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Austin Health has been appointed as the lead health service for the North Eastern Public Health Unit (NEPHU).
NEPHU is responsible for managing and responding to public health issues that cover the existing catchment areas of Austin Health, Eastern Health, Northern Health and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne – a population of more than 1.6 million people.
The current focus includes end-to-end COVID-19 contact tracing, case and contact follow-up and support, as well as outbreak management. Teams are being established at Eastern Health, Northern Health and Austin Health, with the aim of building strong relationships with community partners, general practitioners and other hospital-based services.
While the current focus remains on COVID-19, planning is underway to enable NEPHU to take on a broader range of public health functions over time.
This may include health promotion and prevention activity (like reducing tobacco use), managing the health impacts of environmental factors (like air and water quality) and the protection of the community from the spread of other communicable diseases though public health action and follow up.
Austin Health’s Professor Paul Johnson has been appointed to the role of Director of the NEPHU and is involved in leading the design, development and delivery of the public health model for North Eastern Melbourne.
NEPHU is one of three metropolitan Public Health Units (in addition to the Western PHU and South Eastern PHU) that will link with six existing regional units and the Department of Health to provide a state-wide system of public health delivery and oversight.