The Penrith Local Government Area (LGA) is located at the western fringe of the Sydney metropolitan area - about 54 kilometres from the Sydney GPO.
Penrith is on the western edge of Sydney and covers 404 square kms. Around 80% of the City is rural and rural-residential.
18.4% of households speak more than one language at home, and 25.7% of residents were born overseas.
Penrith is home to 194,134 people. [source: Penrith City Community Profile]
Some key statistics pertaining to the health of the Penrith area include:
- 6.5% of all babies born have low birth weight
- 16.5% of mothers smoke during pregnancy
- The childhood immunisation rate is 93.1%
- 15.3% of people report having fair or poor health
- 13.3% report high or very high psychological distress
- The most prevalent chronic diseases are circulatory (16.3%), respiratory (23.3%) and musculoskeletal system diseases (23.9%); rates are markedly higher than Metro Sydney.
- 24.6% of people are phsyically inactive
- 14.7% of men are overweight
- 12% of men are smokers
As part of an initiative organised by the Interim Joint Consumer Committee of the Nepean-Blue Mountains Medicare Local (NBMML) and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (the Local Health District), Penrith residents were asked to have their say on on the health services in the region.
Through this consumer forum process, the main health-related issues were identified as being:
- Aged care services - both home care and nursing home care.
- Workforce problems - shortage of health care providers
- Access to information - knowledge of services and need for a central information source
- Boundaries and accessing health services in other areas
- Safety and security within health facilities
- Rapid growth and increasing diversity - growing demand on health services
- Communication - improving communication between health services, health providers and consumer
- Health services for the homeless - better access to services
- Men’s Health - inadequately supported in the area.
- Renal Dialysis - shortage of services and access difficulties
- Dental services - costs, waiting lists and access difficulties
- Multidisciplinary treatment - more holistic care sought
Based on this feedback, the Interim Joint Health Consumer Committee has made 12 recommendations about steps that should be taken to address the most pressing health priorities for the Penrith area.