CEO Primary Matters – 8 April 2020

As the primary care landscape continues to shift and us along with it, Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) will continue to provide resources and information for all health care professionals in western Victoria. We are not only supporting health care providers with information presented to us by the government, but we are actively sourcing and compiling useful resources for clinicians to use, as well as putting systems in place for clinicians to share and discuss their insights and support each other, including:

  • Project ECHO COVID-19
  • Expanded Telehealth services
  • HealthPathways COVID-19, now including a dedicated COVID-19 Telehealth page
  • Health Alerts emailed out at least twice weekly to keep you informed on vital information
  • Communities of Practice for GPs: WVPHN has set up an online community of practice (CoPs) in each of our sub-regions to enable clinicians to network with each other and to share information about region-specific issues, responses, strategies and supports with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. To join the COVID-19 CoP in your region, please email qi@westvicphn.com.au and provide your name, practice and location.

We are now into Tranche 3 of mask delivery and it is crucial that all general practices and pharmacies follow the government’s guidelines on appropriate usage of masks due to limited supply.  Requests for surgical and P2 masks needs to be via our online form. We have also setup a general enquiries form on the COVID-19 Response page on our website.

Looking after yourself

Dr Amy Litras, Ballarat GP and HealthPathways GP Editor wrote an article for WVPHN last week highlighting to all GPs to look after themselves in this highly stressful and anxious time. We also encourage people to review the advice from Beyond Blue and look after themselves and each other during this time, recognising that being socially isolated from supports also means people will need to use other ways to connect such as by phone or online.

Farewell to the western Victoria community

As I work through my last days of three years at the Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN), I am so encouraged by the signs of real recognition in the community as well as government of the key role primary care plays in the health ecosystem. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed the true strengths in our system of care.  These strengths are not news to you of course, and neither are the weaknesses that we are all working hard to understand so as to act and  advocate for change.

During the crisis we have been communicating with you more often via our web and Health Alerts, making sure our HealthPathways clinical advice is absolutely current, increasing our clinical leadership resources and also our contact with individual clinics, Practice Managers and GPs through our Practice Facilitators, distributing surgical and P2 masks as they come in from the Commonwealth and facilitating the development of new GP-led Respiratory Clinics in our four sub-regional centres. Our team is connected and busy and available when you have questions, feedback or advice.

This week we heard from a key stakeholder some very positive feedback on the work WVPHN have been doing during COVID-19. Several other practices have provided the same feedback, including one that wrote: “I’m so impressed with the work that PHN are doing to support local services … I just wanted to offer my support.”

The PHN is here to support the very best that primary care can be in this region. Thank you for working with us, and may I wish you all the very best as you continue your important work in our community.

Farewell.

 

Dr Leanne Beagley

Chief Executive Officer