- 500th patient referral for Health Navigator service
Five hundred people across the Wheatbelt and Great Southern have now received help from the innovative Health Navigator service, the free telephone and video-conferencing scheme offered by the WA Country Health Service and the Silver Chain Group since 2013.
Health Minister Kim Hames said the service offered crucial support for medical staff and patients in rural areas, where rates of diabetes and heart disease were often higher than in the metropolitan area.
"In the Wheatbelt, 7.5 per cent of adults have diabetes of some form, compared with 6.3 per cent of adults State-wide. Complications from diabetes account for 3.8 per cent of all deaths among Wheatbelt residents, compared with the Western Australian average of one per cent," Dr Hames said.
"The Wheatbelt also has one of the highest rates of heart disease, with 26.5 per cent of adults experiencing some form, significantly higher than the national average of 21.5 per cent."
Dr Hames said the 500th patient referral was an elderly man from the eastern Wheatbelt with heart failure and a long-term lung condition. He said the success of the Health Navigator service was its approach to involving all aspects of health care and understanding the need to remain connected with the local community.
"With the patient's permission, clinical information can be shared between their GP and any other health provider involved in their care to ensure everyone is working towards the same health outcome. This means the patient has the chance of being treated without hospitalisation," he said.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Health Navigator was developed and introduced as part of the State Government's Southern Inland Health Initiative made possible by Royalties for Regions.
"Health Navigator does what the name suggests: it works with local GPs to map a multi-layered treatment pathway for patients with chronic disease, which includes understanding the benefits of staying in the community where possible," Mr Redman said.
- Health Navigator supports residents of the Wheatbelt and Great Southern to access health providers and services
- Patients are typically engaged with the service for six months to help them access the help they need
- For more information, visit http://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/ or http://www.silverchain.org.au/
Health Minister's office - 6552 5300
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700