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Rural Allied Health Services Commissioning

Western Victoria Primary Health Network (PHN) currently provides more than $5.4 million per year for rural primary health services.

We are committed to maintaining the same historical levels of funding in each region and want to ensure this investment is used to address the priority areas in our health needs assessment. This means that not all rural areas for this specific funding stream will be available.

We have developed a Rural Allied Health Context Paper, which provides an overview of the drivers for this commissioning program.

To deepen our understanding at a more local level we are hosting a series of service provider and community sessions to collect your valuable feedback on service needs for local communities.

Request for Proposals for rural primary health services will be promoted in early 2017 and we will be commissioning these services from 1 July 2017.

I encourage you to have your say - register and attend a service provider consultation session nearest you. 

Ballarat Goldfields region

Geelong Otway region

Great South Coast region

Wimmera Grampians region 

Jason Trethowan, CEO, Western Victoria Primary Health Network


Board Director nominations are now open
We need your help! Prescribing new hepatitis C anti-virals is easier than you think!
Victorian PHN Alliance Webinars
Designing a workflow for registering patients for My Health Record
Access to 'My Health Record: All you need to know' brochures
Australian Immunisation Handbook now updated
Antidepressants and pregnancy survey
Free online AOD courses
Sharing Advanced Practice in Allied Health
Drug and Alcohol use in pregnancy training
Harm Minimisation Forum
Foundations of General Practice Nursing workshops
Focused Psychological Strategies - Level 2 skills training
Inflammatory Skin Diseases Workshop

Great South Coast

Counselling Skills Workshop

Ballarat Goldfields

Western Victoria PHN Ballarat has moved
New hip and knee clinic
Dementia Awareness month: Ballarat event
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy - Program for Depression
Next Clinical Network for Addiction Management

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update
Barwon region health sector and NDIS interface forum
Grand Round Lecture Series in September
Travel Health and Vaccination Recommendations
New Device Therapies: Educational Dinner Meeting
Free Mental Health First Aid Training


Board Director nominations are now open

On Thursday 27 October 2016 at the Western Victoria PHN Annual General Meeting (AGM) there will be one Elected Director vacancy on our Board for a three year term.

Director applications

If you are interested in the Director role and not currently a member, it’s not too late. Complete our Membership Application Form and return to us via membership@westvicphn.com.au no later than 12pm Thursday 15 September.

If you are a current Western Victoria PHN member, you are eligible to nominate for the vacant Elected Director position. If you are interested in the Director role, please complete the Director Nomination Pack and return via companysecretary@westernvicphn.com.au by 5pm Monday 19 September 2016.

The Nomination Form is an interactive PDF and can be completed electronically and must contain a signature.

If there is more than one nomination for the vacancy, an election will be held at the 2016 AGM, with information of all the eligible nominees distributed to all members with the Notice of Meeting, at least 21 days prior to the AGM.

If you have any questions regarding the Director vacancy, please contact our Board Chair Lynne McLennan or call 0418 375 170.


If you are not a member and would like to be eligible to vote at this year’s AGM, complete our Membership Application Form and return to us via membership@westvicphn.com.au no later than Friday 23 September.

We Need Your Help! Prescribing new hepatitis C anti-virals is easier than you think!

Between March 2016 and June 2016, about 12% of individuals in Victoria living with chronic hepatitis C have initiated treatment*. The Barwon Health Liver Clinic has estimated that in the Barwon area alone there is about 3800 untreated Hep C patients, and to date have treated about 110 individuals. Given the numbers, help from GPs is needed.

GPs in consultation with a specialist, can prescribe these medications (authority script), providing an opportunity to reduce transmission, prevent reinfection and eradicate hepatitis C.

The new direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) to treat hepatitis C are a huge improvement on the previous generation of hepatitis C drugs with a 90-95% efficacy, a treatment time frame of only 8-12 weeks and a good tolerance response. With 10,000 new infections in Australia every year, so long as the incidence of new infections substantially out paces the rate of treatment with cure, the prevalence of chronic HCV infection in Australia will continue to rise^.

The Hepatitis C HealthPathway developed in the Barwon region is a useful clinical resource which includes all the relevant steps and links.

If you need assistance in accessing the HealthPathway, searching your database for your hepatitis C patients and sourcing patient education resources, please contact:

Geelong Otway: Tracey Roebuck (Mon- Wed) on 5229 1922 
Wimmera Grampians: Krista Fischer (Mon- Fri) and Clair McDonald (Mon, Wed, Thurs) on 5381 1756
Ballarat Goldfields: Jacqui White (Mon- Fri) on 5304 5605
Warrnambool: Raj Samrai (Mon- Fri) on 5564 5827.

*The Kirby Institute. HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia. Annual Surveillance Report 2015. The Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia, Sydney NSW 2052
^Snow K, Scott N, Clothier HJ, MacLachlan JH, Cowie B. Limited provision of diagnostic services to Victorians living with hepatitis C antibodies, 2011-2012: a multi-levl modelling analysis

Victorian PHN Alliance Webinars

Victorian PHN Alliance

The Victorian PHN Alliance (VPHNA) is a platform for the six Victorian PHNs to collectively achieve the best possible outcomes for local communities and organisations through leadership, collaboration, coordination and synergy. A suite of webinars is one of the initiatives of the VPHNA. The first set of webinars are on the following topics and ready to view now:

  • Infection Prevention & Control
  • Vaccine & Cold Chain Management
  • Sterilisation
  • Triage.

My Health Record

Designing a workflow for registering patients for My Health Record 

If you'd like some help on how to incorporate the registering of a patient's My Health Record in your daily processes, check-out this Australian Digital Health Agency webinar.  More than 500 practices have watched this webinar.

Access to 'My Health Record: All you need to know' brochures

You can source more 'My Health: All you need to know' brochures by email, online or by calling 02 6269 1080.  Tonic Health Media (formerly Informed) brochure boards will display them until 31 January 2017.

If your order brochures by email, you will need to specify the:

  • Name of the brochure you are requesting, for example 'My Health Record: All you need to know'
  • Organisation name
  • Street address
  • Contact name and phone number
  • Quantity of brochures required

Australian Immunisation Handbook now updated

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance

The 2016 annual update of the 10th edition Australian Immunisation Handbook is now available on the Immunise Australia website.

Please note that the printed version of the 10th edition Australian Immunisation Handbook is now out of date.  NCIRS has prepared an educational slide set for providers, 'What's new - 2016 update', which summarises the changes included in the 2016 annual update of the Handbook.  NCIRS also have updated relevant tables on their website along with other immunisation resources.

Antidepressants and pregnancy survey

A new study on antidepressant use in pregnancy is currently taking place across rural and metropolitan Victoria. This quick 5-minute survey asks GPs about their views and practices on the issue. The results will be used for a research paper that hopes to ultimately benefit GPs and improve patient care. We encourage all GPs to take this quick survey and contribute to the quality of this important study. The survey link closes Monday 10 October.

Free online AOD courses

Gain access to free online courses covering Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) and Preventing and Managing Occupational Violence in Healthcare Settings. These courses are endorsed by DHHS and provided courtesy of the Victorian Pharmacotherapy Networks. The courses aim to provide easy access for non-medical practice staff, nurses and pharmacy support staff all over Victoria. All courses are accredited with the Australian Association of Practice Managers for CPD points.

To find out more or register for one of these courses, please go to the Pharmacotherapy Network website.

Sharing Advanced Practice in Allied Health

Department of Health and Human Services

Health service managers, senior clinicians, and the broader health sector are invited to attend the Sharing Advanced Practice in Allied Health forums. The forums will provide attendees with an understanding of some of the diversity of advanced allied health roles being developed across Victoria, the scope of roles being implemented, and the benefits the roles and skills have brought to organisations in terms of effective and efficient service delivery.

Date and time: 1pm - 4.30pm, Monday 12 September OR 9.10am - 12.30pm, Monday 3 October
Venue: Department of Health and Human Services, 50 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Register 12 September    Register 3 October

Drug and Alcohol use in pregnancy training

Womens Hospital logo

This free full day session is aimed at health professionals working with pregnant women with drug and alcohol issues. Participants will gain an understanding of the impact of drug and alcohol use in pregnancy and the complexities involved.

The Royal Women’s Hospital Alcohol & Drug Service (WADS), is the only state-wide drug and alcohol service providing clinical services to pregnant women with complex substance use dependence.

Date: Tuesday 13 September
Time: 9am - 4.30pm
Venue: Conference Room A, Ground Floor, The Royal Women's Hospital, Cnr Grattan St and Flemington Rd, Parkville 

To register email WADS or call 8345 3931. 

Harm Minimisation Forum

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia invites you to its annual Harm Minimisation Forum where the following topics will be discussed:

  • Dealing with the Addict presented by Dr Maryn Lloyd Jones (Addiction Medicine Specialist)
  • An overview of the revised 'Policy for maintenance pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence' guidelines presented by Ms Maureen Chesler (Pharmacotherapy Development Officer, Drug Policy and Services, Department of Health and Human Services).

Date: Wednesday 28 September
Time: 6.30pm - 9pm
Venue: Cossar Hall, Monash University, 381 Royal Pde, Parkville.


Foundations of General Practice Nursing workshops 


Are you a nurse seeking an orientation or refresher covering the topics most pertinent to your daily primary health care practice? New or transitioning nurses - this is the CPD for you! Workshops are located in Melbourne on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October. Designed and delivered by nurse leaders, these workshops provide up to 12 hours of essential and engaging CPD for primary health care nurses.

Register now and secure your seat at a workshop! Earlybird registration for the Melbourne Workshop closes Monday 19 September.

Focused Psychological Strategies - Level 2 skills training

ASPM logo

CBT-derived skills taught throughout the program include psycho-education, motivational interviewing, cognitive interventions, behavioural interventions, and skills for working with families and relaxation skills training.

Date: Saturday 15 - Sunday 16 October
Time: 8.30am - 5pm
Venue: Yarraville Community Centre

Read more 

Inflammatory Skin Diseases Workshop

Skin Cancer Foundation

An interactive one-day workshop for GPs and GP registrars to upskill in the examination, diagnosis and management of inflammatory disorders commonly seen in general practice. The program will include identifying common inflammatory skin conditions, choosing appropriate investigations to confirm disease, identifying potential errors in diagnosis and how to avoid these, and formulating appropriate management plans.

Date: Saturday 22 October
Time: 8.30am - 5pm
Venue: Skin & Cancer Foundation, Level 1, 80 Drummond St, Carlton

Register or contact Dr Alvin Chong.

Great South Coast

Counselling Skills Workshop


This three day experiential workshop provides an opportunity for AOD clinicians to review, practice and build on the underpinning evidence based counselling skills, commonly used throughout the alcohol and drug sector. There will be a focus on current theory and application of motivational interviewing approaches; the role of CBT and interventions for relapse prevention and maintaining recovery. Each session will build upon previous learning and invites participants to reflect on current clinical practices.

Dates: Wednesday's 14 September, 5 October and 26 October
Time: 9am - 4pm
Venue: Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool

Read more

Ballarat and Goldfields

Western Victoria PHN Ballarat has moved

Our office in Ballarat is now located at 101 Drummond Street North, Ballarat effective Monday 15 August.  The telephone number remains unchanged: 5331 6303.  

New hip and knee clinic

Grampians hip and knee clinic

A new orthopaedic practice has opened at St John of God Hospital Ballarat.  The clinic specialises in all hip and knee conditions. Health practitioner, John Dillon has a special interest and subspecialty training in hip and knee joint replacement surgery and soft tissue injuries of the hip and knee.  John also consults and operates fortnightly in Stawell and Hamilton.

Address: Orthopaedic Consulting Suite, SJOG Ballarat, 101 Drummond St North, Ballarat
Phone: 5331 2887
Email: admin@dillonnorthopaedics.com.au 

Dementia Awareness month: Ballarat event

Alzheimers Australia

Clinician’s - September is Dementia Awareness month. Your patients, families and carers are invited to a FREE Alzheimer’s Australia event where Associate Professor Mark Yates will speak on 'You are not alone'.

Date: Thursday 8 September
Time: 10am - 11am
Venue: Ballarat Community Health Centre, 12 Lilburne St, Lucas

You can register by email or call 9816 5784.

Read more

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy - Program for Depression

Mindful Living

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is designed to help people who suffer repeated bouts of depression and chronic unhappiness. It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of this work lies in becoming acquainted with the modes of mind that often characterise mood disorders, while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them.

Date: Monday's 3 October - 21 November, plus one full Saturday on 5 November
Time: 6.30pm-9pm
Venue: Dawson House

Read more

Next Clinical Network for Addiction Management

Facilitated by Dr Mike McDonough, visiting addiction specialist from Western Health, this forum will focus on 'Adverse events review: selected case studies'.

The Network aims to foster clinical leadership and best practice in the treatment of alcohol and drug dependence.  

Date: Wednesday 5 October
Time: 6.15pm - 8pm
Venue: Ballarat Community Health, 12 Lilburne St, Lucas

To RSVP, email Orticare or call on 5338 0511.

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update


New on HealthPathways:

  • Febrile seizures in children
  • Head injuries in children
  • Fitness to drive
  • Diverticular disease
  • Funny turns
  • Clinical resources for HealthPathways development.

To stay up to date on recent, locally agreed guidelines see HealthPathways Western Victoria.

Barwon region health sector and NDIS interface forum

G21 Deakin Barwon Health

Deakin University in partnership with G21 and Barwon Health have been successful in obtaining an NDIA Community Inclusion and Capacity Development Grant to examine and mitigate boundary issues that exist between the disability and health sectors.

The aim of the project is to examine the experiences of the NDIS and health services in the Barwon region, and develop information resources that will assist in improving the links between the two sectors.

Date: Tuesday 13 September
Time: 8.30am - 1pm
Venue: Deakin University Waterfront Campus, Sally Walker Building, Western Beach Function Room

Please see this flyer for more information.

Grand Round Lecture Series in September


GPs are invited to attend one or more of these lectures at 12.45pm on Tuesday's in September preceded by lunch at 12.20pm.  Topics include:

  • If I improve my diet, will my health improve?
  • Diagnosing, Assessing and Managing Violence in Psychotic Disorders
  • Agar Memorial Lecture: Lipids.

Read more

Travel Health and Vaccination Recommendations


GSK invites you to an interactive, educational meeting which aims to enhance your knowledge of travel health and vaccination recommendations.  This meeting will be presented Dr Aoife O'Dwyer.

Date: Tuesday 27 September
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Empire Grill, 66 McKilop St, Geelong

Read more

New Device Therapies: Educational Dinner Meeting

Medtronic logo 

Medtronic invite you to an educational dinner addressing the latest in New Device Therapies for the management of Syncope.  This meeting is accredited with two RACGP Group 2 points, and clinical discussion will be encouraged during the course of the evening.

Date: Wednesday 5 October
Time: 6.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: Tulip Restaurant, 9/111 Pakington St, Geelong

Read more

Free Mental Health First Aid Training

Mental Health First Aid

This free accredited course is available to anyone interested in supporting our dairy farmers and their families in the Colac Otway Shire and the Surf Coast Shire.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided by anyone in the community to a person who is developing a mental health problem or is in a mental health crisis.  The tools you gain will equip you to manage a situation until appropriate professional treatment is received, or the crisis is resolved.

Dates: Wednesday 9 November and Wednesday 16 November
Time: 10am - 4pm
Venue: Colac Library and Learning Centre - 173 Queen St, Colac

Read more