07

May
2021

COVID-19 vaccine supplies to increase across North Coast

COVID-19 vaccine supplies to local general practices are set to increase substantially from next week, allowing more people to get the jab.

GP clinics that have been receiving 50 doses of vaccine a week will see that figure triple. Clinics receiving 100 doses a week will now receive 200.

The increase will happen over the next three weeks as new supplies are delivered to more than 110 participating general practices on the North Coast. The change will increase the number of weekly doses offered by general practices to the community from 12,950 to 22,550.

The number of vaccine doses provided to local general practice respiratory clinics (GPRCs) will also increase by several thousand a week.

So far more than 40,000 people have received COVID-19 vaccinations across the region.

Healthy North Coast Chief Executive Julie Sturgess welcomed this week’s Australian Government decision to boost the number of COVID vaccine doses.

‘There has been a great response to the vaccination program, with many people trying to secure a vaccination appointment,” Ms Sturgess said.

‘Close to 10,000 extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine a week will now be offered by GPs across the North Coast, which is great news for our community. Combined with the increased vaccine availability at GPRCs and through NSW Health, we will see people getting vaccinated at the highest rate since the rollout commenced.’

The best way for people to find out when and where they can book in for a vaccination is by using the online Vaccine Eligibility Checker and clinic finder. (Some GP clinics have chosen not to be listed.)

Vaccines and how the vaccine rollout works 

Many people don’t fully understand how the rollout works, so we have included this short summary. Links to online resources are included for additional reading.

The Australian Government has implemented a staged rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program. The most vulnerable people in the community are targeted to receive their vaccination first. Details are available here.

There are two different COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Australia – AstraZeneca and Pfizer. In general, the AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for people aged 50 and over and the Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people under 50. Having a vaccine is voluntary and there is no cost.

The vaccines are made differently and are considered safe and effective. For more information, visit:

  • Pfizer vaccine recommended for people under 50 years of age
  • AstraZeneca vaccine recommended for people aged 50 years and over

People in Phase 1a and Phase 1b of the staged rollout are currently being vaccinated. States and territories have begun vaccinating people in Phase 2a, starting with all adults aged 50 years and over. This group can now receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at GP respiratory clinics and state and territory-run clinics, which are mostly hospital-based.

From 17 May, people aged 50 years and over will also be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at participating general practices.

Vaccinations are also available at many Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services and, in coming months, will be delivered from some local pharmacies.

North Coast General Practice Respiratory Clinic locations 

Anyone can go to one of these clinics for the jab. You do not need to be an existing patient. 

GPRC Address Phone Number
Murwillumbah Respiratory Clinic 14 King Street, Murwillumbah 02 8188 3797
Casino Respiratory Clinic 107 Barker Street, Casino 1800 856 325
Ballina Respiratory Clinic Tamar Shopping Village, Shop 12, 92 Tamar Street, Ballina 02 6685 6326 
Yamba Respiratory Clinic 12 Clarence Street, Yamba 02 5629 7517 
Nambucca Valley Respiratory Clinic 2191 Giinagay Way, Nambucca Heads 02 6568 8688 
Kempsey Respiratory Clinic 35 Belgrave Street, Kempsey 1300 170 901 
Wauchope Respiratory Clinic 3 Campbell Street, Wauchope 02 6585 1388

Contact for media enquiries

Zoe Satherley (Mon-Wed)

Phone: 0428 623 093

Mike Hely (Wed-Fri)

Phone: 0437 978 473

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Our regional partners

  • Local Health District partners in our footprint: Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) & Northern New South Wales Local Health District (NNSWLHD)
  • Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS)
  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
  • Rural Doctors Network (RDN)
  • Rural Clinical Schools & Regional Training Hubs
  • General Practitioners
  • Registrars and International Medical Graduates
  • North Coast Allied Health Association (NCAHA)
  • Local Councils
    Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)
  • Universities including: Charles Sturt University (CSU), University of New South Wales (UNSW), Southern Cross University (SCU)

Aged Care Disaster Management Planning

Strategic Priority Area: One team

North Coast is identified as the region most likely to be impacted by climate change in Australia and also forecasted greatest growth in those 65+.

Healthy North Coast takes a lead role in ensuring the older population and the sector that supports them are prepared for, can respond to and recover from disasters and other emergencies.

We have led eight regional disaster management capacity building workshops, bringing together SES, community organisations and the aged care sector.

We have also developed disaster preparedness tip sheets for both residential and community aged care providers.

Voluntary Assisted Dying

Strategic Priority Area: One team

In May 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022. Effective from Tuesday, 28 November 2023, eligible people have the choice to access voluntary assisted dying. 

Healthy North Coast has developed a webpage for both health professionals and consumers, with links to available information and resources.

Living with Dementia resources

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

Healthy North Coast has worked with people living with dementia, their families and local service providers to develop an information booklet that will help them connect with local and national supports along their journey.

The booklet includes commonly asked questions for people to ask their GP and/or specialist.

The resource is available in digital and printed copies, with more than 5,000 distributed across the region. An e-version is available to clinicians via the Dementia and Cognitive Impairment HealthPathway.

Deteriorating Resident Triage Tool Pilot

Strategic Priority Area: One team

The Deteriorating Resident Response Tool (DRRT) has been developed to guide RN’s in Residential Aged Care homes (RACHs) to better understand, anticipate and make clinical decisions responding to the deteriorating health of residents.

The objective of the DRRT is to give RACH staff clear information to triage and provide appropriate care for a range of residents’ health conditions, and, in turn, prevent unnecessary presentations to ED.

The tool has been designed together with a specialist geriatrician, consulting with stakeholders such as Residential Aged Care Managers, NSW Ambulance, GPs, and experts from Mid and North Coast LHDs.

The pilot commences in March with four participating RACHs. Evaluation measures will include effectiveness in building RN confidence and reported reduction in unnecessary hospitalisations. Findings will inform a future planned, region-wide implementation.

North Coast Care Finders Program

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

The Care Finders program is a free region-wide service to support vulnerable older people who have no-one else to help them, to learn about, apply for and set up support services.

Care finders can help people understand what aged care services are available, set up an assessment, and find and choose services. They also help people with access to other supports in the community, both accessing services for the first time and changing or finding new services and supports.

On the North Coast, Healthy North Coast has commissioned four organisations to provide this important service: EACH, Carexcell, Lifetime Connect and Footprints.

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Psychological services in residential aged care homes

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Healthy North Coast commissions two service providers to deliver psychological therapies and supports for older people with, or at risk of developing, a mental illness and who are living in residential aged care homes (RACHs).

The aim of the program is to both provide direct support to residents and their families and carers, as well as upskill the RACH workforce to respond to the needs of residents presenting with mental health concerns.

Social prescribing (Healthy Me Healthy Community)

Strategic Priority Area: Securing a Healthier Future

Delivered by Feros Care, the Healthy Me, Healthy Community program aims to build individual and community connections to reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing in Port Macquarie.

The program helps people to connect with community, activities, supports and services that address their broader social determinants of health, as an alternative or supplement to a clinical approach.

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Digital Health in Residential Aged Care

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Timely access to primary health care professionals, whether through face-to-face consultation or telehealth, is recognised as an issue for many Residential Aged Care Homes (RACHs), that in some cases can lead to potentially preventable hospitalisations. RACHs require adequate telehealth facilities to support access to virtual consultations for their residents.

Project goals

  • Assist participating RACHs to have appropriate telehealth facilities and equipment to enable their residents to virtually consult when needed with their primary health care professionals, specialists and other clinicians. 
  • Provide training to participating RACH staff to support them to have the capabilities to assist their residents in accessing virtual consultation services.
  • Encourage increased use of My Health Record by RACHs, to improve the availability and secure transfer of resident’s health care information between RACHs, primary care and acute care settings.
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Greater Choice at Home Palliative Care Program

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Aims to provide people who have life limiting conditions the opportunity to exercise choice and receive high quality care at home, harnessing improved and better coordinated supports and services that meet their individual needs.

Program objectives:

  • Improve access to palliative care at home and support end-of-life care systems and services (in primary health care and community care)
  • To enable the right care at the right time and in the right place (to reduce unnecessary hospitalisation)
  • Generate and use data to support continuous improvement of services across sectors
  • Use available technologies to support flexible and responsive palliative care at home, including in the after-hours.

These objectives will contribute to achieving the following intended overarching outcomes of:

  • Improved capacity and responsiveness of services to meet local needs and priorities
  • Improved patient access to quality palliative care services in the home
  • Improved coordination of care for patients across health care providers and integration of palliative care services in their region.

Education & training funding elibility

Funding is open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.

Workforce Locum support and R&R funding criteria

  • Available to primary care services in disaster impacted communities within the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Available to support short-term workforce coverage, allowing clinicians to rest and recover.
  • Workforce-support funding in total is capped for each site, over a 12-month period:
    • $10k for GPs and/or
    • $5K for nursing and/or
    • $5k administration support and/or
    • $5K allied/pharmacy and other.
  • Funding is not to be used to fill gaps in staffing that have not been able to recruit to and not to replace existing staff.
  • Healthy North Coast will assess requirements and approve available funding directly with the service requesting support.
  • Priority will be given to sites that have immediate, short-term workforce support needs.
  • Requests will be reviewed and supported on a case-by-case basis.
  • Program funding administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) to be paid monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever comes first).
  • Practices will be required to complete a request for payment form monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever occurs first).

Wellbeing Flexible Funding Criteria & Eligibility

  • Open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Activity must be purposeful, with the aim of increasing the wellbeing of your team.
  • Requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with funding allocated based on team size.*
  • Following approval by Healthy North Coast, funding will be administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) upon providing proof of expenses.
  • Funding cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, or any other goods or services where the vendor cannot quote their Australian Business Number.
  • Planned activities must occur prior to 30th June 2024.
  • Funding will not be available for retrospective activities.
*Team Size
(Total staff and contractors)
Funding Available
Small (1-5)$500-$1500
Medium (6-20)$1500-$4000
Large (>20)$4000-$5000