GP Refresher Weekend: a resounding success

Kate Barlow

Last weekend the ninth GP Refresher Weekend (second as a PHN) was held at Deakin University, Waurn Ponds. The event was an enormous success with over 200 delegates attending over the two days.

The GP Refresher Weekend is our annual flagship educational activity and is the largest event of its kind in Western Victoria. It provides general practitioners with a valuable opportunity to broaden their expertise and share their experience, wisdom and network with their colleagues.

Delegates had access to an outstanding list of invited speakers. Highlights from the program included presentations from Cardiologist, Dr Adam Hutchison, who spoke on the management of heart failure and Infection Disease Specialist, Dr Amanda Wade, who took the audience through hep C – Direct Acting Antiviral Therapy Prescribing DAA in general practice.

Running this event is part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring health professionals across the region have access to a well-structured, high quality localised CPD program. However, we acknowledge that not everyone can attend face-to-face education, particularly some of our more rurally based GPs.

To ensure that Western Victoria PHN responds to the needs of primary health care professionals in our region, we will shortly launch an online platform to extend the reach and accessibility of our CPD program. We will provide more information on this exciting new technology and how you can access it soon.

I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who contributed to the GP Refresher Weekend including presenters, Deakin University and our staff.

For further information on upcoming education and training events happening across the region, please visit our website.

Kate Barlow Dr Jane Opie and Board Chair Lynne McLennan Dr Michael Axtens and Tim Connolly ENT Specialist Airway Skills Workshop4 Airway Skills Workshop2 Airway Skills Workshop1 2017-02-25 12.36.47

Kate Barlow, Acting Chief Executive Officer


Community Pharmacy Software Vendors Grant
Rural Allied Health Support Program
Victorian Aids Council development and training support
Primary Health Care Awards: nominations open
Preventing chronic diseases seminar: limited places available
Victorian Integrated Cancer Services conference 

Ballarat Goldfields

HEPReady: viral hepatitis
Kickstart the Change diabetes information session
Spread the Cure hepatitis C workshop 

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update
NDIA Community Inclusion and Capacity Development Grant
Complexities in chronic pain and asthma seminar 

Grampians Wimmera

Small grants for end-of-life community initiatives 


Community Pharmacy Software Vendors Grant

Australian Digi Health Agency

The Australian Digital Health Agency is offering community pharmacy software vendors grants of up to $250,000 to upgrade products to support the My Health Record system.

The agency has launched an ‘Industry Partnership Offer’ with the aim of encouraging dispensing software providers to enhance their products to allow viewing and uploading to the My Health Record system as well as use of Australia medicines terminology to enhance the quality and interoperability of medicines information by Friday 30 June 2018.

Read more

Rural Allied Health Support Program


Applications for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services' Rural Allied Health Support Program are now open. The program provides continued professional development grants and post-graduate study scholarships to allied health professionals and assistants who work in rural Victoria, providing opportunities and incentives for the rural allied health workforce to network, develop clinical and professional skills, and share learning with their colleagues.

The Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) is administering these programs. Applications who have attended CPD events since July 2016 are eligible to apply for this year’s funding, due to the program being closed for administrative changes.

Apply online or email for more information.

Victorian Aids Council development and training support

Victorian Aids Council

The Victorian Aids Council provides a range of services and programs including HIV prevention education, treatment and care for people living with HIV, as well as mental health and alcohol and other drug services including primary prevention, recovery support and therapeutic groups.

The Council also supports GP's and service providers through professional development and training. For more information on how the Victorian Aids Council is working to fight  HIV and improve health outcomes for the sexually and gender diverse community, download infocus among other publications.

Primary Health Care Awards: nominations open

Primary Health Care Awards

Primary health carers are encouraged to nominate for the 2017 HESTA Health Care Awards. The awards, presented in association with the 12th National Allied Health Conference, celebrate the dedication and professionalism of people working in all aspects of primary health care, including health educators, medical practice managers, rehabilitation professionals, physiotherapists, osteopaths, dentists, pharmacists, GPs and other related therapists.

Award categories include: 

  • Young Leader - highlights the selfless dedication of a young leader who displays exceptional mentoring qualities
  • Individual Distinction - recognises primary health care workers who have displayed a vision for the future, have delivered positive outcomes and have gone beyond the expectations of their role
  • Team Excellence - acknowledges the achievements of primary health care teams that have demonstrated innovation by way of a collaborative and inclusive approach to their work.

Online nominations close Friday 2 June 2017.

Preventing chronic diseases seminar: limited places available

Discussions about the relationship between Primary Health Networks and chronic disease prevention, the importance of sleep and oral health will feature at a new seminar in March, focusing on the prevention of chronic diseases in an ageing population. The Prevention of Chronic Diseases – Healthy Ageing seminar, hosted by the Australian Disease Management Association and Dementia Training Australia will feature presentations from Peter Breadon (Victorian Department of Health and Human Services), Professor Jonathan Shaw (Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute), and Elise Davies (North West Melbourne Primary Health Network) among others.

Date: Friday 24 March 2017
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Venue: AMREP Lecture Theatre, The Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Melbourne

Register online by Wednesday 17 March 2017.

Victorian Integrated Cancer Services conference

Integrated Cancer

Victorian Integrated Cancer Services' 3rd biennial conference offers health service practitioners, clinicians, researchers and consumers an opportunity to learn about current and emerging work in the cancer sector and to foster connections across the cancer community. 

The conference theme 'optimal care in cancer' will encompass discussions about:

  • Optimal cancer treatments
  • Primary care
  • Supportive care
  • Patient-centred palliative care
  • Survivorship
  • Using research and date to improve services.

Date: Thursday 11 and Friday 12 May 2017
Time: 8am - 5pm 
Venue: Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre (Level 1), 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf

Program and registration details are available now.

Ballarat Goldfields

HEPReady training: viral hepatitis

Hep Ready

Hepatitis Victoria's HEPReady training courses are designed to advance community and health professionals’ knowledge of viral hepatitis, with a focus on the new treatments for hepatitis C and eliminating stigma and discrimination that those living with hepatitis often experience. It is estimated that more than 200,000 Australians are diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B and around 230,000 Australians diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

HEPReady Essentials training consists of an online self-directed module (1 hour) in addition to an interactive online webinar or face-to-face session (3 hours). The self–guided learning is to be completed prior to the interactive webinar or face-to-face session, covering information about the function of the liver, information about viral hepatitis (B and C), risk behaviours (hepatitis B and C), disease transmission and progression (hepatitis B and C), treatment/management (hepatitis B) and new treatments for hepatitis C.

The webinar (or face-to-face) session will start by recapping the information covered by the self-directed learning ensuring the participant has understood, with a focus on testing and treatment of hepatitis B. It would also focus on the new treatments for hepatitis C. The webinar is delivered as audio only and facilitated by Hepatitis Victoria staff - participants can use a microphone headset at their individual computer to contribute to the conversation or listen to the audio presentation and participate by using a real time messaging system.

Read more.

Kickstart the Change diabetes information session


Bendigo Health endocrinologist Dr Jessica Triay will present at a Kickstart the Change diabetes meeting this week, providing information to assist inspire patients to become engaged in management of their type 2 diabetes. Dr Triay will also discuss the use of Bydureon Pen and Byetta (exenatide) in clinical practice.

Date: Thursday 2 March 2017
Time: 6.30 pm - 9pm
Place: The Provincial, 121 Lydiard Street, North Ballarat

RSVP by email or telephoning 0414 857 308.

Spread the Cure hepatitis C workshop

Spread the Cure 

Western Health's gastroenterology director Dr Ian Kronborg will lead an MSD sponsored discussion on hepatitis C next month. With reports of about 230,000 cases in Australia, some estimates claim the condition can be eradicated within the next decade. 

The workshop aims to help participants:

  • Understand the benefits of highly effective new treatments
  • Define GPs central role in screening, diagnosis and treatment
  • Screen, diagnose, assess and treat patients based on the tools provided. 

Date: Thursday 2 March 2017
Time: 6.45pm - 9pm
Venue: Oscar's Hotel & Cafe Bar, 18 Doveton Street South, Ballarat

RSVP by email.

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update


New on HealthPathways:

  • Septic arthritis
  • Nose (foreign body)
  • Multidisciplinary lung tumor clinic
  • Dermatology requests
  • Prescription shopping
  • Bowel cancer established
  • Bowel cancer follow up
  • Referral for IV iron infusion
  • Melanoma – established
  • Melanoma – follow up. 

Recently updated:

  • Community acquired pneumonia (cap) in adults.

Visit HealthPathways for up-to-date, locally agreed guidelines.

NDIA Community Inclusion and Capacity Development Grant


Deakin University, in partnership with G21 and Barwon Health has successfully obtained an NDIA Community Inclusion and Capacity Development Grant to examine and mitigate boundary issues that exist between the disability sectors and health sectors. The aim of the project was 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.

A draft website has been established to disseminate draft tools and links relevant to the NDIS Health Interface and for the sector feedback on information and links provided. While the website was developed as part of the project, the NDIS Health Interface Project Steering Committee is investigating ways in which the website might be able to continue for a period of time after the project and welcomes feedback from health professionals regarding the content and useability of the site.

Complexities in chronic pain and asthma seminar

Complexities in Chronic Pain 

A joint chronic pain and asthma seminar this month will discuss the inherited patient and ways to optimise drug delivery for the lungs to assist asthmatics. 

The 'Optimising drug delivery to the lungs for people with asthma' component will address:

  • Understand why drug particle size is important in asthma management
  • Evaluate the impact of adherence on asthma control
  • How to individualise inhaler device choice for patients with asthma
  • Provide a review of the key clinical data for flutiform inhaler.

The 'Complexities in chronic pain – the inherited patient' component will address:

  • Adopt a sociopsychobiomedical approach to the assessment and management of patients with chronic non-cancer pain
  • Apply the six As to assess the response to opioids used to manage chronic non-cancer pain
  • Utilise best practice principles when prescribing opioid analgesics in the management of moderate to severe chronic non-cancer pain
  • Apply appropriate therapeutic structure to opioid prescribing for patients where opioids were initiated by another prescriber.

Date: Thursday 16 March 2017
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Venue: Le Parisien, 15 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong 

RSVP by email or telephone 0407 665 430.

Grampians Wimmera

Small grants for end-of-life community initiatives

Grampians Region Palliative Care Consortium

Grampians Region Palliative Care Consortium (GRPCC) provides small grants up to $4,000 to not-for-profit community groups in the Grampians region, for projects that help strengthen awareness, capacity and resilience of communities regarding palliative care issues, including end of life care, death and bereavement. These have been made available because people with a life-threatening illness spend most of their time with family, friends and acquaintances in their own community at home, including disability and residential aged care facilities. Building community capacity in relation to life-threatening illnesses, dying, death and bereavement leads to better support and positive outcomes for people with a life-threatening illness.

The consortium is open to innovative ways of addressing these issues and encourages you to discuss possibilities around proposals with us, as the documentation alone may not be enough to allow you to flesh out some of your ideas. Applications close 5pm on Monday 27 March, 2017. 

Read more.