Dr Caroline West to facilitate Back to Health conference in October (21—23)

Healthy North Coast is excited to announce that Dr Caroline West, general practitioner and host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, will facilitate our 3-day Back to Health conference in October. Dr West will not only keep the agenda on track, she will help to set the tone for the entire program.

Back to Health is an immersive conference that will reignite your passion for preventive health. Held at Pacific Bay Resort Coffs Harbour, it invites primary health care professionals from across the North Coast to come together to connect, network and gain up to 65 CPD points – just in time for the end of the triennium.

View the full program at and register here.


About Dr Caroline West  

Dr West has worked in general practice since 1988 in city, rural and remote regions of Australia. As a GP, Dr West has extensive experience in mental health, women’s health, men’s health, sexual health, antenatal shared care, paediatrics and lifestyle medicine.

‘I have a passion for preventive health,’ says Dr West.

‘It is incredible to think that almost half of all Australians are living with a health condition that could have been prevented. There is a tremendous opportunity for GPs and other health professionals to include preventive health strategies that can make a huge difference to someone’s health pathway.’

On the medical education front, Dr West has been actively involved in delivering post graduate education and has designed and implemented various Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) CPD-accredited courses around lifestyle medicine and on medical practitioner wellbeing. She regularly lectures and conducts workshops, and for 4 years she was the president of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.

‘I have always enjoyed working with other health professionals in the area of lifestyle medicine,’ Dr West said.

‘The determinants of health – like exercise, sleep, nutrition and connection – are incredibly important. Through COVID times, many screening and preventive approaches were delayed, but now it is timely to put preventive measures back in the mix. Even in a busy appointment schedule there are often ways to increase awareness and action with patients around the preventive health steps that can improve quality of life.’

As well as Dr West’s work in medicine, she is a recognisable face in the media, having hosted TV programs including Beyond 2000 and Good Medicine. Dr West is currently the host of ABC TV’s Ask the Doctor and Catalyst and is host of the NPS MedicineWise podcast series, available on Spotify.

Register now and join Dr West at the Back to Health conference. Multi-day packages and individual session tickets are available, starting at $50 per person.


Back to Health: a 3-day immersive preventive health conference

When: Friday, 21 October – Sunday, 23 October 2022

Where: Pacific Bay Resort Coffs Harbour

Register here:


Other speakers include: 

  • Monika Wheeler, Acting CEO, Healthy North Coast
  • Professor Andrew Wilson, Co-Director of The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and Co-Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Sydney
  • Dr Simon Kos, health industry executive, Microsoft
  • Miriam Veisman-Apter, Assistant Commissioner, Productivity Commission
  • Dr Michael Conlon, Co-Author of CSIRO Gut Care Guide
  • Carolyn Lloyd, Immunisation Coordinator, North Coast Public Health Unit
  • Tim Jack Adams, international wellbeing expert and founder, GreenX7
  • Bronwyn Morris-Donovan, CEO, Allied Health Professions Australia
  • Mitch Wallis, founder, Heart on My Sleeve Mental Health Movement
  • Professor Janet Wallace, Professor of Oral Health, University of Newcastle
  • Rob Curry, Chair, North Coast Allied Health Association
  • Professor Cathy Mihalopoulos, Head of the Health Economics Division, Monash University
  • Dr Sarah Mollard, GP and Clinical Editor, Mid and North Coast HealthPathways
  • Dr Janet Long, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Health Innovation
  • Kerryn Lawrence, Assistant Manager, Aboriginal Environmental Health Unit, NSW Health
  • Dr Adrian Gilliland, GP and Chair, Healthy North Coast .

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