Western Victoria Primary Health Network

Increasing accessibility, inclusivity and improving the overall service delivered for people experiencing addiction

Western Victoria Primary Health Network’s (WVPHN) Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) team sought to understand how they could increase accessibility, inclusivity and improve the overall service delivered within service centres across the state for people experiencing addiction.


Desired outcomes

Building capability

Service innovation

Customer experience

  • One day workshop.
  • Co-design with consumers and stakeholders.
  • Ideation of services to meet the needs and outcomes for consumers.
  • Testing ideas with consumers.
Tools used
  • ‘How might we’ questions: We developed five ‘How Might We’ questions with the stakeholders to address the needs and desired outcomes of each challenge.
  • Building capability: On the day, we also built capability within the WVPHN team; an introduction to what is human-centred design, the mindsets to bring to the day, listening channels, and how to spark creativity. 
  • Problem reframing
  • Assumption busting
  • Ideation: We moved the participants into small groups to ideate each How Might We question, to produce potential solutions for WVPHN to test and implement in their services to provide a better experience. 
  • Prioritisation: Voting on ideas based on the perceived greatest impact, or cluster of effort vs time to implement.


AOD use is a major social issue, potentially impacting on individuals, families, and communities and presents a major challenge for health services right across the region.

It is rarely an isolated issue and communities within the region experience differing but co-existing health and social circumstances that must be understood at the local level.

AOD addiction is often an affect of trauma in people’s lives. Turning to alcohol and drug use is often a response or coping mechanism to their own past trauma.

A main painpoint for consumers is that currently if you have to move between a lot of services when seeking help, you have to repeat your trauma story over and over again to each practitioner. It relays down the trauma.


How might WVPHN create a practice that recognises trauma as a key part of the experience for people experiencing AOD addiction, in a way that does not exacerbate the trauma?



WVPHN are working across a geographically dispersed area, with a lot of diversity of communities who are needing these services. The way that the state government and federal government intersects can make it difficult for clients to easily move between services and get what they need. 

The Primary Health Care network responsible for funding individual services wanted to look at what they could proactively do to address some of the key challenges they had. These were:

  • The geographical spread of services and people across Victoria. WVPHN wanted to make services conveniently accessible for those who need help.
  • A high degree of people requiring AOD services are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. WVPHN want to make sure the services are designed so that these communities feel comfortable accessing services and being in them; physically and the experience itself.
  • Removing as many barriers as possible to encourage more people to come into these services as opposed to just knowing they need to.


We immersed ourselves in research already commissioned within WVPHN about the individual regions or areas within their network. Specific issues emerged out of this research. 

We then ran a one day workshop with WVPHN’s stakeholders; service providers or people from government departments; Department of Justice, Department of Health, and the Primary Health Network. 

Part of Huddle’s work was to refine the insights from the previously conducted research to design the most effective questions for the 11 stakeholders to ideate how we might make these services more accessible, inclusive and a more integrated way of sharing information across the services. 

These questions and activities were designed in a way to activate collaboration amongst stakeholders to address some of these challenges together. We worked to hone these challenges and ensure structure to the day to focus on meeting outcomes. 

Once produced, we implemented a rotation group session so that every participant contributed to and built upon each How Might We question. 

We then did evaluation and ranked the order of priority based on the potential impact of each idea vs the ease of implementation. 

We ended up with a matrix, and unpacked the challenges relating to their ideas.

We were able to reframe problems into opportunities and actionable ideas, and unpacking assumptions. 

What we discovered through research

The intention was to present these ideas developed with stakeholders to consumers at the end of the day. 

One consumer came in, and immediately it became apparent that our plan would not be successful with only one person. And actually, it was a great opportunity to listen to someone’s story to gain insight into their experience with the system.

A lot of the stakeholders involved don’t interact with consumers on a day-to-day basis, which means they are removed from the challenges of consumers in their roles.

We were able to sense test some of the stakeholder’s ideas with the consumer. This was great, as stakeholder’s realised some of the ideas they had were based on assumptions.


We structured the day to ensure everything was well documented, and produced a substantial amount of ideas with WVPHN which were put into the stakeholders plan. These ideas will inform the development of new service models after they go to commercial tender. 

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Huddle Melbourne
Level 4, 45 William St Melbourne, VIC

Huddle acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the true custodians of the land in which we live and work.

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