DArcy Photography Leanne Beagley 070 cropped and resized2

Open letter to our valued primary health care partners

Western Victoria Primary Health Network maintains important connections and relationships with a large group of stakeholders – each important in the ongoing health care of our communities.

On any given day, we interact with general practitioners, allied health professionals, practice managers and nurses, and other health service providers across western Victoria.

Late last year our management and staff developed a set of values by which we conduct ourselves internally and externally. These values are:

  • Respect
  • Connect
  • Lead.

By adopting these values, we aim to treat all people respectfully, professionally and inclusively.

We also expect that our stakeholders do the same for our staff.

Western Victoria PHN staff should always expect courteous and professional behavior from all our stakeholders.

Dr Leanne Beagley, Chief Executive Officer

General

Western Victoria PHN office closures: Friday 1 December
Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) from 1 December 2017

Expansion of Prescribed Drugs of Dependence program in 2018
Attend our PHN Learning Hub Launch: Monday 4 December
Conversations about codeine
Notifiable data breaches scheme
Chief Health Officer Alert: Hepatitis A outbreak
Free Meningococcal vaccine for 15 - 19 years olds finishes 31 December 2017
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) is contraindicated for the shingles vaccine, Zostavax®
Health Workforce Scholarships Program
Victorian Opioid Pharmacotherapy Program
The Implications of Codeine Rescheduling webinar
Codeine rescheduling and its impact on the treatment of opioid dependence
National Health Services Directory webinar

Ballarat Goldfields 

HealthPathways update
RAMPS addiction specialist available for consultations
Conversations about codeine

Geelong Otway  

HealthPathways update
New Haematologists available for consultation

Great South Coast

HealthPathways update

Wimmera Grampians 

HealthPathways update
RAMPS addiction specialist available for consultations
Conversations about codeine

General 

Western Victoria PHN office closures: Friday 1 December

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Please note that all Western Victoria PHN offices will be closed on Friday 1 December from 10.30am. Offices will reopen at 8.30am on Monday 4 December.

Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) from 1 December 2017

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From 1 December 2017 as part of the renewal of the NCSP:

  • A five yearly Cervical Screening Test will replace the two yearly Pap test
  • Women will be invited to start cervical screening from the age of 25 (currently 18) and continue screening until they are 74 years (currently 69 years)
  • Women who are already having Pap tests should have their first Cervical Screening Test when they are next due for a Pap test (this is usually two years after their most recent Pap test for those women with a normal screening history)
  • Healthcare providers will still perform a vaginal speculum examination and take a cervical sample, but the sample medium is liquid-based for partial HPV genotyping
  • Current MBS items cease on 30 November and new MBS items for the new Cervical Screening Test will commence on 1 December 2017
  • The new Cervical Screening Test will be supported by a new National Cancer Screening Register that will send invitations and reminder letters to women when they are next due, and follow up letters when women have not attended further investigations or tests
  • The renewed program will protect up to 30 per cent more Australian women from cervical cancer.

Healthcare providers can now access key information about the program, updated publications and resources from the NCSP website. This includes posters, brochures and factsheets that can be ordered by healthcare providers at no cost.

Also, training modules hosted by NPS MedicineWise continue to be available. Healthcare providers should be encouraged to complete the training as soon as possible. These modules attract Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.

Expansion of Prescribed Drugs of Dependence program in 2018

PDD photo Ballarat 2017

Western Victoria PHN Opioid Management Clinical Advisor, Pene Wood, presents at Prescribed Drugs of Dependence Active Learning Module.

Western Victoria PHN in partnership with Orticare Pharmacotherapy Network recently ran a Prescribed Drugs of Dependence Active Learning Module (ALM) in the Ballarat Goldfields region. The free 40 Cat 1 point RACGP&QI event was attended by GPs from Ballarat, Maryborough and Ararat and featured sessions on motivational interviewing, schedule 8 permit requirements, the role of allied health in managing chronic pain patients, preparing for codeine up-scheduling and clinical advice from GP educator Dr Paul Grinzi. The event aimed to assist GPs in identifying and managing patients with problematic use of prescribed drugs of dependence with a focus on improving the quality and safety of prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice.

The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive with 100% of participants stating that the course was entirely relevant to their practice and 91% of participants stating that their learning needs were entirely met.

Some feedback from GPs upon completion of the Active Learning Module

“Absolutely outstanding course. It was exceptional and very professionally managed.”

“Very useful training program. Excellent speakers and materials. Very well organised.”

Expansion of program

In light of the success of the Prescribed Drugs of Dependence ALM in Ballarat Goldfields, Western Victoria PHN, Murray PHN and Orticare Pharmacotherapy Network have begun plans to extend the prescribed drugs of dependence program across the Grampians and Loddon Mallee region in 2018. Workshops are planned for Bendigo, Horsham and Mildura and will be reinforced with the provision of support and resources for general practices. Learnings from these sessions will also be used to develop similar programs across the Barwon South West region in 2018.

Why do we need this program?

The Coroner’s Court of Victoria revealed that 80% of Victorian overdose deaths between 2009 - 2015 involved pharmaceutical drugs, making them bigger killers than illicit drugs or road accidents. Opioids and benzodiazepines were the most commonly implicated medications. Due to the higher rates of prescribing and limited access to pain and addiction services, patients living in regional and rural areas were particularly vulnerable.

For further information please email or phone:

Katrina Martin - Primary Care Consultant - Prescribed Drugs of Dependence, Western Victoria PHN on 03 5304 5618
Jacqueline Keevins - Manager OrtiCare Pharmacotherapy Network, on 03 5338 0511
Pene Wood - Opioid Management Clinical Advisor, Western Victoria PHN, Barwon South West, on 03 5222 0800.

Attend our PHN Learning Hub Launch: Monday 4 December

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You are invited to attend the launch of Western Victoria PHN’s NEW online learning management system ‘PHN Learning Hub’ on Monday 4 December at 9am at either of our offices in Geelong, Ballarat, Warrnambool and Horsham.

The PHN Learning Hub has been developed by Clinician’s Matrix and allows health professionals to learn, develop and update their knowledge and skills in an efficient and cost effective way. The PHN Learning Hub can be accessed from any location, extending the reach and accessibility of education for health professionals across the western Victoria region.

Health professionals can have access to a range of continuing professional development (CPD) learning options such as online courses, webinars, eLearning programs, and live online health related conferences as well as guidelines and decision support tools making the PHN Learning Hub the ‘central hub’ for educational resources. All features are optimised for mobile devices ensuring users can access the PHN Learning Hub at anytime from anywhere.

Come along to the launch to learn about the many features of the PHN Learning Hub and how to access it.

Please email your RSVP and advise of any dietary requirements and which office you will be attending the launch.

We look forward to seeing you at the launch.

Conversations about codeine

PHNWesternVictoriaLogo halfsize.094639  Orticare.160359

Pharmacists, prescribers and other health professionals are currently experiencing the impacts of the impending re-scheduling of codeine-containing products on 1 February 2018. It is anticipated that over the next few months, more people will require advice, assistance and alternative treatments for managing their pain conditions or for possible dependence.

In addition to the information and resources recently provided by Western Victoria PHN, a series of educational and clinical networking events are being held across the region to assist health professionals with managing the changes. These events are supported by Western Victoria PHN and the Orticare Network.

Ballarat
The Ballarat Clinical Network for Addiction Management invites interested health professionals to participate in a facilitated case discussion, focussing on local referral pathways and options.
Date, time, venue: Wednesday 29 November, 6.15pm – 8pm, Ballarat Community Health, Lucas. To find out more, please see this flyer. To RSVP please email orticare@bchc.org.au or call 03 5338 0511.

Ararat
Kindly hosted by Ararat Medical Centre, this session aimed at local prescribers, pharmacists and interested health professionals includes facilitated case discussion.
Date, time, venue: Thursday 7 December, 1pm - 2pm, Ararat Medical Centre. For more information and to RSVP please email orticare@bchc.org.au or call 03 5338 0511. 

Notifiable data breaches scheme

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner logo stacked

The Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme comes into effect on 22 February 2018. From that date, all Australian private sector health service providers will be obligated to report data breaches that are likely to result in serious harm to any individual.

The NDB scheme requirements supplement the mandatory data breach reporting requirements of the My Health Records Act. The obligations of the NDB scheme will apply to data breaches outside of the My Health Record system. There is also a higher threshold in the NDB scheme for notification - only those that are likely to result in serious harm trigger the notification requirements.

It is important that Australian private sector health service providers know the requirements of the NDB scheme and start preparing so that they are ready for its implementation.

For further information go to the Order of the Australian Information Commissioner website for resources for business on the NDB scheme.

Victoria State Government

Chief Health Officer Alert: Hepatitis A outbreak

An outbreak of hepatitis A has been identified in Victoria, with ten confirmed outbreak cases.  All confirmed cases are adults, many of who are MSM or report male-to-male sexual activity and have not travelled overseas.

Outbreaks of hepatitis A can occur through person-to-person transmission, particularly sexual transmission, which includes but is not limited to MSM. Outbreaks can also occur through consumption of contaminated food/water.

Offer hepatitis A vaccine to MSM and people in other risk groups. Hepatitis A vaccination is strongly recommended for all MSM, and is also recommended for all travellers to countries where hepatitis A is endemic.

Consider hepatitis A infection in patients presenting with a compatible clinical illness who are MSM or have other risk factors, and take blood for serology (IgM). Sexual activity should be avoided while results are pending.

Notify suspected cases of acute viral hepatitis to the Department of Health and Human Services by calling 1300 651 160, without waiting for serology results. This will help with instituting immediate precautionary infection control measures.

Early notification also helps with timely post-exposure prophylaxis for contacts, once infection is confirmed.

Read more

Free Meningococcal vaccine for 15 - 19 years olds finishes 31 December 2017

With the free, time-limited meningococcal ACWY program ending on 31 December 2017, primary healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to advise patients aged 15-19 years old to take advantage of the free vaccine while it is still available.

A significant number of 15-19 year olds missed the school vaccine program as they were either absent when the vaccine was offered or are not attending secondary school. The option to receive the Menactra vaccine from general practice is essential. Further detail on eligibility and the vaccine programme is available through the meningococcal ACWY fact sheet on the Health.Vic website.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) is contraindicated for the shingles vaccine, Zostavax®

Other immunocompromising conditions and therapy that are contraindicated include:

Primary or acquired immunodeficiency

  • Haematologic neoplasms: leukaemias, lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndromes (including: those who remain under follow up for chronic lymphoproliferative disorders; and individuals who are currently not receiving treatment)
  • Post-transplant: solid organ (on immunosuppressive therapy), haematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 24 months, or longer if immunosuppression or graft versus host disease is present)
  • Immunocompromised due to primary or acquired (HIV/AIDS) immunodeficiency
  • Other significantly immunocompromising conditions

Immunosuppressive therapy (current or recent)

  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy - within the last 6 months
  • Corticosteroids (short-term high dose, long-term lower dose) – see below
  • All biologics and most disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Confidently identify patients who may be contra-indicated for shingles vaccine by using the Zostavax - GP decision aid.

Zostavax® contains live attenuated varicella-zoster virus, containing 14 times more virus than the childhood varicella vaccine. Inadvertent administration to immunocompromised people is associated with a risk of disseminated disease from the vaccine virus.

Remember to target the age eligible 70 to 79 year old age cohort for Zostavax®. Check vaccine records first to confirm that the patient has not already had a dose. All vaccine doses should be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Health Workforce Scholarships Program

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria small

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health and is designed to improve access to services needed in remote and rural areas across Australia by supporting an increase in skills, capacity and/or scope of practice.

The HWSP provides professional development support to health professionals in rural, regional and remote Australia. The Program will be available to eligible medical, nursing and allied health professionals working in primary health care who are not employed by the relevant State Government and located in, or providing services to, areas categorised as MM 3-7 under the Modified Monash Model (MMM) Model.

The first round of scholarships are currently open until 20 December 2017.

To find out more, including application details, see the RWAV website.

Victorian Opioid Pharmacotherapy Program

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

The aim of this training is to provide pharmacists and pharmacy support staff with the relevant knowledge, skills and tools required to deliver a safe and consumer focused Opioid Replacement Therapy service.

ORT Part 1 training covers the basics of harm minimisation and opioid replacement programs including all technical, professional and legal requirements.

ORT Part 2 training is a case scenario based workshop in which the concepts learned from Part 1 are reinforced through real life scenarios and group discussions led by the workshop facilitator.

Date: Sunday 3 December
Time: 10am - 3pm
Venue: 381 Royal Pde, Parkville
Cost: Free

To find out more, including registration details, please see this flyer.

The Implications of Codeine Rescheduling webinar

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The RACGP Victoria New Fellows and Drug and Alcohol Committees are offering members a webinar on the implications of codeine rescheduling. The aim of this session is to inform GPs about the upcoming changes in the rescheduling of this drug and the potential implications. It also aims to provide GPs with strategies on how to treat patients who may have developed an addiction to codeine.

Date: Wednesday 6 December
Time: 7pm - 9pm

To find out more, including registration details, please see the RACGP website.

Codeine rescheduling and its impact on the treatment of opioid dependence

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This educational event aims to provide participants with:

  • An update on issues related to the rescheduling of codeine that will come in effect on 1 February 2018
  • An opportunity to discuss how services can prepare for this event
  • An opportunity to examine appropriate treatment options for codeine dependence.

Dr David Jacka, Addiction Medicine Specialist at Monash Health and Dr Suzanne Nielsen, Senior Research Fellow at NDARC (UNSW) will be speaking.

Date: Thursday 7 December
Time: 6.30pm - 9pm
Venue: Fenix, 680 Victoria St, Richmond

To find out more, including registration details, please see the Eventbrite website.

National Health Services Directory webinar

Allied Health Professions Australia logo November 2017

This free webinar for allied health practitioners is the fifth in a series of webinars AHPA has developed and funded to help practices know more about their technology options and how they might integrate different elements of digital technology into their practice.

The National Health Services Directory (NHSD) is a government-funded directory to help health professionals find other health professionals and to assist consumers in finding health services. The directory is funded by all Australian governments and is an important means both of ensuring your practice can be found by consumers and potential referrers, but also supports health programs such as secure messaging, Health Pathways and more.

Date: Thursday 7 December
Time: 7.30pm - 8.30pm

For more information, including registration details, please see the Allied Health Professions Australia website.

Ballarat Goldfields

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HealthPathways update

New on HealthPathways:

  • Cultural Awareness Training
  • CTG Scripts and Allied health Services
  • Health Assessment of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander People (MBS Item 715)
  • Integrated team Care (ITC)
  • Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP-IHI)
  • Aboriginal Health Support Services
  • Early Childhood Early Intervention Service
  • Acute Ent Assessment
  • Non-Acute ENT Assessment
  • ENT Advice
  • Acute Haematology Assessment
  • Non-Acute Haematology Assessment
  • Haematology Advice.

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

RAMPS addiction specialist available for consultations

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GPs in the Grampians region are able to access a free fortnightly secondary consultation service with Dr Raymond Chan (FAChAM). Dr Chan’s RAMPS Service provides GPs, nurse practitioners and other clinical healthcare staff with access to expert and documented advice and consultation. He can provide expert secondary consultations for cases where there is:

  • Concern about a patient’s opioid dependence – including patients with chronic pain conditions
  • A patient that may be suitable for or is currently on opioid replacement therapy (pharmacotherapy)
  • Other/multiple concerns about a patient's alcohol or drug misuse
  • Expert advice required regarding a medical withdrawal.

RAMPS consultations are currently available via phone or email. For further information and details on how to book, please see our flyer.

Next available consultation sessions are on the mornings of:

  • Thursday 30 November
  • Thursday 14 December.

Half-hourly time slots are available.

You can also access RAMPS in the Geelong Otway and Great South Coast areas by emailing Amy Collins or calling 5564 5888.

Referrals can be made using standard clinic management software referral templates:

  1. Fax to 5564 5800 with RAMPS clearly stated in the referral or fax cover page
  2. OR send via ReferralNet Id: RAMPS.

For all RAMPS referrals ensure patient consent has been obtained and include:

  • All relevant patient information
  • Preferred time and date for consultations to occur
  • Preferred contact method: face to face, tele/videoconferencing.

All referrals are triaged by the Pharmacotherapy Clinical Nurse and will be processed within two business days.

All urgent opioid management clinical advice should be referred directly to the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) 1800 812 804.

Conversations about codeine

PHNWesternVictoriaLogo halfsize.094639  Orticare.160359

Pharmacists, prescribers and other health professionals are currently experiencing the impacts of the impending re-scheduling of codeine-containing products on 1 February 2018. It is anticipated that over the next few months, more people will require advice, assistance and alternative treatments for managing their pain conditions or for possible dependence.

In addition to the information and resources recently provided by Western Victoria PHN, a series of educational and clinical networking events are being held across the region to assist health professionals with managing the changes. These events are supported by Western Victoria PHN and the Orticare Network.

The Ballarat Clinical Network for Addiction Management invites interested health professionals to participate in a facilitated case discussion, focussing on local referral pathways and options.

Date: Wednesday 29 November
Time: 6.15pm – 8pm
Venue: Ballarat Community Health, Lucas.

To find out more, please see this flyer. To RSVP please email orticare@bchc.org.au or call 03 5338 0511.

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update

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New on HealthPathways:

  • Varicose Veins and Chronic Venous Insufficiency
  • Urology Referrals – Acute, Non-acute and Advice
  • General Surgery Referrals – Acute, Non-acute and Advice
  • Infectious Disease Referrals – Acute, Non-acute and Advice
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Aboriginal Health Services
  • CTG Scripts and Allied Health Services
  • Cultural Awareness Training
  • Aboriginal Health Support Services.

Recently reviewed and updated HealthPathways:

  • Adverse Events following Immunisation
  • Home and Community Support for Older Persons
  • Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP-IHI)
  • Metatarsal Fractures.

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

New Haematologists available for consultation

SJGG logo

St John of God Geelong Hospital welcomes two new Haematologists to its team. Dr David Routledge will commence private consulting from 28 November and Dr Sumi Ratnasingam will commence from Tuesday 19 December in the St John of God Sessional Consulting Suites, with no wait time for appointments. St John of God Geelong Haematology can be contacted on 5215 8790 or via email

Haematologists

Pictured: Dr David Routledge and Dr Sumi Ratnasingam.

Dr David Routledge is a UK trained clinical Haematologist, who qualified from the University of Manchester in 2007. He completed his Physicians training in Manchester, including placements at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and The Christie Hospital, the largest single site cancer centre in Europe. Through this he developed significant experience in the management of haematological malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation. He also has extensive experience in the management of acquired and inherited haemoglobinopathies, obstetric haematology, red cell and coagulation disorders.

Dr Routledge's special interests include Haematological malignancies and stem cell transplantation. David has also completed a degree in Pharmacology and has an avid interest in drug development, being actively involved in clinical trials through his work at University Hospital Geelong and The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Dr Sumi Ratnasingam is an Australian trained haematologist with a broad range of experience in managing patients with malignant and non-malignant haematological disorders.

Dr Ratnasingam completed her advanced training in Haematology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH). She gained her clinical and pathology degrees in 2014. She treated complex patients undergoing stem cell transplantation at RMH and has experience in managing allogeneic stem cell transplant patients. Dr Ratnasingam recently completed her 2-year lymphoma fellowship at Monash Medical Centre - one of the largest haematology clinical trial units in Victoria, treating a significant number of lymphoma patients per annum.

Dr Ratnasingam currently works at the Andrew Love Cancer Centre (ALCC), University Hospital Geelong as one of their haematologists. She is responsible for managing their Lymphoma MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings) and one of the co-lymphoma leads at ALCC. Sumi is the principal investigator for some of the lymphoma trials and is actively involved in the running of clinical trials at ALCC. She also continues to work as a haematologist with Monash Health, fostering a networking relationship between both organisations. Sumi manages complex patients with malignant and non-malignant haematology at both sites.

Dr Ratnasingam is also interested in clinical education and is currently working with Western Victoria Primary Health Network (PHN) in developing GP-specific clinical pathways in managing various haematological issues.

For more information, please visit the Geelong Haematology website

Great South Coast

HealthPathways update

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HealthPathways recently localised with south west information:

  • Ear, Nose and Throat Referrals – Acute, Non acute and Advice
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselling - public brief intervention services
  • Oncology Referrals - Acute, Non-Acute and Advice
  • Paediatric referrals - Acute, Non-Acute and Advice
  • Home and Community Support for Older Persons
  • Gynaecology Referrals - Acute, Non-Acute and Advice
  • Bariatric Surgery Referrals.

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

Wimmera Grampians

HealthPathways update

HealthPathwayslogo.115903

HealthPathways recently localised with Wimmera Grampians information:

  • Acute general surgery referral
  • Non-acute general surgery referral
  • General surgery advice
  • Lymphoedema therapy referral.

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

RAMPS addiction specialist available for consultations

PHNWesternVictoriaLogo halfsize.094639 Orticare.160359

GPs in the Grampians region are able to access a free fortnightly secondary consultation service with Dr Raymond Chan (FAChAM). Dr Chan’s RAMPS Service provides GPs, nurse practitioners and other clinical healthcare staff with access to expert and documented advice and consultation. He can provide expert secondary consultations for cases where there is:

  • Concern about a patient’s opioid dependence – including patients with chronic pain conditions
  • A patient that may be suitable for or is currently on opioid replacement therapy (pharmacotherapy)
  • Other/multiple concerns about a patient's alcohol or drug misuse
  • Expert advice required regarding a medical withdrawal.

RAMPS consultations are currently available via phone or email. For further information and details on how to book, please see our flyer.

Next available consultation sessions are on the mornings of:

  • Thursday 30 November
  • Thursday 14 December.

Half-hourly time slots are available.

You can also access RAMPS in the Geelong Otway and Great South Coast areas by emailing Amy Collins or calling 5564 5888.

Referrals can be made using standard clinic management software referral templates:

  1. Fax to 5564 5800 with RAMPS clearly stated in the referral or fax cover page
  2. OR send via ReferralNet Id: RAMPS.

For all RAMPS referrals ensure patient consent has been obtained and include:

  • All relevant patient information
  • Preferred time and date for consultations to occur
  • Preferred contact method: face to face, tele/videoconferencing.

All referrals are triaged by the Pharmacotherapy Clinical Nurse and will be processed within two business days.

All urgent opioid management clinical advice should be referred directly to the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) 1800 812 804.

Conversations about codeine

PHNWesternVictoriaLogo halfsize.094639  Orticare.160359

Pharmacists, prescribers and other health professionals are currently experiencing the impacts of the impending re-scheduling of codeine-containing products on 1 February 2018. It is anticipated that over the next few months, more people will require advice, assistance and alternative treatments for managing their pain conditions or for possible dependence.

In addition to the information and resources recently provided by Western Victoria PHN, a series of educational and clinical networking events are being held across the region to assist health professionals with managing the changes. These events are supported by Western Victoria PHN and the Orticare Network.

Kindly hosted by Ararat Medical Centre, this session aimed at local prescribers, pharmacists and interested health professionals includes facilitated case discussion.

Date: Thursday 7 December
Time: 1pm - 2pm
Venue: Ararat Medical Centre.

For more information and to RSVP please email orticare@bchc.org.au or call 03 5338 0511.