Capital Health Network

Capital Health Network

CHN’s Needs Assessment identified the lack of support for people with complex social and health needs as a significant barrier to people accessing and navigating appropriate services. 

As a first in Australia, the Social Workers in General Practice Pilot Program aims to address some of these barriers, often caused by the social determinants of health. CHN funded four general practices in the ACT to participate in the pilot, with Social Workers as an integrated part of their general practice team. CHN is the first PHN to initiate such a pilot. 

Social Workers have been engaged in a range of activities involving direct patient support, including counselling, navigating complex health care systems and processes, and providing education to practice staff and patients on the scope of Social Workers within the general practice environment. 

Social Workers are supported by funded professional clinical supervision and a community of practice. In addition, each practice has a funded nominated GP champion allocated for the pilot program. 

University of Canberra has commenced an independent evaluation of the pilot program and CHN presented early findings from the practices at the ACT Health CHARM conference in July 2023. View the poster here.

The Social Workers in General Practice Pilot Program is supported by funding from the ACT PHN through the Australian Government’s PHN Program.