Wimmera Grampians Community and Clinical Council Board meeting

Jason small for website Westvic News

It was a huge privilege to share in discussions with our Wimmera Grampians Community and Clinical Council’s, as well as, the Western Victoria PHN Board, executive, management and local staff, in Horsham last night. Our Community and Clinical Council members include many GPs, other health practitioners and community members from across the region. The Councils are local advocates on what they want from Western Victoria PHN and how we can provide the best possible value and health outcomes for all. Diversity of opinions and local insights are a true feature of the Councils. Innovative new ways to address rising chronic disease rates, oral health, wound care, reducing unnecessary travel for patients and health professionals, increasing the use of the My Health Record, and improving online communication with general practice and private allied health - were just some of the themes I picked up from last night’s discussions. There is always a lot to say about health care problems, but these discussions focused on solutions, which was terrific.

It was also great to talk about the original fears held by council members during the 2015 PHN establishment and about the follow through on our commitment to the more rural parts of the region. It was pleasing to hear from members that as we progress, such as the safe transition we made with mental health services that confidence, trust and engagement with the PHN increases.

The Community and Clinical Councils are a wonderful platform for driving new opportunities to improve the quality and accessibility of primary health care for western Victoria. Special thank you to Dr Deb Schulz for presenting from the Clinical Council and Robyn Lardner for presenting on the Community Council, which she chairs.

The formalities concluded this morning with the Western Victoria PHN Board meeting held in Horsham, with newly elected Director Marie Aitken from Warracknabeal attended her first meeting.

Jason Trethowan, CEO, Western Victoria Primary Health Network


Rural Allied Health Service Consultations
New Psychological Therapy Services
Chief Health Officer Alert - Thunderstorm Asthma
Immunisation Updates
Hepatitis C Treatment Care Plan Now Available
Rural General Practice Grants Program
Apply now to become a member of the Victorian Clinical Council
APNA Update
HPOS - changes to access
Ankle and knee injuries: your imaging choices
Caring for older people: a partnership model
Establishing a functional diabetic retinopathy screening service 
Chronic disease prevention series - Free webinars
Best Practice in Chronic Pain Medication Management Day Conference
Being Bootcamps
Victorian Pharmacy Pharmacotherapy Training Program
Women's Health Workshop
2017 Victorian Integrated Cancer Services Conference

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways Update
Expressions of Interest: Nurse Practitioner Scholarships
Suicide Prevention Training Workshops
Advances in obstetrics and gynaecology in the last 100 years

Wimmera Grampians

Knees - treatment for meniscal injuries and osteoarthritis
Providing culturally safe health care services to your clients

Ballarat Goldfields 

Ballarat hosts its first Palliative Care Special Interest Group meeting
Domestic Violence Awareness Training
YMCA Ballarat - Boxes of Joy program

Great South Coast

Expressions of Interest: Nurse Practitioner Scholarships


Rural Allied Health Service Consultations

These will build upon the issues around chronic conditions discussed at our first round of consultations held in September and October.

We believe people who use and work in the primary healthcare system should have a say in how it works. We can’t do this without hearing from you – our GPs, allied health professionals, practice managers, practice nurses and the community.

Please register for your relevant lunchtime session by selecting the relevant location below.

Great South Coast
Heywood - Monday 5 December, 12pm - 1.30pm

Ballarat Goldfields
Ballan - Monday 28 November, 12pm - 1.30pm
Beaufort and Skipton, Tuesday 29 November, 12pm - 1.30pm
Maryborough - Tuesday 6 December, 12pm - 1.30pm

Wimmera Grampians
Ararat - Monday 28 November, 12pm - 1.30pm
Warracknabeal - Tuesday 6 December, 12pm - 1.30pm
Nhill - Wednesday 7 December, 12pm - 1.30pm 

New Psychological Therapy Services

Commencing Tuesday 1 November, Psychological Therapy Services are available for people that experience mild to moderate mental illness, and those that have attempted, or are at risk of suicide or self-harm. Western Victoria PHN has commissioned a panel of allied mental health professionals to deliver these place-based treatment services, particularly targeted for people that experience barriers to accessing mainstream treatment.

Psychological Therapy Services replace Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS), Kids Connect, Counselling Connect, and Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas (MHSRRA) programs. Transition arrangements have been put in place for patients referred under these services, ensuring service continuity. Please note that there are no changes to the Better Access Initiative.

Patients will be able to access Psychological Therapy Services via their GP, paediatrician and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner by referring to a panel of mental health clinicians in their communities via a new single point of entry - Western Victoria PHN’s Referral Point.

Referral Point is a critical component of the new model for the delivery of Psychological Therapy Services and will also be the platform as we commission other mental health services into the future.

More information

Chief Health Officer Alert - Thunderstorm Asthma

Vic State Gov

  • Ambulance Victoria and hospital emergency departments have seen a significant increase in patients presenting with respiratory symptoms since the evening of 21 November 2016.
  • Thunderstorms have been linked to epidemics of asthma, especially during the grass flowering season.
  • An asthma attack can be life threatening. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call 000.

More information

Immunisation updates

  • Updated immunisation schedule and vaccine order forms for the shingles vaccine program
  • Zostavax® FAQs fact sheet
  • An incomplete HPV vaccine course? - check the National HPV Vaccine Program Register
  • Vaccine and Cold Chain Management Webinar - All staff education and training tool
  • Parent's whooping cough vaccine program

More information

Hepatitis C Treatment Care Plan Now Available

Patient education is an essential component of successful Hepatitis C treatment. To this end, practices may wish to utilise their practice nurses. A Hepatitis C Treatment Care Plan has been developed for Best Practice, MD and Zedmed to allow practices to use the care plan business model to support Hepatitis C treatment. There are many opportunities for the practice nurse to be involved, including:

  • Capturing much of the information required on the remote consultation form
  • Providing education on the importance of compliance to cure
  • Providing education on prevention of spread
  • Providing education of prevention of re-infection
  • Vaccinating for Hep A & B
  • Providing education about recommended daily alcohol intake
  • Monitoring BP and if relevant HbA1c
  • Providing the required ongoing treatment monitoring at week 4, week 12, and at 12 weeks post treatment, utilising item number 10997

To access the templates on our website, please go to the Hep C page on our website. Scroll down to 'Templates'. Remember not to open the template outside of your medical software as you may corrupt the coding.
For more information about the new Hepatitis C medications, contact your local primary health network office:

Geelong Otway: Tracey Roebuck (Mon - Wed), 5222 0800
Wimmera Grampians: Krista Fischer (Mon - Fri) or Clair McDonald (Mon, Wed, Thurs), 5381 1756
Ballarat Goldfields: Jacqui White (Mon - Fri), 5304 5605
Great South Coast: Raj Samrai (Mon - Fri), 5564 5827.

Remember: To assist with assessment, management and referral of your patient please see the HealthPathway on Chronic Hepatitis C.

Rural General Practice Grants Program

Department of Health invites Expression of Interest (EOI) from existing general practices located in Modified Monash Model Classifications 2-7. The grants program will deliver improved rural health services through additional infrastructure, increasing levels of teaching and training opportunities for health practitioners and more opportunities to deliver healthy living education in rural communities. Grants of up to $300,000 are available based on an equal financial commitment from the general practice. EOI's close on Tuesday 13 December 2016.

More information

Apply now to become a member of the Victorian Clinical Council

The Minister for Health has announced that expressions of interest for membership of the newly established Victorian Clinical Council are now open. For details of the announcement please see the media release.

The Victorian Clinical Council is one of the new organisations the Department of Health and Human Services is establishing as part of the Victorian Government’s Better, Safer Care response to Targeting zero, the review of hospital safety and quality assurance in Victoria (October 2016). The Victorian Clinical Council’s purpose is to provide a mechanism for collective leadership from clinicians and consumers to drive improvements in health care quality and health outcomes for all Victorians.

Through the current expression of interest process a minimum of 30 members will be appointed across the following member categories:

  • General practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Allied health practitioners
  • Medical staff
  • Paramedics
  • Public health service / hospital CEO (as defined in the Health Services Act 1988)
  • Private hospital CEOs

You are eligible to apply if you currently work in Victoria in one of these disciplines or areas in either the public or private sector.

You can apply to become a member through the ‘Vacancies’ section of the Victorian Government's Get on Board website.

Consumer representatives will be invited to apply to become members of the Victorian Clinical Council through a separate expression of interest process that will open by the end of November. If you would like to register to be notified when the consumer expression of interest opens please email your name and contact details to VCC@dhhs.vic.gov.au or phone the Victorian Clinical Council Secretariat on 9096 2159.

Participating on the Victorian Clinical Council will provide an opportunity to shape health care delivery in Victoria through providing broad strategic advice to the Victorian Government.

Expressions of interest from emerging leaders and people based in regional and rural locations are encouraged.

The closing date for expressions of interest is Friday 16 December 2016.

For additional information, including the Victorian Clinical Council proposed Terms of Reference, please refer to the Victorian Clinical Council website.

For all enquiries regarding the appointment process, please contact the Victorian Clinical Council Secretariat via VCC@dhhs.vic.gov.au or phone 9096 2159.

APNA Update

Opportunity for nurses to train as epilepsy educators

Nurses working in primary health care play an important role in helping people living with epilepsy access services, education, information and support. With this in mind, Epilepsy Awareness Australia is looking to recruit registered nurses who have a passion for education, from across Australia, who may like to become a Licensed Epilepsy Trainer. The role will provide expert training and support to enable nurse to become qualified epilepsy educators within the community and would suit nurses currently working in a part-time position.

Interested? Contact: epilepsy@epilepsy.org.au 

Free End-of-Life Essentials education

A series of free education modules in palliative care is now available for health professionals working in acute and primary health care practice. These education modules can contribute to your CPD. Developed by CareSearch and Flinders University, End-of-Life Essentials consists of six education modules and resources including evidence-based learning materials, educational videos and quizzes.

More information

HPOS - changes to access

Department of Human Services medicare

From 1 January 2017, new security updates to internet browsing software will impact the use of Medicare Individual Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates to access Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

Prior to 30 November 2016, individuals will need to create a PRODA account to maintain access.  If you have previously created a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account for HPOS you do not need to create another one.  PRODA is replacing individual Medicare Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates.  PRODA is not a replacement for PKI site certificates.

PRODA already supports the new security updates and is a digital and portable platform that requires no additional hardware or software. To find out how to set-up a PRODA account, see this Guide.

Once you have established your PRODA account it is important to follow this next step if you participate in the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) and Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP).  Practices are required to update their new PRODA RA (reference) number with the department by contracting the Incentives Program.

Ankle and knee injuries: your imaging choices

NPS MedicineWise

Anna McIntyre, the Clinical Services Specialist for NPS Medicinewise will be presenting on her new topic – Ankle and knee injuries: your imaging choices from November 2016 to April 2017.

NPS has a strong history of supporting general practices to stay informed with the latest evidence about medicines and medical tests. GPs are eligible for RACGP QI & CPD points.

To make an appointment practices need to complete this form and email it to Kerri Abbott at Western Victoria PHN or phone Kerri on 5381 1756.

Caring for older people: a partnership model

Deakin University

Deakin University has developed a partnership model of care that aims to build stronger and more beneficial relationships between older people and those who care for them. The aim of the partnership model is to ensure that health care services are more responsive to the needs and preferences of older people within a variety of care settings. Starting Monday 5 December the online course is free and the commitment is six hours per week, over two weeks.

More information

Establishing a functional diabetic retinopathy screening service 

Mater Group

Mater Group has launched an online practice implementation module, which provides a comprehensive guide for clinicians and managers to establish a functional diabetic retinopathy screening service in their practice.

The online module is based on the findings of a three year National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) trial, which identified that general practices, with appropriate camera and in-practice training, achieved mean effective diabetic retinopathy screening rates of 99 per cent compared with an NHMRC estimated national rate of 50 per cent.

The online module includes perspectives of patients and practitioners regarding optimal screening and is suitable for urban, rural and Aboriginal Medical Service settings.

It can be undertaken as a practice or GP-only training. The online self-test allows GPs to be confident in the accuracy of their post training image interpretation.


Chronic disease prevention series - Free webinars

The Improvement Foundation is hosting a series of weekly one hour lunchtime webinars. Each session starts at 1pm ACST and will feature a leading industry guest speaker. These webinars are funded by SA Health.

  • Tuesday 29 November - Providing systematic and proactive preventative care - Relevant health assessments and health checks. The use of MBS item numbers for prevention activities and an overview of the tools available to assist the work of prevention.
  • Tuesday 6 December - Nurse led clinics - The role of nurses in chronic disease prevention, implementing a person centred approach to preventing chronic disease and maximising practice revenue.

More information

Best practice in chronic pain medication management day conference

Monash University

The aim of this conference is to understand how analgesics are currently being used in older Australians with chronic pain and begin working towards developing a targeted and prioritised research agenda to address knowledge and research gaps. 

Date: Friday 2 December
Time: 8.45am - 4.30pm
Venue: Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct Lecture Theatre, 75 Commercial Rd, Melbourne

Being Bootcamps

Being logo

Being Bootcamps help health care business owners or practice managers implement the business practices that will create better health and well-being outcomes. Being Bootcamps help to design a straightforward, step-by-step roadmap to help measure, compare and improve your business performance.

Where: Two one-day bootcamps are in Melbourne (2 Dec and 13 Dec), with further one-day bootcamps in Geelong (30 Nov) and Ballarat (8 Dec) and the virtual program (starts 22 Nov). 
Cost: Free (for the virtual program) and $1500 +GST (for the one-day bootcamp).


More information

 Victorian Pharmacy Pharmacotherapy Training Program

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

This training program provides pharmacists and pharmacy support staff with the relevant knowledge, skills and tools required to deliver a safe and consumer focused Opioid Replacement Therapy service. The training will help to ensure the consistency and quality of services offered throughout Victoria. Sponsored by the Victorian State Government Department of Health, the program, delivered in two parts for all Victorian pharmacists and pharmacy staff, is free of charge.

Part 1 covers all technical, professional and legal requirements of harm minimisation and ORT. Upon successful completion, participants will be awarded a Victorian Pharmacotherapy Certificate I.

Date: Tuesday 6 December
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Venue: 381 Royal Parade, Parkville


Women's Health Workshop

HEAL logo

An interactive practical workshop working with simulated patients to allow participants to practice their learning in a safe environment.

Date: Wednesday 7 December
Venue: Melbourne

More information

2017 Victorian Integrated Cancer Services Conference

Victorian Integrated Cancer Services Conference

Registrations and call for Abstracts are now OPEN.

The conference theme is "Optimal Care in Cancer", which will include a range of topics:

  • Optimal cancer treatments
  • Primary care
  • Supportive care
  • Patient experiences
  • Patient centred palliative care
  • Survivorship
  • Using research and data to improve services

More information

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update


New on HealthPathways:

  • Haemochromatosis
  • Palpitations
  • Ear foreign body
  • Abdominal pain in adults
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Recently reviewed HealthPathways:

  • Eating disorders
  • Pain Specialist Assessment

To stay up to date on recent, locally agreed guidelines see HealthPathways : https://westvic.healthpathways.org.au

Expressions of Interest: Nurse Practitioner Scholarships

Western Victoria PHN is offering two full Nurse Practitioner Scholarships to those in the Geelong Otway region wanting to extend their scope of work in the primary care setting.  If you think you can meet the conditions and requirements of the scholarship, please return your Expression of Interest (EOI) by COB Thursday 1 December. To learn more read over the Scholarship Guidelines, sample Letter of Agreement (contract) and EOI form. For further details, please contact Aneill Kamath on 5564 5888.

Suicide Prevention Training Workshops

Wesley Mission 

This Active Learning Module program is designed to equip you with leading methodology and strategies in suicide prevention and intervention. The Module has been approved by the RACGP QI&CPD Program for 40 Category 1 points. Completion of this educational activity entitles participants to claim six CPD hours through Australian Practice Nurses Association.

Date: Saturday 3 December
Time: 10am - 4.45pm
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, 131 Myers St, Geelong

To register, please email Lifeforce or contact Jen on 0427 165 793.

Advances in obstetrics and gynaecology in the last 100 years


Barwon Health invites you to this free interdisciplinary masterclass in women's health with guest speaker, Professor Roger Pepperell who is the former Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne and Chairman of the Board of Examiners for the Australian Medical Council.

Date: Friday 9 December
Time: 1.30pm - 2.30pm
Venue: Deakin Clinical School Lecture Theatre

To register, email Melinda Baulch at Barwon Health or call her on 4215 2135. If you have any queries, please email Michael Shembrey.

Wimmera Grampians

Knees - treatment for meniscal injuries and osteoarthritis

St John of God Health Care

An orthopaedic education evening for Wimmera medical practitioners.

Date: Tuesday 29 November
Time: 6.30pm-9pm
Venue: Horsham Golf Club, 304 Golf Course Road, Haven

More information

Providing culturally safe health care services to your clients

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria small

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) are offering Cultural Awareness Training free to frontline staff and health professionals delivering outreach services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. This training will be facilitated by a leading cultural trainer using practical and interactive learning techniques and will cover:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture
  • Colonisation
  • Connection to land, country and spirit
  • The role of family
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification and the importance of asking the question
  • Closing the gap on health outcomes.

Date: Thursday 15 December
Time: 8.45am - 1.30pm
Venue: Pyrenees House, East Grampians Health Service, Girdlestone St, Ararat

For more information and registration, please email Paul Tzikas or call 9349 7800. 

Ballarat Goldfields

Ballarat hosts its first Palliative Care Special Interest Group meeting

Palliative Care Meeting image

On Thursday 17 November, Dr David Brumley, Medical Director of Ballarat Hospice, hosted a breakfast with representatives from the Ballarat palliative care community met to discuss the possibility of instigating Palliative Care Special Interest Group meetings in 2017. The group included Palliative Care Physicians, 3 Specialist Palliative Care Nurses (including a Nurse Practitioner) and 11 GPs. Attendees came from private practice, Ballarat Hospice and the Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss how a special interest group might work in Ballarat. Most attendees stated they would be interested in a monthly opportunity to attend a collegial gathering where palliative care case studies and questions could be addressed.

More information will be reported in the WestVic News in 2017.

Domestic Violence Awareness Training


Lifeline Ballarat is pleased to offer Domestic Violence Awareness Training. DV-alert (Domestic Violence Response Training) is Lifeline's free nationally recognised training program that enables health, allied health and frontline workers to confidently:

  • Recognise signs of domestic and family violence
  • Respond with appropriate care
  • Refer people experiencing or at risk of domestic and family violence to appropriate support services

One of the priorities of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children is to ensure that services meet the needs of women and children experiencing violence. DV-alert aims to build the knowledge and capacity of community frontline workers to provide appropriate support to women and children.

Ballarat workshop Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday 1 March 2017 from 9am-5pm.


YMCA Ballarat - Boxes of Joy program

Donations needed to fill boxes, small new gift items such as;

  • socks, skipping ropes, books
  • balls, balloons, bubble wands
  • personal products eg. soap, toothpaste, deodrant
  • textas, notebads
  • baby toys
  • other non food items that fit in a shoe box

Drop off to YMCA Ballarat, 7 Lyons St Nth or Delacombe Community Hub, 16 Nandiriog Drive, Delacombe.
Items will be distributed to the Ballarat community through the support of local agencies. Please donate items by Friday 9 December.

Great South Coast

Expressions of Interest: Nurse Practitioner Scholarships

Western Victoria PHN is offering two full Nurse Practitioner Scholarships to those in the Great South Coast region wanting to extend their scope of work in the primary care setting.  If you think you can meet the conditions and requirements of the scholarship, please return your Expression of Interest (EOI) by COB Thursday 1 December. To learn more read over the Scholarship Guidelines, sample Letter of Agreement (contract) and EOI form. For further details, please contact Aneill Kamath on 5564 5888.