New health strategy released

PATH FORWARD: Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network CEO Craig Packard.

PATH FORWARD: Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network CEO Craig Packard.

A strategic plan aimed at building a sustainable workforce, strengthening Aboriginal health services and expanding training opportunities has been released by the Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network (FUNLHN).

It comes as concerns grow around a number of issues in the state's regional health industry, including a doctors shortage in the region and increasing violence against nurses in Whyalla.

FUNLHN chief executive Craig Packard said there was a separate medical workforce strategy focused on developing a plan to build a rural generalist numbers in the regions.

"That will help to make living in our region and staying in our region more attractive to medical officers," he said.

"We are looking to develop a new model of medical workforce that really is aimed at retaining and attracting doctors to the regions, that's a bit of a move away from just using local doctors to work in our hospitals.

"It's working with the local doctors but developing our own medical workforce as well."

Another key concern with medical workforce was the lack of specialists in areas such as Whyalla and Port Augusta, and Mr Packard said the network was working to develop closer relationships with metropolitan hospitals.

"We want to look at workforce sharing, rotations, and arrangements with some of those metro hospitals...we want to work with our metro partners and other LHNs to see if we can work together than in isolation," he said.

In terms of additional security measures for the Whyalla Hospital, and whether installing security guards at the hospital would be part of the plan, Mr Packard said infrastructure changes at the hospital to afford further safety were being considered.

"That includes rebuilding our emergency department over the next two years, we can design EDs with the best possible safety measures available," he said.

"We're considering lots of other security options...that's still being finalised."

The five-year strategic plan was recently announced at Flinders Terrace Health Centre in Port Augusta.

For more information and to access the plan, visit the Flinders and Upper North LHN webpage.