Our priority areas

GPs and other Primary
Care Professionals


The GPs and Other Primary Care Professionals priority area assists primary care providers to maintain highly effective and sustainable practices. NQPHN works to build the workforce capacity and capability of GPs and other primary care professionals, and their teams to meet the demands for primary care services through integrated, coordinated, and responsive service provision.  

Overall, our Primary Care Engagement, Workforce Development, Disaster and Preparedness, and Integration and Partnership teams are dedicated to supporting primary care providers in delivering high-quality, sustainable, and person-centred care.  

Through our Primary Care Engagement Team, we deliver capacity and capability-building activities to ensure change and reform readiness, and the adoption of reform policy in primary care.  

The Data and Intelligence Team endeavours to align digital health, data analytics, and system intelligence to work closely with GPs, primary care professionals, and the broader health service sector.  

Our Integration and Partnership Team drives the facilitation, integration, and innovation in primary healthcare delivery models using evidence-based and person-centred approaches, with our team committed to working with our strategic partners to broker innovative, place-based models of care to keep people well and out of hospital.  

As the demand on primary care health workers has increased, the Primary Care Workforce Development Team has responded to assist primary care providers to maintain highly effective and sustainable practices. The team works to build workforce capacity and capability of GPs and other primary care professionals and their teams to meet the demands for primary care services through integrated, coordinated, and responsive service provision.  

The Disaster Preparedness Team has diligently enhanced workforce capacity and capability of GPs and other primary care professionals and their teams. This effort equips them to effectively address the demands in preparing for and responding to disasters such as floods, cyclones, COVID-19, or any other business interruption.  

A selection of our GP and other Primary Care Professionals projects are highlighted below.

Our Region, Our People
Nurse mentor loves role and plans to continue mentoring nursing students

For registered nurse (RN), Valencia Anderson, being a nurse mentor is a passion project she finds extremely rewarding.

And her door is always open.

“I love helping other nurses and sharing my knowledge and life experiences,” Ms Anderson said.

“I have always made it clear that I have an ‘open door’ policy and am available for my mentees any time they need help.”

As a Cairns RN, employed by Omega Health Medical Centre, Valencia is also a program nurse mentor with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) Transition to Practice Program (TPP), which is funded by Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN).

NQPHN has funded the Transition to Practice program since 2019, assisting more than 30 nurses and nurse mentors working in, or transitioning into, general practice settings, including in rural and remote locations.

“Being able to share my knowledge and give tips to students, colleagues and, at times, doctors, are the reason why I enjoy being a nurse mentor,” she said.

“It’s a very satisfying feeling and self-rewarding when a colleague asks me questions or needs advice.”  

And Valencia has a lot of primary health care experience to share with nursing students eager for a career in general practice nursing.  

“I have worked for many years in primary care, including rural and remote locations such as Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory,” she said.

“During those years, I worked as a practice nurse and chronic disease management nurse, and have had many opportunities to mentor students, including registered nurses, enrolled nurses, and Indigenous health workers while they completed their GP experience.”

As a teenager, Valencia grew up in a small country town with one doctor’s clinic, a hospital, and a dental clinic.  

Her interest in health was inspired by a child health nurse who worked at the doctor’s clinic.  

“Having an inspiring passionate person in my teenage years and then again as a student nurse, lit the desire in me to become a mentor and tutor myself,” she said.  

Valencia has been a member of APNA since 2006. So, when the TTP program began, she set her sights on becoming a mentor in the program.

In October 2022, that dream came to life – and today she is one of the program’s most well-liked and respected nurse mentors.

“I intend to carry on as a TPP mentor, as well as look at other opportunities to continue to mentor nurses and students in primary care,” she said.

“I would also love to see more Indigenous staff in primary care get access to mentoring and support.”

Most recently, Valencia has been mentoring a nurse in Townsville who has been a GP nurse for two years.

“Depending on a mentee’s experience, what they need from a mentor will vary from person to person, and the need for mentoring is really determined by them,” she said.

“My mentee had some experience in general practice, she had a good understanding of what she wanted to achieve, she had a plan, and was coping well.  

“She was very competent with self-directed learning as the program does have plenty of structure and resources for her to access and set her pace.

“I was keen to pour out my knowledge and experiences, and I know she appreciated my contact and knew I was available for her.”

Valencia said every mentee’s journey was different.

“The nurse I mentored has had experience in another practice and was a respected member of their team, however they couldn’t provide the mentoring she needed,” she said.

“Her desire to be effective in her new practice and her own satisfaction motivated her to utilise the APNA resources available.  

“The program gave her an opportunity to access support and APNA resources, which are great to help understand role and scope of general practice.

“From the get-go she had a “go get it” attitude and wanted to learn, understand, and achieve her own goals, and feel like an important and valued member of the practice.

“Her new workplace enabled her to grow in her confidence and establish herself in the practice. I believe she is now a valued member of her practice.”

While it is Valencia’s role to help nurses and students grow, she recognises the program – made available through NQPHN – also assisted in her professional growth.

“The resources have been valuable. I would never have had access to these mentoring-focused resources if not for our coordinator passing them along for our own development,” she said.

“Most of my mentoring or precepting has been informal, but now it is more formal, and I feel valued and validated. I highly recommend the Transition to Practice Program.”

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Key projects

Primary care engagement activities

NQPHN's regular primary care engagement activities and events ensure quality healthcare reaches every corner of the North Queensland region, engaging with general practices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services to identify health service gaps and provide much needed support to providers, especially in rural and remote communities.  

The priority of all primary care engagement activities is to build and enhance the capacity and capability of the northern Queensland primary health care workforce to be more agile and reform ready, while also ensuring:  

  • patient safety  
  • patient access  
  • digital enhancement
  • practice sustainability.  

During the 2022-23 financial year, NQPHN continued to take a leading role in engaging and supporting primary care providers through various capacity and capability-building activities, including:  

  • Engagement visits: Our regional general practice support consisted of 1,705 occasions of urban practice engagement and support, and 833 occasions of rural practice engagement and support.  
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD): The CPD program provides clinicians with access to training to enhance their practice, maintain their currency of knowledge and professional registration, and build health workforce capability. This year, NQPHN ran 102 CPD events across the whole region, with 2,043 participants.  
  • Professional networks: NQPHN's professional networks consist of our GP Focus Groups, Nurse Practitioner Virtual Professional Network, Practice Managers Professional Network, Nurse Professional Network – Nurse Talk, Allied Health and Pharmacy Professional Network, and the Indigenous Health Worker Network.  
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program: The NQPHN 12-month First Nations CQI Program attracted 75 participating health services, with more than 545 face-to-face and virtual education event participants. Phase one of the INCA integrated care platform was implemented into practices in 2022, with phase two to continue in 2023.  
  • Quality data optimisation: 102 of 159 practices participated in the data program with 64 per cent accessing the new Practice Data Dashboard.  
  • Digital enhancement interventions.
Key statistics
occasions of urban practice engagement and support.
occasions of rural practice engagement and support

NQPHN First Nations CQI

NQPHN embarked on an ambitious 12-month program to dramatically improve access to culturally safe health assessments and coordinated care for the First Nations peoples within its catchment in the 2022-23 year.  

With only 13.75 per cent of the identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of northern Queensland having a billed 715 Health Assessment in a 12-month period, the First Nations Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program was developed to improve access.  

Through the First Nations CQI program, primary care providers across the catchment were supported with targeted education and training, as well as digital health tools and platforms to provide quality and culturally safe provision of the 715 Health Assessment and any resulting chronic condition management, including holistic team care.  

A total of 75 primary care services took part in First Nations CQI program. In addition to 54 general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), 21 Primary Health Care Clinics (PHCC) facilitated by the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service also participated.  

Key statistics

The impact of the two pilot programs thus far includes:

per cent 715 health assessment uptake increase (interim data outcome, September 2022 – May 2023)
North Queensland primary care services participated:
mainstream general practices
ACCHOs and Aboriginal Medical Services (AMSs)
virtual education events participants
face-to-face quarterly education events participants (Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay)
attendees for Cultural Awareness training delivered by Henry Neill

Professional networks

In 2022-23, our NQPHN-led professional networks were essential for fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and building relationships within the sub-groups of the primary care sector.  

These networks are an opportunity for health professionals to provide feedback, help address long-standing challenges in primary care management, and discuss how NQPHN can better support all primary care practice staff, including clinicians and administrative team members.  

They also provide a platform for professional groups to network within their local community, while also affording an opportunity to offer needed education sourced from external providers.  

GP Focus Groups update

The NPQHN GP Focus Groups provide a safe and interactive environment for general practitioners (GPs) to share feedback and ideas with NQPHN. The focus groups also provide a valuable platform for NQPHN to share how NQPHN works, important health reform information, and outcomes of local PHN work.  

It is well documented that a well-resourced general practice sector is essential to addressing the existing and future challenges facing the Australian health system.    

Our GP focus groups target specific conversations with GPs about what is required in general practice to address long-standing issues facing patients, the general practice team, and funders.  

These focus groups took place across the NQPHN region in Mackay, Townsville, and  Cairns, with both in-person and virtual options.  

Practice Managers Professional Network update

NQPHN continues to provide a forum for primary care provider management and administration teams to access upskilling, with face-to-face and virtual in Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Tablelands, and the Whitsundays. In the 2022-23 year, NQPHN delivered nine Practice Managers Professional Network events with 142 attendees.  

Nurse Practitioner Network update

NQPHN has delivered three virtual professional network opportunities for nurse practitioners (NPs) and continues to work with the sector to identify opportunities for integration and alignment of strategic objectives for the Nurse Practitioner 10 Year Plan. NQPHN is working with several identified NPs to promote and support the role within the region, to grow the regional network. Preliminary discussions have been had with Australian Primary Care Nursing Association (APNA) to establish post qualification support in practice.  

Primary Care Nurses Professional Network (NurseTalk)

NQPHN worked with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) to facilitate one event at each of three NQPHN sites (Cairns, Townsville, and Mackay) which offered education presented by APNA and a local networking opportunity.  

Allied Health and Pharmacy Networking

NQPHN are working with the North Queensland allied health and pharmacy sector to offer the Allied Health and Pharmacy Networking group. This group was created to identify integration points and connected education opportunities for the sectors.  

Virtual Indigenous Health Worker Professional Network  

Delivered two network meetings with the future aim of having bimonthly meetings.

Key statistics
GP Focus Groups held
Nurse Practitioner Virtual Professional Network events
Practice Managers Professional Network events
Nurse Professional Network (NurseTalk) event
Allied Health and Pharmacy Professional Network events

Our priority areas

Mental Health and
Alcohol and Other Drugs