Last month Western Victoria PHN welcomed the Victorian government announcement of a Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
The Commission will focus on identifying and solving system-wide issues across the mental health sector and the spectrum of treatment services including primary, secondary and tertiary care.
The Commission has made a commitment to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and promote more inclusive communities throughout Victoria.
Community consultation into Victoria's Mental Health Services commenced recently and will continue throughout April and May.
The Commissioners will hold three types of community consultation sessions in rural, regional and metropolitan communities. These will include:
- community forums for the public, people living with mental illness, their family members, carers and those with an interest in mental health
- sessions for people living with mental illness, their family members or carers who may prefer to attend a dedicated discussion
- roundtables on local issues
There will be multiple ways and opportunities for individuals to share their experiences and ideas for change with the Commission. Regular updates will be provided on this website over the course of the Commission.
We strongly encourage local health care professionals to assist people living with mental illness to access these opportunities to share their experience with Commissioners. You could also consider attending one of these sessions yourself. We will be working with our colleagues across Victoria to advocate a strong message that local community based access to primary mental heath care and where necessary secondary and clinical services is critical.
It is very important for the Commission that local voices are captured in this process.
Further information regarding when and where the sessions will be held can be found here: https://rcvmhs.vic.gov.au/whats-happening-now
Dr Leanne Beagley
Chief Executive Officer
Great South Coast
Western Victoria PHN and Wellways yesterday launched the new Well Connected mental health program to support people and families who aren’t part of the NDIS or public mental health services.
Well Connected is a psychosocial support program for those aged 16-64 who experience mental illness or mental health concerns. The program will provide a range of community-based mental health supports including outreach, peer support, and group based programs for people living with mental illness in the community and families.
The program is funded by Western Victoria PHN and the Commonwealth Government under the National Psychosocial Support Measure (NPS Measure). Services will be delivered by Wellways across the Geelong-Otways and Great South Coast regions, assisting some of the hardest to reach people in our community.
Well Connected is designed to help people who may struggle to engage with traditional services or who need essential mental health education and community support.
A comparable program, Connecting2community, is being delivered by Ballarat Community Health to the Wimmera-Grampians and Ballarat Goldfields regions.
Western Victoria PHN is pleased to announce four western Victorian health services will receive $20 thousand each to help deliver innovative and collaborative projects for improving patient access to after hours services.
The one-off grants will support projects for improving and streamlining out-of-hours health care for the community. All projects will need to be delivered by October 2019.
Congratulations to the following successful recipients:
- Hepburn Health Service - which will expand their current allied health services to better service the Hepburn Shire community by providing more specialist in-reach allied health services at a time and place which best supports client accessibility and by incorporating a public/private service mix to support continuity of care for clients.
- Lorne Community Hospital - which will design, test and document workforce alternatives, to better support rural GPs who are currently carrying the bulk of the on-call burden and provide a scalable model of care to address after hours health care challenges in rural and remote communities. The workforce alternatives will include Nurse Practitioners; Rural and Isolated Practice Endorsed Registered Nurses (RIPERN); and GP Registrars.
- Otway Health - which will explore and develop a process and pathway for growing the Nurse Practitioner rural workforce, which has previously been identified an effective workforce solution within the region. The pathway will enable Registered Nurses with an interest in rural health to undertake a stepped program to grow their skills to become a Nurse Practitioner.
- Wimmera Health Care Group - which will fund accredited emergency response training days for all relevant regional team members within the Wimmera Southern Mallee Health Alliance including Edenhope & District Memorial Hospital, Rural Northwest Health, West Wimmera Health Service and Wimmera Health Care Group.
Collaborative models for after hours support are successfully practiced overseas, particularly in many parts of Europe. In the Netherlands, anywhere between 40 and 250 physicians can work together to reduce the after hours workload on GPs while improving patient satisfaction. We are looking forward to seeing the outcomes of this year's projects which are designed to relieve pressure on state-funded services such as hospital emergency departments for after hours care.
The Department Health and Human Services is advising clinicians on the details of the 2019 government-supplied influenza vaccine including changes to the national immunisation program and virus strains included in this year's allocation.
The trivalent vaccine, Fluad for people aged 65 and over, has been pre-allocated to to GP clinics, Community Health Centres and Aboriginal Health Centres. It is important to confirm your clinic is included by reviewing the pre-allocation list on the Department's website. Once you have received your pre-allocation, influenza vaccine for other eligible groups can be ordered via the Government funded vaccine order form. Providers who do not receive a pre-allocation can also order the vaccine via that order form.
Other age-specific vaccines available this year are:
- FluQuadri Junior® (Sanofi Pasteur)
- FluQuadri® (Sanofi Pasteur)
- Fluarix® Tetra (GSK)
- Afluria-Quad® (Seqirus)
As part of the 2019 program, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older are now able to receive free seasonal influenza vaccines through the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Please review the processes in your clinic to ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older are offered a NIP seasonal influenza vaccine from 2019.
Others eligible for the free vaccine include:
- All children aged six months to less than five years - Victorian government funded
- All adults aged 65 years and over
- All people aged six months and over who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications; for example, severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes
- Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy).
Influenza virus strains included in the 2019 seasonal influenza vaccines are:
- A (H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09 like virus
- A (H3N2): an A/Switzerland/8060/2017 (H3N2) like virus (New in 2019)
- B: a B/Colorado/06/2017 like virus (New in 2019) (not included in the TIVs)
- B: a B/Phuket/3073/2013 like virus.
In addition, clinicians are reminded that the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination is now also provided free to pregnant women via the National Immunisation Program. Research has shown the most important factor associated with the uptake of the influenza and pertussis vaccinations during pregrnancy is a healthcare provider recommenation.
Please note, evidence around the timing of the pertussis vaccination in pregnancy has been reviewed and the vaccine is now recommended as a single dose between 20 and 32 weeks in each pregnancy including pregnancies which are closely spaced to provide maximal protection to each infant. For more details, refer to the 2019 Seasonal Influenza Vaccines for Preganant Women flyer.
parkrun Australia is inviting primary healthcare providers to participate in its Social Prescribing Survey to better understand what types of social prescribing are currently taking place, whether health professionals are/would consider referring patients to parkrun where appropriate, and what more we could do as an organisation to support that process.
parkrun is a not-for-profit organisation that supports communities to deliver a free 5km event every Saturday. parkruns are coordinated by volunteers and open to walkers, runners, volunteers and spectators of all ages to get involved however they choose. All events finish with a coffee/breakfast afterwards as the primary purpose is to foster social connections.
In the UK, GPs are able to refer patients to parkrun as a form of social prescribing.
You can access the survey here.
Western Victoria GPs are invited to participate in an audit to assess primary health care uptake of iron deficiency screen and treatment for patients with planned elective major surgery.
Approximately 30 per cent of the patients referred for major elective surgery will have preoperative anaemia. Australian data from over 12,000 patients found rates of assessment (4.4 per cent vs 77.9 per cent) and management of anaemia (81.9 per cent vs 13.6 per cent) and iron deficiency (81.2 per cent vs 15.5 per cent) in general practice was low compared to the hospital setting.
The audit is being coordinated by the Australian Red Cross and Victorian Government's Blood Matters Program. By completing the audit and associated activities, GPs will be better equipped to identify, assess and manage preoperative patients with anaemia and iron deficiency.
This audit is accredited for a total of 40 QI points in the RACGP QI&CPD 2017-2019 triennium.
Cancer Council Victoria is now accepting applications for the 2019 Dermoscopy for Victorian General Practic Program which offers tools and training to support skin cancer diagnosis.
This program is available for Victorian GP practices to apply for a chance to receive a fully subsidised Heine Delta 20T dermatoscope and enrolment to the Practical Dermoscopy course from the Australasian College of Dermatologists.
Successful applicants will receive one Heine Delta 20T dermatoscope (maximum of one per practice), and enrolment into the Australasian College of Dermatologists Practical Dermatology course for the period of June to August 2019 (approximately 30-50 hours of student effort during this time is required). This includes a full day face-to-face training to be held in Melbourne on Saturday 24 August 2019.
Applications close at 5pm Tuesday, 30 April 2019.
To apply, and for more information (including terms and conditions) visit sunsmart.com.au/dermoscopy
Past applicants to the program who were unsuccessful in past rounds may re-apply. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Physical Assault and Injury Recording
- Allocate Injury Type
- Strangulation (Choking)
- Rural Community Support During Adversity
- Immunisation - Childhood
To stay up to date on recent, locally agreed guidelines see HealthPathways.
Ballarat region health practitioners are invited to a special 'Clinical Sprints' presentation with Dr Ruth Bollard next month.
Ruth is a General Surgeon and Specialist breast and oncoplastic surgeon, whose practice comprises mostly of breast work, encompassing the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of all benign and malignant conditions of the breast and surveillance and prophylactic surgery for high-risk groups. She works at Specialists on Drummond and offersTelehealth consultation services, which is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care.
She's keen to share her many special interest areas with her peers and has agreed to the Clinical Sprints style presentation to enable her to cover as many topics as possible including:
- Magseed learning a new method of breast lesion localisation
- Discussions on benefits of telehealth for patients GP and specialists
- Discussions on the role of GP in Doctor Health - Wellness planning for general practitioners. This is a new area of interest for Ruth and something she is very passionate about.
A Q&A session will be held afterwards.
The event will be held from 6pm on Wednesday, 1 May. Registrations are essential.
More details are available from our events page.
The Grampians Regional Palliative Care Conference next month will offer world-class keynote addresses and industry-led presentations, as well as extensive networking opportunities, creating an interactive platform for high-level clinical discussions.
This year's conference will be held at Creswick on 23 and 24 May with the theme,‘Play, Eat, Love’ – What are the things that keep us alive. It will include a unique opportunity to participate in an Immunotherapy and Drug Interactions in Palliative Care pre-conference workshop, with Medical Oncologist Dr Vishal Boolell leading the discussion on treatment options for patients with advanced cancer.
Congratulations to Lake Bolac Bush Nursing Centre manager Jan Milliken who had her work featured at the recent Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association National Conference.
Jan's abstract submission on GoShare and Health Literacy was accepted for a poster presentation at the conference. Jan sees holistic healthcare as having a strong focus on appropriate, timely and user-friendly inforrmation for clients and patients. She wanted to highlight the benefits of tech-friendly sites such as GoShare Healthcare which allow nurses, at the touch of a button, to access health information.
St John of God Hospital is inviting GPs to take the opportunity to hear from a panel of experts discussing what is new in modern day comestic procedures and what GPs and their patients need to know as part of a presentation in Geelong later this month.
Attendees wil learn to recognise the indications for corrective jaw surgery (face, airway and bite); recognise the indications for eyelid surgery and ptosis repair; and discuss nasal surgery and the interaction of form and function. The event will be held at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 30 April and is accredited for 4 Category 2 CPD RACGP points.
Download the registration form for more details.
The Andrew Love Cancer Centre at Barwon Health is hosting a presentation on Monday, 6 May to discuss the treatment and management of melanoma.
Speakers will include Breast and Melanoma Surgeon, Mr Conrad Brandt, and Medical Oncologist Dr Anna Lomax,
Great South Coast
Western Victoria PHN has recently appointed two new staff members to oversee our pharmcotherapy services in the Barwon South West region.
Gabrielle Watt has been appointed as Pharmacotherapy Lead and Annie Henry is our new Pharmcotherapy Clinical Consultant. Both are based in our Warranambool office but will be travelling around the region to support GPs, pharmacists and other professionals working with clients who have opioid dependence including opioid replacement therapy.
Gabrielle and Annie look forward to meeting with clinicians throughout the Barwon South West and, in the meantime, can be contacted via our Warrnambool office on 03 5564 5888.
Practice managers, practice nurses and administration assistants from around the Wimmera-Grampians region recently participated in a Practice Development Workshop in Horsham.
Speakers included Avant Mutual Risk Adviser Martin Botros whoc discussed a range of medico-legal topics including documentation and medical records, privacy principles and how to deal with emerging medico-legal threats in social media.
A webinar session was also delivered by AGPAL Surveyor Chris Brown. Chris talked about th changes between the 4th and 5th editions of the RACGP Standards. Group discussion centre around the intent of these changes and moving towards a focus on quality improvement.