Holistic approach to health in Green Square

The Green Square development area, with 278 hectares, is the largest urban renewal site in Australia. Located within the City of Sydney, it includes the suburbs of Beaconsfield, Zetland and parts of Rosebery, Alexandria and Waterloo. In 1999, 3,000 people lived in Green Square. By 2031, that will increase to 61,000.

It will then be the most densely populated suburb in Australia, with 22,000 people per square kilometre. Ensuring a “density well done” model with more parks, priority for pedestrians and appropriate social infrastructure is vital.

Green Square, in the Sydney Local Health District, has been selected by the Ministry of Health as a site for a new RPA HealthOne East, which will incorporate an academic general practice centre, population health and community-based services, with a specific focus on avoiding hospital admissions, medical and health education and research, and with a coordinating role in the local health area.

A particular focus will be on improving the access of vulnerable communities.

“Green Square will be the most densely populated area of Australia and we want to work closely with the community to provide exemplary, contemporary health care close to where people live, that meets the health needs of the community,” Sydney Local Health District’s Chief Executive, Dr Teresa Anderson, said.

HealthOne aims to prevent illness in the community, improve the care of those who have chronic diseases and improve health service accessibility.

Over time, some RPA outpatient and specialist clinics will also be provided at Green Square, so that the community does not need to travel to the hospital.

Dr Anderson said a steering committee had been formed to guide the project and included representation from the City of Sydney, the University of Sydney, University of NSW and Notre Dame University, the Central and Eastern Primary Health Network, GPs and major health providers.

Senior academic representatives from the medicine and health faculties of the University of NSW, University of Sydney and University of Notre Dame supported the concept that RPA HealthOne East would also be involved in the training of health professionals, vocational and continuing education, and primary care research, with a strong multidisciplinary orientation.

Last year, the community and stakeholders were consulted on how to collectively build the overall concept of RPA HealthOne East.

Issues raised at the forum included:

  • The importance of affordable housing;
  • The importance of partnering with, and strengthening the existing models of care for Aboriginal people in collaboration with the Aboriginal Medical Service;
  • The importance of working across agencies to address the social determinants of health;
  • Having a strong and empowering model of community consultation and engagement;
  • Widening the scope of HealthOne to include education and social services;
  • Ensuring that HealthOne remained responsive to the needs of a changing population.

Bill Yan, the Operations Manager of Counterpoint Community Services who has recently joined the RPA HealthOne East Green Square Steering Committee, welcomes the idea. “It is exciting that NSW Health is using a population health approach instead of the usual disease management model. Overall well-being is a much more wholesome approach especially for a new development such as Green Square,” Mr Yan said.

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