Leanne 2019 westvic news

Western Victoria PHN Leads the Nation in Childhood Immunisation Rates

The Department of Health has released the updated March 2019 data on childhood immunisation coverage by Primary Health Network (PHN), revealing Western Victoria PHN is leading the nation in childhood immunisation rates.

Western Victoria PHN leads the Australian immunisation rates for children aged 12 to 15 months and 24 to 27 months with 96.08 per cent and 93.90 per cent respectively. We have also recorded the second highest immunisation rate in the country for children aged between 60 and 63 months with the rate of 97.11 per cent.

It’s great to have a high rate of childhood vaccinations recorded for the western Victoria region as we know a high number of our children are protected against serious diseases, which can be life threatening.

The high rate of immunisations in our region is a result of you as our hardworking healthcare providers, GPs and nurse immunisers, who have been supported by our immunisation consultants and practice facilitators.

As a PHN, we are proud to partner with immunisation providers, including primary care and local councils, to ensure timely vaccination of children and provide accurate and timely data to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Read the full media release here.

Also a reminder that next week is Women’s Health Week, running from 2-6 September.

Established in 2013 by national not-for-profit organisation, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, Women’s Health Week is held annually in the first week of September and celebrates improving the health of all women in Australia.

The campaign encourages women to make health a priority. Please be aware that the campaign may increase women visiting healthcare providers in the next few weeks for a check-up, preventative screening and vaccines. I encourage you to visit HealthPathways Western Victoria for a guide on Women’s Health.

Dr Leanne Beagley
Chief Executive Officer 


Health Alert - Novel Human Parechovirus (HPeV) Strain in Victoria

Suboxone Fact Sheet

Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training and New Resources for GPs

Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard – Consultation Open

Online Survey – Nursing, Midwifery, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Allied Health

Helping people with Young Onset Dementia using Telehealth


Ballarat Goldfields 

GP Facilitator Role - Longitudinal Primary & Community Care Program

Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment in Victoria - Public Consultation

Geelong Otway

Call for Applications: 2020 Dr Trevor Banks Scholarship for Palliative Care

Mental Health Skills for GPS

Practice Manager Networking Breakfast 

Great South Coast

High-sensitivity Troponin for Rural Clinicians

Wimmera Grampians

Practice Nurse/Manager Network Meeting


Health Alert - Novel Human Parechovirus (HPeV) Strain in Victoria

Dr Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Victoria issued a health alert on Thursday 22 August relating to an uncommon strain of human parechovirus (HPeV type 5) that has been identified in Victoria. 

Key Messages:

  • Six cases of HPeV have been identified since February 2019. All cases have been in neonates. 
  • HPeV is usually spread from person-to-person through contact with respiratory droplets, saliva or faeces from an infected person.
  • HPeV occurs commonly in the general population, and usually causes a mild respiratory and gastrointestinal illness in young children.
  • Some strains can cause a severe sepsis-like and neurological illness in neonates and young infants.
  • HPeV is not currently detected using standard enterovirus tests used in most pathology services.
  • Parechovirus PCR should specifically be requested in cases of severe illness, and if not available from local pathology providers, can be accessed through the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL).
  • No specific therapy is available; treatment is aimed at symptom relief and supportive care.
  • Good hygiene practices are vital to protect against gastrointestinal illnesses, including HPeV infection.
  • No vaccine is available to prevent HPeV infection.

Read the full alert here.

Suboxone Fact Sheet

The Suboxone Fact Sheet sets out the current regulatory, funding and supply mechanisms for Suboxone to provide clarity around Suboxone and its off-label use.

The Commonwealth Department of Health has reviewed the fact sheet and is satisfied that it clearly articulates the issues with accessing the PBS subsidy for Suboxone.

The fact sheet will be also available online at the Medicines and Poisons Regulation website.

Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training and New Resources for GPs

GP providers of Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS) are reminded to schedule an FPS continuing professional development (CPD) activity before Tuesday 31 December 2019. This is mandatory to maintain FPS eligibility with Medicare Australia in the 2017–19 triennium.

There are several activities available from RACGP below:

FPS ST CPD – A case-based Masterclass

This Masterclass consists of a series of thought-provoking, small-group, case-based discussion sessions facilitated by a GP with specialist experience in mental health and is accredited for 40 Category 1 QI&CPD points

Date: Selection of group based options, September – November 2019

Venue: Teleconference, format consisting of four two-hour, case-based discussion sessions

Cost: $295

Register here 

Focused Psychological Strategies Skills Training

Date: Wednesday 28 August – Sunday 1 December 2019

Venue: Online

Cost: $979

Register here

RACGP has also released a range of new resources for GPs including a new suite of videos on My Health Record, an eHealth webinar series, a pandemic flu kit, and a guide to information backup in general practice.

Access the resources here.

Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard – Consultation Open


The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is inviting comments from the public on the draft Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard.

Comments are sought from healthcare professionals, peak healthcare and consumer organisations, consumers and any other interested parties.

The development of national clinical care standards is a priority area in the Commission’s  2018-21 work plan. A clinical care standard contains a small number of quality statements that describes the care a patient should be offered for a specific clinical condition or defined part of a clinical pathway. It supports:

  • People to know what care should be offered by their healthcare system, and to make informed treatment decisions in partnership with their clinicians;
  • Clinicians to make decisions about appropriate care; and
  • Health service organisations to examine the performance of their organisation and make improvement in the care they provide.

The draft Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard and instructions for submitting comments are available on the Commission’s website.

The consultation period will be open until 11:59 pm Sunday, 15 September 2019. If you have any questions about the clinical care standards or the consultation process, please phone 02 9126 3600 or email: CCS@safetyandquality.gov.au

Online Survey – Nursing, Midwifery, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Allied Health

KBC Australia has been appointed by the Department of Health to evaluate the Commonwealth-funded Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program. 

As part of this they are conducting an online survey targeting Nursing, Midwifery, Dentistry, Pharmacy and other Allied Health professionals across Australia. 

You will be contributing directly to increasing the evidence about the value of placements to health workforce training and graduates’ career pathways.

Please note the evaluation has ethics approval through Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee. Take the survey here.

Helping people with Young Onset Dementia using Telehealth

Young Onset Dementia is any form of dementia diagnosed in people under the age of 65.

NorthWestern Mental Health has developed a project, funded by Better Care Victoria, called ‘Bridging Gaps in Health using Telepsychiatry and Telepsychology for Young Onset Dementia (BRIGHT-YOD Project)’.

The BRIGHT-YOD Project’s overarching aim is to improve access to diagnosis and ongoing care and support for people living with Young Onset Dementia (<65 years of age) in Victoria (particularly rural and remote areas) using telehealth/videoconferencing technology.

Telehealth can help people get assessment and ongoing specialist care that they may not be able to get to the Neuropsychiatry Unit due to issues such as:

  • being a long distance away
  • support issues
  • mobility issues
  • cognitive impairment

The service can be accessed via a GP or specialist service provider referral.

Find out further information here.

  HealthPathways Update


New Pages

  • Rural and Agricultural Health Assessment
  • Chemical Exposure and Toxicity
  • Animal Related Injury and Illness
  • Zoonoses
  • Spider Bite

Reviewed Pages

  • Lateral Condylar Humeral Fracture in Children
  • Breast Imaging – Diagnostic
  • Recurrent Staphylococcal Infection
  • Increased Haemoglobin

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

Ballarat Goldfields

GP Facilitator Role - Longitudinal Primary and Community Care Program

Deakin University Clinical School at Ballarat Health Services is seeking a GP Facilitator for its Longitudinal Primary and Community Care Program (LPCC). The total time commitment for the GP Facilitator is 5 hours per month, and includes:

  • Meeting with 4 students every 4 weeks for 42 weeks to facilitate group discussion (3 hours per month)
  • Identifying and recruiting some patients who the students can visit
  • Providing ad hoc support to students via email/phone calls (up to 2 hours per month)
  • Training to be provided in late 2019

Deakin University's year 3 LPCC is very different to the 4th year general practice rotation and does not involve students in parallel consulting or watching a GP in clinic. Instead, it is a set of student-directed community experiences, involving:

  • Visiting patients in their homes or accommodation
  • Following patients with chronic diseases over time within the community and following patients discharged from the hospital back into the community
  • Visiting community settings and agencies from which patients obtain support in the community.

Fill out the attached form to register your interest and forward to lpccadmin@deakin.edu.au. If available, please attach brief CV/resume and LPCC will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Expression of interest forms are due by 5pm on Monday 2 September. 

Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment in Victoria - Public Consultation

As part of the Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) practices in Victoria, The Health Complaints Commissioner is holding a series of consultation sessions in September 2019, including in Ballarat. 

ART consumers and providers can hear more about the Inquiry and share their experiences (anonymously if they choose). These discussions will inform a report, which will be delivered to the Victorian Government at the conclusion of the Inquiry.

The Health Complaints Commissioner will be holding a public consultation session for consumers and interested parties in Ballarat on Friday, 13 September 2019 at 12.30 PM – 2.00pm.

Please express your interest to attend the public consultation here or view the Discussion Paper here. Registrations close 30 August. 

Geelong Otway

Call for Applications: 2020 Dr Trevor Banks Scholarship for Palliative Care

Western Victoria Primary Health Network in conjunction with Hospice Foundation Geelong is seeking applications from Geelong region general practitioners for the 2020 Dr Trevor Banks Scholarship for Palliative Care.

The annual scholarship awards up to $5,000 to help Geelong region GPs attend national or international educational events related to palliative care.

Eligible applications are being sought from GPs or GP trainees working in Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula or Surf Coast, preferably with a long-term commitment to continuing their work in the region. Their current practice should include provision of care to people with palliative care needs.

The maximum scholarship payment to any individual doctor is $10,000 during any 10-year period.

For further information and to apply, visit the Western Victoria PHN website. Applications close Monday, 30 September 2019.

Mental Health Skills for GPS

Complete your Mental Health Skills Training in one full day of expert training in Geelong on Saturday 12 October.   

  • Enhance your ability to diagnose and treat mental disorders efficiently
  • Interactive Case Based Discussions to consolidate your knowledge
  • Earn 40 CPD points
  • Claim Medicare items 2715 and 2717
  • Online training material for psychiatric interviewing

The course is free and will be delivered by Psych Scene at Rydges Geelong, Cnr Gheringhap & Myers Street, Geelong.  For contact the Western Victoria PHN CPD team or phone 5222 0804

Register here.

Practice Manager Networking Breakfast 

Are you a Practice Manager in the Geelong Otway region looking for the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas with other practice managers?

Come and join the Practice Manager Networking Breakfast on Wednesday 4 September from 8.00 - 9.00am at Winter's Cafe and enjoy an informal networking session over a cuppa and breakfast. 

This event attracts 2 CPD points for AAPM members. 

Registration is essential by Monday 2 September. Book via the link here

Great South Coast

High-sensitivity Troponin for Rural Clinicians

High-sensitivity troponin is a great assay in the lab but a confusing test in practice. Listen to this talk, by Associate Professor Tim Baker, MBBS (Hons), BMedSc (Hons), MClinEd, FACEM, in Warrnambool on Tuesday 10 September to keep your patients safe and make decisions quickly.

Learning outcomes include:
• Understand the difference between old and fancy troponin.
• Incorporate high-sensitivity troponin in a chest pain pathway.
• Identify how to use troponin in rural general practice.

The training is open to General Practitioners, GP Registrars, Practice Nurses and Nurse Practitioners and is also available via webinar. 

The training will be held at Western Victoria PHN, Level 1 (Next to ANZ) Bayside City Plaza, 24-36 Fairy St, Warrnambool, will be held on Tuesday 10 September from 6.15pm - 7.30pm and attracts 2 RACGP Category Two Points. 

Register here. For further information contact Joy Ticchi or phone (03) 5564 5830.  

Wimmera Grampians

Practice Nurse/Manager Network Meeting

Western Victoria PHN held a Practice Nurse / Practice Manager Network Meeting On Wednesday 21 August in Horsham, which was attended by 16 health professionals across the Wimmera Grampians region.

Attendees heard from guest speaker Angela Mason-Lynch, who is a Practice Management Specialist for Avant in Practice Hub.

Angela delivered a session on “Applying QI Activities to Emerging Risks”. The session demonstrated how to perform Quality Improvements in practices using practical examples.