Murray PHN eNews #79 | Increasing the peer mental health workforce

Edition 79  | Increasing the peer mental health workforce

Supporting the wellbeing of workers who provide health services to the Indigenous community
The  Loddon Mallee Social and Emotional Wellbeing forum, organised by Mallee District Aboriginal Service has been held in Moama this week. The forum gave Social and Emotional Wellbeing workers who provide services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait community, the opportunity to get together to  learn and chat. The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation defines health as not only the physical wellbeing of an individual, but also the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community. Speakers  included:
  • The  Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • headspace Swan Hill and Mildura
  • Te Kohao Health from New Zealand
  • The Department of Health and Human Services
  • Centre for Rural Health and Flinders University
  • Bunjiliwarra (Aboriginal youth rehabilitation service)
  • Murray PHN
The discussion  focused on ways providers can  assist young people with mental health and alcohol and other drug issues. Traditional medicine and working in rural areas were highlighted by the Centre for Rural Health. The forums beautiful bush setting  provided an ideal place to learn about self-care and service improvement.

Murray PHN's CEO Matt Jones (pictured) spoke about his journey working in Indigenous health and  the lessons he has learned along the way. He spoke about how his experience  has shaped his approach to Indigenous health and the importance of recognising culture. He also highlighted the importance of collaborative approaches, with participants agreeing it was vital to the success of health programs.

Mental Health Peer Workers graduate
On Thursday 17 August,  eight students graduated from their Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work.

The innovative course, provided by VICSERV and Wodonga TAFE, was funded in part through scholarships provided by Murray PHN's Loddon Mallee Murray Partners in Recovery program.

Mental health peer support offers consumers and carers an increased sense of hope and control over their lives, along with a greater sense of belonging.

The scholarships are just one part of the system change that we are implementing, based on recommendations from the National Mental Health Commission's 2014 report "Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities".  

Read more about the graduates  in the Bendigo Advertiser's story  here.

Pictured  L to R: Melissa Hand, Belinda Pearson, Andrea Boyce, Amy Woo-Youla, Roger Lount, Tracey Smith, Julie McNamara, Lorelle Zemunik (VICSERV Senior Trainer) and Peter Grant.

Changes in referral pathway for  district nursing and allied health services
The Department of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services are changing the referral pathway for community nursing and allied health services for older people that are funded through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Referrals will now be required to be made through My Aged Care unless the client has immediate need for services. This is in line with other Commonwealth Home Support Program  services such as home care services, domestic assistance, social support, flexible respite, meals and home maintenance. Patients requiring assessment such as an Aged Care Assessment or Home Support Assessment also require referral via My Aged Care.

From 1 October 2017, referrals for Allied Health and District Nursing are to be referred according to the clients need for service:
Urgent referrals: exceptional circumstances where a client has immediate need for services and their safety could be at risk if services do not start immediately. Services that regularly meet this criteria are district nursing, personal care, meals and transport.  Referrals that meet this criteria should be sent direct to the service provider as per current practise and also registered on My Aged Care.
All other referrals are required to be lodged through My Aged Care through one of the following methods:
1. Online referral  for faster and more efficient outcome for your patient. Confirmation and receipt number will be provided when using the online form.
2. Fax utilising the My Aged Care Referral forms
3. Phone, call the My Aged Care Contact Centre on 1800 200 422 The patient does not have to be present for you to make a phone referral, but you must have their consent. You can ask the client to call My Aged Care.

A five-minute YouTube introduction/demonstration for health professionals on the My Aged Care online referral form is available here. More information for health professionals on My Aged Care is available here. The My Aged Care Helpline can be called  t: 1800 836 799.

Offer free Meningococcal ACWY vaccine to 15-19 year olds
General practices in Victoria are encouraged to offer free Meningococcal ACWY vaccine to young people aged 15 - 19 years until 31 December 2017.

To combat a recent rise in cases of deadly strains of meningococcal disease, the Victorian Government has introduced a free, time-limited vaccination program for young people aged 15-19 as the most frequent carriers of the disease.

There were 48 cases of the ‘W’ strain in 2016, up from just one in 2013. Cases of the “Y† strain are also increasing.

Patients aged 15, 16, 17, 18 or 19 years at any time between 18 April 2017 - 31 December 2017 are eligible for a free dose of Menactra ® vaccine. Eligible patients do not need to be Medicare card holders.

A single dose of Menactra ® provides protection against A,C,W,Y strains and will boost adolescents' protection from the C strain vaccine they likely received as a baby. While local councils are delivering the vaccine in secondary schools, a significant number of eligible adolescents may not be in secondary school or may be absent when the vaccine is offered. The option to receive the vaccine from general practice is essential.

Further detail on safety, reporting and eligibility is contained in the fact sheet for immunisation providers.  Add Menactra ® vaccine to your next vaccine order.  

Have your say in training development for real time prescription monitoring    real time prescription monitoring  

The Victorian Government has committed to implementing real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) in Victoria. This will involve rolling out a software system to more than 1,900 medical clinics, 1,300 pharmacies and 200 hospitals throughout the state.

RTPM is a clinical decision support system that will allow prescribers and community pharmacists to access an up-to-the-minute supply history of certain high risk medicines for their patient at the point of consultation. This will enable health practitioners to intervene earlier for people at risk of harm and respond appropriately to patient needs.

A consortium of primary health networks, health providers and partners was recently awarded the tender to deliver training to primary care prescribers and community pharmacists. To ensure we deliver the appropriate training for RTPM, we are asking general practitioners, practice managers, nurse practitioners and community pharmacists working in primary care settings  - and any other health professionals involved in prescribing and managing pain -  to complete a 20 minute survey. To complete the survey  click here  - closing 5pm 6 September. For more information e:  or
t: 03 5222 0806.

Funding to tackle obesity and poor health in Loddon Campaspe    potentially preventable hospital admissions  
The Victorian government has announced  $150,000 for the Healthy Heart for Victoria initiative in Bendigo to help align regional and state-wide efforts to tackle preventable health problems, in particular obesity and mental health issues. The project is the result of engagement with the local community led by the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership.

The Loddon Campaspe region has an adult obesity rate of 23.4 per cent.  This is the highest rate of obesity across all Regional Partnership regions, and compares to a state average of 17.4 per cent. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, costing the state $14.4 billion annually.  The $150,000 grant will support a business case to accelerate and target existing efforts for more impact, including those identified in the six Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans. Click here for more details

Rapid access pathway for suspected lung cancer in the Border East Hume region    cancer  
The lung cancer multidisciplinary team at Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre and partners have developed a rapid access pathway for all patients with suspected lung cancer within the Border East Hume Region. The newly implemented model has increased the frequency of multidisciplinary team meetings from monthly to weekly and has incorporated a clinic component, enabling patients to rapidly access multidisciplinary expertise in the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

This project aligns with the Optimal Care Pathways for Lung Cancer. All patients with suspected lung cancer, lung nodules or masses should be referred immediately to a specialist within the Rapid Access Lung Cancer Clinic/Multidisciplinary Team Meeting. For further information regarding signs and symptoms, initial investigation recommendations, ideal referral content and specialist referral pathways  click here. Should you have any questions e: or t: 02 6064 1530.

Grants to fight ice and drug addiction in Bendigo and Tallangatta    alcohol and other drugs  
Bendigo Community Health Service, Sports Focus and the Victorian AIDS Council will receive Victorian government Community Ice Action Grants for programs in the Bendigo area aimed at local cricket clubs, LGBTI communities and health and community services professionals, as well as the wider community, while the Towong Shire Council will receive one for a battle of the bands in Tallangatta.

The grants will engage and educate local communities across the state through initiatives such as workshops, forums, digital media content, and art projects. For more information  click here.

STAREE - Statins in Reducing Events in the Elderly    statin therapy  
A world first, placebo-controlled statin trial, based in general practice is underway and is seeking  involvement. The School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University will be working with GPs to invite their patients aged 70 and over - who are free of cardiovascular disease  and diabetes - to participate.

The study is funded by The National Health and Medical Research Council,  with no pharmaceutical company endorsement. Practice reimbursement and CPD points are available. STAREE staff will perform all required assessments on your practices behalf. See the attached document for a more detailed rationale.  For additional information visit  and if you have any questions or want to become a valued GP co-investigator t: 1800 770 664 or e:

Murray PHN CPD events
For the full Murray PHN CPD events calendar click here, upcoming events include: foot health, chronic disease support, brief interventions, palliative care, paediatrics  and additional thunderstorm asthma workshops.

Regional news

Government news




External CPD events

  •  Click here  to access a list of external CPD events.



Grants and funding




My Health Record

What is My Health Record, why is it important, and how can it help? This short (2:36) introductory video answers these questions from a variety of perspectives: the patient, the carer, and Australian Digital Health Agency staff members.

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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