How will the planned health reforms affect the Northern Rivers?


nsw-healthThe Commonwealth Government’s focus on service delivery has seen an increased emphasis on improving and changing our health system in NSW.

On 15 December 2010 RDA-NR facilitated an independent discussion about what the proposed health service reforms might mean for the region. That forum provided information on what is happening at regional level.

The forum brought together key players in the health industry from across the region and some independent experts, to share their vision for the health service in the region with community members.

Topics covered included:

  • The reform process
  • The new vision for the health system
  • Opportunities and challenges the system will present for the region
  • Generating community awareness of the benefits of the new system

A primary outcome of the forum is the co-operation between RDA-NR and Northern Rivers Division of General Practice in this transition period towards the establishment of Medicare Locals.

Speaker Bios

health-phillip-daviesPhillip Davies, QLD University

Philip Davies was appointed as Professor of Health Systems and Policy in the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland in 2009.  Prior to taking up his current position he worked for 6½ years as a Deputy Secretary in the Australian (Federal) Government Department of Health and Ageing where he was responsible for several key areas of health policy and financing as well as corporate management of the Department. In November 2009 Professor Davies was also elected to the Board of GPpartners, one of Australia’s largest and longest-established Divisions of General Practice.

In a health sector career spanning more than 30 years Professor Davies has also been a Deputy Director-General in the New Zealand Ministry of Health, a Senior Health Economist with the World Health Organization in Geneva and spent 14 years as a specialist health care management consultant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) in the UK and New Zealand.  He became a Partner in the New Zealand firm in 1995.

Professor Davies has worked in several developed and developing countries and has been invited to speak at numerous national and international health policy conferences.  He holds a first-class honours degree in Mathematics, a masters in Management Science & Operational Research and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

health-hazel-bridgetHazel Bridget, Chair – NCAHS

Hazel Bridget’s ambition when she left school was to be an opera singer!

Some years later she was trained Registered Nurse, produced four children and obtained a BA and a Dip Ed she rejoined the workforce as a nurse educator at Royal Newcastle hospital. Then followed a series of career moves working in the former NSW Health Commission in staff development, the Division of Nursing and policy and research. During this time obtained a post-graduate Diploma in Tropical Public Health from the University of Sydney School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Hazel served as a member of the NSW Registration Board for 13 years and was involved in the work which led to the transfer of nursing education to the tertiary education sector. On retiring to the North Coast, Hazel was a casual tutor at SCU and began to extend her knowledge of the sub-tropical environment, rainforest plants and indigenous foods.

Hazel is the Coordinator of Legacy Australia’s Aged Care Forum and  represents Legacy Australia Council on the National Aged Care Alliance and the National Health, Aged and Community Care Forum of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Hazel was a member of the Board of Northern Rivers Area Health Service for seven years, Treasurer of the Northern Rivers Social Development Council for five years and Chairperson of the Mental Health and Rehabilitation Service (MHARS) before it was amalgamated with OnTrack Community programmes.Her other community interests include membership of the Community Visitor’s Scheme Committee of Lismore Neighbourhood Centre

Hazel is the Chair of the NCAHS Area Health Advisory Council and has recently been appointed Chair of the incoming governing council of the Northern NSW Local Health Network.

health-Lesley-BarclayProfessor Lesley Barclay, NRUDH

Professor Barclay is an educational leader, health services researcher and systems reformer whose projects have improved maternal child health services in urban and remote Australia and internationally. Much of her recent research has been rural, remote or indigenous focussed. She is a leading investigator on major research grants. Lesley’s national leadership role is exemplified by her Council membership of NHMRC for 6 years and she served a similar time on the first Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care. Similarly she has led projects for AusAID in maternal child health, WHO as a technical advisor and led a World Bank project in Indonesia designed to strengthen health worker education. She is currently a Board member on the Northern Rivers Board of Regional Development Australia. Lesley Barclay is known for her mentoring and training. This is exemplified by 12 of the 28 PhD students she has supervised over the last decade who have been appointed associate or full professors in midwifery. Professor Barclay has edited 2 books, written 3 book chapters and 40 refereed papers in the last 5 years.

Lesley was awarded an AO in 2004 in recognition of her contribution to professional and international development and child health. She is also a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian College of Midwives and is one of the few women designated a Samoan Chief; recognising her work in that country.

health-vahidVahid Saberi, NSW Health

Resident Northern NSW, Lennox Head, married with two daughters (11 and 13 years)

  • Executive Director Population Health, Planning and Performance, North Coast Area Health Service (2002 to present)
  • Adjunct Professor School of Health and Applied Sciences, SCU
  • Senior Research Fellow, Sydney University
    • Member Board of Directors, Northern Rivers General Practice Division
    • Member of Governance Board, Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration
    • Last phase PhD (Thesis: Hospital on the Hill Project – Sustainable Smaller Rural Hospitals)
    • Master in Business Administration
    • Master in Public Health

health-tony-lembkeTony Lembke, Division of GP’s 

Dr Tony Lembke is a GP in Alstonville and Chair of the Northern Rivers General Practice Network.

He serves on the NSW Health GP Council, is a director of the Australian General Practice Network and is a NEHTA eHealth clinical lead.

health-austin-curtinDr Austin Curtin, Specialist local surgeon

Austin Curtin is a specialist surgeon in Lismore. He has had a 25 years career interest in Rural Surgery. He remains a General Surgeon in the true sense of the definition and remains active in many surgical disciplines. He has been the inaugural Chairman of the NSW Institute for Rural Clinical Services and Teaching with involvement in all aspects of the Institutes work. He was particularly involved in the development of Rural Stroke Units and models of care. He is committed to the development of individual Clinicians broad capabilities, including research and translational research. He is committed to the Institute contributing to the improvement of Aboriginal Health in NSW and the development of services in Regional and Rural NSW.

Austin has served on the Executive of the Institute for Medical Education and Training since its inception and been Chair of the Clinical Council of the Clinical Excellence Commission. He has served on the Rural Health Taskforce since 2004. He currently runs a clinical practice at Lismore and holds appointments as an Associate Professor at Sydney University through the University Centre for Rural Health and also at Southern Cross University.

health-Uta-DietrichUta Dietrich, NCAHS Preventative Health

Uta Dietrich is the Director Health Promotion for the North Coast Region. In that role she sets direction for Health Promotion in programs like nutrition and physical activity, falls prevention, tobacco and alcohol prevention. As so many of the determinants of Health lie outside the health service domain, Uta is always seeking to develop or find new models to engage with partners to improve the health of the population and to reduce inequities in health. Her team has a strong focus on innovation, evidence based practice, research and evaluation. Uta also has experience in teaching, course development and research.

health-SantoMargaret Spain (Santo)

As a grandmother Margaret completed her degree in Social Science and after training as an Ordinanced Lay-Midwife in a Free-Standing Birthing Centre in Texas USA.  During the last 10 years as a great-grandmother Margaret was motivated to initiate and coordinate the Natural Birth Education & Research Centre (NBERC) at Lindendale in Lismore.  Her skills as a Childbirth Educator were utilised to promote natural birth practices as she initiated and achieved the implementation of a safe collaborative model for ‘out-of-hospital’ cost effective birthing practice. The concept  was represented by Margaret during the Maternity Reform Review and at the recent National Health & Medical Research Council Maternity Forum.  In representing consumers, Margaret has a personal commitment to ensuring birth is seen as a sacred family event and that all births should be treated as such.

Resources from the forum

Document NameTypeFile Size
Additional-questions-from-health-care-forum-2010pdf76.4 KiB
Dr Austin Curtinpdf89.5 KiB
Dr Austin Curtinmp37.7 MiB
Dr Tony Lembkemp39.6 MiB
Dr Vahid Saberipdf647.4 KiB
Dr Vahid Saberimp38.3 MiB
Hazel Bridgettpdf83.5 KiB
Northern Rivers NSW Freight Scoping Study 2017pdf2.5 MiB
Prof Phillip Daviespdf84.2 KiB
Prof Phillip Daviesmp310.5 MiB

Local Health Network Members

  • Ms Hazel Bridgett (Chair);
  • Professor Lesley Barclay AO;
  • Mr Ron Bell;
  • Ms Leone Crayden;
  • Dr Austin Curtin;
  • Mr David Frazer;
  • Ms Rosemary Kew;
  • Ms Debbie Monaghan;
  • Dr Brian Pezzutti; and
  • Mr Robert Thompson.