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Dr Ric Milner resigns due to health reasons from Western Victoria PHN Board

Long standing Board member, Dr Ric Milner, has resigned due to health reasons, after nine years of dedicated service. Ric was originally elected as a Director of the GP Association of Geelong in 2009, and has remained an elected Director throughout the various iterations of our organisation, including Barwon Medicare Local and then Western Victoria PHN on 1 July 2015.

Ric is a specialist general practitioner who has been in general practice for over 30 years. His special interests are addiction medicine, blood borne viruses and advanced care planning. Ric’s passion, commitment and genuine enthusiasm in wanting to make a difference for patients and the community has meant he has been involved in numerous organisational lead projects and activities. These and other efforts were recognised when he was voted the Victorian GP of the year in 2017.

Ric’s contribution and wisdom on the Board will be missed by all, especially fellow Board members and management, who have always had Ric’s support and encouragement.

Ric continues to be a great advocate for primary healthcare, as he deals with his own health issues.

We all wish him well.

Tony Ficca, Acting Chief Executive Officer

General

Members sought for Regional Integrated Councils
Winter Symposium: register today!
What's new on the PHN Learning Hub?
Acknowledging primary health care nurses' work on International Nurses Day
Apply NOW for Primary Care Nurse Excellence Awards!
Update on the National Cancer Screening Register
Chief Health Officer Alert: Increased incidence of Buruli ulcer in Victoria
National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Week: 14 - 18 May
Free webinar: Optimising the diagnosis and management of coeliac disease and gluten-related disorders
Grants available for ABCs of Practice Sustainability Workshop
Opioid Replacement Therapy Training
Medication Assisted Treatment Training for Opioid Dependence 2018
New date for GPADD 'Dealing with Addiction' Conference

Ballarat Goldfields

Walk all over breast cancer
Domestic and Family Violence Response Training
Life after suicide of a family member or friend
Invitation to join the Ballarat Obesity Management Interest Group

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update

Great South Coast

HealthPathways update
Vestibular Rehabilitation introductory course
Suicidal Prevention training workshops for general practice
Better Questions Workshop

Wimmera Grampians

HealthPathways update
Tackling opioid painkiller dispensing in the Wimmera region

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!

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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.

What's new on the PHN Learning Hub?

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The PHN Learning Hub is Western Victoria Primary Health Network’s new online learning management system which allows health professionals to learn, develop and update their knowledge and skills in an efficient and cost effective way, regardless of their location.

New on the Hub

  • Osteoporosis Back to Basics: recorded webinar for nurse practitioners and practice nurses
  • Autism – Youth Health Series: recorded webinar for GPs, registrars, primary health care nurses, social workers, psychologists, Aboriginal health workers and paediatricians.

Benefits of the PHN Learning Hub

  • Available and relevant for all health professionals working within western Victoria
  • Online access to CPD including courses, webinars, clinical support tools, practice support tools
  • Education that aligns with the RACGP CPD & QI requirements
  • Self-generated personalised Learning Plans
  • Repository and retrieval of certificates of completion at any time
  • Activity completion logbook that provides ability to upload personal entries creating one centralised place to record all CPD participation and generate a report.

To register or login, please visit the PHN Learning Hub.

Acknowledging primary health care nurses' work on International Nurses Day

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Nurses are an essential component to primary health care teams for improving quality and safety of care to people.

We acknowledge the dedication and commitment of nurses everywhere, and especially the remarkable role nurses play in advancing the health and wellbeing of people across the Western Victoria PHN catchment.

Happy International Nurses Day this Saturday 12 May 2018!

Apply NOW for Primary Care Nurse Excellence Awards!

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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. 

Update on the National Cancer Screening Register

Department of Health

Release 2 of the National Cancer Screening Register (the Register) will be available on 29 June 2018. This means that all pre-December 2017 results will have been migrated from the state and territory registers into the Register to provide national records for participants of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP).

To ensure the safety net provided as part of the NCSP, participant follow-up and correspondence will continue to be delivered by the state and territory registers in conjunction with the national Register until Release 2 is complete. Please continue to speak to your pathology laboratory for your patient’s screening test result.

During this transition period, you can access screening histories as follows:

  • For cervical screening histories up to 1 December 2017, please continue to contact your state and territory register
  • For cervical screening histories post 1 December 2017, please contact the NSCR.

For further information, please refer to the Quick Start Guide for Healthcare Providers (Transition) available on the NCSR website.

Chief Health Officer Alert: Increased incidence of Buruli ulcer in Victoria

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Buruli ulcer, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a growing concern in Victoria, with a steady increase in notifications since 2015, in people who have travelled to or live in endemic areas on the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas.

Early diagnosis is critical to prevent skin and tissue loss. Consider the diagnosis in patients with a persistent ulcer, nodule, papule, or oedema and cellulitis especially on exposed parts of the body. Follow the guidance in this Advisory on testing, making sure to take a dedicated swab reserved for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for the infection.

People of any age can get infected, and symptoms can occur four weeks to nine months after exposure to any endemic area; however there are very different levels of risk associated with the parts of Victoria that are endemic.

Buruli ulcer is a Group B disease and must be notified to the Department within five days of diagnosis.

To find out more, please see the full Health Alert.

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.  

Free webinar: Optimising the diagnosis and management of coeliac disease and gluten-related disorders

General practitioners play a central role in the diagnosis and management of coeliac disease. Although one of the most common chronic autoimmune illnesses GPs will encounter, coeliac disease is frequently overlooked and long-term care remains suboptimal. Knowing how to recognise and when to test at-risk patients are keys to detecting the 1.5% of Australians with coeliac disease.

This webinar will cover:

  • What is coeliac disease and how is it diagnosed?
  • When and how to test
  • What is gluten sensitivity and how is it different to coeliac disease?
  • The role of Human leukocyte antigen DQ2/8 genotyping
  • Family screening
  • Paediatric testing
  • Clinical follow-up
  • How the dietitian can help
  • Gluten free diet
  • Issues in follow-up: adherence, persistent symptoms.

Date: Wednesday 16 May
Time: 6pm - 7pm

To find out more or to register, please see this website.  You can also register for a recorded version by visiting this website.

Grants available for ABCs of Practice Sustainability Workshop

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Rural Workforce Agency Victoria has grants available for the ABCs of Practice Sustainability Workshop covering business training, setting goals, marketing, recruitment, nursing business models and performance management.

Date: Friday 25 May
Time: 8.30am - 4.30pm
Venue: Cumberland Lorne Resort, 150 Mountjoy Pde, Lorne

To find out about the Workshop, please see this flyer.  To find out about Grant information, please visit the RWAV website or email grants@rwav.com.au.

Opioid Replacement Therapy Training

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

The aim of the Victorian Opioid Pharmacotherapy Training is to provide pharmacists and pharmacy support staff with the relevant knowledge, skills and tools required to deliver a safe and consumer focused opioid replacement therapy service in their pharmacy.

This is a Victorian State Government funded program and is FREE to all pharmacists in Victoria.

ORT Part 1 training covers the basics of harm minimisation and opioid replacement programs including all technical, professional and legal requirements. It is delivered as both an online self-directed course and face-to-face sessions.

ORT Part 2 training is a case scenario based workshop in which the concepts learned from Part 1 are reinforced through real life scenarios and group discussions led by the workshop facilitator. It is delivered as both interactive live webinars and face-to-face workshops. You can register for upcoming webinars which be held on Wednesday 6 June, Tuesday 24 July or Monday 30 October 2018.

To find out more or to register, please visit this Eventbrite website.

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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.

New date for GPADD 'Dealing with Addiction' Conference

The RACGP Victoria Drug and Alcohol Committee invite you to attend the GPADD18 – Dealing with Addiction conference on Saturday 4 August and Sunday 5 August.

This conference will address some of the most common addictions and associated conditions that are presented to GPs in their daily practice, including chronic pain, real-time prescription monitoring, pharmacotherapy and more. Participants will receive the latest updates and practical tools for early detection, preventative approaches and management of drug, alcohol and other addiction-related problems.

The conference will be held at Yarra Valley Lodge, Chirnside Park, situated at the gateway to the Yarra Valley region with an easy 45-minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD.

To find out more about the conference or to register, please see this flyer.

Ballarat Goldfields

Walk all over breast cancer

Specialists on Drummond

One in eight women in Australia will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

This year the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic celebrates its 21st consecutive year. In that time more than 1.2 million Australians have walked and run their way to raising $33.2 million for breast cancer research.

On Sunday 13 May at event sites all over Australia the community will again unite and walk all over breast cancer.

'Specialists on Drummond' invite you to join their team at Windmill Drive, Lake Wendouree from 7am.

To find out more, please see this flyer.

 

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Domestic and Family Violence Response Training

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.

Life after suicide of a family member or friend

Lifeline Ballarat is pleased to offer a four week structured and professionally facilitated suicide bereavement support group beginning on Tuesday 29 May in Ballarat.
This program aims to provide education, mutual support and coping development to assist group members in understanding the grief that follows suicide.

Dates and times:

  • Tuesday 29 May 29, 6.00pm - 7:45pm
  • Tuesday 5 June 5, 6.00pm - 7:45pm
  • Tuesday 12 June, 6.00pm - 7:45pm
  • Tuesday 19 June, 6.00pm - 7:45pm.

Group members attend all four sessions. The program facilitators are Anita Hoare – Bereavement Counsellor and Educator, Judy Rowlands Crisis Support Supervisor Lifeline Ballarat. This program has been funded by the Ballarat and District Suicide Prevention Network.

Please call Lifeline Ballarat on 5322 4996 before Friday 26 May 26 if you're interested in participating. Further information can be found in this flyer

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.

Geelong Otway

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

New on HealthPathways:

  • Epilepsy in women and pregnancy
  • Nephrology referrals – acute, non-acute and advice
  • Constipation in palliative care
  • Nausea and vomiting in palliative care.

Recently reviewed and updated:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Advanced or end-stage COPD
  • Acute exacerbation of COPD
  • Prostate cancer established
  • Immunisation – childhood
  • Immunisation - influenza
  • Early pregnancy assessment.

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

Great South Coast

HealthPathways update

HealthPathways

Recently localised South West HealthPathways:

  • Nausea and vomiting in palliative care
  • Palliative care pain management
  • Palliative care pain medications
  • Constipation in palliative care
  • Chlamydia in adults
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Contact tracing
  • Urology referrals (acute, non-acute, advice).

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

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.

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:

  • Acute nephrology assessment
  • Non-acute nephrology assessment
  • Nephrology advice
  • 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.

Tackling opioid painkiller dispensing in the Wimmera region

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The nexus between chronic pain and medication dependence is increasingly becoming an issue of concern in primary healthcare, especially in rural and regional areas. Western Victoria has some of the highest rates of opioid painkiller dispensing in the country*. Over the period 2008-2014 there was an 87 per cent increase in prescription opioid deaths in Australia, with the greatest increase occurring in rural/regional Australia which saw a 148 per cent increase^.

Orticare Network and Western Victoria PHN joined forces to deliver a ‘Pain in Primary Care Masterclass’ last week in Horsham. The event was very well attended by local health providers and the information was well received by all. Some of the items covered were:

  • A focus on a bio-psycho-social approach to pain management and drug dependence
  • Understanding pain management and drug dependence as a continuum of need
  • Discussion of problems concerning codeine and upcoming changes to scheduling
  • The role of suboxone and increased confidence to prescribe this.

References
[*] Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation: Chapter 5 Opioid Medicines, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, 2015.
[^] Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2016 – a Penington Institute report