Tony Ficca cropped headshot

HealthPathways extends its reach across western Victoria

HealthPathways is a web-based information portal used at the point of care by primary care clinicians to plan patient care through primary, community and secondary health care systems within the western Victoria region.

Over the past year, the HealthPathways team has been busy rolling out the program from the former Barwon catchment to all of western Victoria.

There is now a significant amount of clinical and referral pages localised for all of western Victoria. Last October, we formally launched Ballarat Grampians HealthPathways and in June and July this year, the Horsham Wimmera and South West regions will be promoting the website to GPs and primary health care providers.

The total number of pathways live on the website is approaching 600, of these almost 600 have been localised for Barwon, 200 for Ballarat Grampians, 150 in Horsham Wimmera and 120 in southwest.

Other recent key successes include:

  • Receiving the award for best poster at last week’s International HealthPathways conference. The poster focused on integrating HealthPathways into student learning led by Dr Michael Axtens in collaboration with Deakin University
  • Publication of our GP Editors’ Dr Kellie McDonald’s and Dr Mark Davie’s paper, ‘Aiming for elimination: Outcomes of a consultation pathway supporting regional practitioners to prescribe direct-acting antiviral therapy for hepatitis C’ in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis
  • Participation of our HealthPathways Lead, Margie McLeod, on two expert panels ‘Keys to the HealthPathways coordinators role’ and ‘Conducting productive workgroups’ at the International HealthPathways conference held in Newcastle NSW.

To find out about locally agreed guidelines see HealthPathways. For first time users, the logon is westvic and the password is p4thways

Tony Ficca, Acting Chief Executive Officer

General 

Western Victoria PHN records the highest immunisation rates in Victoria
Members sought for Regional Integrated Councils
Last chance to register for our Winter Symposium!
Apply NOW for Primary Care Nurse Excellence Awards!
What's new on the PHN Learning Hub?
Cervical screening for people aged 70 years of age and older
Chief Health Officer Advisory: Concerns about lead in drinking water
Influenza vaccine supply update
New RACGP resource: Self-care and mental health resources for general practitioners
Medication Assisted Treatment Training for Opioid Dependence 2018
Publication provides advance care planning road map in aged care
Assistance for parents communicating their cancer diagnosis to children
Inquiry into obesity in Australia - next steps for Public Health Association of Australia
Free space with patient referral
Pulse Cardiology now in Colac
Online and webinar based Opioid Replacement Therapy training
Upcoming Black Dog Institute live webinars
Annual Lecture in Palliative Care
Rural Emergency Obstetrics Training

Ballarat Goldfields 

HealthPathways update
Persistent Pain Management Service
Fully funded Otitis Media Management course

Geelong Otway 

HealthPathways update
Applications open for Dr Trevor Banks Scholarship
GP tours of new facilities at Werribee Mercy Hospital

Great South Coast 

HealthPathways update
Suicidal Prevention Training Workshops for general practice
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Domestic and Family Violence Response Training
Better Questions Workshop

Wimmera Grampians 

HealthPathways update
Domestic and Family Violence Response Training

General 

Western Victoria PHN records the highest immunisation rates in Victoria

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

Western Victoria PHN has recorded the highest childhood immunisation coverage rates in Victoria. According to the latest data released from the Australian Government, Western Victoria PHN recorded the highest rates for one, two and five-year-old children across the state. Alison Elliott, Immunisation Consultant for Western Victoria PHN said the high rates are attributed to the work of immunisation providers across the region.

“We have exceeded the 95% benchmark in two of the three cohorts assessed. Local governments, general practice and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations have been instrumental in following up children and providing timely immunisations from reports created and distributed by the Western Victoria PHN immunisation program.

“It’s a collaborative effort from all immunisation providers in our region and this demonstrates excellence in ensuring children are receiving their vaccinations on time," said Alison.

The full data report can be assessed from the Department of Health website

For more information see HealthPathways: Immunisation.

Members sought for Regional Integrated Councils

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

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. Applications close Friday 1 June 2018.

Last chance to register for our Winter Symposium!

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

Registrations close this Friday 25 May for Western Victoria PHN's inaugural Winter Symposium 2018 'Collaborative Care: Pain, Alcohol and other Drugs, and Mental Health' to be held over two days on Friday 1 June and Saturday 2 June.

The event is targeted at 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.

Don't miss this opportunity to network and share with other health professionals. Ensure you register for this innovative event now before this Friday's cut-off date.

Apply NOW for Primary Care Nurse Excellence Awards!

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

The Primary Health Care Nurse Excellence Awards 2018 recognise nurses practicing in the western Victoria region who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the health and wellbeing of their patients by undertaking a quality improvement activity within their practice.

The purpose of this award is to highlight the commitment and results primary health care nurses make towards quality improvement work within western Victoria. The Western Victoria PHN Primary Health Care Nurse Excellence Award 2018 is open to primary health care nurses working within the geographical boundaries of Western Victoria PHN.

Last year's winner, Caroline Gibson from Ballarat Community Health shares how the Award has benefited her.

Caroline Gibson

"I was honoured to win the inaugural Western Victoria PHN Primary Health Care Network Nurse Excellence Award 2016-2017 for the development of a model of care and an on-line resource to guide practice nurses in their delivery of chronic disease management support for people living with dementia and their carers.

"Receiving this award has created numerous opportunities for me to talk about the role of practice nurses in dementia care as and to also complete a leadership skills workshop. Consequently, my confidence in presenting this project has increased as has my encouragement to other nurses to embrace the challenge of identifying gaps in current care and developing new ways of doing things to address these gaps," said Caroline.

Regional finalists from Ballarat Goldfields, Geelong Otway, Great South Coast and Grampians Wimmera will receive $500.00* to assist with continuing professional development expenses. The Primary Health Care Nurse Excellence Award 2018 Winner will be selected from the Regional Finalists and will receive $1000.00* to support continuing professional development expenses such as course or conference registration fees.

Applications close 5pm, Tuesday 31 July.  Please see our website for application details. 

What's new on the PHN Learning Hub?

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

We now have six new short courses on motivational interviewing by Dr Michael Axtens on the PHN Learning Hub:

  • Microskills of motivational learning
  • Engaging the patient using motivation
  • OARS
  • RULE
  • Rolling with resistance
  • Understanding the patient's motivations.

To find out more, register or login to the PHN Learning Hub.

The online PHN Learning Hub is available and relevant to all health professionals working within western Victoria. Health Professionals can obtain access to CPD including courses, webinars, clinical support tools and practice support tools. The PHN Hub also provides:

  • Education that aligns with the RACGP CPD & QI requirements
  • Self-generated personalised Learning Plans
  • A repository and retrieval of certificates of completion at any time
  • Activity completion logbook and an ability to upload personal entries creating one centralised place to record all CPD participation and generate report.

Cervical screening for people aged 70 years of age and older

Department of Health

Between the ages of 70 and 74, participants are encouraged to participate in routine Cervical Screening. If this Cervical Screening Test shows that no HPV infection is present, they can safely stop screening and exit the NCSP. If HPV is detected participants should be followed up in accordance with the 2016 Guidelines.

Participants can choose to continue screening beyond 75 years of age, but will not receive reminders from the NCSR to screen. However reminders for follow-up will be sent if an abnormal test result is received.

For more information see HealthPathways: Cervical Screening.

VictorianGovernment logo

Chief Health Officer Advisory: Concerns about lead in drinking water

In March, the City of Greater Geelong tested a random sample of its public drinking fountains following an alert from Barwon Water regarding the level of lead in water from two fountains in the municipality. These test results found levels of lead and some other metals in some fountains above the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

In response, the City of Greater Geelong commenced a process of testing its more than 140 public drinking fountains across the municipality.

People do not need to be worried if they have consumed water from the affected drinking fountains.

This is not an issue affecting Barwon Water's drinking water supply system. The drinking water supplied by Barwon Water remains safe to drink. Barwon Water routinely samples and monitors drinking water supplied to the City of Greater Geelong to ensure it is safe. All drinking water agencies must do this under Victorian law.

Read more

Influenza vaccine supply update

Following unprecedented demand for flu vaccines this year, supplies of the flu vaccine are becoming short across all Australian States and Territories. This shortage is being seen in both the private and government funded areas and across most types of influenza vaccines available from pharmaceutical companies. Because of this shortage, the Victorian Government is asking all immunisation providers to ensure that people in particular risk groups are given priority for receiving flu vaccine. To find out more, please see these leaflets: Information for immunisation providers and Information about vaccine supply.

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New RACGP resource: Self-care and mental health resources for general practitioners

General practitioners and other health professionals are encouraged to take care of their own physical, mental, emotional and social health and seek support when required.

There are multiple barriers that may prevent health professionals accessing mental health services, however self-care and mental health resources and services, specifically developed for GPs and health professionals are available.

Self-care and mental health resources for general practitioners is a new RACGP resource developed to increase GPs' awareness to supports available to them and provides an introduction to:

  • Self-care
  • Strategies to support mental health wellbeing
  • Promotion of GPs having an independent GP of their own
  • Where to access mental health support
  • Supporting mental health in the workplace
  • Further resources including support agencies, courses and reading material.

Visit the RACGP website for further details.

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.

Publication provides advance care planning road map in aged care

Advance Care Planning  National Ageing Research Institute Ltd

Advance Care Planning Australia has launched an advance care planning guide for aged care providers – the first of its kind in Australia. The publication, Advance care planning in aged care: A guide to support implementation in community and residential settings was developed in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI).

The guide offers comprehensive information on advance care planning specific to the aged care sector; from engaging with patients and families, policies and procedures and legal aspects relevant to each state and territory.

The guide was developed using findings from a literature review, a national survey of community and residential aged care providers, consultation with community and residential aged care staff from four states, and consultations with older people, as well as existing resources produced by Advance Care Planning Australia.

Copies of the guide are available for free for Australian aged care providers and can be ordered online.

Assistance for parents communicating their cancer diagnosis to children 

Royal Womens Hospital

Parents diagnosed with cancer who have at least one child between the ages of 3 and 12 may be eligible to trial new resources. These resources have been developed to assist parents to communicate with their children about cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Royal Women’s Hospital is reaching out to GPs across Australia treating parents who may be eligible to participate. They would like GPs to consider letting their patients know about the study and how to get in contact with the study team.

Participant involvement would comprise:

  • Completing a pre-intervention questionnaire
  • Watching the online resource
  • Using the accompanying question prompt list to aid in discussions with health professionals, if needed
  • Phone call from clinical psychologist two weeks later to review, consolidate and provide referrals or additional resources as needed
  • Completion of a post-intervention questionnaire
  • A short phone call to give feedback about the process of participating.

There is no hospital attendance or attendance at meetings/appointments.  To find out more, please email Michelle Sinclair or call her on a Friday on 03 8345 3908.

Inquiry into obesity in Australia - next steps for Public Health Association of Australia

Public Health Association Australia

A Commonwealth Parliamentary inquiry into the obesity epidemic in Australia has recently been announced, with a Senate Select Committee. The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) is in the early stages of preparing its submission with the assistance of members across multiple special interest groups including primary health care, health promotion, food and nutrition, child health, oral health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The PHAA submission will include a call for the introduction of a health levy on sugary drinks, the restriction of marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, a National Obesity Strategy, and other important measures in line with its own policies on food and nutrition and the prevention and management of obesity in Australia. A due date for submissions has not yet been announced, but the Committee is due to report on 14 August, so it is likely that submissions will be due in mid-June.

Please see the PHHA's Policy-at-a-glance document for the Prevention and Management of Overweight and Obesity in Australia Policy

Free space with patient referral

Asthma Australia landscape

For on-going asthma management education and support, you can refer your patients to the free 1800 ASTHMA Helpline service and they will also receive a free spacer.

Your patient will receive:

  • Asthma management education according to the Australian Asthma Handbook
  • A free Spacer if required
  • A free Asthma Control Pack including asthma basic facts, asthma first aid magnet, an asthma action plan template, information on medications and devices and a 'Be prepared for Thunderstorm Asthma' leaflet.

Patients can opt into The COACH ProgramⓇ for asthma, which is free health coaching phone service (for up to six months) that aims to help improve asthma control and general health.

Doctors can submit a referral through the Asthma Australia website or through electronic medical software referral templates.

For more information or to discuss other referral options, contact the 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462) or email referrals@asthmaaustralia.org.au

See also HealthPathways: Community Asthma Education and Support.

Pulse Cardiology now in Colac

Pulse Cardiology

Pulse Cardiology is pleased to announce the commencement of sessional consulting at 28 Hart St, Colac. If you would like to refer a patient to one of their cardiologists, please send a referral via fax on 03 5292 9300 or ReferralNet ID pulsecardiology.

Please see this flyer for further information about Pulse Cardiology.  See also HealthPathways: Non-acute Cardiology assessment.

Online and webinar based Opioid Replacement Therapy training

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

This training equips participants with the knowledge, skills and tools to deliver a safe and consumer-focused service.  The training is divided into two parts.  Participants can undertake Part 1 online any time and Part 2 via webinar. This is a Victorian State Government funded program and is free to all pharmacists in Victoria. To find out more, please see this Eventbrite website.

Upcoming Black Dog Institute live webinars 

Black Dog Institute

General practitioners and allied health mental health professionals are invited to these three webinars. Participants will be eligible for CPD points.

Click on the above titles to register and find out more.

Annual Lecture in Palliative Care

Centre for Palliative Care Feb 18

The Centre for Palliative Care and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre will be co-hosting the Annual Lecture in Palliative Care.

Luc Deliens, PhD, is a Professor of Palliative Care Research, Founding Director of the End-of-Life Care Research Group at VUB University & Ghent University in Belgium and also a member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium. His team of 57 is the country’s largest research group in palliative care and are within the top-3 in the field of palliative care research in Europe.

Date: Wednesday 13 June
Time: 5pm - 6pm
Venue: Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Lecture Theatre B, Level 7, 305 Grattan St, Melbourne

To register or find out more, please see The Centre for Palliative Care website.

Rural Emergency Obstetrics Training

Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

You only have two weeks left to register for the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine's Rural Emergency Obstetrics Training (REOT) on Sunday 1 July in Hobart.

REOT is a one-day workshop designed to prepare non-obstetric practitioners with vital emergency obstetrics skills, and instill the necessary confidence when dealing with third trimester emergencies.

REOT will provide participants with:

  • An opportunity to learn directly from rural doctors and midwives
  • Skills in normal birth procedures
  • Skills in common birthing emergencies
  • Essential knowledge and skills relevant to any type of doctor in any location.

To find out more, please see the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine website.

Ballarat Goldfields

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

New on HealthPathways:

  • Epilepsy in pregnancy
  • Nausea and vomiting in palliative care
  • Constipation in palliative care
  • Cough in palliative care
  • Stroke
  • Post-acute stroke care
  • ST-elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI)
  • Advances end stage COPD
  • Endocrinology referrals
  • Diabetes referrals.

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

Persistent Pain Management Service

Ballarat Health Services

This service is for people who have persistent pain and would like to learn how to better manage their pain. The service aims to assist patients in:

  • Improving knowledge and understanding of persistent pain
  • Developing strategies to manage their pain
  • Increasing activity levels
  • Improving well-being and sense of confidence
  • Getting back to regular activities and setting new goals.

Referrals can be made via email to Community Programs Central Intake.  For advice about a referral, please contact the Persistent Pain Management Service Co-ordinator on 0428 773 119.

For further information please see this flyer or see HealthPathways: Pain Management programs.

Fully funded Otitis Media Management course

Benchmark Logo

Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear, or a middle ear infection. This program is designed to develop the knowledge and skills required for professionals, particularly those working in Indigenous health, to safely assess the aural health of individuals and implement best practice management guidelines.

This program is currently fully funded by the federal Department of Health - which means there is no cost to participants.

Date: Thursday 28 June
Time: 8.45am - 4.30pm
Venue: Mercure Ballarat Hotel and Convention Centre, 613 Main Rd, Ballarat

To register, visit the Benchmarque Group website

For more information see HealthPathways: Otitis Media.

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

New on HealthPathways:

  • Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus
  • Iritis
  • Constipation in palliative care
  • Nausea and vomiting in palliative care.

Recently reviewed and updated:

  • Proteinuria
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Neutropenia
  • Intermittent claudication.

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

Applications open for Dr Trevor Banks Scholarship

Hospice Foundation Geelong

GPs or GP trainees are invited to apply for this scholarship, which awards the successful applicant $5,000 to assist attend a national or international education event related to palliative care. Its name recognises the outstanding contribution of Dr Trevor Banks OAM in establishing palliative care in Geelong in the 1970s.

To find out more, including eligibility requirements and application process, please see this Application form.  Applications close midnight, Friday 4 August 2018.

GP tours of new facilities at Werribee Mercy Hospital

Werribee Mercy Health

Mercy Health would like to invite all local general medical practitioners to tour of our brand new expansion at Werribee Mercy Hospital. The tour will include a Q & A session with program directors and a walk around the eight bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), new operating theatres, inpatient bed facilities. Light refreshments will be served.

Dates and times: 7.30am - 9am Tuesday 5 June and 6pm - 7.30pm Wednesday 6 June 2018
Venue: Main building foyer, Catherine McCauley building Werribee Mercy Hospital, 300 Princes Highway, Werribee

To register and find out more, please go to the trybooking website.

Great South Coast

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

Recently localised HealthPathways with southwest information include:

  • Endocrinology referrals (acute, non-acute, advice)
  • Diabetes referrals (acute, non-acute, advice)

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

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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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: Tuesday 19 June and Wednesday 20 June
Time: 8.45am - 5.00pm
Venue: 91 Hyland St, Warrnambool

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

See also HealthPathways: Family Violence Family Violence community support.

Better Questions Workshop

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

Communication typically consists of too much TELLING and not enough ASKING, which inhibits people taking responsibility for their own lives. The Better Questions workshop offers communication strategies and practical tips that will enable you to enhance your communication skills and professional practice.

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

To find out more, please see this flyer.

Wimmera Grampians

HealthPathways

HealthPathways update

Recently localised Wimmera Grampians HealthPathways:

  • Epilepsy in pregnancy
  • Diabetes specialist assessment - acute, non-acute and advice
  • Endocrinology assessment - acute, non-acute and advice
  • Nephrology assessment - acute, non-acute and advice
  • Nausea and vomiting in palliative care
  • Immunisation - travel
  • Travel consultation.

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

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: Tuesday 26 June
Time: 9.45am - 12.00pm
Venue: 8 - 22 Patrick St, Stawell

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

See also HealthPathways: Family Violence Family Violence community support.