Board Communiqué - March 2017

The Northern Territory PHN (NT PHN) Board met on Monday, 6 March 2017. After a busy and successful year in 2016, the Board was pleased to discuss NT PHN’s key projects and outcomes for the first quarter.

Key discussion points included:

  • Implementation of NT PHN’s HealthPathways is well underway. The project team have been consulting with clinical and public health experts and partnering with NT Health Services. The Board discussed the important role of the Central Australia and Top End Clinical Councils and the Community Advisory Council in the HealthPathways Governance Group and in prioritising pathways development.
  • NT PHN is undergoing organisation change to strengthen its strategic objectives, processes and structure. The Board discussed findings from the 2016 Employee Survey and opportunities to refine processes and systems to support the new organisational structure. NT PHN’s new organisational structure is available on our website for stakeholders to identify teams and primary contacts moving forward. 
  • NT PHN recently hosted its first “Pop-Up PHN” in Alice Springs. Diverse health professionals attended to network, and discuss health system reform and regional issues. The event presented a great opportunity for NT PHN to engage regional health professionals. Feedback from attendees has been very positive. Board members attended Pop-Up PHN Events in Alice Springs and Katherine and welcomed the opportunity to connect with NT PHN’s partners and stakeholders. The Board looks forward to future regional Pop-Up PHN events in Nhulunbuy and Darwin.
  • The Board welcomes Minister Gillespie’s recent announcement regarding investment in health workforce agencies. Funding will support national reform in health workforce programs. NT PHN is expecting further information on the EOI tender in early April.
  • The Board reviewed the NT PHN’s progress in commissioning activities in 2016-2017. Commissioning is well underway for Aboriginal mental health and drug and alcohol services and the commissioning model is resulting in high quality service delivery contracts. NT PHN is also in negotiations with successful applicants for mainstream drug and alcohol funding. The Mental Health Nurse Program tender is now open and closes 7 April 2017.

In February, Darwin was named as one of twelve regional sites for the National Suicide Prevention Trial. Under the trial, NT PHN will collaborate with stakeholders to plan and implement a tailored approach to suicide prevention for at-risk populations. The Board welcomes the announcement and looks forward to progressing the trial.

I’d like to thank the Chairs and members of our two Clinical Councils and our Community Council for their support. The role of these Councils is developing and will play a key role in guiding our program delivery. Members of our Board will attend a joint meeting with the Councils in Alice Springs in May.

At a recent meeting with PHN Chairs and CEOs, the new Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt, announced an extension of PHN funding contracts from three to five years, which is great news as it gives us stability beyond the three-year political cycle to further plan and develop our role in the NT primary health care system.

The Board will meet again on Monday, 29 May 2017.