Sydney North Health Network (SNHN) recently released its first Needs Assessment report. The report highlight’s the general population health profile for the North Sydney Health Region, covering 73 separate health topics.
On the surface, the SNHN inaugural Needs Assessment has revealed a population demographic that appears to enjoy relatively good health with the highest life expectancy in Australia and premature mortality the lowest in the country. Indeed this is good news.
However scratch beneath the surface and the story is quite different. The report finds a changing, growing and ageing demographic that across the age ranges is facing a number of health challenges. There are at-risk population cohorts, geographic hot spots and specific health issues. Pockets of disadvantage also co-exist among the affluent within a number of suburbs.
The findings in relation to Lane Cove are quite revealing.
Lane Cove and Hunters Hill had the highest rate of Suicide in the region. This statistic should really make us stand up and take notice. We need to know our neighbours and make sure we ask R U OK? It might be a good time for a street party. There is a theory that people who know their neighbours live long. There is also evidence that people who live in leafy suburbs also have a longer life expectancy.
Another disturbing trend was that Lane Cove had one of the highest rates of hospitalisation for alcohol-related medical issues compared to other NSW regions.
Lane Cove also had a high rate of fall-related injuries and attendance at Emergency Departments. This could be because Lane Cove does have a higher rate of older citizens or it could be because we are DIY mad. It is a good idea to leave DIY to the professionals. You can locate the appropriate professionals here.
The other findings were:
- The SNHN population aged 65+ years is projected to increase by 43% between 2016 and 2031 (1.1).
- Compared to NSW, a larger proportion of the SNHN population is born in countries culturally and linguistically different from Australia (1.2).
- Over 2,400 people in the SNHN region identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, however, the population appears to be significantly under-reported (1.4).
- The SNHN population is relatively less socio-economically disadvantaged compared to NSW and Australia. Pockets of high disadvantage in the region are obscured by the overall high level of advantage in the region (2.1).
- The proportion of children living in welfare-dependant families in the SNHN region is low compared to NSW, however, this still amounts to over 11,700 children in the region (2.4).
- The average life expectancy in the SNHN region is the highest in Australia, and the premature mortality rate is the lowest. Males have a lower life expectancy compared to females (3.1).
- Nationally, life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is approximately ten years lower compared to non-Indigenous people (3.5).
- The SNHN population ranks relatively low on most risk factors, but still has an estimated 67,000 adult smokers and 102,000 adults who are obese (4.1, 4.3).
- The SNHN region has a higher rate of alcohol attributable hospitalisations compared to NSW, particularly in Manly, Mosman and Lane Cove LGAs (4.2).
- Within the SNHN region, 40% of the population has one or more chronic conditions (5.1).
- GP attendances are lower in the SNHN region compared to NSW (6.3).
- Cellulitis, kidney and urinary tract infections, and dental conditions make up 40% of potentially preventable hospitalisations in the SNHN region (7.2).
- Within the SNHN region, 12% of people report having a long-term mental health condition (8.1).
- Emergency department presentations relating to self-harm or suicidal behaviour are particularly prominent for young people aged 15-19 years, averaging over one presentation per day in the SNHN region (8.11).
- Intentional self-harm is the leading cause of death in young people aged 15-24 years in NSW (8.12).
- Within the SNHN region, the 0 to 4 years and 80+ years age groups had the highest rates of emergency department attendance of all age groups in the SNHN region (9.3).
- A third of all Aboriginal people attending emergency departments in the SNHN region came from LGAs outside the SNHN region; twice the rate of the non-Indigenous population (9.7).
- The SNHN region has the highest rate of GP after-hours/emergency providers in NSW. Despite this, the region has a lower rate of patients who access GP after-hours services compared to other PHNs (9.10).
- An estimated 80% of SNHN residents aged 75+ years did not receive an annual health assessment, of whom at least 41,000 are likely to have two or more chronic conditions (10.3).
- For SNHN residents aged 75+ years, 12 in every 100 presentations to an emergency department is due to a fall (10.6).
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