New Funding to Deliver Better Community Care

Media Release

Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) has received federal government funding of over $1.8 million for two pilot projects that aim to improve health care system response to family and domestic violence in the Wimmera Grampians, Great South Coast and Ballarat Goldfields regions, and improve wound management patient outcomes in rural areas of Wimmera Grampians.

WVPHN applied for the funding for projects that deliver better health outcomes for the community in partnership with Emma House, South Western Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA), Wimmera Health Care Group, Grampians Community Health, Rural Northwest Health, South West HealthcareMaryborough District Health Service (MDHS) and Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA).

WVPHN Chief Executive Officer Rowena Clift said: “To receive this project funding is a huge step forward for the health of the community in the Ballarat Goldfields, Great South Coast and Wimmera Grampians regions. Every one of our communities across western Victoria has different needs, so delivering localised primary health care that addresses these varying requirements is the best way forward in ensuring that these communities receive the equitable care they require most.”

The First 180: Preventing and Responding to Family Violence

‘The First 180: Preventing and Responding to Family Violence’ pilot ($1.43 million over three years) will aim to strengthen primary care’s capacity to identify and support all members of ‘at risk’ separating families, with a particular focus on the first 180 days after a couple separate as a preventative approach to family violence based on identified needs in the region.

The core objectives of the pilot include:

  • Strengthening the first line response by building whole of practice skills to identify and respond to people at risk of or experiencing family violence.
  • Connecting primary care to the range of providers and resources available to support people at risk of or experiencing family violence.
  • Resourcing primary care to strengthen their capacity to appropriately respond, monitor and support people at risk of or experiencing family violence.
  • Building a response to support all members of an ‘at risk’ separating family, with a particular focus on the first 180 days.

Wimmera Health Care Group CEO Catherine Morely said: “Unfortunately our community still has a number of people living in fear or living with domestic violence in their homes. Despite significant effort across Victorian health systems and community health services, we still need to do this better. This is a great outcome to continue to expand services and support our community to live safely at home.”

Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) CEO Terry Welch said: “MDHS has consistently looked to partner with key agencies to collaboratively deliver better responses to family and domestic violence. MDHS and the Western Victoria PHN have achieved terrific health outcomes together, and this program will build onto these outcomes into the future.”

South West Healthcare Executive Director of Primary and Community Services Kerryn Anderson said: “South West Healthcare is excited to partner with Western Victoria PHN to deliver this exciting project. ‘The First 180: Preventing and Responding to Family Violence’ project will enable us to build on what has already been delivered through the Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Project to better enable the whole primary care sector to identify and respond appropriately to something which is far too prevalent in our community.’

Emma House Domestic Violence Service Executive Officer Ruth Isbel said: “This pilot project is a very exciting partnership opportunity for ourselves, South Western CASA and WVPHN to provide a training response to front line health professionals that builds local capacity and skills as well as encourages a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the impact of family and domestic violence in our community.’

Wimmera Grampians Wound Management

The ‘Wimmera Grampians Wound Management’ pilot ($481,560 over three years) will build capacity and skills in primary care to improve wound management patient outcomes in rural areas of Wimmera Grampians. This will be achieved through augmenting existing general practice support in areas of quality improvement, sustainable models of care, education and training, referral pathways, eHealth and health literacy resources.

“Chronic wound management is a really difficult situation for our community members, many of who are living with an additional chronic illness,” said Ms Morely.

“This program will allow us to work in consultation with medical practitioners, our community members and our specialised wound consultants that we employ, to ensure our service supports people to live the best life they can and not let wounds restrict their lifestyle and wellbeing.”

Dr Melanie Trivett, General Manager Primary Health of Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria said: “We’re very excited to partner with WVPHN on this initiative and to work with local health services to develop and provide better wound care management and deliver better patient outcomes.”

WVPHN will now embark on the process of planning the delivery of these pilot projects to the community.