04 November 2016

All eyes on top WA Health Excellence Award winner

A program that aims to eliminate the potentially blinding bacterial eye infection trachoma in WA Aboriginal communities has taken the highest honour – the Director General’s Award – at the 2016 WA Health Excellence Awards.

WA Health Director General Dr David Russell-Weisz said amalgamation of trachoma programs in the Kimberley, Goldfields, Pilbara and Midwest had led to a coordinated approach that had significantly reduced rates of the infection.

“Since the WA Trachoma Program began in 2006, the incidence of trachoma infection in rural and remote Aboriginal communities has reduced from 24 per cent in 2006 to 2.6 per cent in 2015,” he said.

“Screening of children aged five to nine years old – which is the main activity required to reduce trachoma – has increased from 39 per cent in 2006 to 89 per cent in 2015.

“Thanks to the efforts of the WA Trachoma Program, this infection could be completely eliminated from Aboriginal communities across WA by 2020.”

Australia is the only developed country with trachoma, which is transmitted through person-to-person contact or flies. It is found almost exclusively in remote Aboriginal communities.

Dr Russell-Weisz said one of the keys to the WA Trachoma Program’s success was the high level of community acceptance and involvement.

“Through consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal communities and key stakeholder groups including Aboriginal health services, schools and

environmental health services, the program has achieved excellent participation and acceptance rates,” he said.

“All ‘at risk’ communities participate in the program and within communities, acceptance and involvement is universally positive.”

The WA Health Excellence Awards is an annual event that recognises innovation and excellence in service delivery in eight project categories. The recipient of the Director General’s Award was selected from the eight category winners.

Project category winners

  1. Improving service delivery

Project: Ngatti House
Team: North Metropolitan Health Service – YouthReach South and Life Without Barriers

  1. Managing resources effectively and efficiently

Project: Clinical Engagement Achieves Sustainable Change

Team: South Metropolitan Health Service – Rockingham General Hospital

  1. Engaging with consumers, carers and the community

Project: SolarisCare
Team: North Metropolitan Health Service – SolarisCare

  1. Achieving better health outcomes for Aboriginal people

Project: WA Trachoma Program
Team: WA Country Health Service, Goldfields – WA Trachoma Reference Group

  1. Developing sustainable solutions for out-of-hospital healthcare

Project: Hospital in the Home Telehealth service

Team: East Metropolitan Health Service – Royal Perth Hospital, Home Intravenous Antibiotics Service

  1. Overcoming inequities

Project: Telehealth – Improving Access to Care for Adults with Cystic Fibrosis in Rural and Remote WA
Team: North Metropolitan Health Service – Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Adult Cystic Fibrosis Team

  1. Innovative solutions for improving safety and quality

Project: Combined Bedside Risk Assessment (CoBRA) Audit
Team: East Metropolitan Health Service – Royal Perth Hospital, CoBRA Collaboration

  1. Promoting healthy habits and preventing illness and injury

Project: Easy Movers
Team: WA Country Health Service – Great Southern Population Health

Other individual awards:

Peter Baldwin Memorial Award for Human Resource Management

Debra Thornborough-Owen, Manager HR Transition, Workforce, North Metropolitan Health Service

Jill Porteous Memorial Award for Quality and Safety

Susan Kitchen, A/Clinical Nurse Specialist Falls Management and Clinical Practice Improvement Coordinator, North Metropolitan Health Service

Also honoured this year was Professor Jack Goldblatt AM, who won the Minister for Health’s Award for Outstanding Commitment to a Healthier Western Australia.

Learn more about this year's winners and categories of the WA Health Excellence Awards.


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