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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.