As PHNs prepare for their next decade of commissioning, Jay Rebbeck reflects on their role as Australia’s commissioning pioneers and invites PHNs to share their ideas for accelerating the next decade of commissioning innovation. 💭⬇

In 2015, I convinced my wife and daughter to emigrate from London to Sydney.

Without jobs or accommodation awaiting us in Australia, Susie, Heidi, and I faced the formidable challenge of simultaneously starting a new life and company.

However, I wanted to share my passion for commissioning with the 31 newly established Primary Health Networks and help PHNs become Australia’s emerging commissioning leaders.

In 2016, I presented at the Primary Health Alliance Conference and got chatting with Catherine Turner, Amanda Martin, and Scott White from Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN .

By 2017, our conversations had evolved, and HNECC PHN and Rebbeck took a leap of faith. We saw an opportunity to share good practice and grow a network of PHN change leaders by establishing the first National PHN Commissioning Innovation Showcase.

Running the inaugural PHN Showcase was nerve-racking. I barely slept the night before the event. Everything was new, and we were all unsure how comfortable PHN staff would be sharing their experiences in this new world of PHN commissioning.

We needn’t have worried.

Within moments of the first morning break, we could hear PHN staff from around the country enthusiastically swapping notes about adopting innovative commissioning approaches.

At the 2017 PHN Showcase, we agreed on the importance of viewing commissioning as a real-time change process that strives to move our health system towards more sustainable models of care. This led Catherine Turner, Scott White, and I to jointly pen an article outlining our shared perspective.

This week marks the seven-year anniversary of the first PHN Commissioning Showcase

Since 2017, Rebbeck has had the privilege of supporting HNECC PHN and the NSW PHN Alliance to run five successful PHN Commissioning Showcases. Every event has attracted a larger audience and been a testament to the spirit of innovation and sharing across the national PHN community.

The PHN Showcase has become a unique event on the PHN calendar, where we have charted the national PHN journey towards commissioning excellence. We have seen PHNs share creative and pioneering new approaches to improving equity, experiences, and outcomes for their communities.

Five National PHN Showcases have brought like-minded people together to advance commissioning practice nationwide

Looking back over five PHN Showcases, we have witnessed:

  • 5 successful PHN Commissioning Showcases, each hosted by HNECC in Newcastle
  • 500+ PHN staff participating across five two-day events
  • 120 PHN commissioning case studies presented by PHN staff
  • 55 PHN commissioning posters and videos created by PHN teams
  • 27 national and international speakers sharing their global commissioning insights

Every PHN Showcase has been a breeding ground for innovative commissioning initiatives. You can see the outputs and resources from all 5 PHN Showcases here.

I am excited to continue supporting PHNs to drive innovation and lead Australia towards commissioning excellence

PHNs continue to be commissioning leaders as Australia moves towards more joined-up and place-based commissioning approaches. PHNs have also paved the way for the broader adoption of commissioning across Australia.

State Governments are now running the gauntlet laid down by PHNs and steadily implementing progressive commissioning models across Australia. For example, the WA Government is two years into implementing its Statewide Commissioning Strategy across the Departments of Health, Communities, Justice, and Education, as well as the Mental Health Commission.

Our mantra for the PHN Showcase has always been to create an event designed by PHNs for PHNs.

As PHNs prepare for their next decade of commissioning, I’m using this article to ask PHN colleagues from around the country one question:

How can PHNs best accelerate the next decade of commissioning innovation?

Join the conversation at our LinkedIn page.

Thank you to everyone in PHN land who has contributed to this journey of discovery

Thank you to Amanda Martin, Catherine Turner, Richard Nankervis, Scott White, and Paul White MSc, FCHSM, CHE, who helped establish the PHN Showcase concept from the outset.

Thank you to the teams from Hunter New England and Central Coast PHN , Sydney North Health Network, Western NSW Primary Health Network, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, South Western Sydney PHN, WentWest, and Nepean Blue Mountains PHN (Wentworth Healthcare Limited) for joining the organising committee and supporting this event every year.

Thank you to everyone from every PHN in the country who has joined the PHN Showcase on this journey of discovery and continuous improvement.