cohealth is Victoria’s Health Service of the Year

Released on 13th October 2022

Community health service, cohealth, was announced as the winner of the Premier’s Health Service of the Year (Primary) and the Supporting LGBTIQ+ Health Award at the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards Gala Night on 13 October. 

The Victorian Public Healthcare Awards recognise innovation, leadership and excellence in the provision of healthcare to meet community needs. 

“This achievement was only possible because of the 1,200 cohealth staff who go the extra mile every day to develop new and innovative service models to deliver  health care that improves the lives of people who face the greatest barriers to healthcare,” said Acting Chief Executive, Christopher Turner. 

“I accept this award on their behalf and thank them for their commitment and passion. I also want to acknowledge that cohealth’s success is in huge part due to the way we partner with communities to design and deliver care. They are the experts in their own health and teach us so much,” he said. 

cohealth was pivotal in Victoria’s response to the pandemic, designing the COVID Positive Pathways program with the North West Melbourne PHN and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  The program became the standard model for pandemic management across Victoria.  During 2021 cohealth cared for one third of all COVID patients in Victoria. Because of the program hospitals were able to focus on delivering care to those who were seriously ill.   

“Our model of care demonstrated that community health can take pressure off hospitals.  We need well-funded hospitals for very unwell patients, but by adequately resourcing community-based health services we can prevent many of those people ending up in hospital, .” said Mr Turner. 

During the pandemic, cohealth employed more than 100 public housing residents to share health information, leading to high vaccination rates in the community.  

In accepting the award, Mr Turner also paid respect to fellow finalists. 

“It was an honour to have made the list of finalists along with our colleagues at EACH and Merri Health, fellow community health organisations that deliver exceptional care led with compassion,” he said. 

In accepting the Supporting LGBTIQ+ Health Award, Shantel Wetherall, Executive Lead – Culture & Community said that cohealth recognised that people from the LGBTQIA+ community face significant barriers accessing health care services and employment.  

“Year on year, cohealth has strived to remove these barriers and advance LGBTQIA+ inclusion and safety for our clients and staff,” said Ms Wetherall. 

“In 2021, we implemented a series of interconnected programs and policies to enhance cultural safety and inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community.  

“Our efforts resulted in significant increases in inclusion and cultural safety, and we were awarded Rainbow Tick accreditation in October 2021 and in March 2022 the Service Provider of the Year Award at the inaugural Australian Pride in Health + Wellbeing Awards,” she said. 


About cohealth: 

cohealth is one of Victoria’s largest community health services, with more than 1,200 staff delivering health services from 30 locations across the inner, west and north of Melbourne. It delivers 500,000 health services to Melbourne’s most disadvantaged people. cohealth provides integrated medical (general practice and medical specialists), nursing, dental, allied health, counselling, alcohol and other drug, mental health and community support services. It delivers outcomes through the social model of health and invests in creating a safe environment for its clients and staff. cohealth works with partners to deliver programs such as COVID Positive Pathways, From Homelessness to Home, and Homeless Outreach Mental Health Service. 




more information:  Lanie Harris 0418 552 377 


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More on cohealth: cohealth is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all.  cohealth provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical, oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services. 

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