DArcy Photography Leanne Beagley 070 cropped and resized2

Immunisation is for life

Immunisation rates have continued to feature across news headlines over recent months. This important preventative health measure is an Australian Government and Western Victoria PHN priority.

As I mentioned in my blog back in August, 2017, western Victoria immunisation rates for children (1 to 5 years) are better than Australian averages, which is outstanding for our communities. However immunisation doesn’t stop there; immunisation should be considered across a lifetime – with the onset of the flu season, travel, secondary school immunisations, workplace immunisations and even catch up immunisation for 10 to 19 year olds. You can find out more about this on our website

Our immunisation program aims to educate, support and assist immunisation providers on all aspects of immunisation to enhance local immunisation rates and provide quality immunisation services.

On Saturday 21 October we will be holding a full day immunisation forum in Ballarat at the Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre as part of our ongoing support for improving community immunisation rates. 

Dr Leanne Beagley, Chief Executive Officer


Member voting reminder
Expressions of Interest for PHN Learning Hub Focus Group
New mental health website launched
Urgent Gentamicin recall
Digital Health Cyber Security Centre - Security Alert
Share your views on opioids, overdose and take-home naloxone
RACGP 5th Edition Standards workshops and webinars
STEP Program – Free Online Nurse Education Program
Webinar: Privacy Breach Legislation

Ballarat Goldfields 

October is HealthPathways Month: Ballarat Grampians
Free Thunderstorm Asthma Community Education Sessions
Domestic and Family Violence Response Training

Geelong Otway  

HealthPathways update
Early Childhood Early Intervention Service
Seeking Allied Health Assistant student placement opportunities
Round table discussion: Codeine changes - are you prepared?
Pictures, Posts, Profiles, Pornography & Professionals
Beyond pink and blue: challenging gender stereotyping from the early years
Vaccine recommendations for Meningococcal disease
Free information session: The impact of suicide and providing effective support
What's new in Urogynaecology?

Great South Coast 

Foot Health Assessment Program

Wimmera Grampians 

Western Victoria PHN Horsham office on the move!
CPD grants and scholarships for the Rural Allied Health Program


Member voting reminder

Western Victoria PHN logo

Recently members were mailed papers for the AGM on 26 October 2017, that included a Director Election process to fill two Director vacancies for Western Victoria PHN. Included in the papers was a unique Voting Key, that allows Members to vote electronically (via electionbuddy) for the two Director vacancies from the three nominees.

The electronic voting closes 7pm, Wednesday 25 October 2017, so members are encouraged to vote for their preferred nominee(s).

Expressions of Interest for PHN Learning Hub Focus Group

PHNWesternVictoriaLogo halfsize.094639

Western Victoria PHN is set to roll out our new Learning Management System ‘PHN Learning Hub’ in the next month. We are seeking your assistance via a focus group to provide valuable feedback to ensure the PHN Learning Hub is going to meet your needs and be user-friendly.

The PHN Learning Hub will provide a more accessible approach to our traditional CPD program and will be a central learning library where users will be able to access all the Western Victoria PHN learning materials including webinars and training.

The focus group will be held either in person in Geelong or via webinar on Monday 30 October from 7pm - 8pm. If you would like to be involved please email your name, contact details and if you’d like to attend in person or via webinar to Lyndall McNeil by Thursday 26 October. Webinar details will be sent upon EOI being received.

New mental health website launched 

Head to Health

Last week, the Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, launched the Australian Government's new digital mental health gateway - Head to Health.  Head to Health comprises a website which makes it easier for people to access free or low cost Australian digital mental health services. It has been developed in collaboration with people with mental illness and their carers, the community, mental health professionals and digital service providers, and underwent extensive testing with users. Western Victoria PHN was involved in providing input and advice during the development stage.

The initial focus of the website is for people who experience mental illness, and those that support them. Future enhancements to the website will flow through over the coming months. This includes offering greater support to health professionals to assist them in meeting the needs of their patients.

The Head to Health website is now publically available at https://headtohealth.gov.au/.

Urgent Gentamicin recall

Therapeutic Goods Administration

Pfizer Australia in consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is recalling 10 batches of Gentamicin Injection BP 80 mg in 2 mL Steriluer ampoules in packs of 10 and 50.

It has been identified that the affected batches of Gentamicin Injection may contain higher than expected amounts of histamine.

To find out more, please visit the Therapeutic Goods Administration website.

Digital Health Cyber Security Centre - Security Alert

Australian Digital Health Agency

Serious security vulnerabilities in the WPA2 WiFi protocol1 2 announced on Monday can enable an attacker to read WiFi network traffic and potentially intercept WiFi traffic to capture or alter data, or disable the communication. Given the increasing use of wireless technologies for healthcare, the impact of these vulnerabilities is expected to be widespread within the health sector.

What has happened?
A security researcher (Mathy Vanhoef) has identified a vulnerability in the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protocol. This is currently the most common protocol used for securing wireless networks, and is considered the most secure protocol currently available. The vulnerability identified allows a malicious attacker to gain access to all unencrypted information traversing the wireless network, and potentially make changes to the information (for example inserting malicious content into a non-malicious website connection).

What is the impact?
All devices that connect to wireless networks are vulnerable, regardless of their operating system. Due to the way in which Linux has implemented the wireless protocol, Linux based devices are vulnerable to a more severe exploit of this vulnerability. This includes all Linux distributions, android devices, and ‘smart’ devices that are based on a Linux distribution.

The vulnerability occurs in the communication between the wireless access point and the wireless client device when the wireless device is authenticating to the network. Therefore wireless routers and other wireless access points, as well as on all devices that are used to access the wireless network (computers, mobile devices, IoT devices etc) are all affected.

What can be done?
At this stage producers of network hardware and operating systems are expected to release patches over the coming days, and these patches must be applied as soon as practicable (some patches have already been released at the time of writing). As this impacts both the wireless access points and the wireless client devices, patches must be applied to wireless access points as well as to all devices that connect to wireless networks.

There is currently not an alternative secure protocol that can be used for wireless networks. The older protocol, WEP, is not secure, and there are well established exploits available in the wild for attacking it. It is therefore lower risk to continue to use WPA based protocols despite the newly identified vulnerability.

Until patches are released and applied, all unencrypted communication that occurs over a wireless network (including email communication, as it is generally unencrypted) should be considered unsecured.

To find out more, please see this notice from the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Share your views on opioids, overdose and take-home naloxone

Curtin University NDRI logos

A new study based at Curtin University aims to explore health professionals' opinions on opioid consumption, overdose risks and take-home naloxone.

The purpose of the study is to gather information on health professionals' experience working with issues related to opioid consumption, perspectives on overdose risks and awareness of take-home naloxone.

Participation involves a confidential audio recorded interview of about one hour.  Compensation of a $75.00 gift voucher for your time is also available.

The interviews will be conducted in a location convenient to you.

For additional information, or to participate in the study, please contact Dr Adrian Farrugia on 03 9079 2205 or 0467 633 751.

RACGP 5th Edition Standards workshops and webinars



AGPAL are holding workshops to support practices with transitioning to the RACGP 5th edition Standards. The workshops are also open to non-AGPAL accredited practices.

The November workshop in Melbourne has already sold-out.  The next date is on 7 March 2018.  Register now so as not to miss out!

To find out more, please visit the AGPAL website.


Quality Practice Accreditation logo

Quality Practice Accreditation are holding webinars to introduce the new RACGP 5th edition Standards and what they mean for your practice. The webinars are open to everyone regardless of accreditation provider.

Topic: 5th Edition Standards - the key changes
Dates: Thursday 2 November and Wednesday 15 November

Topic: 5th Edition Standards - Questions & Answers
Date: Wednesday 8 November and Wednesday 22 November

To register, please visit the Quality Practice Accreditation website.

STEP Program – Free Online Nurse Education Program

Apna CPD Endorsed logo

The STEP Program is a free diabetes education program designed specifically for Practice Nurses to support patients with structured self-monitoring of blood glucose (sSMBG) methods, and increase awareness in people with Type II diabetes of the benefits of sSMBG.

The program has been endorsed by APNA and completion entitles eligible participants to claim up to 5 CPD points.

To find out more, please see this flyer.

Webinar: Privacy Breach Legislation 

aapm logo

The Privacy Act applies to all health service organisations. Most information collected and used by health practices will be considered as "sensitive information" and subject to more stringent protection under the Act. This presentation examines the recent changes to privacy legislation in relation to data breach and the implications to a practice environment.

Date: Thursday 30 November
Time: 1pm - 2pm
Cost: AAPM members - $20, Non members - $40

To register or to find out more, please visit the AAPM website.

Ballarat Goldfields

October is HealthPathways Month: Ballarat Grampians


The Western Victoria PHN HealthPathways team would like to invite you to visit the HealthPathways site to see over 300 clinical pages and a substantial number of referral pages that have now been updated to include Ballarat Grampians services.

For the month of October the HealthPathways team will be attending the Primary Health Network Tuesday lunch-time CPD sessions and will be conducting practice visits across the region.

There are over 470 pathways in total that have been localised by specialists, general practitioners and key stakeholders in the western Victoria region. In the Ballarat Grampians region we have been working on neuro-vascular pathways with the assistance of local neurologists, vascular surgeons and general practitioners. This forum provided a platform for specialists and general practitioners to discuss current opportunities and issues faced by primary and secondary care, as well as prioritise pathways for development.

Referral pages localised with Ballarat Grampians information include: Emergency Referrals, Neurology Referrals, Vascular Surgery referrals, Mental Health Referrals, Fertility Referrals and Hepatitis Referrals. This is the full list.

URL: https://westvic.healthpathways.org.au/
Username: westvic
Password: p4thways

If you have any feedback, or if there is a service available that you would like add or a pathway you would like to request please use the “send feedback” button on the HealthPathways website or email: healthpathways@westvicphn.com.au.

For more information, or to organise a visit from the Healthpathways team, please email HealthPathways Lead Michelle Hearn or phone directly on 5304 5616.

Free Thunderstorm Asthma Community Education Sessions

The Asthma Foundation and DHHS logos

The Asthma Foundation Victoria have been funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to deliver Epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma Community Education Sessions.

These free community sessions can be attended by anyone, and will cover the following topics:

  • What is Thunderstorm Asthma?
  • Who is at risk of Thunderstorm Asthma?
  • How do you respond to a thunderstorm event?
  • How to perform asthma First Aid
  • The link between asthma and hay fever.

Date: Monday 30 October
Time: 3.30pm - 5pm or 6pm - 7.30pm
Venue: Ballarat Community Health, 12 Lilburne St, Lucas

Register for day time session

Register for evening session

Domestic and Family Violence Response Training

Lifeline Ballarat

Lifeline is conducting a nationally recognised training program that enables frontline workers including health professionals to confidently:

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

Date: Tuesday 21 November and Wednesday 22 November 2017
Time: 8.45am - 5pm
Venue: Peart Wing, 103 Lydiard Street South, Ballarat

To find out more, please see this flyer

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update


New on Healthpathways:

  • Refractive Error
  • First Seizure in Adults
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Children’s Eye Problems
  • Open-Angle Glaucoma
  • Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
  • Cannabis Use
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselling
  • Mosquito-borne Viruses
  • Alcohol Brief Intervention.

Recently reviewed and updated HealthPathways:

  • Cardiology Assessment – Acute, Non-Acute and Advice
  • Oncology Assessment – Acute, Non-Acute and Advice
  • Paediatric Assessment – Acute, Non-Acute and Advice.

To stay up to date on recent, locally agreed guidelines visit HealthPathways.

Early Childhood Early Intervention Service

Barwon child youth and family

The referral pathways for access to developmental and disability supports for children 0-6 changed as of 2 October. To find out more, please see this flyer.

Seeking Allied Health Assistant student placement opportunities

Pathways Education and Training

Pathways Education and Training are looking for placement opportunities within allied health practice and general practices for students who are completing the Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance.

School-based Traineeships (Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance) enable secondary school students the opportunity to gain a technical qualification while completing their senior school studies (VCE or VCAL).

Pathways Education and Training employs students completing traineeships and co-ordinates all aspects of the program including the placement of students within industry. Students work in suitable environments 1 day a week at completely NO COST to you.

What are some of the benefits to work places supporting a student?

  • Raise your profile in the community
  • Promote an interest in your industry
  • Influence young people’s career choices
  • Contribute to the development of the future workforce
  • Gain a greater understanding of the education system
  • Develop your staff through the coaching/mentoring of young people
  • Increase your confidence in the ability to attract quality staff in the future.

If this sounds like something that may be of interest to your organisation please feel free to email Stuart Ferguson to discuss this opportunity further.

Round table discussion: Codeine changes - are you prepared?

Western Victoria PHN logo

Codeine will only be available by prescription from 1 February 2018. This change will significantly affect a number of groups including consumers, pharmacists, general practice, and the alcohol and other drug sector.

This facilitated discussion is designed to bring these various groups together to discuss ways to best manage this change and the potential emergence of presentations of poorly managed pain and/or codeine dependence in primary care.

Discussion will be centred on how we can work together to get the best outcomes for these patients; appropriate referrals and what clinicians need in the form of support and education for the changes.

This change will affect everyone in primary care so it's important to be part of the conversation!

Date: Tuesday 24 October
Time: 6.30pm (Light supper will be provided)
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, Level 2 Conference Room, 131 Myers St, Geelong

For further information, please see this flyer or contact Pene Wood or Sylvia Melville.


Pictures, Posts, Profiles, Pornography & Professionals

Dr Kristy Goodwin

Dr Kristy Goodwin will draw on the latest research in her address, to explain the professional and legal obligations of health professionals working in the digital age. She arms professionals with the latest information about navigating the digital world and highlights that every online interaction leaves behind digital DNA.

Dr Goodwin is a former teacher and academic and recognises that digital abstinence isn’t a solution for professionals or the children they support. Instead, Kristy proposes practical and realistic strategies for safe online activity and raises awareness of the current perils and dangers facing young kids, adolescents and professionals in an online world.

Date: Thursday 26 October
Time: 3pm - 5pm
Venue: Level 1, 48 Brougham St, Geelong

To find out more, please see Dr Kristy Goodwin's website.

Beyond pink and blue: challenging gender stereotyping from the early years

As part of the Barwon Month of Action to stop men’s violence against women and children, a panel of expert speakers will discuss the effects on children and society of rigid gender stereotyping in the early years.

The panel discussion will explore the origins of the gendered nature of violence, followed by Q&A.

Speakers include:

  • Jess Boccia, Social Worker and Mother
  • Professor Glenda MacNaughton, Early Childhood Practitioner
  • Dr Michelle Smith, Lecturer in Children’s Literature.

Date: Tuesday 31 October
Time: 6pm - 7pm
Venue: The High Ground, Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, Level 5, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong

To find out more, please see this flyer.

Vaccine recommendations for Meningococcal disease


GSK invites you to an interactive educational meeting to enhance your knowledge of Meningococcal disease with guest speaker Dr Amir Hanna-Elia.

Dr Hana-Elia is a medicinal chemist with a keen interest in preventative medicine, particularly if it applies to rare, communicable and life-threatening diseases. Dr Hana-Elia has experience across multiple disciplines of drug discovery and development including organic synthesis, molecular biology, molecular modeling and microbiology.

Date: Thursday 9 November
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: The Empire Grill, 66 McKillop Street, Geelong

To find out more and to register, please see this flyer.

Free information session: The impact of suicide and providing effective support

The impact of suicide on an individual, a family and a community is very often devastating. It can be a severe and prolonged bereavement experience for those left behind. As well as intense grief, the bereaved may be dealing with trauma, stigma, and the unique issues that a loved one’s intentional and self inflicted death brings. This session is suited to anyone who may be working with individuals who may have been affected by suicide, in particular psychologists, social workers, nurses, teachers, GP’s. This session will outline the experience of suicide bereavement and how to provide effective support.

In particular, the session will address:

  • Current loss and grief theory
  • The unique issues and experiences of suicide bereavement
  • Providing support to the bereaved
  • Talking with children and young people about suicide
  • Safe ways of speaking about suicide

Date: Friday 17 November
Time: 1.30pm - 5pm
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, 131 Myers St, Geelong

To find out more, please see this flyer.

What's new in Urogynaecology?

Werribee Mercy Health

Werribee Mercy Hospital would like to invite general practitioners to this free update on the management of urinary incontinence and female organ prolapse.

General practitioners play a pivotal role in the first line therapy for a number of urogynaecology conditions and this event will provide an update on conservative, medical and surgical treatments and appropriate pathways for referral.

Date: Monday 27 November
Time: 6.30pm - 9pm
Venue: Seminar Room, Werribee Mercy Hospital, 300 Princes Highway, Werribee

To find out more, please see this flyer

Great South Coast

Foot Health Assessment Program

The Benchmarque Group logo

The Foot Health Assessment Program is designed to provide skills and knowledge for a range of health professionals and others working within Indigenous Health to provide detailed information and advice in relation to foot health management.

On the successful completion of the program, participants should have the ability to safely perform a basic foot care assessment, determine foot care requirements and use basic equipment and a range of topical medications where the services of a professional podiatrist are not required.

Date: Thursday 30 November
Time: 8.45am - 4.30pm
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, 24 - 35 Fairy St, Warrnambool

To find out more, please see this flyer.

Wimmera Grampians

Western Victoria PHN Horsham office on the move!

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Please note that the Western Victoria PHN office in Horsham is moving to new premises on Wednesday 25 October and Thursday 26 October.

The new address of the office will be: 81 Hamilton Street, Horsham.  Contact numbers remain unchanged.

CPD grants and scholarships for the Rural Allied Health Program

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria

The Rural Allied Health Support Program supports rural allied health professionals to undertake post-graduate professional development opportunities to further develop their skills and knowledge and support their ongoing commitment and involvement in rural health. RWAV has administered the Rural Allied Health Support Program since January 2017 and the grants are funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

There are two programs, the Continuing Professional Development for Rural Allied Health Grant Program and Rural Allied Health Postgraduate Scholarship Program.

For more information, please visit the RWAV website, email alliedhealth@rwav.com.au or call 03 9349 7800.