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New program to help Mackay health services to deliver better alcohol/drug care

Published 23 July 2020

Alcohol and Other Drugs Service Development initiative aims to deliver on training needs for primary health care workforce.


Mackay and Bowen’s primary health workforce will be upskilled to provide better care for individuals in need of alcohol and other drugs services, thanks to a new training program launched today.

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) has collaborated with lead agency Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) to deliver the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Service Development initiative in the Mackay and Bowen region.

ATSICHS will work in close partnership with Indigenous organisations in the region, including Mackay and Region Aboriginal and Islander Development Association (MARABISDA) and Miller House, to identify and deliver on the AOD training needs of their workforces.

The AOD Service Development program will consider workforce upskilling in key elements of AOD service provision including:

  • Screening
  • Assessment
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Counselling
  • Brief intervention
  • Pharmacotherapy maintenance

The development of AOD clinical protocols and referral pathways to promote a culturally-sensitive and emotional wellbeing approach to AOD care for individuals will be another key element for the service.

NQPHN Director of Mental Health Gillian Yearsley said working in collaboration with service providers will benefit not only the AOD healthcare workforce, but also individuals in need of AOD services within the community.

“Working together with ATSICHS, MARABISDA, and Miller House will allow us to better understand and identify the training needs of AOD workforces in the Mackay and Bowen regions,” said Ms Yearsley.

“Fostering strong regional partnerships to advance the skills of the AOD healthcare workforce will lead to positive improvements for the care and wellbeing of individuals in need of these services within the community.

“At NQPHN, we’re committed to working with the sector to establish a range of evidence-based, culturally appropriate alcohol and other drug workforce development and training services.

“Alcohol and drug addiction can affect anybody, and can have a major impact on not just the individual, but also on their families and the broader community.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing the fruits of these collaborations, and how the project will make a positive impact on the AOD healthcare workforce, the lives of people in need, and their families, across our local community.”

ATSICHS Mackay Executive Manager Valerie Pilcher said the program will have a positive impact on local Indigenous people in need of AOD support services.

“ATSICHS is committed to our Indigenous community to address the high demand for referral services and counselling for alcohol and other drugs, as identified in the Mackay region,” Ms Pilcher said.

The service has been funded until June 2019.

Last updated: 21 September 2020