"I would like to thank my fellow Board Directors, our CEO Deb, the executive team and all of our staff for their great work, their passion and for making my role as Chair something that I enjoyed immensely"
Dr Nick Vlachoulis 2020 Update.jpg

Dr Nick Vlachoulis

Presiding Board Chair (2015 -2020)

So here we are, looking back over the achievements and impact of Adelaide PHN over the 2019/20 financial year. What a year it has been - with the vast majority of it during completely unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Whilst COVID-19 certainly changed the focus for Adelaide PHN from January this year, it also provided us with enormous opportunity to show the worth of our Primary Health Network. We were able to demonstrate Adelaide PHN’s pivotal role in collaboration, integration and facilitation -  ensuring we worked together with SA Health, other areas of government, emergency services, councils and Defence. Despite the community impact, lives lost and hardships, we were given a unique opportunity to come together as one to help protect our community and support vital frontline health workers. Our thoughts remain with those families affected, and we continue to work hard to ensure that Adelaide PHN is supporting, resourcing and implementing solutions that assist us all to get through this pandemic and reflect on the lessons learnt so we are better prepared in the future. It also needs to be said again, well done to our SA community - we have shown how we stand together through difficult times.

Our CEO, Deb Lee, will provide you with more insight into what Adelaide PHN has focused on this year, and will share the impact of our work - we should all be truly proud of these achievements.

I thank all of you - our members, stakeholders, partners and the broader community for your dedication and commitment to improving the health outcomes of our community and supporting our primary health care providers – a key objective of the PHNs nationally. Adelaide PHN is unique in its membership structure, and we continue to be extremely proud of the work that we all do together and the strength our collaboration brings.

This year has also seen me reflect on my contribution to primary health, as the Chair of evolving primary health care organisations (Divisions, Medicare Locals and now PHNs) over 12 years.  I have greatly enjoyed my role in providing leadership to the Board, assisting to craft our strategic plans and shaping those objectives provided to us by the Commonwealth into meaningful, practical, demonstrable and measurable solutions on the ground in our community.


As Adelaide PHN enters its sixth year of operation, having established itself as a truly capable PHN and a steward of collaboration, facilitation and integration – it was time for us, and me personally, to reflect on the next stage. Whilst I continue with my work as a general practitioner in Salisbury and my work with telehealth nationally, I have made the decision to step down as Chair of Adelaide PHN and, at the end of my tenure on 31 October, from the Board. I know that I leave the Board in good hands and with a renewed vigour to achieve Adelaide PHN’s vision for the next five years.  


I know many of you know Tom Symonds already – he is a Member Elected Director, and now one year in to his second three year term as a Board Director. Tom was an inaugural member of Adelaide PHN’s Central Community Advisory Council, and continues to prove his commitment, passion and dedication to primary health. I am sure you all join me in congratulating Tom on his appointment as Chair of Adelaide PHN.

To conclude, on behalf of the Board (for the last time!) I would like to thank our wonderful, expert staff for the fabulous work they do – working in an ever changing (and this year very challenging) environment, and always managing to exceed expectations whilst managing those of our stakeholders! On a personal note, I would like to thank my fellow Board Directors, our CEO Deb, the executive team and all of our staff for their great work, their passion and for making my role as Chair something that I enjoyed immensely.