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Recently announced federal mental health funding for the bushfire disaster

We welcome Federal Government’s announcement yesterday of $76 million for mental health support in response to the current bushfire crisis.

Bushfires have directly impacted our region, particularly in the areas of Lithgow and the Hawkesbury, with early indications that as many as 100 houses may have been lost, with possibly a further 40 damaged and over 300 other structures destroyed or damaged.

We are deeply saddened by the devastation this disaster has caused and recognise the impact this is having on our communities, families and friends.”

Our immediate focus is on working closely with the Australian Government Department of Health to secure funding as quickly as possible, so that we can provide timely support to those who have been impacted. To be able to respond quickly to provide greater local support to an identified need like this, is at the heart of why Primary Health Networks were put in place.

Since the devastating 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires, our organisation has taken the lead in supporting the role of general practitioners in a disaster and has been advocating for an integrated approach to disaster planning that recognises the important role of primary care providers.

As a result of what we learned in 2013, we developed the Planning for Disaster Management – an Emergency Preparedness Guide for Primary Health Networks and others supporting the local General Practitioner response during emergencies guide. The processes we developed has meant that as an organisation we were better prepared for this most recent crisis.

Whilst our focus starts to shift to recovery, it’s important to remember that in many areas, including our own region, the immediate bushfire threat is far from over. Therefore, we will continue to work directly with the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Emergency Operations Centre and other local emergency agencies to ensure that the role of primary care is integrated into the continuing disaster response.

More information about our Bushfire Response is on the following pages:

Bilpin-Bushfire-(2).jpg

Photo of the Bilpin area in the Hawkesbury, taken by Wentworth Healthcare staff member.

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Lizz Reay's avatar
Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.
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