On this page

Aim of the clinical community of practice

Health and Social Policy (Aged Care Unit) at the Ministry of Health and the Agency for Clinical Innovation (Aged Health Network) will provide an opportunity for sharing ideas, strategies, local solutions and concerns with respect to COVID-19 pandemic preparedness.

The Aged Care/Aged Health community of practice has three streams:

  1. Commonwealth Community Aged Care Services
  2. Residential Aged Care (including Multipurpose Services)
  3. Aged Health Clinical.

The community of practice will be multidisciplinary and include representation from all districts and networks. It will enable clinicians, clinical managers, and program managers in aged care and aged health from all districts to provide expert advice and guidance to the system, and to escalate matters that require a statewide or system response.

The aim of these sessions is to:

  • support clinicians and managers to network and share strategies, local solutions and issues with respect to pandemic preparedness for aged care and aged health
  • identify, prioritise and escalate issues related to COVID-19 which are actually or potentially affecting clinicians providing aged care that require a statewide or system response
  • review and provide expert clinical advice on guidelines, resources and other information
  • share Ministry approved advice and resources on the response to COVID-19 that can be circulated within all districts and networks.


  • Executive sponsor: Deb Willcox, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning
  • Clinical lead: Professor Vasi Naganathan, Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Sydney and Consultant Geriatrician, Concord Hospital
  • Policy lead: Stefanie Williams, Director Aged Care Unit, Health and Social Policy Branch
  • Community of practice stream managers and secretariats
    • Stream 1: Aged Care Unit – Chris Perfrement, Riley Smith
    • Stream 2: Aged Care Unit – Maria Passarello, Riley Smith
    • Stream 3: Agency for Clinical Innovation – Justine Watkins.
  • Key stakeholders
    • Health and Social Policy Branch (Aged Care Unit)
    • Agency of Clinical Innovation (Aged Health Network)
    • Strategic Reform and Planning Branch (Service and Capital Planning Unit)
    • Mental Health Branch (Older Peoples Mental Health Unit)
    • Health System Performance Support (ComPacks)
    • NSW Office of Preventative Health (Stepping On)
    • Local health districts:
      • nominated aged health/aged care contacts
      • Residential Aged Care Advisory Committee (for State Government Residential Aged Care Facilities – SGRACFs)
      • district representatives for multipurpose services (MPSs).

Health and Social Policy will escalate issues raised by the community of practice to Strategic Reform and Planning. Key information will be collected and sent to MOH-COVID19-ClinicalAdvice@health.nsw.gov.au, which will be monitored by the Strategic Reform and Planning.

Collated issues/advice will be escalated by Ms Willcox through to the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) and/or the State Health Emergency Operations Centre (SHEOC) as appropriate.

PHEOC and SHEOC responses will be provided to Strategic Reform and Planning and then to the community of practice Secretariat(s).

Weekly community of practice updates will be provided to NSW Health Chief Executives.

Clinical/policy leads

Each community of practice will have a clinical/policy lead appointed by Deb Willcox, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Resources.

The clinical/policy lead will:
  • assist with the facilitation of the community of practice
  • work with clinical peers in the districts and networks to share ideas and develop appropriate response strategies
  • provide expert advice and guidance to the system and Ministry as required
  • escalate relevant matters to the Ministry that require a statewide or system response
  • provide expert advice to respond to media enquiries.

This community of practice scope is not

A group which is able to endorse statewide changes or make decisions that impacts a unit or system, or allocate funding to recommendations.


This community of practice is open to all key district contacts of aged care services, as well as contacts from other relevant services who will be invited to specific streams, as required. As a minimum it will include representation from all relevant districts and networks. Membership may be extended more broadly to include all interested NSW Health staff.

To join the Aged Health/Aged Care Community of Practice, participants should email MOH-COVID-19AgedCareCOP@health.nsw.gov.au and indicate which stream they’d like to join.

Members of each community of practice stream includes:

  • Stream 1: Commonwealth Community Aged Care Services
    • Lead: Aged Care Unit
    • Membership: Existing Aged Care Advisory Group (ACAG) members and contacts from other relevant services
  • Stream 2: Residential Aged Care
    • Lead: Aged Care Unit
    • Membership: Existing Residential Aged Care Advisory Committee (RACAC) members and District representatives for Multipurpose Services
  • Stream 3: Aged Health Clinical
    • Lead: Agency for Clinical Innovation
    • Membership: Medical, nursing and allied health representatives from each District.

Frequency of the community of practice

From July 2020 all stream meetings will merge into one monthly meeting on 1st Tuesday from 9:30am – 10:30am.

Meetings will be virtual. Details will be attached to the calendar invite.

Mechanism for escalating COVID-19 issues

Members can raise COVID-19 issues by emailing the stream lead before the next meeting via MOH-COVID-19AgedCareCOP@health.nsw.gov.au. For urgent issues that are not emailed prior to the meeting, members can raise them during the meeting.

Email naming convention

Email subject line to include the COP name, stream number, if it’s an issue or question and the member’s organisation. For example:

  • Aged Health/Aged Care COP – Stream 1 New Issue – SESLHD
  • Aged Health/Aged Care COP – Stream 2 Existing Issue – NNSWLHD
  • Aged Health/Aged Care COP – Stream 2 Question – CCLHD

Members should include the following in the email

  • Issue type – Public health, Operational, Clinical, Other
  • Detailed description of the issue
  • Who/what is impacted.

Existing communication mechanisms remain for all issues not related to COVID-19.

Guidelines and resources

Current as at: Wednesday 15 March 2023
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW