With World Health Day taking place this week, it is an apt time to launch to the public our region's Needs Assessment 2016/2017.
The Needs Assessment is a comprehensive report outlining the health issues that face the Nepean Blue Mountains region. This document has been an important foundation for our organisation to understand the profile of health in our community and plan services accordingly. So we thought we would publish this in a format that others can also use.
By understanding the challenges in health that face our community and gaps in health services, we can better work in partnership with others to address these needs.
The report identifies a range of key health priorities for our region, including:
- Diabetes is increasing (by 3.7% in the last 10 years) and people are continuing to gain weight (63% of people living in our region are overweight or obese)
- 20% of emergency hospital visits are related to drug and alcohol use
- Nearly all patients over 65 who visit a GP have at least one chronic (long term) health conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis, cancer).
- There are significant inequities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for nearly all aspects of health
- Almost 14% of children aged 4-17 have been assessed in the last 12 months as having mental health disorders.
- We have the highest rates of male hospitalisations for mental disorder in NSW, with self harm the highest cause for males and second highest for young females
- Transport is a major barrier for the community to access health services, relating to availability, the long distances and costs.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the region with cancer coming second. Yet our cancer screening rates are lower than the NSW state averages with some suburbs having the lowest cancer screening rates in the country.
The launch of this Needs Assessment allows us to share important information about our region.
We will continue to use the information to shine a light on the health needs of the Nepean Blue Mountains community and to guide our efforts and hope it supports others to do the same.