About us

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) helps people stay well by commissioning health services to deliver better, more accessible primary care across Melbourne’s northern, western and inner-city areas.

We do this through a commitment to transforming primary care, using evidence-based commissioning and active partnerships with community and health sector stakeholders, while striving for organisational excellence and impact.

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin nations as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

We also recognise, respect and affirm the central role played in our work by people with lived experience, their families and or carers.

 Learn more about our region and its communities.

We are guided by our values of equityrespectcollaboration and innovation as we strive for better care, every day in every way.

Infographic of NWMPHN's values.

Our values

  • Equity

    Values – EquityAs a Primary Health Network, we receive limited funds from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, with the expectation that we will commission for the greatest possible outcomes. We also recognise that we are not the only organisation in the market commissioning health care activities. We therefore commission activities according to greatest need, helping to address health disparities between different population groups and locations within our region.

    We consult with the community and other sectors, including the health, education and social care sectors. The approach we take may not always be the ‘obvious’ one. Our commissioning intentions are based on many factors, including:

    • population health data (comprising quantitative and qualitative data)
    • service gaps and needs
    • barriers and enablers to health and health care access
    • social determinants of health
    • the health system as a whole
    • equity in terms of access to health care and outcomes.
  • Respect

    Values – RespectRegardless of whether we are working with our staff or our sector and community, respect is fundamental in our relationships. We acknowledge that everyone brings different experiences, views and approaches to the table, and there is often no right way or wrong way.

    Together, we work to achieve the best outcomes for our community with the resources available.

    We do so by:

    • striving to embrace different opinions. This means providing a respectful environment where it is safe to have a voice and learn from constructive criticism, while recognising that trust needs to be earned
    • understanding and respecting the experience of our consumers and communities and ensuring this knowledge informs our decision-making
    • enjoying the sharing of ideas, while recognising this works both ways, and that finding the space to do this can be challenging
    • respecting the professionalism of our stakeholders and their commitment to building relationships for themselves and their organisations
    • recognising that working respectfully increases our shared approach of collaboration, innovation and individual, organisational and systemic growth
    • basing our shared investment on data (clarity, parity, quality and integrity).
  • Collaboration

    Values – CollaborationCommissioning is not about us doing it ourselves, it is about working together, for our community, with our community.

    For us, collaboration (internal and external) means:

    • we believe we can all add value to each other’s work
    • we actively seek to involve others to help inform and improve our work, which builds strength and confidence in our approach
    • we challenge ourselves to find better ways of doing things, asking for input and being open to what we hear
    • we see collaboration as the strongest form of working together, and we build partnerships as we leverage each other’s work and effort
    • we share resources and knowledge, and work together for shared outcomes (for example, by pooling resources). This ensures we fund activities that benefit our community
    • we seek to identify links between programs and populations, to strengthen existing connections or build new ones.

    When we work collaboratively, we:

    • communicate openly and respectfully
    • get off our chairs and talk to each other ‘in the moment’
    • seize opportunities to connect
    • use systems/processes in place and help improve them if necessary
    • encourage a healthy culture through sharing ideas, efforts, resources and challenges.

    In working with you as a contracted provider, we welcome the opportunity to share our values, and will remain aware of the values guiding you and your organisation.

  • Innovation

    Values – InnovationWe believe that innovation – finding new, better ways to solve health care problems or address issues – is critical to us being able to provide better care for our community.

    This means we are open to different approaches – new ways of thinking and working – if they will better meet the needs of consumers or provide better value for the community.

What do we do?

Art work of people on the high rise building on Wellington Street, Collingwood.
High rise on Wellington Street, Collingwood. Art by Adnate, photo by Leigh Henningham.

NWMPHN works closely with general practices, mental health, allied health and other primary health care professionals to identify service gaps. Then we collaborate to co-design and fund innovative and effective solutions that make it easier for people to get the care they need.

With a focus on at-risk members of the community, we are driven by a vision for a primary care system that is person-centred, comprehensive, coordinated, accessible, high quality and safe.

Our approach to decision-making and resource allocation is guided by the Quintuple Aim for Health Care Improvement – a widely accepted summation of universal health practice priorities.

The Quintuple Aim holds that any health care system must deliver these outcomes:

  • Improved population health
  • Enhanced care experience
  • Reduced costs
  • Reduced practitioner burnout through better working conditions
  • Improved health equity

We acknowledge that achieving these aims requires ongoing, progressive, incremental changes to the Australian health care system. We are committed to working with our partners and the community to make these changes a reality.

To find out more about our work, start here.

Our roles: the 5 Cs

  • Capability builder

    We ensure primary care providers can access the best education, tools and resources. We promote primary care as a rewarding career path.

  • Commissioner

    We commission co-designed local and regional solutions to address service gaps, better integrate health care and ensure equitable access.

  • Communicator

    We deliver timely and relevant localised information to health care providers. We provide evidence-based, accessible information to inform and empower the diverse communities in our region.

  • Coordinator

    We foster strong partnerships and collaborations across local, state and federal governments – between primary health, acute and specialist services.

  • Champion

    We advocate for primary care as the foundation for a high-performing and sustainable health system.

How are we funded?

NWMPHN receives annual funding from the Australian and Victorian governments.

Our primary focus is the health and wellbeing of the 1.9 million people who live within our 3,212 square-kilometre catchment area. However, we are also often tasked by our funders to design, coordinate or oversee programs the operate across the state or throughout the country.

Probity and good governance are at the heart of our organisation. To ensure best-practice and transparency in our operations we are overseen by our Board of Directors, and assisted by clinical and community councils and several expert advisory groups.

What is a primary health network?

Primary health networks (PHNs) assess the health care needs of their community and commission health services to meet those needs, minimising gaps or duplication. They support health services to connect with each other to improve people’s care and strengthen the primary health care system.

PHNs were established by the Australian government as independent organisations that manage health regions. There are 31 PHNs across Australia, 6 of which cover Victoria.

To find out more about PHNs, start here.

What is a PHN? Watch this video to hear our leaders explain.