About primary health services – Southern Inland Health Initiative

The Southern Inland Health Initiative is a half a billion dollar investment into health care in the southern inland catchment area.

One of the cornerstones of the initiative, which is funded by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program, is an emphasis on building the capacity of primary health services.

Primary health services are mostly services based in the community. 

These services help keep people healthy, assisting them to stay well and out of hospital and to allow them to return home with support – or in the case of aged care, live at home for as long as possible.

Primary health services are most effective when combining the efforts of health professionals including:

  • general practitioners
  • allied health
  • nurses and nurse practitioners
  • community workers.

Examples of primary health services include:

  • child and community health
  • community aged care
  • allied health
  • general practitioners
  • community mental health
  • community workers
  • dental health. 

Primary health services focus on supporting people to be healthy by offering the services, information and skills to enable this.

Primary health care is now recognised – nationally and internationally – as a key factor in improving and maintaining the long term health of communities by:

  • reducing the demand for hospital based services
  • helping address the health issues of vulnerable groups such as:
    • the elderly
    • Aboriginal people
    • those requiring mental health support
  • promoting parental and child health.

Primary health care also focuses on social determinants of health, such as housing, transport and employment, and aims to reduce inequities to health access, which may include:

  • health workforce availability
  • costs associated with the delivery of health services
  • health investment
  • health service delivery and opportunity.

Strengthening individuals – strengthening organisations – strengthening communities

The Southern Inland Health Initiative will enable communities to look at innovative ways of health care through investment in 6 streams of activity. 

While all streams will impact the delivery of primary health care, the following are specifically focused:

  • Stream 1 – District Medical Workforce Program
  • Stream 2 – District Hospital and Health Services Investment Program
  • Stream 3 – Primary Health Care Demonstration Program
  • Stream 4 – Telehealth Investment Program

Primary health care under the Southern Inland Health Initiative model focuses on community participation as an important driver of change.

Comprehensive services plans are being developed for each of the district networks in the southern inland area to look at the service issues affecting the community and key areas of need.

These plans will inform the development of primary health care services in these communities. 

How will primary health care benefit communities?

This investment heralds a new way of looking at health care delivery.

It is about developing primary health care services for the whole community, taking into account service provision across all segments of the community – from those:

  • who are well
  • at risk of disease/illness
  • who are acutely unwell
  • being rehabilitated from disease/illness.

The focus is on both the individual and community, making sure health and human services work in a coordinated, integrated and seamless way in order to achieve the best possible health outcomes.

What is different about this?

This innovative model of primary health care delivery focuses on local needs and local circumstances. 

It will link multiple services, leading to improved coordination and integration. 

It will also make use of new technologies such as telehealth to improve the delivery of health care in communities impacted by remoteness and changing populations.

More information

Southern Inland Health Initiative

Email: southerninland@health.wa.gov.au

Produced by

WA Country Health Service