DArcy Photography Leanne Beagley 070 cropped and resized2

My Health Record kits distributed to healthcare providers

Nearly 20,000 toolkits to inform all Australians about My Health Record are currently being distributed to health care providers, so many of you will probably have these kits already. The kits contain a broad mixture of materials for distribution to patients and consumers to inform them of the benefits of My Health Record, privacy and security controls, examples of data included and how people can opt out or find more information if they would like. Contents include information brochures, factsheets, posters, notepads, tent cards and repeat script folders.

Western Victoria PHN has been working hard to get the My Health Record message out this year with our digital health teams speaking to and informing GPs, pharmacists and, more recently specialists, for a number of months now. As well as that, Western Victoria PHN staff have been speaking to the community on My Health Record via events and special presentations. Commencing from next week the government will also be launching an advertising and promotional campaign to further inform the Australian public during what is the start of the opt out period.

The Federal Government, peak GP, pharmacy and healthcare bodies and all Primary Health Networks across Australia have all been involved in the rollout of information and education on My Health Record.

The rollout of the kits will help Australians make informed decisions during the opt-out period for My Health Record, which begins on Monday 16 July and runs until 15 October 2018. By the end of the year a My Health Record will be created for every Australian unless they choose not to have one. 

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


Bringing primary care together for better dementia care
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing: a shared decision
HealthPathways update
National Immunisation Program schedule changes resources
Influenza vaccine doses for potential re-direction
Foundations of General Practice Nursing Workshop – Melbourne
New Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care Practitioners Workshop

Ballarat Goldfields 

GP Palliative Care Breakfast
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program
Blood Management Workshop

Geelong Otway

RACGP workshop: My Health Record in general practice
GP Cardiac Education Evening
Improving the awkward contraception conversation with younger women

Great South Coast 

Diagnosis and management of Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia in Primary Care
Exploring Imagery Rescripting (ImR): managing trauma when words aren't enough


Bringing primary care together for better dementia care

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

General practitioners and practice nurses join forces to improve dementia care in Warrnambool, Hamilton, Colac, Horsham, Ararat, Daylesford, Ballarat and Geelong in August and September this year.

Caroline Gibson (Practice Nurse), Associate Professor Mark Yates (Geriatrician) and Dr Ramesh Sahathevan (Neurologist), all highly skilled clinicians in dementia care, will share their knowledge in a series of ten workshops to be held across the region. The workshops are supported by Western Victoria Primary Health Network and the Lundbeck Neurosciences Foundation.

Using the open access online information program - the Dementia Pathways Tool (DPT) – doctors and nurses will be upskilled in dementia diagnosis and the support required to better care for people with dementia from prevention to palliation.

There will be 35,000 people with dementia in Western Victoria by 2050, a 260% increase on the numbers in 2013.

“In general practice 2-3 patients in every 100 consultations will have dementia,” said Associate Professor Yates.

“Dementia is an important condition to identify and include in regular care especially for those with other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart failure,” said Ms Gibson.

Caroline Gibson is a Practice Nurse at Ballarat Community Health. She is a co -author of the DPT and is completing a PhD on the role of the practice nurse in dementia care. Associate Professor Mark Yates is a Geriatrician at Ballarat Health Services with 20 years clinical experience in dementia care and a co-author of the DPT. Dr Ramesh Sahathevan is a Principal Research Fellow with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Consultant Neurologist at Ballarat Health Services and a faculty member of the Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation.

(Hyperlinked to flyer and registration form) 
Ararat Monday 20 August
Ballarat Thursday 16 August
Ballarat Thursday 20 September
Colac Thursday 23 August
Daylesford Thursday 6 September
Geelong  Wednesday 29 August
Geelong  Wednesday 19 September
Hamilton  Thursday 30 August
Horsham Wednesday 8 August
Warrnambool Thursday 13 September

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing: a shared decision

PHN Western Victoria Logo medium

Deciding whether to conduct PSA testing is now less confusing, following the release of the consensus guidelines on PSA testing in 2016.

These guidelines are the culmination of a collaborative effort involving urologists, general practitioners, pathologists and epidemiologists, and have been endorsed by the NHMRC, RACGP and RACS (Urology).

The guidelines aim to reduce inconsistency in approach to PSA testing in Australia, and to ensure that patients are fully informed and involved in the decision-making process.

Key points from the guidelines include:

  • GPs should offer men the opportunity to discuss the benefits and harms of PSA testing before making a decision
  • The harms of PSA testing may outweigh the benefits, particularly in men over 70 years of age
  • Men at average risk who decide to have regular testing should be offered PSA testing every two years from age 50 - 69
  • Men with a family history of prostate cancer who decide to be tested should be offered PSA testing every two years from age 40 to 69 depending on their risk of prostate cancer
  • Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) is not recommended in primary care for asymptomatic men as part of PSA testing.

For further information on how to discuss PSA testing with your patients, the Victorian PHN Alliance have filmed three case scenarios which can be found on their Cancer Council Victoria website.  

All six Victorian PHNs, supported by the Victorian Government, are working together to promote the adoption of the prostate cancer Optimal Care Pathway into primary health in 2018, which incorporate the 2016 guidelines on PSA testing.

The Optimal Care Pathway for prostate cancer can be accessed via the Cancer Council Victoria website.

The PSA testing guidelines can be found at the Cancer Council Australia website

For more information about the pathways and PSA testing please contact Western Victoria PHN's Cancer Lead, Kirsten Hausknecht

HealthPathways update


New pages:

  • Speech and communication difficulties in adults
  • Trauma to teeth
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Rheumatology referrals
  • Oral and maxillofacial referrals
  • Breasfeeding support.

Reviewed pages:

  • Community acquired pneumonia in adults
  • Sick day management in diabetes in Type 1 and Type 2.

National Immunisation Program schedule changes resources

Department of Health

Please see links below to change communication materials hosted on the Department of Health's immunisation website.

Hardcopy materials, accompanied by correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer, have been mailed to vaccination providers Australia-wide including GPs, Aboriginal medical services, and other providers in each state and territory, as well as obstetricians and gynaecologists (maternal pertussis material only), and childcare centres (childhood schedule changes only).

Resources for vaccination providers:

Resources for consumers:

Influenza vaccine doses for potential re-direction

Victoria State Gov logo

In response to the weekly Influenza vaccine update, the department has been approached by a number of organisations/clinics with an excess supply of different influenza brands. To avoid the time involved with collection and re-distribution processes, we understand there may be clinics nearby who have a need for, and would be happy to pick up these excess doses under cold chain conditions.

If you are requiring vaccine and would like to check availability of excess stock in your area, please email the Immunisation Unit who may be able to give you the details of a nearby clinic who can help out.

Please contact the Immunisation Unit if you have excess stock of influenza brands.

Foundations of General Practice Nursing Workshop - Melbourne

APNAlogo.155329 small

General practice nursing is a different and unfamiliar environment to other areas of nursing practice. Developed and facilitated by local nurse leaders, this workshop will provide an overview of the knowledge and key skills required by nurses new and transitioning into general practice, and those looking for an update.

Date: Friday 27 July and Saturday 28 July
Time: 8.45am - 5pm
Venue: Cliftons Melbourne, 1/440 Collins St, Melbourne

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

New Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care Practitioners Workshop

Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne logos

With over 1 million people living with or beyond their cancer diagnosis, cancer survivorship care is a priority in Australian healthcare provision.

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) has created a new half-day workshop in Cancer Survivorship for primary care practitioners. These collaborative, interactive sessions will enable discussion with like-minded professionals from a range of disciplines, keen to deliver best-practice care for cancer patients during and after treatment.

Date: Saturday 18 August
Time: 9am - 2pm
Venue: Western Centre for Health Research and Education​, WCHRE Lecture Theatre, Sunshine Hospital, 176 Furlong Road, St Albans

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

Ballarat Goldfields

GP Palliative Care Breakfast

Ballarat Hospice2

Ballarat Hospice invites you to their next Palliative Care Breakfast for GPs with guest speaker Kathy Steenhuis speaking on the Grampians Regional Disability Palliative Care Project.  Kathy is a Project Officer with Client Enhancing Services, Uniting Ballarat.

Date: Thursday 19 July
Time: 7.45am - 8.45am
Venue: The City Oval Hotel, Corner of Mair & Pleasant Streets, Ballarat

Please RSVP by Monday 16 July via email or by calling 5333 1118.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program

The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program brings the principles of mindfulness meditation into everyday life by teaching specific skills and practices that can be incorporated into daily life to help break cycles of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion. In this eight week program participants will learn about and engage in curriculum and practices focused on:

  • The neurobiology and psychology of motivation
  • Building resilience and reducing stress
  • Cultivating emotional regulation and intelligence
  • Improving clarity and decision making
  • Engagement and effectiveness
  • Effective communication.

Date: Mondays from 30 July
Time: 6.30pm - 9pm

Please email Kate Skilbeck or contact her on 0408 540 895 for further information.

Blood Management Workshop

Ballarat Health Services

You're invited to a day for all staff involved in the transfusion of blood and products.  Topics will include:

  • Blood management standard – what it means at the bedside
  • Blood donation and manufacturing
  • Safe specimen collection and labelling
  • Appropriate use of blood
  • Transport and storage
  • Jehovah’s Witness patients and blood transfusion
  • Safe administration practices
  • Adverse reaction recognition, management and reporting.

Date: Tuesday 31 July
Time: 9am - 3pm
Venue: Ballarat Base Hospital, Education Resource Centre, Drummond St Nth, Ballarat

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

Geelong Otway

RACGP workshop: My Health Record in general practice


All Australians registered with Medicare or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will have a My Health Record created for them by the end of 2018 unless they choose to opt out between 16 July and 15 October. This workshop will address questions you may have regarding the expansion of My Health Record, including how it may affect your practice and patients.

Presented by Dr Rob Hosking (Deputy Chair, RACGP Expert Committee, eHealth and Practice Systems) and open to GPs, GP Registrars, practice nurses and practice managers, this workshop will:

  • Describe the role of My Health Record
  • Articulate the drivers for the implementation of a national eHealth system
  • Identify scenarios in which a general practice’s use of My Health Record might assist in improving patient care coordination
  • Understand the impact of My Health Record expansion on general practice workflow
  • Make an informed decision regarding participation in My Health Record.

Date: Thursday 19 July
Time: 6.30pm (registration) for 7pm start
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, 131 Myers St, Geelong

Register at this Eventbrite website or contact Susan Wheatley if you require further information.

GP Cardiac Education Evening

St John of God Geelong Hospital

You are invited to attend an Education Evening for GPs where the following presentations will be given:

  • Dr Aref Arjomand: 'Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion - what is it and what do I need to know?'
  • Dr Stephen Foy: 'Palpitations - understanding investigative options'
  • Dr Tharinda Uyange: 'Paediatric Syncope and the ECG'.

Date: Tuesday 24 July
Time: 6pm for a 6.30pm start
Venue: Education Room, Bridget Clancy Wing, St John of God Geelong Hospital

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

Improving the awkward contraception conversation with younger women


MSD invites you to an evening to hear Dr Marilla Druitt (Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, St John of God Hospital Geelong) talk about improving conversations with younger women about contraception.

Date: Thursday 9 August
Time: 6.30pm - 9pm
Venue: Truffleduck, 66 Hyland St, Fyansford

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

Great South Coast

Diagnosis and management of Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia in Primary Care

VHHITAL and PHN logosMelbourne Sexual Health Centre horizontal logo

VHHITAL, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and Western Victoria PHN invite GPs and primary healthcare professionals to attend an evening update on Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Chlamydia in general practice.

Facilitated by Dr Nick Medland, Consultant Sexual Health Physician at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, this evening update over dinner aims to update and inform healthcare professionals who may see syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia in primary practice.

Date: Tuesday 7 August
Time: 6.30pm - 9pm
Venue: Western Victoria PHN, Bayside City Plaza, 24/36 Fairy St, Warrnambool

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

Exploring Imagery Rescripting (ImR): managing trauma when words aren't enough

Australian Psychological Society

According to the Australian Psychological Society (APS), there is strong research evidence that prolonged imaginal exposure has positive outcomes for PTSD. However, the APS believes that for some individuals this approach is not effective.

The APS has found that imagery rescripting therapy, however, has been shown to be a valuable form of treatment. Specifically, Imagery Rescripting (ImR) has been developed for managing complex trauma. ImR employs schema-based therapeutic approaches that directly access maladaptive trauma-related images, and create new experiences of these memories characterised by mastery and nurture.

This workshop will address the four modules of ImR for use with clients presenting with complex trauma and provides a synopsis of new developments in the field, including the application of ImR for presentations such as depression and nightmares. The focus of the workshop is skill development using case examples, demonstrations of the four modules and skills rehearsal of each module to enable participants to effectively implement ImR.

Date: Saturday 1 September
Time: 9am - 4.30pm
Venue: Quest Warrnambool, 15-19 Liebig St, Warrnambool

To find out more, please the APS website.