What is the Wheatbelt GP Network (WGPN)?
The Central Wheatbelt area of WA was the last area in Australia to have a Division of General Practice established. The inaugural Annual General Meeting being held on 20th September 1998.
The WGPN (formerly CWDGP, prior to 2007), a registered Health Promotion Charity, is a non-government and not for profit organisation incorporated as an Association with a Constitution and Rules of Incorporation.
The Wheatbelt GP Network (formerly the Central Wheatbelt Division of General Practice, prior to 2007) is a network of GPs who work within a geographical area known as the Central Wheatbelt. The WGPN covers an area of approximately 85,000 sq km of mostly wheat / sheep production in agricultural areas, with some fishing and mining areas and a developing tourism industry. Its northern coastal boundary is between Jurien Bay and Cervantes, its most northerly point is at Buntine Rock near Wubin, the eastern point is Westonia near Merredin, the southern point is at Quarbading Hill near Corrigin, and then back to the coast halfway between Guilderton and Two Rocks.
The population of 50,000 (ABS 2001) is thinly spread, with numerous small towns throughout the area.
Up until June 2012 the majority of funding came from the Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing which was supported by successful funding applications to meet areas of need identified by members or the communities.
Under the Australian Government’s National Health Reform a nationwide network of Medicare locals were established. Medicare Locals are primary health care organisations established to coordinate primary health care delivery and tackle local health care needs and service Gaps.
The Central Wheatbelt of Western Australia falls under the auspices of the South West Medicare Local. The South West Medicare Local commenced in July 2011 with its head office in Albany and area offices established in York, Busselton and Albany. Funding for programs previously funded directly by the Department of Health and Ageing such as Access to Allied Psychological Services; Workforce Support for Rural GP’s, Immunisation, Aged Care Access, Indigenous Health and Rural Primary Health Care and other primary health care programs is advertised for tender by the South West Medicare Locals and submitted by the Wheatbelt GP Network as appropriate.
Although traditional funding has changed the WGPN remains committed to providing support and programs for Primary health in the Wheatbelt region, this includes General Practice Management (See Wheatbelt General Practice here) and the Wheatbelt GP Super Clinic (See Super Clinic page here) as well as continuing our service delivery in the primary heath fields of Allied Health, Mental Health, Member Services and Aboriginal Health.
The Network consistently holds 100% voluntary membership.
The Central Wheatbelt area of WA is one of the most under resourced areas in Australia in regard to Health Services. As in much of rural Australia health problems in the area are very basic with chronic shortages of GPs and other health professionals.
The Network's Strategic Plan aims at addressing the most basic issues to improve the health outcomes of the GP and community.
- GP Workforce
- The chronic shortages in basic primary health services
The Network aims to provide a co-ordinated approach, working closely with key stakeholders, particularly GPs, to improve the level of primary health care services. This will form a foundation for a gradual improvement in health outcomes for the community.
The WGPN Mission Statement
“Healthy communities through general practice”