. These risk factors are largely preventable and can be reduced or eliminated through behavioural changes or managed with medical treatments.

Australia’s National Preventative Health Strategy states that, in the context of health, prevention includes taking measures to keep people healthy and well and to avoid the onset of illness, disease or injury.

HNECC PHN CEO, Richard Nankervis said, “The goal of prevention is to maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of the entire population, while simultaneously reducing health disparities between priority population groups and the general population. The aim of our framework is to guide our programs and initiatives to increase the likelihood that people across our region will stay healthy and well for as long as possible.”

Preventative health measures can be applied at a population based, individual and/or community level, and across all stages of a disease spectrum to prevent further decline over time. Two of Australia’s most significant preventative health success stories have been reductions in road deaths, and reduced rates of tobacco smoking.

Prevention is a foundational component already built into the work the PHN undertakes and is achieved through an interdisciplinary approach to holistic care for each person and each community, whether they are healthy or significantly unwell.

The PHN is strongly invested in supporting primary health care professionals to implement an interdisciplinary approach to preventative health care across the region through commissioning, educational opportunities, pilot projects, and resource development. The PHN leverages its partnerships with other organisations to ensure collaboration and a cohesive approach.

The PHN’s framework has adopted the seven guiding principles listed in Australia’s National Preventative Health Strategy 2021-2030. These principles underpin support of a preventative health care approach within the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions:

  1. Multi-sector collaboration
  2. Enabling the workforce
  3. Community participation
  4. Empowering and supporting Australians
  5. Adapting to emerging threats and evidence
  6. The equity lens
  7. Embracing the digital revolution

Adoption of this framework will occur within all activities undertaken by the PHN including commissioning, projects, supporting activities including practice support and education workshops etc.. This approach will assist the PHN to embrace future opportunities, enabling a reduction in health inequity and improved outcomes for the communities being served.

Read the full Framework

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