Support from Primary Health Networks

Primary Health Networks

The role of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) is crucial in responding to the needs of the community and the region. It is important that PHNs are communicating information that is suitable for the needs of their communities that incorporates the existing health services and networks in the region which best positioned to support the wellbeing of communities and individuals affected by bushfires.

The Commonwealth Government established 31 Primary Health Networks across Australia to plan and commission medical and health services. PHNs are responsible for coordinating effective health service delivery and are expected to facilitate and support service integration. The key objectives for PHNs are to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improve coordination of patient care. 

A regional approach to primary health care is a key feature of PHNs, ensuring services meet the specific needs of the local community. This relies on an in-depth understanding of the particular strengths and constraints of a community and highlights the central role PHNs can play in responding to natural disasters within their region. Due to the strong connection to local communities and knowledge of resources, services and health priorities, PHNs have a key role in coordinating service delivery during and post bushfire disasters.

PHNs can reduce health impacts from bushfire exposure by sourcing and coordinating local resources and services in the immediate response and throughout the longer term recovery period. PHNs are encouraged to work with the National and State Governments, Local health Districts, Councils and community networks to determine what supports are available to individuals, communities, emergency responders and health service providers. 

Due to the local focus of PHN’s, there are a range of different types of support being offered in response to recent bushfire activity across many parts of Australia. Below is a list of all PHN services with contact details and information about how they are supporting their local community.