Yesterday we said goodbye to one of the mental health sectors most passionate and dedicated voices for those that live with, or support someone with a mental illness, National Mental Health Commissioner Jackie Crowe (pictured on the left).
Jackie was a good friend to Murray PHN and a generous colleague and mentor, particularly to our Strategic Projects Coordinator, Jo Rasmussen (pictured on the right).
Jo describes Jackie as a woman who was fierce in her determination to improve the mental health system. Jackie's contribution in the mental health field was nothing short of vast, powerful and resulted in real improvements. Everything that Jackie did, was done with authenticity and not as a token gesture.
Jackie used connections to link people together, to collaborate on projects, share ideas, knowledge, and experiences and importantly, to support each other. True to her legacy, the networks that she worked to bring together, have united to support each other, in her passing.
So while we remember and honour the work and achievements of a friend and colleague, our task is to make sure that her work is continued, that the voice of those with a lived experience is heard, acknowledged, considered and acted upon and that we hold each other accountable in building a mental health system that meets the needs of the person and their families.
Evaluation of Murray PHN after hours projects by the University of Melbourne
A team of evaluators from the University of Melbourne's School of Population and Global Health, led by Associate Professor Rosemary McKenzie, has been engaged to evaluate and provide strategic guidance on Murray PHN's after hours program. They will assess the implementation and impact of 14 after hours projects conducted by the organisation since 2014, including five 'legacy projects' continued from the previous Medicare Local arrangements, seven projects from the 2015/16 After Hours Grants program and two further projects funded in 2016/17.
The evaluation will investigate the extent to which the projects have responded to gaps in service provision and increased access to after hours care for under-served populations, reduced after hours non-urgent emergency department presentations, reduced MBS after hours item use and costs, supported local GPs and reduced workload burden, and engaged with local industry partners and community stakeholders around health system improvement.
The team will also provide a 'Situation Analysis' bringing together national policies and trends with local data to guide the development of set of guiding principles for investment in after hours care for the 2017-2019 funding period. The evaluation team, comprising Rosemary McKenzie, an evaluator and educator with strong networks in rural Victoria, Allison Yates, a health economist with extensive experience in general practice, and Emily Munro-Harrison, a researcher and community advocate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, will consult widely with those involved in the projects.
They will work closely with Murray PHN's Clinical, Indigenous and Community Advisory Councils, connect with consumers via Murray Health Voices and also contact general practices to learn more about their after hour arrangements. The evaluation team will be in touch with key personnel in the after hours projects and will be visiting centres across the region during November.
Pictured left to right: Anne Somerville - Murray PHN Executive Director Strategy, Associate Professor Rosemary McKenzie - University of Melbourne. Dr Alison Yates, Penny Wilkinson - Murray PHN Executive Director Integration.
New Executive Director in the North West
Welcome to Jason Minter - Murray PHN's new Executive Director Regional, who will lead our team in the North West region, based in our Mildura office.
Jason has a background in social work and more than 25 years' experience working for state and commonwealth government agencies, and the not-for-profit sector.
Minister for Mental Health visits Mildura
Victorian Minister for Mental Heath, Martin Foley, visited Mildura last week and met with Murray PHN and members of the steering committee of the Mildura place-based suicide prevention pilot project.
Mildura is one of 12 sites in the state where the Victorian government is trialling this initiative. It forms part of the Victorian suicide prevention framework 2016-2025 that aims to halve the state's suicide rate by 2025.
Murray PHN is working with the community to develop and deliver suicide prevention plans that address local priorities and build on existing services and supports. Benalla, in the North East, is also one of the 12 sites taking part in the pilot project.
The Minister also met with representatives from the Sunraysia rugby league community to talk about the NRL's State of Mind program, that encourages players and leaders to talk about mental health warning signs.
Pictured: Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley (centre) with community and staff from Murray PHN and National Rugby League Game Development representatives.
Health awards and winners
The Victorian Rural Health Award nominations are open. The awards recognise the dedication and commitment of rural health professionals who make a difference to those living in rural Victoria. Award categories include:
Rural Doctor Award Outstanding Contribution
Rural Doctor Award New Rural Doctor
Medical Specialist Award
Aboriginal Health Award
Rural General Practice Award
Rural Nursing Award
Rural Allied Health Professional Award
Practice Manager Award
GP Locum Award
Medical Student Award
Nursing Student Award
Allied Health Student Award
Murray PHN would also like to congratulate our below partners on winning Premier's Health Services Awards last week:
Kyneton District Health - Primary Health Service of the Year
Benalla Health - Medium Health Service of the Year
Bendigo Health - Whole-of-hospital model for responding to family violence.
Rochester and Elmore District Health Service were also finalists in their respective categories.
Visit us at GPCE Melbourne Murray PHN is attending this year's General Practice Conference & Exhibition (GPCE) event with our partners Eastern Melbourne, North Western Melbourne and Gippsland PHNs to demonstrate our HealthPathways web portals.Speak with us at Stand 2122 from 10 - 12 November and learn how HealthPathways can give you quick and localised access to clinical and referral pathways, and patient resources.
New accreditation standards for general practices launched quality improvement
The RACGP has launched the Standards for general practices (5th edition) last week. They have been developed over a three-year consultation period with general practitioners, practices managers, nurses, consumers and other stakeholders.The standards are aimed at protecting patients from harm by improving the quality and safety of health services, while supporting general practices in identifying and addressing any gaps in their systems and processes. From 1 November 2018, practices will be required to be accredited against the 5th standards. Click here for more details.
New guidelines for GPs on breast cancer diagnosis cancer
Cancer Australia has developed new guidance for GPs to investigate and improve breast cancer diagnosis. The investigation of a new breast symptom: a guide for General Practitioners has been updated in line with contemporary practice and latest evidence.
The guide is designed to support health professionals in the investigation of breast symptoms. The recommendations utilise the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtriple testÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ approach to diagnosis which includes: medical history and clinical breast examination, imaging (mammography and/or ultrasound); and non-excision biopsy (fine needle aspiration cytology and/or core biopsy). The triple test is positive if any component is indeterminate, suspicious or malignant. Click here to access the guide.
Commonwealth subsidies for GPs in rural locations anaesthetics and obstetrics
The General Practitioner Procedural Support Program is a workforce support program aimed at improving access to obstetric and anaesthetics services for people living in rural and remote communities.
It supports rural GPs to attain procedural skills by providing funding to enable them to obtain either the Advanced Diploma of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists or Advanced Rural Skills Straining in Anaesthesia qualifications. Applications for the current round of funding are open and closing 23 November 2017. Click here for more details.
Fixing the pain in TAC payments TAC
Eligible TAC providers can now submit invoices through LanternPay, a digital payment solution. This new platform allows providers to instantly verify TAC client eligibility when billing for accident-related services, submit a digital invoice and know immediately if the payment is approved and receive payment for approved invoices the next business day. More than 1,000 TAC providers are already on the LanternPay system.
There are no set up or ongoing fees, just a 1.45% fee per transaction (or 73 cents on a $50 invoice), typically cheaper than the cost of printing and mailing paper invoices, with no follow-up administration. This fee does not go to the TAC but is paid by monthly direct debit to LanternPay. LanternPay is accessible on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. For providers who choose not to adopt the LanternPay system, the TAC's paper-based option is still available. Register for the system here.
Information Security Guide for small healthcare businesses cyber security
The Australian Digital Health Agency has launched its Information Security Guide for Small Healthcare Businesses developed in partnership with the Australian government's Stay Smart Online Program. The guide provides simple guidance for non-technical health professionals around issues such as privacy, passwords, software updates, back-ups and staff security awareness.
Your healthcare business or practice has access to valuable digital information entrusted to you by healthcare consumers, suppliers and employees. The information and systems your business uses to access and store this information are critical to its ability to operate.
If criminals compromise your computer systems or steal important business information, your business may suffer significant financial loss, possible legal liability, reputational damage and your customers' personal information may be misused for fraudulent purposes. Some cyber attacks may cause you to lose access to critical business systems or Internet bandwidth making it difficult to run your business. Click here to access the guide