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Planning the Western NSW Primary Health Workforce

29th October 2018

Western NSW Primary Health Workforce Planning Framework Project

The Western NSW Primary Health Workforce Planning Framework Project is creating solutions to workforce planning in Western NSW through the development of a regional, integrated, long-term workforce framework.

The Framework will guide the development and implementation of policies, strategies, actions and services to address primary health workforce issues in the region and break the cycle of short-term reactive workforce measures.


RDN was engaged by Western NSW Primary Health Network (PHN) to lead the project, and a collaborative methodology was established involving RDN, Western NSW PHN, Western NSW Local Health DistrictFar West NSW Local Health District and the Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service. Substantial consultation was undertaken across all jurisdictions with policymakers, universities, the Aboriginal health sector, and a wide range of other rural stakeholder groups and practitioners to inform the development of the Framework.


The critical highlights of this project include:

  • successful engagement of more than 40 organisations involved in primary healthcare delivery across the vast western region
  • development of an evidence-based Primary Health Workforce Planning Framework (the Framework) tailored for the region
  • the coming together of more than 60 people at the Dubbo forum in July 2018, with a presentation from Australia’s inaugural Rural Health Commissioner, Emeritus Professor Paul Worley
  • identification of immediate priority actions
  • resourcing commitment, including the creation of a dedicated position for a Partnership Coordinator, to bring to life the Framework and Priority Actions.

The 2018 forum produced a stakeholder report which includes a Planning Framework identifying six core action areas – recruitment; retention; needs assessment; strong partnerships; professional development; training and strengthening coordination - supported by 34 activities.

The future

The Western NSW Primary Health Workforce Planning Framework and its resulting Priority Actions acknowledge the unique challenges of providing primary healthcare in Western NSW and the importance of providing timely access to quality and safe healthcare services, regardless of where people live. Equipped with a robust understanding of the challenges and potential solutions, the necessary tools and resources, and a willingness to work together to enable positive action, the collaboration is well-placed to facilitate future action.

More information

For more information contact Mark Muchiri Regional Manager – Western NSW on +61 2 4924 8076.

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