This is my final blog for the year and a time to think about safety for the holiday season.
The Bureau of Meteorology has asked everyone to prepare for extreme heat this summer with predictions of above average daytime temperatures for 2019.
The Victoria Emergency App is an excellent resource for individuals to be aware of their own safety as well as that of their community. I encourage you and your staff to download this resource.
Please also inform your staff, patients and communities that:
- Extreme heat can affect anybody.
- Heat can cause illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion which can lead to the life-threatening condition, heatstroke. Heatstroke is fatal in up to 80% of cases.
- Those most at risk are older people, young children and people with a medical condition, so families and neighbors should keep an eye on those who are vulnerable.
As part of local preparations for the holiday season, our After Hours team this week launched a campaign to encourage people to consider their after hours options for medical attention. We are repeating a similar campaign we did 18 months ago called “Make the right call to get the right care” where the public are encouraged to firstly contact their GP, and if their GP is not available, to then contact the after hours GP helpline. Emergency contact details are also included as part of the information.
All GP practices across western Victoria will be receiving posters by mail, and boxes of ‘give-away’ magnets will be delivered by our staff. Posters have been sent to a range of centres including community and tourist information centres, caravan parks, pharmacists, dentists, pharmacists, etc. We are also promoting the after hours messages through print media, radio, TV and social media.
I wish you all season’s greetings and a safe, happy and prosperous new year.
Dr Leanne Beagley
Chief Executive Officer
Great South Coast
Western Victoria PHN is seeking expressions of interest from health services in the region with ideas for collaborative approaches to deliver sustainable after hours care for the community.
One-off grants of between $10,000 and $20,000 are available to support models of care involving primary health care providers working together to provide out-of-hours care for their patients while reducing dependence on state-funded services such as hospital emergency departments. The projects will need to be delivered between March and October 2019.
Western Victoria PHN undertook service mapping earlier this year and identified variable levels of integration and collaboration amongst after hours services in the region. The research found further opportunities for collaborative approaches to help alleviate some known workforce challenges in offering out-of-hours support.
Tenders for the grants can be submitted until Tuesday, 21 January 2019. Apply via Tenderlink.
The Victorian and Tasmanian PHN Alliance - the collective platform for Primary Health Networks in the two states - has released a snapshot of its achievements and developments for the past year.
Highlights include the establisment of the Chair and Deputy Chair positions held by Western Victoria PHN CEO Dr Leanne Beagley and Murray PHN CEO Mr Matt Jones.
The shared focus for 2019 will continue on expanding opportunities for statewide system reform and integration of services to improve access, equity and the impact of primary health.
Read the Victoiran and Tasmanian PHN Alliance 2018 year in review flyer for more details.
Turning Point - Australia's leading addiction treatment, education and research centre - is seeking interest from a General Practitioner from the western Victoria region to be part of an exciting initiative for providing peer-to-peer secondary consultation and mentoring service for Victorian GPs with patient issues relating to high-risk prescription medications identified through SafeScript.
The successful applicant will receive high quality, paid clinical training and mentoring as part of a dynamic team of GPs, addiction and pain specialists.
Applications close on Friday, 11 January 2019.
The PHN Learning Hub reached its first anniversary on 4 December marking a year of essential health learning and development across the western Victoria region.
The Hub celebrated its milestone by reaching over 400 users. Of these, over 250 have been registrations from PHN members; 95 from guests; and 55 from Western Victoria PHN staff.
Importantly, 80 per cent of those who sign up are return users, underlining the value of the Hub to health service providers and Western Victoria PHN staff.
Users have made the most of various programs on offer including courses, webinars, clinical support tools and practice support tools.
Congratulations to all involved and here’s to the next successful 12 months.
- Management of Seizures in Palliative Care
- Floaters, Falshes, Retinal Detachment
- Oral Care in Palliative Care
- Medications for Osteoporosis
- Zoledronic Acid Infusion
- Vitamin D Supplementation
To stay up to date on recent, locally agreed guidelines see HealthPathways.
Western Victoria PHN in partnership with Deakin University's Rural Clinical Schools is offering two $10,000 scholarships to eligible General Practitioners in the South West region to take part in the Opioid Training Program for two years.
Deakin's Geelong Medical School has developed an improved pain management and safer opioid prescribing component for inclusion in its Doctor of Medicine curriculum from 2019. The scholarships will enable GPs to undertake advanced training to become facilitators of pain management workshops for Rural Clinical School students.
Applications for the scholarships should be submitted by Friday, 21 December.
Twenty per cent of Australians live with persisting pain but less than ten per cent get help to recover.
Next year, Western Victoria PHN Quality Use of Medicine Lead, Pene Wood, will take part in a special cycle ride around Tasmania to raise funds and promote awareness for the Pain Revolution movement.
Pene has been selected to participate alongside Pain Revolution ‘boss’ Lorimer Moseley, other health care professionals and support team members, to cycle 700 klms around Tasmania. The eight-day ride takes place in March 2019.
The ride will also include educational events in Devonport, Burnie, Smithton, Launceston, Hobart and Huonville.
For more information and to support the ride, and Pene in particular, please click on the links below:
With the summer months now upon us and bringing with them increased health risks associated with more holidaymakers, higher temperatures and the fire season, Ballarat area clinicians participated in a timely Rural and Regional GPs’ Emergency Skills Workshop.
The intensive, hands-on workshop covered essential topics such as ophthalmological emergencies, anaphylaxis and burns. Feedback was positive with many participants calling for a repeat of the workshop next year.
The workshop was one of a number of training and networking events recently held in the Ballarat Goldfields region including a Talking to Patients about Weight information session in collaboration with the Cancer Council of Victoria and Central Highlands Obesity Prevention Lab; a presentation from Ballarat Health Services Emergency Department Director Dr Pauline Chapman on how to improve the interface between GPs and EDs; and a forum for Practice Managers and Practice Nurses on My Aged Care in liaison with Central Highlands Primary Care Partnership.
Western Victoria PHN recently held a collaborative event for practice managers and practice nurses titled ‘Developing the Practice Dream Team: a practice manager and practice nurse partnership’.
Over 30 champions representing 15 practices from across the Geelong region attended the event, held at GMHBA stadium. Facilitated by Jen Flakemore - who has more than 20 years’ experience in practice management and specialises in healthcare practice setup, support and training - the event provided opportunity for interactive discussion and activities around team building. Participants shared learnings and ideas and participated in various team building activities designed to foster a team-based model of care.
There can be significant overlap across administrative and clinical roles in primary care (recalls and reminder systems, cold chain management, accreditation etc) and better outcomes can be achieved when a team approach is implemented, and staff use specific skill sets to their full advantage.
The session was successful in providing attendees with strategies and tools to work toward building a cohesive practice team.
Great South Coast
Our Warrnambool-based staff have a new location but it's not difficult to find.
The Western Victoria PHN's Great South Coast office has moved up to the first floor at the Bayside City Plaza in Fairy Street to make space for Bethany downstairs.
All the same friendly faces are still there and all contact phone numbers remain unchanged.
The Benchmarque Group recently hosted a nutrition support program in the Wimmera Grampians region for a wide range of primary health workers including pharmacists, nurses and myotherapists.
Attendees widened their knowledge on how to support patients to improve nutrition including hearing from Dr Tina Campbell from Healthily about the GoShare patient resource platform that allows providers to easily and quickly send tailored health information to their patients via email or SMS.
The final Wimmera Grampians Practice Manager and Practice Nurse networking event for 2018 was recently held in Horsham.
The group heard from guest presenters about primary care's role in taking action to prevent family violence along with important telehealth initiatives happening in the Wimmera for improving care for cancer patients.