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Networks are a win-win


By Rhiannon Riches
Assistant Editor


Optometry Australia acting CEO Kirsty Machon has agreed to the organisation becoming a participating partner in the Interdisciplinary Health Practitioner Network, joining 13 professional organisations.

Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) and the Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPN) jointly developed and are managing the project.

Chris Gibbs, CEO of the MHPN, says the purpose of the project is to establish locally-based interdisciplinary practitioner networks and deliver one online professional development webinar to a national audience for primary care practitioners who work with people living with multimorbid conditions.

The webinar is scheduled to take place in June or July 2017. A recording of the webinar will be available.

According to the project developers, research shows that when health practitioners from different disciplines collaborate and network regularly, practitioner relationships develop and understanding of each other’s expertise increases, improving referral pathways and patient outcomes.

A report evaluating the project will be delivered in early 2018.

Participating partners include:

  • Allied Health Professions of Australia
  • Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association
  • Australian Psychological Society
  • Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
  • Dietitians Association of Australia
  • Exercise and Sports Science Australia
  • Mental Health Professionals’ Network
  • Occupational Therapy Australia
  • Optometry Australia
  • Speech Pathology Australia
  • The Australian Association of Social Workers
  • The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Five Primary Health Networks are also involved in the project. Their role is to provide specific guidance on the location and advice regarding local community and practitioner needs, as well as promotion to local practitioners. The Primary Health Networks are:

  • Adelaide (SA)
  • Brisbane South (QLD)
  • Eastern Melbourne (VIC)
  • Murray (VIC)
  • Murrumbidgee (NSW)

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