Murray PHN eNews #87 | Wishing you a happy holiday season

Edition 87  | Wishing you a happy holiday season

As our busy year draws to an end, we hope that you will all be able to take a break - however short - to rest, recharge and spend time with those you care for. For many of us, Christmas and the New Year are a time for family and celebrations; for catching up with friends and enjoying warm days and long summer evenings. However we also know that this time of year can also intensify feelings of loneliness, increase financial worries and strain relationships. So, our best festive wishes go to the hard-working health professionals who will continue to provide vital services while others are relaxing at home.

We acknowledge and thank our partner organisations for the work they do for our communities throughout the year. Closer to home, our thanks go to the 70+ plus members of our advisory councils for their commitment to our work and the local perspectives and knowledge they provide to our planning. I also want to thank all staff at Murray PHN spread throughout our five offices for the work they contribute in support of all communities in our region.

To ensure our team can recharge for the year ahead, we will be closing our offices  at 5pm on 22 December and opening again on  2  January.  In the meantime, Murray PHN and its staff wish you all a happy, safe and healthy holiday season. We look forward to working with you again in 2018.

Matt Jones,  CEO


Twenty year plan for Victoria's health care system announced
The Victorian Government has announced a new 20-year vision for the state's health system to build modern and world-class new facilities to meet growing demand in the future.

The  Statewide Design, Service and Infrastructure Plan for Victoria's Health System 2017-2037  delivers on the final recommendation of the Travis Review, which was the most comprehensive audit ever undertaken into the capacity of Victoria's hospitals.

The plan is intended to be a  blueprint to guide investment in the health system over the next 20 years to deliver infrastructure, services and resources in Melbourne and across regional Victoria. To access the plan, click here.


Victorian meningococcal vaccination programs

The Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton recently announced a Victorian, free, time-limited meningococcal C vaccine program for gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men (GBM / MSM). Menactra (quadrivalent meningococcal ACWY) is free for GBM / MSM who reside in Victoria. The program ends 30 June 2018. Click here for more information.

The time-limited adolescent meningococcal ACWY vaccine program for 15-19 year olds ceases on 31 December 2017. Adolescents aged 15 - 19 years at any time between 18 April 2017 - 31 December 2017 are eligible for a free dose of Menactra vaccine until this date. Click here for more information.

In 2018, a Year 10 secondary school meningococcal ACWY (Menactra) vaccine program for students (or age equivalent in the community) will occur.


New Murray HealthPathways  
The below pathways in the areas of eye, allied and children's health have recently been localised to the Murray PHN region. Note that you must be registered and logged into access. Health professionals in our region can get free access  here.

Lung cancer pathways in the North East region    cancer    

The Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre and its partners have developed a rapid access pathway for all patients with suspected lung cancer within the Border East Hume Region.

The rapid access pathway is now well established and functioning efficiently, as demonstrated by the reduced time between referral and treatment being experienced by patients locally. All GPs are encouraged to refer through the rapid access pathway for suspected lung cancer cases.  Click here for more details.

Revised information on self-collected cervical screening samples    cancer screening    

One of the components of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program which began on 1 December is the introduction of self-collected samples for HPV testing. The self-collection option has been included in the program to encourage women who are aged 30 years or over and have never had a screening test, or who are overdue for testing by at least two years and in either case have declined a healthcare provider-collected sample, to participate in cervical screening.

However, self-collection can only be implemented when the laboratory and platform testing processes and equipment attain the various accreditation requirements. This process is still underway. Laboratories are not yet accredited to perform the test and therefore the test is not claimable against the MBS.

Healthcare providers who conduct cervical screening tests are advised not to offer self-collection to eligible women until further notice. All other aspects of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program have gone ahead. For more information click here.

Indigenous health check (MBS 715) data tool  Indigenous health  

All Indigenous people are eligible for an annual Indigenous-specific health check: item 715 on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

A new tool from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows numbers and usage rates of the checks at national, state and territory and Primary Health Network levels. Charts can be customised to show different time periods and, where possible, dis-aggregations by age and sex. To download the tool  click here.

Sign up to receive important Victorian health alerts  population health  

Victoria's Chief Health Officer regularly issues health alerts and advisories about issues that have the potential to affect peoples health and safety.  If you aren't currently receiving these important notifications, you can sign up to do so here.
Update your practice details on the National Health Services Directory for summer      health directory  

As we head into a period of practice closures and an increase in visitors to many regions it is a good time for practices to ensure they can be found online. If you haven't registered for the National Health Services Directory, you can do so by visiting their website and completing the registration form.

If you are currently listed on the National Health Services Directory but have expanded your services to include new options, or if you have changed location, you can update your details by emailing

Survive the heat this summer  emergency preparedness  
The  Bureau of Meteorology is predicting above-average daytime and overnight temperatures in Victoria this summer - we have experienced a number of days with high temperatures already.

Extreme heat and heatwaves can affect anybody. Victoria has experienced two significant heat events in 2009 and 2014 where there were an estimated 374 and 167 excess deaths respectively. Planning and preparing for extreme weather conditions and knowing what to do is critical to ensure the health and wellbeing of Victorians, especially the most vulnerable in our communities. The Department of Health and Human Services has a range of information and resources  here.

Murray PHN events
Bendigo  19 February 2018 |  Stop Stigma Workshop
Mildura  20 February 2018 |  Stop Stigma Workshop
Shepparton  21 February 2018 |  Stop Stigma Workshop
Albury  27 February 2018 |  Stop Stigma Workshop

Murray PHN news

Regional news

Government  news




External CPD events and education

  • Click here  to access a list of  CPD and education events delivered by other organisations  locally and nationally.

Training and courses


Surveys and consultations

Grants, funding and scholarships


My Health Record
Murray PHN is partnering with the Digital Health Agency to deliver the My Health Record expansion program to our region in 2018.

The Australian Government announced in the 2017 Budget that every Australian will be provided with a My Health Record from mid-2018 unless they choose not to have one.

We will be collaborating with key stakeholders next year to deliver an awareness campaign. For more information on My Health Record, click here.

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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