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Getting the flu shot - reminder for the whole community

The time for immunisation, especially with the influenza vaccine, is well and truly upon us. For some weeks now doctors and pharmacists have been providing flu vaccination services to their communities and this will continue for some months.

Western Victoria PHN is completely supportive of appropriate immunisations for Victorians. Through your support, we hope to reach and immunise as many people as possible against the latest influenza strains.

We especially wish to reach those people who may be at high risk by living with a compromised health condition or older Victorians, children, families, employees and especially those employees who are in contact with many people as part of their work.

We will continue to get the word out through our network about the benefits of immunisation, but if you would like further details on immunisation please go to: https://westvic.healthpathways.org.au/index.htm.

On leave

From the end of the week until the beginning of June, I will be taking annual leave and our Director of Finance Tony Ficca will step in to the role of Acting CEO (Thanks Tony).

Can I take this opportunity to thank you all for your warm engagement, partnership and advice making my first year as CEO a really positive start and a true learning experience. I look forward to all this and more in my second year. 

Dr Leanne Beagley, Chief Executive Officer & Chair, Victorian PHN Alliance

General

Members sought for Reginal Integrated Councils
Winter Symposium: register today!
GoShare registration invitation coming to pharmacies
The National Cervical Screening Program has changed
Scholarships to improve regional health services
Abbott Laboratories Defibrillator vulnerabilities
Chief Health Officer Alerts
New funding for Laryngectomy patients
Getting prepped for PrEP
National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Week: 14 - 18 May
headspace creates 13 Reasons Why resources in collaboration with Netflix
Immunisation Coalition 2018 Webinar: Influenza Vaccination in 2018
Nominations close soon for rural GP award
Medication Assisted Treatment Training for Opioid Dependence 2018
Applications for the 2018 Practice Manager of the Year Awards close Tuesday 8 May! 

Ballarat Goldfields

HealthPathways update
New dietetic service
Breaking Down Depression and Building Resilience Public Lecture
Next Palliative Care Breakfast
Domestic and Family Violence Response Training
Invitation to join the Ballarat Obesity Management Interest Group
Invitation to Ballarat Addiction Network
Empowering Australians to make better health and lifestyle choices 

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update
Change to Barwon Colposcopy Service 

Great South Coast

Vestibular Rehabilitation introductory course
Suicidal Prevention training workshops for general practice 

Wimmera Grampians

HealthPathways update 

General 

Members sought for Regional Integrated Councils

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Western Victoria Primary Health Network (PHN) is seeking members for its Regional Integrated Councils in Ballarat Goldfields, Wimmera Grampians and Great South Coast areas.

The following council member positions are required:

  • Wimmera Grampians – two healthcare providers (including GPs) and one community member
  • Ballarat Goldfields – two healthcare providers (including GPs)
  • Great South Coast – one GP to take on the role of Chair.

The Council acts as a conduit between the Board, CEO, health care providers and the community. They advise on local health needs and primary-based health care from a clinical and a community/consumer perspective.

Regional Integrated Councils (there are four across our region) provide information to develop better integration of care and will help maximise broad ongoing clinical and community engagement within and across the region to support the decision making of Western Victoria PHN.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to apply.

For more information about becoming a Regional Integrated Council member and for applications to the above positions, please see our website.

Winter Symposium: register today!

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

Western Victoria Primary Health Network will host the inaugural ‘Western Victoria PHN Winter Symposium 2018 Collaborative Care: Pain, Alcohol and other Drugs, and Mental Health,' in June. The event is facilitated for GPs and GP registrars, allied health professionals, nurses, nurse practitioners and practice nurses, alcohol and other drug and mental health workers.

The symposium will feature the following interactive workshops exploring collaboration, innovation and challenging the way we think about treatment:

  • Reconnexion: work through the challenges of deprescribing benzos in daily practice
  • TAC: what do we do when nothings working/ building the toolkit you need
  • Project ECHO: increasing the capacity to provide specialist care through revolutionary medical education.

Alcohol and other drug use is a significant challenge within primary care. One in five Australians drink more than two standard drinks per day, exceeding lifetime risk guidelines. One in seven Australians have used an illicit drug in the past year. People who use alcohol and drugs experience significant stigma and isolation.

A full symposium program will be listed on the Western Victoria Primary Health Network website soon.

Ensure you register for this innovative event now as places are limited.

GoShare registration invitation coming to pharmacies

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

We are pleased to advise that GoShare access to pharmacists will be rolled-out across the region in a phased approach during the first week of May 2018. A limited number of GoShare licenses will be available, so keep an eye out for your pharmacy’s registration email.

GoShare has been rolled-out across western Victoria thanks to a new partnership between the developers of GoShare, Healthily, and Western Victoria Primary Health Network (PHN). Free access is now available to general practitioners, primary health care nurses and health and allied health practitioners within general practice.

To find out about more GoShare including access, please visit our website

Department of Health

The National Cervical Screening Program has changed

A reminder that on 1 December 2017 the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) was renewed. The Pap test was replaced by the human papillomavirus (HPV) Cervical Screening Test. Routine cervical screening is now recommended for people aged 25 to 74 years.

Please remember that Pap tests are no longer eligible for Medicare rebates - patients may be charged if this test is requested.

As previously advised, the age for screening under the NCSP changed from 18 to 25, however prior to Christmas we had seen high numbers of tests being performed on women under 25 years of age. Since that time we have seen a marked reduction in the number of test screening for women of this cohort. Please maintain a focus on this issue. Currently a social media campaign is underway to raise awareness of the change in age aimed at this demographic. To view these go to Instagram or Facebook and search the hashtag #screenfrom25.

To order pathology tests under the National Cervical Screening Program, including the Cervical Screening Test, follow the naming conventions detailed in the Pathology Test Guide for Cervical and Vaginal Testing.

Scholarships to improve regional health services

Health professionals in rural and regional Australia wanting to increase their skills are being encouraged to apply for financial support under the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Scholarship Program.

Officially launching the program on Monday 30 April, Minister for Rural Health, Bridget McKenzie, said the Government was investing $11 million in the scholarships over three years from 2017-18 to help make health services more accessible for people living in country areas.

“The Health Workforce Scholarship Program provides support based on the needs of communities — whether for GPs, nurses, dentists or allied health professionals,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The program is delivering better outcomes for patients in rural and regional communities across Australia by supporting health practitioners to build up their professional skills.

“Support may be provided to health professionals already working in areas experiencing a shortage of services, or to those willing to move to areas where there is a lack of services.

“Importantly, most of the scholarships in the forthcoming round will include a ‘return of service’ obligation to ensure the recipients practise in rural and regional Australia for at least 12 months on completion of their studies.”

To find out more, including Guidelines and Application Form, please visit the Rural Workforce Agency Victoria website.

Abbott Laboratories Defibrillator vulnerabilities

Australian Cyber Security Centre CERT Australia logos

CERT Australia is aware of vulnerabilities in the Abbott Laboratories’ (formerly St. Jude Medical) Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRT-D). These vulnerabilities could allow a nearby attacker to gain unauthorized access to an ICD to issue commands, change settings, or otherwise interfere with the intended function of the ICD.

Abbott has developed a firmware update to help mitigate the identified vulnerabilities. Noting that this is an implantable device, it is important that patients have a discussion with their healthcare provider to determine whether the update is appropriate for them. In some cases it may be determined that patient-specific issues create too great a risk for the update to be performed. Where deemed appropriate, the update should be installed following the instructions provided by the manufacturer, and in a medical facility where appropriate monitoring and external defibrillation are readily available.

Read more

VictorianGovernment logo

Chief Health Officer Alerts

Smoke exposure due to seasonal planned burns may affect health

Smoke from bushfires and planned burns can reduce air quality in rural and urban areas, and may affect people's health.

Each year, Forest Fire Management Victoria undertakes planned burns on public land state-wide to reduce bushfire risk. The planned burning program is seasonal, usually during autumn to early winter.

Health services may see an increase in people presenting with respiratory symptoms associated with smoke exposure.

Read more 

New imported measles case in Melbourne

There has been one confirmed case of measles who was infectious while at a number of places across Melbourne between 16 and 21 April 2018:

  • 16 April 2018 - Qantas Flight QF36 Singapore - Melbourne (Tullamarine) arriving 6.40am
  • 16 April 2018 - Melbourne Tullamarine Airport arrivals, baggage claim and shuttle bus area 6.40  -7.30am
  • 21 April 2018 - Wildcats Basketball Stadium located at Eltham High School from 4.45 - 6.00pm.

No link to recent cases in Australia have been established. Although the case spent some of the exposure period in Australia, it is most likely that the infection was acquired in Thailand. The notification was made late to the department, so it is only now that passengers are being warned and some may already be showing early symptoms.

Be alert for measles in patients presenting with a fever at rash onset, particularly if they attended the above places. Isolate suspected cases to minimise the risk of transmission within your department/practice.

Notify the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Section at the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 651 160 of suspected cases immediately. Take blood for measles serology in all suspected cases. Discuss whether to take nose and throat swabs for PCR with the Department if your suspicion for measles is high. Approval is required prior to PCR testing at the reference laboratory. PCR testing for measles does not attract a Medicare rebate.

Read more

New funding for Laryngectomy patients

The Victorian Government announced last week that up to $1.7 million would be made available to cover the cost of expensive consumables for laryngectomy patients. These funds will be available to patients who’ve had laryngectomies from 1 July. The program already covers the cost of voice aids.

Read more

Getting prepped for PrEP

The Commonwealth Government recently approved the listing of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). From 1 April 2018 individuals at medium- to high-risk of HIV can access PrEP through the PBS to help them reduce their risk of HIV. PrEP is listed as an s 85 General Schedule medication, and can be prescribed by any GP.

PrEP is the use of HIV medications to prevent the transmission of HIV. When taken daily, PrEP is up to 99 per cent effective in preventing HIV. Currently only one medication is approved for use as PrEP: tenofovir/emtricitabine. It has been used for many years to treat HIV in people living with HIV. In addition to condoms and undetectable viral load (when a person living with HIV is on treatment, and is virally suppressed, they cannot transmit the virus), PrEP gives people another option to help prevent HIV.

PrEP can be dispensed with a maximum quantity of 30, with two repeats. Patients must return for a new prescription every three months. GPs should provide a full sexual health checkup, including HIV test and screening for the sexually transmissible infections syphilis, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia.

The Victorian Government recently released its updated clinical guidance for PrEP which can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Further information about PrEP including full prescribing guidelines, risk assessment criteria and patient information, can be found on the website for ASHM, the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexual Health Medicine, at www.ashm.org.au/hiv/prep.

National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Week: 14 - 18 May

ScriptWise

ScriptWise is very pleased to invite you to participate in our inaugural National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Week from 14 - 18 May 2018 to raise awareness about the risks associated with using prescription medications such as opioids and benzodiazepines long-term. Find out about how to take action at www.scriptwise.org.au/prevention-week or attend a Prevention Week event in Warrnambool, Colac or Horsham.  

headspace creates 13 Reasons Why resources in collaboration with Netflix

headspace logo

On Tuesday 1 May Netflix announced the second season of 13 Reasons Why will launch on Friday 18 May 2018.

When 13 Reasons Why Season 1 was released there was significant demand on the mental health sector, and concerns from schools and families across Australia about the show’s content.

In preparation for the release of Season 2, headspace and Netflix have collaborated to develop resources and discussion guides for young people, parents and schools. The resource for young people provides tips on how to safely watch the series, look after themselves and have constructive conversations with their friends and families.

The discussion guides for both parents and schools will assist them to have safe conversations with young people about the tough and difficult themes depicted in the series.

All of the resources will be available on 13reasonswhy.info and the headspace website, just prior to the release of the show’s second season.

Immunisation Coalition 2018 Webinar: Influenza Vaccination in 2018

Immunisation Coalition

To find out about the latest information on the 2018 influenza vaccines, see the Immunisation Coalition's Influenza Vaccination Webinar recorded on Tuesday 17 April 2018.

Two new enhanced vaccines will be available for people over 65, through the National Immunisation Program (NIP). In addition, an updated QIV will be available for all adults under 65 and will be available under the NIP and in the private market.

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Nominations close soon for rural GP award

The Brian Williams Award commemorates the late Dr Brian Williams, rural GP, medical educator and Director of the Western Australia Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine.

This award acknowledges medical practitioners whose guidance and support enables rural GPs to safely dedicate themselves to their patients, their families and their communities. 

The award is in the form of a medal, presented at the Academic Session of the RACGP’s Annual Conference for General Practice (GP18) by the President of the RACGP and the Chair of RACGP Rural. The prize also includes:

  • Registration to attend the College's annual conference GP18
  • Return economy flight to the Gold Coast to attend the annual conference for the recipient
  • Accommodation (including breakfast) for two nights
  • An invitation to attend the RACGP National Faculties Evening held on Friday 12 October 2018.

Nominations close Friday18 May 2018 and can be made by two Fellows, or one Fellow and one Member of the RACGP.  All nominations are made via the RACGP webpage.

Medication Assisted Treatment Training for Opioid Dependence 2018

The RACGP is offering online and face-to-face training to:

  • Prescribers with information and strategies for safer prescribing of opioids in chronic pain settings. This education is an interactive two hours’ session presented by MATOD specialist GPs
    and is accredited for 4 Category 2 RACGP QI&CPD points for the 2017–19 triennium.
  • Prescribers with a need to prescribe pharmacotherapy to more than five patients with opioid dependence.

To find out more, including dates and learning outcomes, please see this flyer.

Applications for the 2018 Practice Manager of the Year Awards close Tuesday 8 May!

aapm logo

Apply now for the AAPM State Practice Manager of the Year Awards!

Each State Practice Manager of the Year recipient will receive flights, accommodation and registration for the 2018 National Conference in Canberra AND will also be a finalist for the National Practice Manager of the Year Award.

The 2018 National Practice Manager of the Year will receive a $5,000 travel voucher, with thanks to National Partner, AGPAL and QIP.

Hurry - don't miss this opportunity to apply and start thinking about your next holiday!

To find out more, please see the AAPM website

Ballarat Goldfields

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

New on HealthPathways:

  • Adult mental health referrals and advice
  • Child and youth mental health referrals and advice
  • Aged mental health referrals and advice.

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

New dietetic service  

Ballarat Health Services

Under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) of My Aged Care (MAC), Ballarat Health Services (BHS) are now able to provide dietetic services including home visits or outpatient sessions to eligible older people living in the community.

They provide goal orientated and person centred nutrition support plans including registering client for nutrition supplements as required, to help maximise their independence and autonomy to continue living well at home.

To find out more, including eligibility and referral information, please see this flyer.

Breaking Down Depression and Building Resilience Public Lecture

Black Dog Institute UniversityofMelbourne.161731

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health in collaboration with The Black Dog Institute invites you to attend a Public Lecture by Dr Janelle Sheen, ‘Breaking Down Depression & Building Resilience’ at the Education Resource Centre, (ERC) Ballarat Health Services, 1 Drummond Street North, Ballarat at 5:30 - 6:30pm on Monday 14 May 2018.

This is a community event and there will be no charge to those who attend.

To RSVP, please register online or contact Di Doyle, Events, Community Engagement & Alumni Administrator on (03) 5823 4512 by Monday 14 May 2018.

Next Palliative Care Breakfast

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Ballarat Hospice invite you to a Breakfast where Dr Claire Hepper and Dr Allison O'Neill will talk on The Art of Palliative Care in Aged Care. Participants will be encouraged to share tips and tricks to improve symptom control and end of life care in residential care.

Date: Thursday 17 May
Time: 7.45am - 8.45am
Venue: The City Oval Hotel, Cnr of Mair & Pleasant Streets, Ballarat

Please RSVP Ballarat Hospice by Monday 14 May or contact them on 5333 1118.

Domestic and Family Violence Response Training

Lifeline logo

Lifeline invites all health, allied health, community, higher education, childcare frontline workers to attend a nationally recognised training program that will enable participants:

  • 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.

Date: Thursday 17 May and Friday 18 May
Time: 8.45am - 5.00pm
Venue: Room 2, Education Resource Centre, Ballarat Health Services, 1 Drummond Street North, Ballarat

To find out more, including registration details, please see this flyer and Pre-employment Course Information.

Invitation to join the Ballarat Obesity Management Interest Group

Mr Douraid Abbas FRACS, obesity surgeon, invites local health care professionals to join the newly created Ballarat Obesity Management Interest Group. The interest group has commenced in Ballarat in a bid to provide quality care to the tens of thousands of individuals in the city struggling with obesity. The group aims to provide general practitioners and allied health professionals with the tools and knowledge they need to effectively combat obesity and to provide adequate support, guidance and care for their patients.

Date: Tuesday 22 May
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: SJOG Conference Room, Level 1

For more information and to RSVP, please email or call Della Vreeland on 5332 8100.

Invitation to Ballarat Addiction Network

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Orticare invite you to their next Ballarat Addiction Network meeting with guest speaker, Dr Yvonne Bonomo from the Women's Alcohol and Drug Service.

Date: Wednesday 13 June
Time: 6.15pm - 8pm
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, 101 Drummond St, North Ballarat

This presentation can also be viewed on Skype commencing at 6.30pm sharp.

To RSVP, please email Pauline Mo or call on 5338 9142.

Empowering Australians to make better health and lifestyle choices

Do you want to make a bigger difference in people’s lives by enabling them to manage their own health, wellbeing and lifestyle choices?

This Better Questions workshop will cover:

  • Recognising habitual patterns of response in our conversations
  • Understanding the impact of asking vs telling and the principles of asking Better Questions
  • Using Better Questions in practical scenarios
  • Handling resistance to the approach
  • Listening tips and traps
  • Improving your ability to ask Better Questions
  • Introduction to the BETTER QUESTIONS model
  • Experiential activity to practice asking Better Questions.

Date: Thursday 28 June
Time: 9am - 3pm
Venue: South West Healthcare Community Health Seminar Room, Koroit St, Warrnambool

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

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

New on HealthPathways:

  • Nausea and vomiting in palliative care
  • Stroke
  • Travel consultation
  • Neutropenia.

Recently reviewed and updated:

  • Early pregnancy assessment
  • Termination of pregnancy
  • Immunisation – travel
  • Adverse events following immunisation
  • Immunisation - childhood
  • Pain management programs.

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

Change to Barwon Colposcopy Service

Due to high demand, the Barwon Colposcopy Service is currently at capacity and will only be accommodating new patients that have had a Cervical Screening Test after 16 April 2018 and require a colposcopy as per the National Cervical Screening Guidelines. Patients that have had a Cervical Screening Test prior to 16 April 2018 and require a colposcopy will need to be referred to a private gynaecologist.

Great South Coast

Vestibular Rehabilitation introductory course

South West Healthcare

South West Healthcare will also present a two-day introductory course on vestibular rehabilitation, in May. The training aims to introduce clinicians to common vestibular disorders such as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Vestibular Neuritis/ Labyrinthitis, Ménière's Disease, Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction, Migraine Associated Dizziness, and central vestibular pathologies.

The course will cover: 

  • Vestibular assessment and differential diagnosis
  • Unilateral vestibular pathology: recovery mechanisms and implications for treatment
  • Audiology Testing
  • Anatomy and Pathophysiology of BPPV
  • Assessment and Management of BPPV
  • Introduction to Central Vestibular Disorders.

Date: Saturday 19 - Sunday 20 May
Time: 8.30am - 4.30pm
Venue: South West Healthcare, 25 Ryot Street, Warrnambool

For more information and to register, see this flyer.

Suicidal Prevention training workshops for general practice

Wesley Mission

These free workshops will enable practice managers and practice nurses to:

  • Develop a strategy or protocol to meet the needs of your general practice, with additional support provided by the identification of local organisations to draw on to assist your practice, staff and patients
  • Gain a greater understanding of risk assessments, suicide prevention intervention strategies and patient support and management.

These workshops will also demonstrate a strategy to provide assistance to a patient who may be considering suicide, understanding the time constraints of general practice consultations.

Practice nurse workshop
Date: Saturday 16 June
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, Bayside Plaza, 24 - 36 Fairy St, Warrnambool   

Practice managers and staff workshop
Date: Thursday 14 June
Time: 1pm - 3pm
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, Bayside Plaza, 24 - 36 Fairy St, Warrnambool 

To find out more please see the Practice nurse workshop flyer or Practice managers workshop flyer.

Wimmera Grampians

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

New on HealthPathways:

  • Nausea and vomiting in palliative care
  • Immunisation - travel
  • Travel consultation
  • Stroke
  • Post-acute stroke care
  • Non-acute neurosurgery assessment
  • Cognitive impairment and dementia.

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