An intense year with significant changes.


Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation has completely restructured itself in the past twelve months with its focus being the delivery of accredited culturally safe health care consistent with its performance commitments to funding bodies and funding levels. Change is always difficult for any organisation and it is a tribute to the staff who have worked with the new management team to ensure the highest quality delivery of service to the “Sun Come Up Mob” whilst ensuring the sustainability of the organisation.


The Status of Health in Our Region


We are proud to report that we are already delivering 6 out of 13 National Health Implementation Plan 2023 targets across our communities and are consistently delivering above Territory and National averages in Key Performance Indicators as well as the Implementation Plan targets.

Key to measuring health status is robust data collection and data analysis and Sunrise Health Service has invested heavily in modifying our Communicare patient data system to capture data that allows us to track our progress on performance indicators as well as inform discussion on NDIS and other new health initiatives.

Apart from Primary Health Care, our teams work consistently in key prevention areas such as Men’s and Women’s & Maternal Health, child health, Intensive Family Support, Alcohol and Other Drugs (including tobacco), Social and Emotional Wellbeing, sexual health and blood borne viruses, Personal Helpers and Mentors, Integrated Team Care, Chronic Health, Nutrition, physical activity and physiotherapy, environmental health and eye health.

Our work in these areas as well as primary health care lead us to conclude that without addressing the social determinants of Indigenous health and wellbeing, it will be near impossible to deliver the full National Health Implementation Plan targets. The Board supports this view and will be developing community-based strategies to address these social determinants that impact community health and wellbeing.

for full annual report - download here.



Current population


Client contacts



episodes of care


with chronic disease conditions


Public Health & Planning 


During our planning processes, it was identified that the biggest gaps in service delivery (that are within our scope to affect) were:

  1. Chronic disease care plans

  2. Community development

  3. Health promotion

  4. Immunisations 55+

  5. First antenatal visit

  6. Indigenous workforce (increasing the
    number of Aboriginal Health Practitioners)

  7. Male engagement

  8. Men’s health checks

When you look at the gaps and the statistics, particularly around chronic disease, it becomes clear why addressing the social determinants of health becomes so important to addressing the health issues in the communities in which we work.

It will require us to work differently but still in the spirit of an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and in the spirit of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.

Currently, as well as Primary Health Care, our public health services work in the following key prevention areas: men’s and women’s & maternal health, child health, intensive family support, alcohol and other drugs (including tobacco), social and emotional wellbeing, sexual health and blood borne viruses, personal helpers and mentors, integrated team care, chronic health, nutrition, physical activity and physiotherapy, environmental health and eye health.

All of which when fully integrated with Primary Health Care should deliver a family care model that addresses all determinants of poor health and addresses the unacceptable incidence (36%) of chronic disease in our communities.


Chronic Disease Trend

percentage of patients with 1 or more chronic diseases


Rheumatic Heart Disease


Rheumatic Heart Disease

annual new cases of rheumatic heart disease


Cumulative no. of rheumatic heart disease cases


We are working hard in the battle to conquer chronic disease.


our dietician having young people be health aware

The nominal total ATSI population of Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (SHSAC) Communities is 1905 females and 1851 males (total 3756) in the Katherine East region. Of this population, 30% are under the age of 15. At times SHSAC communities are subject to substantial client inflows from adjoining regions and this can temporarily boost population by up to 50%.

Our services cover 14 remote communities and their associated outstations through 9 primary health care centres in an approximate 400km arc from Katherine. The primary access roads are the Central Arnhem Highway and the Roper Highway with only the Mataranka Primary Health Care Centre being on the main Stuart Highway. Our service area covers some 64,000 sq.km.

Our client base has a high burden of disease and consistent long term effort is needed to reverse trends.

36.2% of the population (1361 people) have at least one chronic disease (37.6% of females and 34.8% of males) with more than half the clients in the audit having more than one chronic condition.

681 (50%) have Chronic Renal Disease, 418 (31%) have diabetes, 285 (21%) have mental health diagnoses.

In the 2017-2018 year, 216 clients were newly diagnosed with chronic conditions. This is an alarming 18.9% growth in burden of disease particularly in chronic kidney disease, diabetes and Rheumatic Heart Disease.

NT KPI results from July 2018 show that we are doing a very good job at getting Health Checks and Chronic Disease checks done (83-95%) , and checking HbA1c in diabetics (94% vs 83% NT). nKPI Dec 2018 shows us 79% GP management plan (compared to 63% national). This high coverage is increasingly difficult to maintain with our current under-resourcing and growing service demand.

Our retinal screening rates were quite high, but with the loss of the ability to fund a Chronic Disease Coordinator position our capacity for this has decreased. Telehealth has also suffered from this and similar capacity reasons.


We are here to make a difference - join the team.