CEO Primary Matters – 31 May 2023

Primary Care Conference 2023 

Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN) was pleased to host the 2023 Primary Care Conference on the weekend, with the timely theme of Toddler to Teen Health – an Investment in the Future 

It was great to see so many people face-to-face in Geelong and online across our region of western Victoria (and even farther afield). 

Saturday’s opening keynote speech by Dr Sandro Demaio, the CEO of VicHealth, set the scene perfectly for the weekend, asking us to consider the role we can play in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our young people. He particularly stressed that it was important for us all to step up to address vaping rates across our country.  

The program had a wide range of speakers and topics, but all were practical and insightful. Some personal highlights for me were the three plenary sessions.  One that deeply resonated with the audience was the panel discussion on Suicide Postvention in Young People.  We heard from Kim Edgar who is a mother of a young man who ended his own life a few years ago. Kim spoke about the impact of her child’s death on her and her family and her willingness to speak about her journey to hopefully help others. You could have heard a pin drop while it was on. 

I’d like to thank everyone who gave their time to present at the conference, and also those health professionals from western Victoria who gave up their weekend to spend some time on professional development. A big thank you is also due to all the WVPHN staff who contributed to the organisation of the event. Recordings of all the sessions will be available very shortly. 

Please see the image gallery below for some photos from the weekend.

Hamilton Tragedy 

Finally, I’d like to express my condolences to the families whose children were killed or injured in the tragic car crash near Hamilton on Saturday. The families and wider Hamilton community have been in the thoughts of everyone at WVPHN these past few days. 

WVPHN staff along with headspace National and many local organisations (Shire, hospital, mental health services and the Victoria Education Department) are working together and have opened support centres at a number of locations in Hamilton.  These are providing support and counselling services to students, families and the community generally. 

 In times like these, it is vitally important that we rally around the bereaved families and the Hamilton community to provide the support they need, both now and through the long process of grieving.
Rowena Clift, WVPHN CEO
31 May 2023 


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