STAWELL residents who have received mental health, chronic condition management or alcohol and drugs services are encouraged to let their thoughts known at community consultation workshops being held across the region in July.
Western Victorian Primary Health Network is hosting the sessions, which will look at how the group delivers and funds primary health services in the Wimmera.
Primary Health Networks were established by the federal government's Department of Health to work with hospitals and GPs to improve health outcomes for patients in their region.
Western Victorian Primary Health Network chief executive Rowena Clift said understanding where services are needed was important for the Wimmera Grampians region due to the poor health outcomes of the area.
"The Wimmera Grampians region, especially in municipalities outside of Horsham, has worse health outcomes on many measures, such as chronic conditions and several cancers, compared to WVPHN, state and national averages," she said.
"Rates of chronic diseases and avoidable deaths are above the national average throughout the region, including rates of preventable deaths from cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory system diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"Grampians region has the second-highest mortality rates for all cancers in Western Victoria. Rates of lung cancer, leukaemia, lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer are also above the national average.
"However, breast and bowel screening rates are at or above the national average.
"In addition, population data demonstrates that Wimmera Grampians has relatively low access to mental health services, which is a risk factor for mental ill-health.
"For instance, residents in Wimmera Grampians are more likely to report access to mental health services as poor than those across Victoria and Australia.
"This is an important opportunity for those with an interest in or are impacted by these issues to help create new and innovative ideas for delivering future services."
The workshops followed an earlier community consultation period during April and May.
The group met with community members to discuss which parts of its primary health and mental health services could be improved.
Key issues raised during the consultation sessions were access to services, service design and coordination, connectedness, and current services management.
Ms Clift encouraged people to register for the workshops or fill out the group's survey online or by phone.
To register for the workshops, visit Western Victorian Primary Health Network's website.
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