All of Primary Health Tasmania’s work, in one way or another, flows on to the Tasmanian community. Whether it’s by commissioning services, or working in partnership with local communities, we work together to improve the health and wellbeing of all Tasmanians.
One of the main ways we support the community is by commissioning services to improve the health of Tasmanians.
Commissioning involves understanding local priority issues and buying services to address those issues in the most effective and efficient way.
We have commissioned services throughout the state in areas including mental health, Aboriginal health, alcohol and other drug treatment, and rural primary health.
Some Primary Health Tasmania projects include working directly with local communities, and supporting community-led activities where appropriate. Two great examples are our work coordinating the Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial, and collaborative projects to assess and shape health services in some local municipalities.
The National Suicide Prevention Trial
In 2016, the Australian Government launched the National Suicide Prevention Trial. This initiative was focused on trialling systems approaches to suicide prevention in 12 regions across Australia, with the aim of testing how community-led approaches can help reduce the rate of suicide attempts and deaths. Tasmania was one of 12 sites around the country taking part in the trial and focused on men aged 40-64, as well as men and women over the age of 65.
The three Tasmanian trial sites that took part in the trial were: Break O’Day, Launceston, and the north west (Burnie, Central Coast and Devonport).
The trial finished in June 2021, and Primary Health Tasmania is providing support to the three sites to embed the lessons learned from their participation in the trial.
Scoping and planning local health services
Population health planning is a collaborative process whereby health (and non-health) sector stakeholders, government departments, consumers, and service delivery organisations work together to understand and address gaps, challenges and opportunities faced by local communities and populations. This collaborative planning aims to strengthen innovative and integrated health and social care services for communities to better address their needs.
Primary Health Tasmania, the Tasmanian Health Service, Health Consumers Tasmania and key community and system-level stakeholders have collaborated on projects in three local government areas (Tasman, Central Highlands and Huon Valley) and collectively identified the need for sustainable health care. This process has involved thorough community and workforce consultation to inform future planning for health services in these regions.
These communities are at different stages of this collaborative planning process.
Tasman: The Tasman Clinical Services Action Group (led by the Tasmanian Health Service and Primary Health Tasmania) and the Tasman Voice for Health (led by Health Consumers Tasmania) are working to support the implementation of initiatives and activities to support the community needs identified. Read more about this project here.
Central Highlands: Community engagement is ongoing, with healthcare providers (led by Primary Health Tasmania) and ‘kitchen table’ discussions (led by Health Consumers Tasmania) to understand the gaps, challenges and opportunities within the community health and social context to further inform the next steps of engagement.
Southern Huon Valley: Community engagement led by Primary Health Tasmania (with healthcare provider workshops) and Health Consumers Tasmania (with consumer kitchen table discussions) have been completed. Joint priorities from both healthcare providers and consumers have been acknowledged, so work can start on identifying and implementing activities to meet community needs.
Connecting Tasmanians with local health and wellbeing services
Primary Health Tasmania supports FindHelpTas, a central, online directory of services that supports the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians and communities led by a partnership of Tasmanian community organisations, and supported by TasCOSS.
It includes more than 900 services listed on the FindHelpTas database, providing a great overview of regional health and social services across the state.
We have developed a number of resources to help consumers, including:
Tasmanian HealthPathways — Primary Health Tasmania’s online database that helps primary health professionals plan care alongside local services, including the referral of carers to support services.
A lot of our work to help Tasmanians happens behind the scenes. It involves working with other organisations and health professionals to make sure people can move smoothly between the services they need, and to make sure all the important information about their health and care follows them.
supporting health professionals to share medical information electronically
establishing a single system to support electronic patient referral – otherwise known as eReferral – across primary care and into hospital outpatient departments.
Community health profiles
We have used data from a range of sources to build a picture of the health of each local Tasmanian community, by local government area. These profiles include statistics on health risk factors and illness as well as a map of key health services available. They are useful resources for local communities in understanding the health profile of residents and planning services accordingly.