Healthcare Commissioning

Australian Remote Healthcare


Improving the lives of Western Queensland’s remote population

The client

Western Queensland Primary Health Network (WQPHN) is one of 31 primary health networks established and funded by the Commonwealth Government to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of primary health care services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes.

Western Queensland is an extraordinarily remote region with a population of 72,000 people living across approximately 1 million square kilometres (similar in size to France and Germany combined).

The people living in WQPHN face a unique set of challenges in maintaining and accessing good health care. These include large travel distances, poor regional public transport, an over-reliance on GP locums and lack of integration between health service providers. WQPHN also has the second highest Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander population in Australia with high socio-economic deprivation.

WQPHN’s population therefore has high health risk factors and poor health outcomes compared with Australian and State norms.

The challenge

WQPHN is a ‘commissioner’ of services, not a provider. As a commissioner, WQPHN is responsible for planning and funding primary health care services.

This commissioning approach to primary healthcare is a new approach, having only recently been introduced into Australia with the advent of PHNs.

WQPHN needed immediate access to international commissioning skills and expertise and brought Rebbeck Consulting on board to build their commissioning function and support the development of their Strategic Plan.

The impact of our work

WQPHN quickly benefited from Rebbeck Consulting’s considerable expertise in the field of commissioning. Having advised NHS England on the 2010 Commissioning Reforms, and having helped launch 7 new UK commissioning organisations, we are well placed to share our commissioning insights and experience.

Our support to WQPHN had an immediate impact. Within 12 weeks we were able to up-skill the WQPHN leadership team in critical commissioning skills and tools. In practical terms, this has had the following impact:

  • WQPHN’s Board and health providers are fully bought into a Five Year Strategic Plan which includes a radical new commissioning approach.
  • New provider contracts have been strengthened to increase the accountability of healthcare providers in WQPHN.

As long term partners of WQPHN, Rebbeck Consulting are helping to embed a sophisticated commissioning approach across both primary and secondary care.

Our aim is to help WQPHN use commissioning as a powerful force for change that will move their whole health system towards a sustainable new model of care. This will improve health outcomes and patient experience for Western Queensland’s remote communities, whilst improving the value for money for healthcare spend.

A summary of the WQPHN Commissioning & Development Framework, that we worked with WQPHN to build, is shown below: