Innovative healthcare vision for Greater Western Sydney
The Greater Western Sydney Future Health Forum was held on 19 October 2022, delivered by the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue and the Greater Western Sydney Health Partnership.
NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant joined healthcare decision makers, community representatives, researchers and care providers for the inaugural Greater Western Sydney Future Health Forum.
The forum examined the health and medical challenges and opportunities in the region, examining the infrastructure, services and community support needed for the region’s rapidly growing population.
The Greater Western Sydney Health partnership was established by South Western Sydney, Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health Districts in 2019 to understand and address the health needs of Greater Western Sydney’s communities.
Adam Leto, Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue’s Executive Director, described the forum as an opportunity to draw together leading experts to shine a light on the opportunities to address the health needs of its diverse communities, while growing local jobs.
“By bringing together the region’s brightest medical minds, we have an opportunity to inform the strategies and practices that will not just meet service demands now, but importantly, into the future,” Mr Leto said.
“It is vital that we continue to take a holistic approach to health, understanding that it sits at the heart of all the major planning and investment decisions in our growing region.”
More than 200 experts gathered at Warwick Farm to hear from government leaders. NSW Health Secretary Ms Pearce outlined her vision for an innovative healthcare network in Greater Western Sydney.
“Close collaboration across Local Health Districts and the primary care sector will enable us to develop new ways to improve patient experiences and ensure everyone in the community receives the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” Ms Pearce said.
“Our outstanding staff will always remain the bedrock of our health system and it is through their ongoing commitment and excellence in care they provide to the communities they serve that advancements in healthcare are made possible.”
In conversation with Dialogue Chairman, Christopher Brown AM, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Chant, who grew up and began her career in Greater Western Sydney, reflected on what future health responses in the region may look like.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant opportunities for learning. By sharing our learnings and engaging with the wonderful, diverse communities of Western Sydney, we can inform the development of new approaches to future public health responses in the region,” Dr Chant said.
Key issues explored during the forum’s speeches, panel sessions and presentations included:
- strategies and innovations being developed to ensure Greater Western Sydney’s health districts are equipped to respond to increased service demand
- best communication practices for engaging with diverse communities, including cultural and linguistically diverse, Aboriginal and socially disadvantaged communities.
- planning, designing and building cities for healthier and more active residents
- understanding the health impacts of urban heating and responding to climate emergencies
- attracting investment, fostering innovative health partnerships and retaining talent.
Key speakers at the health forum included Amanda Larkin, Chief Executive South Western Sydney Local Health District, who said a united health care system across Districts is vital.
“Our networked health service and local, on-the-ground relationships allowed our health services to flex and respond as needed throughout the pandemic, to continue to deliver high quality health care to the communities of Greater Western Sydney.
“Now is the time to apply our collective learnings to continue to innovate in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our local communities.”
Kay Hyman, Chief Executive, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, said it was important to explore regional solutions for healthcare challenges experienced nationwide.
“By examining the health barriers facing our region, we can identify the skills, infrastructure, resources and policies required to find solutions,” Ms Hyman said.
“It is important that we focus on regional solutions in healthcare and examine the opportunities for local health districts to grow their capabilities and reputation, particularly in medical research, advanced manufacturing and digital services.”
Graeme Loy, Chief Executive, Western Sydney Local Health District, said an important focus of the forum was giving the Western Sydney region a competitive advantage nationally and internationally.
“By forging partnerships, attracting investment and providing platforms for world-leading medical research, we can contribute to the social and economic fabric of our communities, and help shape our future cities.
“This is an opportunity to build on the region’s increasing health and medical research expertise to create jobs, fuel industry growth and attract and nurture the talent we need to build tomorrow’s health networks,” Mr Loy said.