Murray PHN eNews #77 | Murray PHN is evolving

Edition 77  | Murray PHN is evolving

Murray PHN is evolving

This is an important week in the evolution of Murray PHN. We have completed the restructure of our functions and started to realign our positions accordingly.

Murray PHN has progressed beyond developing and building an organisation that builds engagement and identifies opportunities.   Our immediate focus is on maximising our capacity and opportunities to improve health care and health outcomes in our region.

The need for change in primary care means that, for us to be agents of change, we need to be flexible in our approach.   Our role is to ensure integration across our health system and region.   The basis for our restructure is to enable greater integration across our organisation through our functions.

Our Strategy Team is at the heart of our organisation, combining population health data and best practice evidence with consumer voices to understand the health needs of the Murray PHN community.
Our Integration Team will focus on systems and quality, investing our $40 million commissioning budget in activity that aims to strengthen the primary health system across our catchment, relative to local need.
Our Regional Team is place-based, building productive and collaborative relationships with health services in each region and providing primary care leadership and local support.
Our Corporate Team has responsibility for finance, procurement, organisational development and support, communications, risk and governance.

We are using evidence of need to fund models of care that support the coordination of care, identify gaps in vital services and provide regional solutions, particularly for people suffering chronic illness.

We look forward to continuing to work with you on improving health outcomes for people living in the Murray PHN region.

Matt Jones, CEO

StepCare in General Practice begins in the region

Murray PHN has partnered with the Black Dog Institute to introduce the StepCare in General Practice program to the region, to help people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

The program allows patients to complete a short, voluntary survey on a tablet that gives them an instant assessment of their mental health while they wait in their GP's waiting room. The application then emails the assessment directly to the patient with a range of targeted Black Dog self-help resources, and to the patient's doctor with treatment suggestions.

Murray PHN is initially introducing this program to 10 GP practices across the region, and if proven to be effective it will be rolled out more widely in the future. The White Hills Medical Practice in Bendigo commenced the service on Monday 24 July, and Spring Gully Primary Health will go live later this week. The other eight practices will go live over the coming weeks.

Pictured: Dr Fady Henry, Practice Principal White Hills Medical Practice and Nyree Gale, Black Dog Institute.

Doctors in Secondary Schools program begins in Kangaroo Flat and Wedderburn

Students at Crusoe Secondary College in Kangaroo Flat and Wedderburn College in Wedderburn will now have access to a general practitioner at school, with the Victorian Government's Doctors in Secondary Schools pilot program starting on their campuses last week.

Murray PHN has partnered with the Department of Education and Training to deliver adolescent health trained GPs to 22 secondary schools in the region, to assist young people to get the health and wellbeing support they need.   Dr Jo Dennis from Bendigo Community Health Service will visit each of these schools one day a week.   Elsewhere in the region, Kyneton Secondary College has begun the program with GPs from Campaspe Family Practice. Click here for more details.

Pictured: Crusoe College Principal Brad Madden with Bendigo Community Health Service GP Jo Dennis.

Goulburn Valley Advance Care Planning workshop

A Clinical Working Group for Advance Care Planning was held at Goulburn Valley Health on 14 July to provide guidance on the development of a series of pathways that will be made available to local health practitioners via Murray Health Pathways.

The workshop was an initial discussion of how Advance Care Planning works in the local area and what the pathway will need to cover in order to help address some of the barriers for the community and health professionals around Advance Care Planning discussions.   When the pathways are available, they will include information about legislation changes due to come into effect in March 2018 regarding Advance Care Planning in Victoria.

The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Margi Gould, Clinical Editor for the Goulburn Valley region for the Murray HealthPathways project.   Attendees included Dr. Susan Furphy, Helen Pettifer, Dr. Sivakumar Subramaniam, Karen Richards, Dr. Arup Bhattacharya, Carmel Smith and Cathy Scott. Anyone who was unable to attend and would like to discuss the meeting or would like to participate in the process to create Advance Care Planning pathways can contact the Goulburn Valley office at or phone (03) 58315399.

Provide guidance to Murray PHN: Non-executive director Board vacancies   board vacancies

Murray PHN invites suitably skilled and interested people to nominate for one of three non-executive director vacancies.  These vacancies have come about through several directors reaching the end of their appointed terms. Click here  for more details.

Planning for mental health needs in the Loddon Shire    mental health    

The Loddon Healthy Minds Network  is currently planning the activities it will undertake over the next five years. Feedback received via a survey will enable the development of  a plan that is relevant and valuable to the Loddon community.  Click here  for more details

Pharmacist Chronic Disease Management Pilot to help ease burden of disease    chronic disease    
The Pharmacist Chronic Disease Management Pilot is a scheme being trialed to bring pharmacists and doctors together to better manage patient illnesses. Working under a care plan developed by a GP, pharmacists will provide regular monitoring, dose refinement, earlier intervention and prompt referral back to the GP when necessary.

The program is aimed at easing the current burden on doctors, with more than half of all visits to GPs currently involving the management of at least one chronic  condition. Three of the four pilot sites are in the Murray PHN region at Alexandra, Kerang and Kilmore.  Click here for more details.

Recruiting: improving oral health with first major national study    preventable hospital admissions  

People in New South Wales and Victoria are being encouraged to take part in dental interviews and free dental examinations as part of the National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-2018.

The study being conducted by The Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health at The University of Adelaide, aims to  collect information  from 15,000 people and provide a  representative sample of people living in Australia aged 15 years and over.  Click here  for more details.

Project to improve dementia care in rural communities   dementia  
Researchers from La Trobe University's Wodonga-based John Richards Initiative have received $1.7 million in Federal Government funding to implement their Virtual Dementia Friendly Rural Community (VERILY) project to support those who care for people with dementia and their rural communities.

The project is aimed at better supporting carers, local volunteers, staff and potentially reduce the need for more expensive and disruptive residential care or multiple acute care admission. Communities in the Murray PHN region taking part are Heathcote, Kilmore. Robinvale and Mansfield. Click here for more details.

Easier organ donation process to help save lives    organ donation  

Ahead of Donate Life Week 2017 - which runs from 30 July to 6 August this year - a new organ donation registration process has been unveiled, allowing people to register to become a donor almost instantly using a mobile phone, tablet or computer.

New research by the Organ and Tissue Authority has found a gap between the number of Australians willing to become an organ and tissue donor (67 per cent) and the actual number of registered donors (33 per cent).  There are around 1,400 Australians currently waiting on lifesaving transplants.  Click here for more details.

Prescribing tips: how to start an opioid    chronic pain  

This week is National Pain Week (July 24-30) which is a reminder that pain a problem for many people with life-limiting illnesses. Having access to up-to-date, evidence-based and trustworthy information is valuable when looking for options and making clinical decisions around a patient's care. CareSearch offers many helpful resources for GPs, and in particular how to initiate and titrate an opiate, and manage and switch opioids.  

Murray PHN CPD

For the full Murray PHN CPD events calendar click here.

Regional news

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External CPD events

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Surveys and consultations




My Health Record

Almost 20 per cent of the Australian population now has a My Health Record. In Victoria the percentage of the population that has one is 16 per cent, while in New South Wales it is 21 per cent.

There are also 10,143 healthcare provider registrations.

The latest statistics show:

  • Over five  million people have a My Health Record, with an average of one new record being created every 38 seconds.
  • Over 11,177,677 prescription and dispense records have been uploaded.
  • Over 10,143 healthcare providers are connected, including GPs, hospitals, pharmacies, aged care residential services, allied health.
  • Over two  million clinical documents uploaded.
For more information on My Health Record, visit the website.

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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