CEO Primary Matters – 18 October 2023

National Carers Week 

Sunday marked the beginning of National Carers Week (15 to 21 October), a time to recognise, celebrate and raise awareness about the millions of Australians who provide unpaid support and care to family and friends.  

While their work is often invisible, carers are part of the glue that holds our society together. They provide love, care and support to people living with disability, mental illness, chronic conditions, terminal illness, alcohol or drug issues, children whose parents can’t care for them, and those who are frail and aged. Carers can be anyone from children who are supporting siblings to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Often the work of carers is unseen by everyone but those who are in their care; often their care receives no recognition or thanks.  

In 2020, the estimated annual replacement value of unpaid care in Australia was $77.9 billion. For context, the Australian Government’s total spend on health for 2022-23 was an estimated $105 billion, which was 16.8% of the government’s total spending. Unpaid carers shoulder a huge load in our society. 

While caring usually comes from a place of love and responsibility, it’s not without costs. A lot of caring is done by people who are older, or who may not be economically secure or in good health. Caring can also be emotionally and physically taxing. The burden of caring is part of the reason why it’s so important to recognise and value the work of carers – and care for our carers. 

If you’re a carer who needs support or know someone else who needs support, Carers Gateway offers a lot of information, supports and services. National Carers Week also has an excellent list of carer supports here. We also have a list of some support services for people who are caring for people living with dementia, which you can find on our website in the Western Victoria Dementia Directory. 

End of Year Networking for Health Professionals – you’re invited 

We’re holding a series of networking events for health care professionals and health services representatives across our region, with social evenings planned for Ballarat (14 November), Horsham (1 November), Portland (21 November), Warrnambool (22 November), Hamilton (28 November) and Geelong (29 November).   

We’d love you to join us for a relaxed night of socialising, networking and connecting with colleagues in your region. Bring your whole team and make the most of this opportunity to mix with your fellow GPs, primary care professionals, and health services representatives – as well as staff from WVPHN. 

Finger food supplied, drinks at bar prices. You can learn more and register here. 

Western Victoria Residential Aged Care Forum – inviting residential aged care workers 

On Thursday, 2 November, WVPHN is holding its inaugural Western Victoria Residential Aged Care Forum in Ararat. We’re inviting anyone who works in residential aged care homes to come along to the day, which will be a great opportunity to share knowledge about the aged care sector during a period of great transformation following changes brought about by Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.  

The Department of Health and Aged Care will present and take questions about the new Aged Care Act and quality standards. There will also be presentations from industry professionals about the role telehealth and digital technology can play in improving the care experience of residents. 

The forum will also provide excellent opportunities to network with other residential aged care professionals in western Victoria. With a constantly changing operational landscape, being connected to a supportive and resourceful network is key to achieving successful outcomes for you as an aged care provider and your residents. 

Register for the event here. 

Nigel Jarvis, Acting CEO WVPHN
18 October 2023 

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