Alliance brings chance for change

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Westmead Hospital nurses are getting involved to improve local community services, through the NSWNA in partnership with the Sydney Alliance..

Westmead Hospital Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and emergency department (ED) nurse Emma Clarke told The Lamp she sees the Sydney Alliance as an important organisation for affecting real change.

“The Sydney Alliance – through different community and professional bodies – gives you a voice and a channel to bring up ideas, which I think can only improve things for Sydneysiders,” Emma said.

Formed in September last year, with the NSWNA as one of its founding members, the Sydney Alliance is investigating a broad range of issues affecting Sydneysiders including public transport, social inclusion, community support services and concerns with Sydney’s health system.

“The Sydney Alliance is able to reach a lot more groups than just one professional body in particular,” Emma explained. “It’s a combination and that’s why I think it’s unique and has the potential to improve things for people, especially in Western Sydney.”

Joining forces with GPs and local community groups are just some of the changes that ED nurses have already envisioned for improving health services in the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

“There needs to be more collaboration between primary health, the needs of the community and the GPs,” Emma said.

As an example Emma cited the average age of patients in the Westmead Hospital ED on the day she spoke to The Lamp: 80-years-old.

“Services that are able to go to the elderly person’s home would be of greater benefit, rather than dragging them into an unfamiliar environment,” Emma said.

Emma and other Westmead Hospital ED nurses told The Lamp that they see daily presentations to the emergency department when GPs or allied health services would have better suited the patient’s needs.

“The way to improve things is by improving processes internally and externally,” the CNS said. “If more GPs bulk billed and more medical centres bulk billed, that would actually help to give people access to health care, rather than coming to an emergency department because they know that we’re a free service.”