Welcome to WentWest’s Annual Review

Board Chair - Diana O’Halloran

Diana O’Halloran - Board Chair

Over the past 20 years, WentWest has grown from a Regional GP Vocational Training Provider, to a Division of General Practice, then a Medicare Local, and finally to the Western Sydney Primary Health Network. Throughout all of these changes, our Mission has remained constant: working in partnership to lead better system integration and coordination, and strengthening equity and empowerment for Western Sydney communities and the people who care for them.

This Annual Review describes many of the exciting initiatives now underway in Western Sydney. Collaborations, partnerships, community engagement, consultation and co-design have been central to our efforts to be at the forefront of health system reform: reform intended to deliver increased equity, service integration and person-centred care to our Western Sydney communities.

WentWest has increasingly sought to integrate programs across the health and social sectors, thereby influencing the socio-economic determinants of health and transforming the traditional health care narrative in which people are treated in siloes that are unable to meet their often complex needs. Work is also underway at local levels to build health care neighbourhoods, network providers and engage communities in co-designing services to meet local needs.

The Primary Care Transformation and Integration team now support 340 general practices in our region, and our Commissioning team manage 470 contracts with providers. From early years programs to healthy ageing, our teams have grown their portfolios across the lifecycle of our residents, as demonstrated by:

  • The Kids Early Years Network (KEYS): undertaken collaboratively with the Sydney Children’s Hospital 
Network Westmead, the Departments of Communities and Justice, Education, Health and Mental Health, 
has recently welcomed and supported its 523rd family 
  • The Western Sydney Care Collective (WSCC): in partnership with the Western Sydney Local Health District, has treated over 2000 patients in general practice-based Urgent Care Services rather than requiring an 
acute care attendance 
  • The Healthy Ageing space: a ‘Residential Aged Care Facility Leadership and Business Resilience’ program 
has been launched

WentWest has also expanded opportunities for innovation and funding through the creation of a new Social Impact and Community Development directorate. The impact of this portfolio, which focuses on strategy, policy, community engagement, First Nations and communications spaces is already apparent.

The theme of this Annual Review is Evolution: telling WentWest’s story through the evolution of the organisation’s culture, strategic directions, partnerships, programs – and most importantly people. My heartfelt thanks to WentWest’s wonderful staff members, our many partner and provider organisations, our GP Leaders, our Clinical and Consumer Councils and the many wise and resilient community members who work with us to advise and co-design.

Thank you to WentWest’s CEO, Ray Messom, whose hard work and determination has elevated WentWest’s influence and driven ahead health system reform beyond the boundaries of Western Sydney. Thank you to our Board members for their ongoing support: they bring a wealth of diverse knowledge and experiences to the organisation. In particular, my sincere thanks to our Deputy Chair, Emeritus Professor Tim Usherwood, our inaugural Chair who recently stepped down from the Board. We have been incredibly fortunate to have benefited from Tim’s expertise, particularly across research, chronic disease and primary care over the past twenty years. He will be greatly missed.

I hope that this interactive Year in Review allows you to explore how WentWest has evolved as an organisation over the past twenty years and provides a compelling future vision.

Conjoint Professor Di O’Halloran 

Board Chair, WentWest

WentWest CEO - Ray Messom

Ray Messom - WentWest CEO

I am incredibly proud to be sharing our first-ever digital, interactive Annual Review, ‘Evolution’. It is amazing to reflect on the past year and see how much we have grown as an organisation. Growth of WentWest staff, as we have taken on new challenges, but also the growth of our partnerships and the number of commissioning providers we collaboratively work with to transform primary care in our region.

This year, we almost doubled the number of commissioning contracts. We are proud that these 470 contracts are supporting quality local care providers, including 111 psychologists under our Primary Mental Health Care program, 74 non-government-organisation contracts, four Urgent Care Service centres, 325 Strengthening Medicare Grants, 44 Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF) grants, three wellbeing and resilience' grants and 109 Living with COVID and Vulnerable Vaccinations contracts. Of the $50 million that we have invested into supporting these providers, close to $2 million went towards providing mental health care to over 9,000 Western Sydney community members. More than ever, we are seeing community members presenting with complex, co-existing co-morbidities, and our Commissioning team have worked closely with our providers to create community co-designed programs that deliver holistic, multi-sectoral care for people of all backgrounds.

One of our multi-agency partnerships, the Kids Early Years (KEYS) Network has provided wraparound support for over 2,355 individuals since it launched in September 2021. In collaboration with the Western Sydney Local Health District, under our Western Sydney Care Collective (WSCC) initiative, 2,144 patients were provided urgent care treatment at our four Urgent Care Services. Almost half of these patients were children who avoided a trip to the Emergency Department because of the community-based care they received at a local Urgent Care Service. Another of our WSCC pathways of care, Cardiology in Community, has been rolled out across 24 Patient Centred Medical Home (PCMH) practices in Western Sydney to improve the detection of early atrial fibrillation.

Our Primary Care Transformation and Integration team has provided support to 340 general practices over the past twelve months, with 83% of Practice Managers in our annual survey rating the support received in improving their practice systems as high or very high quality.

It is incredible to see such positive figures and a continued focus on quality improvement in light of such dramatic service expansion and is a real testament to our staff who, despite the rising number of programs and partners we engage with, have continued to provide quality support for the benefit of the Western Sydney community. This shared vision 
for a healthier Western Sydney is what drives us, and 97% of staff believe that we are “innovative, progressive, pro-active and dynamic” in our purpose.

There are no words to express my gratitude to ‘WentWesters’ and our growing WentWest family for their determination over the past year. Their open-minded, agile attitudes have helped us evolve as an organisation and impact more lives than we ever imagined. The data and stories in this report demonstrate our focus on equity and our conscious shift toward proactively addressing the social determinants of health.

Thank you to the Senior Management Team for your agility, dynamism and energy to deliver remarkable outcomes and reforms. Thank you to the Board for their strategic vision, passion and guidance. In particular, thank you to Professor Di O’Halloran as the Chair for her advice, support and strategic insights. What a year it has been!

Ray Messom

CEO, WentWest