Shoalhaven Women’s Health Centre Inc is a non-profit incorporated Community Association.
SWHC is a community-managed organisation. The Management team are drawn from local women including members of other local agencies and services in the Shoalhaven.
On a day-to-day basis, SWHC is managed by staff and the service manager. All staff are employed on a permanent part-time basis. SWHC is a multidisciplinary integrated health service with a preventative health care focus.
SWHC’s holistic philosophy is based in the belief that illness is not always based in physical causes, but that environmental, cultural, social, and economic issues impact on health and wellbeing.
The Centre recognises that all women have a right to be treated with dignity and respect in an environment which provides for privacy, confidentiality, informed consent, and safety.
How We Began
- 1983 – Our service began in rented premises in Nowra with donations of money from local women. The Family Planning Clinic was funded by doctors working on Medicare, and staffed by volunteers from the Health Centre Collective.
- 1984 – We were finally granted Department of Health funding.
- 1986 – We had employed a counsellor, two administration workers, a child carer worker, a receptionist, two doctors, a herbalist, and a masseuse. We had an up-and-running Mother’s Support Group and had become well known as a drop-in and information centre for local women.
Massage and Reiki
Counsellor - Art Therapist
Finance (Tue Only)
The collective of women who made up the resource group and established the Nowra Women’s and Children’s Refuge realised there was a need for accessible Family Planning services in the Shoalhaven.
A public meeting was held from which the Shoalhaven Women’s Health collective was formed, to establish a Family Planning service in Nowra. The service began in 1983 in rented premises in Nowra with donations of money from local women.
The Family Planning Clinic was funded by doctors working on Medicare and staffed by volunteers from the Health Centre Collective.
Simultaneously, submissions were written and sent to the Department of Health requesting ongoing funding for a Women’s Health Centre. Another submission was written for a CEP grant to get the service up and keep it going until Department of Health money was finally granted.
We were finally granted Department of Health funding in 1984. Local women were approached with skills that would enhance the centre’s holistic approach and provide the choices in health care that had previously been unavailable to Shoalhaven women.
During the intial setting up period, SWHC made contact with other already-established Women’s Health Centres, such as Liverpool and Leichhardt to learn how centres were structured and administered.
By the end of 1986, we had employed a counsellor, two administration workers, a child care worker, a receptionist, two doctors, a herbalist, and a masseuse.
We had an up and running Mother’s Support Group and had become well-known as a drop-in and information centre for local women.
Staff began training in a wide variety of areas, and were taking advantage of every seminar and workshop made available to them.
Through the expressed needs of local women, SWHC has grown and evolved over the years. A wide variety of services and health promotion programs continue to be provide for Shoalhaven women.
The centre sees itself as a continually evolving organisation. Local women still use us as a first point of contact for information on a wide variety of issues, from health and medical, through to legal and inacial. We also provide information and access to holistic and alternative medicines, and genral information on local services and practitioners. We pride ourselves on delivering multidisciplinary, integrated, client-centred service, focusing on intervention and prevention.
Rights and Responsibilities
Clients of Shoalhaven Women’s Health Centre have the right to:
- be treated with dignity and respect.
- receive clear information about the range of services, waiting times, the process for the follow-up of results, their proposed care plan and expected outcomes, and the responsibilities of their health worker to make their own health care decisions.
- confidentiality: Information clients tell their SWHC health workers about themselves or others will not be available to anyone who is not involved in their health care, unless the client provides consent, it is required by law, or if the safety of the client or that of another person is at risk.
- read their file and add comments to if it they wish. If the client wishes to read their file, they are asked to make an appointment for this purpose with their health worker.
- use an interpreter service.
- have their personal health information stored securely according to the law.
- accept or refuse the centre’s service including:
- not to treat an issue or condition
- withdraw their consent at any time
- not take part in student placements or research
- seek a second opinion
- transfer their health care to another health worker or agency
Clients of Shoalhaven Women’s Health Centre are responsible for:
- being on time and come prepared for their appointments or phone the centre if they are unable to attend.
- knowing their own health history and provide, to the best of their knowledge, accurate and complete information about their situation, medications, and other matters related to their health.
- using prescribed treatments and follow instructions as advised, or discuss with their health worker if they are unhappy or unwilling to do so.
- asking questions about their health issue and its management.
- telling their health worker they are seeing someone else for the same issue.
- accepting the results of decisions they have made about their health care.
- respecting the rights of other people using the centre.
- respecting the role and dignity of staff and their right to a safe and pleasant work environment.
- respecting the organisation’s policies and procedures.
- making a complaint, suggestion, or comment about any aspect of the service they’ve received.
If you have a problem with your health care, of have had a negative experience when visiting us, we would like to know.
Please discuss any problems you may have with your health professional. To make a complains, please speak to the manager (phone (02) 4421 0730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) with your contact details.
Feedback and complaints are taken seriously, and are used to help us improve.
After we have investigated the complaint, if you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may lodge the complaint with the NSW Health Care Complains Commission –
- by post – Locked Mail Bag 18, Strawberry Hills, 2012
- by phone – 1800 043 159 (toll free)
- by email – email@example.com
Compliments and Complaints
If you want to tell us what we’re doing well, you can let us know by leaving a note in the Suggestion Box in the Centre’s hallway, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also include your comments on the regular client survey or evaulations you will be given if you attend counselling and health education sessions.
If you have a complaint about the service you have received, ask to speak to the manager, or contact the manager either by phone on (02) 4421 0730 or by email on email@example.com.
The manager investigates complaints. Your views, including complaints, are an important part of our learning, and help to provide the best environment possible for health and wellbeing.
If a complaint you make is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may wish to contact –
- Health Care Complaints Commission – (02) 9219 7444 – https://www.hccc.nsw.gov.au/
- NSW Ombudsman – (02) 9286 1000 – https://www.ombo.nsw.gov.au/
Feedback is taken very seriously, and is often used by us to help reflect on how we can improve our service to you.