Murray PHN eNews #69 | Improving the health of our local communities


Edition 69  | Improving the health of our local communities


Catchment Councils first  meeting
Last week, Murray PHN hosted the inaugural meeting of our Catchment Clinical and Community Council, which is made up of the Chairs and  their delegates of each of the  eight regional Clinical and Community Advisory Councils, plus members of the Murray PHN board and executive.

At the  meeting, the  Catchment Clinical and Community Council were provided  opportunity to present  on their views and  respective council work plans. The Catchment Council produced the following key messages to the  Murray PHN Board:

  • we commend the investment in the Advisory Council structure and the intention and efforts to establish an Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council
And we look forward to:
  • consolidating our regional work plans and council processes
  • improving communications between meetings
  • exploring ways for joint regional clinical and community council meetings
  • being  active and adding maximum value to Murray PHN and community outcomes.
Murray PHN's regional Advisory Councils underpin the organisation's commitment to community engagement and regional context in health service delivery.

Pictured: L to R top row: Brett McKinnon,  Clare Fountain,  Michael Leonhard, Fabian Reid,  Greg Gladman,  Toni Riley, Matt Jones and Dr Chris Atkins.
L to R bottom row: Dr Ewa Piejko, Sharon Smith, Dr John Buckley,  Emma Ghys, Ruth Mulligan  and Anne Somerville.
Those members who were present via tele-conference:  Dr Robert Campbell and  Joanne Kinder.
Apologies: Dr  Jan Sheringham,  Ric Raftis,  Allison McTaggart, Dr Lawrence Tay and  Kate Wright.
And we also welcome a new member David McCourt to the North East region.


Closing the Indigenous health Gap
Improved Indigenous health outcomes are one of the key health priorities of PHNs.

Earlier this month,  we joined Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service, Albury Wodonga Health, Gateway Health, Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation and Wodonga Council at a Closing the Gap event in Wodonga.

On the same day, our Indigenous Health Outcomes Coordinator Anna attended the Indigenous Eye Health Conference in Melbourne. During the conference Anna was encouraged to hear how the success of planning and implementing Indigenous programs increases when  local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved.

Pictured: Local MP Cathy McGowan concluding  the Close the Gap day event by cutting the cake - photo  courtesy of The Border Mail.


Local health professionals awarded
Seventeen health professionals and one practice were recently recognised for their outstanding commitment and dedication to their Victorian communities. We congratulate all recipients of the 2017 Victorian Rural Health Awards  particularly  those currently  working within our catchment:
  • Length of service award 35+ years:  Dr Michael Spillane  Bendigo, Dr Campbell Hunt Echuca, Dr Brian Murphy Mildura and Dr Mark Zagorski Mount Beauty.
  • Rural doctor award:  Dr Maria Rachinskaya and Dr Oleg Rachinsky  Donald.
  • GP locum award:  Associate Professor Ralph Audehm Tallangatta to Ouyen.
  • Medical specialist award:  Dr Arup Bhattacharya Shepparton.

Using online tools in suicide prevention (eMHprac)    mental health  

The prevalence of suicide in the Australian population is not diminishing.  During 2014-15 our region had 652 hospitalisations for international self-harm.
Research results suggest that thinking of suicide prevention as a wholly medical problem is not effective. Optimising mental health care and service delivery is only part of the solution. Other important factors known to reduce suicide in communities include improving mental health knowledge and literacy across the community and the early learning of skills and strategies to improve resilience.
Black Dog Institute are hosting a webinar on 5 April for GPs and GP registrars who are interested in achieving better outcomes for their patients with mild to moderate mental health problems.
(Media professionals can access Mindframe: who aim to provide advice on structure and responsible reporting and portrayal  of suicide  and mental illness).

Pap test rebate changes as new screening tests delayed
 cancer screening  
Changes to the cervical screening program planned for May, have been delayed until December 2017. It is important that women due for cervical screening continue to be tested using a cytology-based pap test. In order to maintain reasonable turnaround times during this period of delay, the following changes to pap test rebates have been announced by the Australian Government. The schedule of screening options:

  • From now until April 30 Medicare rebate for pap smear only. No rebate for ThinPrep ® liquid-based cytology (LBC).
  • May 1 until November 30 Medicare rebate for either  pap smear or  ThinPrep ® (LBC).
  • From December 1 Medicare rebate for HPV test. ThinPrep ® (LBC) will attract a rebate only in special circumstances. No rebate for pap smear.
For more on the changes: read information from  GynaePath by  clicking here  See Cancer Council Victorias new guidelines: the  recommendations in full  or  watch  a video of Dr Stella Heley, VCS Pathology presenting at a Murray PHN event last year. A new  Renewal | New National Cervical Screening Guidelines  Murray PHN CPD event has just been listed in Albury.

Vietnamese Australians encouraged to  get hep B tested
 population health  

Cancer Council Victoria has launched a new campaign to encourage Vietnamese Australians to get tested for hepatitis B. Many Vietnamese Australians are unaware that they may have hepatitis B and are at risk of developing liver damage or liver cancer.  Hepatitis B often shows no symptoms, but if it is not treated it can lead to serious health problems. A free blood test will identify if anyone has the virus.
The Cancer Council Victoria has interpreter resources  available in Vietnamese.  Click here  for more details.
If you work with CALD patients the Department of Social Services has a free interpreting service, delivered by TIS National: find out if you are eligible for the service and/or  register here.

Bowel cancer screening now more widely available    cancer screening  

Bowel cancer screening participation rates in our catchment are only 43% (2014-15) which is alarming given that an average of 100 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in our catchment.
New  ages (54, 58 and 68) have been added to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in a hope  to increase screening rates and save lives. At the same time Cancer Council Victoria is encouraging GPs to  support patients to complete the test which is simple, easy and painless.
SBS World News Presenter Anton Enus  recently shared his experience of being diagnosed with bowel cancer in his 50s. Anton encourages those who are seemingly  fit and healthy as he was, to speak with their GP, even if it feels awkward "just do it. It could save your life. I reckon it saved mine".

Giving  people with disability more choice and  support    mental health  
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing disability support to Australians living with disability, and their families and carers. The NDIS gives people with disability more choice and ensures they get the support they need.
Recently  The First Peoples Disability Network welcomed the NDIS for Indigenous peoples and created a 10-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
The NDIS is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency and will start rolling out across the Loddon region (Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mount Alexander) from 1 May 2017 and the Ovens Murray region (Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong, Wangaratta, Wodonga) from 1 October 2017.
Yooralla have put together some information, including what the NDIS does and doesn't pay for  click here to read  and click here to read  what  the difference is between the NDIA and NDIS.


Murray PHN CPD events

CPD events
For the full Murray PHN CPD events calendar click here.

Regional news

Government news



External CPD events



Surveys and public consultations

Grants and funding

Research and studies


My Health Record

If you are a health professional  requiring  assistance with certificates or registration with the Healthcare Identifier (HI) service or the My Health Record, call the My Health Record enquiry line for providers on 1800 723 471

Copyright © 2017 Murray PHN, All rights reserved.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this newsletter is accurate. Information in this  newsletter  may be duplicated in other media with due  acknowledgement  of the originating sources. Murray PHN does not  necessarily  endorse products and/or  services  advertised in this publication.

Murray PHN gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health.
Murray PHN ABN  92 156 423 755


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