Message from our
Board Chair and CEO

Welcome to the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) Annual Report for 2022-23.

This annual report is a testament to the remarkable efforts of our team, service providers, health care workers, and partners throughout this period.

Looking back on the past year, we're delighted to highlight the positive impact we've achieved through strong partnerships with primary health care providers across North Queensland, including those working within general practices, pharmacies, allied health practices, residential aged care facilities (RACFs), Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHOs), and Aboriginal Medical Services (AMSs).

Over the course of the 2022-23 financial year, NQPHN celebrated a range of successes. We not only met our Horizon 1 Strategic Plan performance indicators, but we also refreshed our Horizon 2 goals to maintain our focus on providing tailored primary health care services that cater to the unique health needs of our communities in northern Queensland.

A significant achievement was the establishment of a new Commissioning Framework within our Health Services Commissioning portfolio. This framework, closely aligned with NQPHN’s strategic priorities, ensures a well-informed approach to planning and procuring services for our region.

In the past year, we embarked on a journey to develop a new stepped care model aimed at improving mental health support for North Queenslanders facing challenges. This collaborative effort involved extensive input from GPs, health professionals, individuals with lived experience, and community members. We held over 16 codesign workshops and 40 individual meetings, resulting in more than 500 engagement touchpoints.

We also welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of two new Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (UCCs) to be launched in Cairns and Townsville in the upcoming financial year. These UCCs will offer treatment for urgent but non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries, helping to alleviate pressure on our hospital emergency departments.

Furthermore, the joint funding by the Australian and Queensland Governments for a Head to Health centre in Cairns was a significant step forward. This centre, in partnership with NQPHN and Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS), will provide much-needed mental health support for adults.

Collaborating with six ACCHOs, we codesigned the First 1,000 Days program across North Queensland. This initiative focuses on maternal and child health social and emotional wellbeing, aiming to ensure a healthy start in life for all children in the region.

With the help of our dedicated service providers, we launched the North Queensland care finder program, aimed at assisting vulnerable elderly individuals in accessing vital health and support services. This program, now operational across the catchment, involves a growing network of care finders ready to provide in-person support.

Another accomplishment was our collaboration with the Groundswell Project to conduct Compassionate Community Connectors train-the-trainer workshops, training over 300 community connectors to play a stronger role in supporting local people and families during end-of-life experiences.

In our pursuit of advancing primary health care, NQPHN's System Integration and Innovation portfolio played a crucial role. Through partnerships and innovation, we developed tools like the GP Data Dashboard, the My Community Directory Consumer Dementia HealthPathways resource, and the NQPHN Commissioned Services Directory, all aimed at enhancing access to primary care services.

As we move forward in our commitment to a primary care system that supports North Queensland's needs, the NQPHN Board would like to acknowledge the substantial contributions of our CEO, Robin Whyte. Her dedication has paved the way for positive changes that will ensure a bright future for our organisation. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

Our mission to provide the right care, at the right place, at the right time for North Queensland communities has been the driving force behind our efforts this past year. We're proud to showcase the outcomes of the collective dedication of our team, partners, providers, and health professionals.

Terry Mehan

Northern Queensland PHN

Robin Whyte
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Queensland PHN