Health Information, Advice and Counselling Services Network

The Health Information, Advice and Counselling Services Networks (the Network) forms part of the Primary Health Care Development Program.

Page last updated: 13 July 2017

The Health Information, Advice and Counselling Services Networks (the Network) forms part of the Primary Health Care Development Program. It is an initiative administered by the Department of Health and provides people with access to accurate advice and information about health, illness, and health and community service availability so that they are better able to care for themselves.

The Network has overarching Guidelines detailing how it will operate. These were last updated in December 2016.

  • The objectives of the Program are as follows: Deliver to the Australian community, health advice, information and support through multiple communication channels, including telehealth, face-to-face and through emerging online interactive communication technologies such as social media.  This reflects the rapidly evolving technologies enabling greater connectivity and ease of use;
  • Support Australians to make informed decisions over their health and the ways they access medical and health related services.  Support will include guiding each consumer to use the most appropriate health service for their needs, based on their location and the availability of local health services;
  • Provide access to expert advice and support for health professionals outside of standard business hours and / or in areas where there is no general practitioner or other specialist support available;
  • Manage the pressure on the health care system, particularly public hospital emergency departments, by reducing avoidable demand on face-to-face health care services and by steering people to the right care, in the right place, at the right time, whilst safeguarding patient safety;
  • Improve access to health practitioners through increased use of telehealth and video-conferencing, particularly for appointments outside of normal business hours, people living with chronic and complex conditions and those living in rural and remote areas; and
  • Improve access to health services by marginalised and special needs groups, Indigenous people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background through targeted and responsive technology solutions.

Activities to be supported under the Single Point of Contact for Health Information, Advice and Counselling Fund include:

  • After Hours GP Helpline;
  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline; video consultation capability;
  • National Health Services Directory; and
  • Healthdirect Australia(nurse triage services).