Outback residents have come out in force in Western Queensland to celebrate the launch of a new health and wellbeing program that champions prevention, early intervention, and individual care.

Healthy Outback Communities (HOC) was launched in the Barcoo Shire town of Windorah with most of the local population turning out to the event and many undertaking health checks including diabetes screening as well as lifestyle and wellbeing assessments.

“These are tiny towns, some with fewer than 100 residents and yet we saw a steady stream of Windorah townsfolk plus those who’d travelled several hours from neighbouring towns and properties to find out what this new model of health and wellbeing is all about,” Western Queensland Primary Health Network CEO Sandy Gillies said.

“HOC is a community-driven model of care so we were thrilled to see locals already embracing this program at its launch, especially residents who we know have never had the opportunity to attend a multi-disciplinary health check event. They are now engaging with their health and wellbeing; that’s huge!”

Healthy Outback Communities (HOC) is an award-winning model of healthcare that shifts the focus from illness to wellness by empowering remote communities that don’t have a resident GP or pharmacy to focus on preventive health.

The new approach also offers sessions with the HOC Wellbeing Practitioner to create their own personal wellbeing plan, which will inform the types of wellbeing services needed.

Rugby league identity and Wellness advocate Darius Boyd made the 1200-kilometre trip to help launch the program, which promotes many of the wellbeing strategies that helped him overcome personal challenges.

“In my own life I know the value of reaching out early and looking after your wellbeing before things overwhelm you, and I guess I learned the hard way when midway through my rugby league career I sought professional help for some issues arising from childhood trauma I’d experienced,” Mr Boyd said.

“My only regret was that I didn’t seek help sooner, and that’s why I’m passionate about wellbeing because looking after your health early on through regular checks and lifestyle modifications will help you long term, especially in remote communities like Windorah where access to care can be challenging.”

“It was great to see all the kids enjoying themselves and getting to know the locals who were amazing hosts, plus meeting all the talented health providers who put me through a series of comprehensive health checks that showed me where my health sits right now, and what I can do to maintain good health.”

Healthy Outback Communities is built on an alliance of health providers, advocates, local councils and health workforce agencies ensuring HOC is a collaborative, sustainable model of care.

“In the past, we’ve been siloed and isolated by how healthcare is traditionally delivered in remote communities,” according to Dylan Nelson, HOC Alliance Member and First Nations Engagement Advisor at Health Consumers Queensland.

“It’s good that we are now coming together and working toward one goal which is building these local partnerships and networks to improve access to care which ultimately leads to better health outcomes.”

HOC is established by the Western Queensland Primary Health Network and is delivered by: 

  • Barcoo Shire Council 
  • Boulia Shire Council 
  • Central West Hospital and Health Service 
  • CheckUP 
  • Health Workforce Queensland 
  • Health Consumers Queensland 
  • Queensland Reform Office 
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) 
  • Western Queensland Primary Health Network 

Western Qld Primary Health Network (WQPHN) quick facts:

  • Commissions (or funds) health services in Western Queensland.
  • Covers almost one million square kilometres of Queensland, 55% of the state’s total land area.
  • Aligns health investment with demonstrated population health needs.
  • Uses health intelligence data to orientate health services efficiently and effectively.
  • Ensures the right primary health care is delivered, at the right time by the right provider.
  • Advised by GPs and other health professionals and consumers.
  • One of 31 PHNs across Australia established and funded by the Commonwealth Government.

Website:  www.wqphn.com.au/hoc

Media Liaison - Paul Stone (WQPHN)  M: 0414 326 848  E: paul@sticksandstonespr.com.au

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