Murray PHN eNews #90 | Data identifying local needs


Edition 90  | Data identifying local needs

Weeroona College Doctors in Secondary Schools program launched

Weeroona College in White Hills is the fourth school in the Bendigo region to offer the Victorian Government's Doctors in Secondary Schools initiative, launching the program at the school's swimming carnival today.

Students were joined by Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan and GP Dr Andrea Nies and practice nurse Michelle den Elzen  from Bendigo Community Health Services to talk about the program.

Murray PHN has partnered with the Department of Education and Training to deliver this  project to our region. The statewide initiative provides school-based health services for 100 Victorian secondary schools most in need. The Murray PHN region is home to 22 of these schools.

Photo, left to right: James Thomas - Project Director Department of Education and Training;    Michelle den Elzen   - practice nurse, Bendigo Community Health Services; Jacinta Allan - Member for Bendigo East; Dr Andrea Nies - GP Bendigo Community Health Services; Leanne Preece - Principal Weeroona College; Penny Bolton - Doctors in Secondary Schools Project Coordinator Murray PHN.


New Needs Assessment
We are pleased to publish our third regional Needs Assessment for 2017/2018, building on the evidence in our 2016/17 Needs Assessment published last year.A key role of Murray PHN is to identify and analyse health and service needs in our region and prioritise activity to address those needs. By identifying these priorities, we can use funding to commission services that support health service delivery, access, equity and management of health conditions efficiently and effectively across primary health care for patients in our region.Click here to  read the Needs Assessment.

Victoria achieves record vaccination rate

The latest figures from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register show that 95.3 per cent of five-year-olds in Victoria are fully immunised.  Importantly, the state's immunisation rate has risen from 93 per cent in 2016.

The 95 per cent "herd immunity" target is vital to halt the spread of dangerous and virulent diseases. High rates of vaccination provide important protection for those who cannot receive vaccines, such as babies or people with medical reasons for not being vaccinated.  Of the 79 local government areas in the state, 26 have immunisation rates below the 95 per cent threshold for five-year-old children compared with 54 under-vaccinated regions five years ago. According to the Register, this is how local government areas in the Murray PHN region fared:

  • Alpine - 100% immunised. (96.67% five years ago)
  • Benalla - 92.11% immunised (90.91% five years ago)
  • Buloke   - 100% immunised (100% five years ago)
  • Campaspe - 94.96% immunised (96% five years ago)
  • Gannawarra - 96.55% immunised (94.12% five years ago)
  • Greater Bendigo - 97.43% immunised (93.6% five years ago)
  • Greater Shepparton - 96.22% immunised (89.88% five years ago)
  • Indigo - 94.12% immunised (96.08% five years ago)
  • Loddon - 92% immunised (91.67% five years ago)
  • Macedon Ranges - 95.71% immunised (95.1% five years ago)
  • Mansfield - 94.74% immunised (96.67% five years ago)
  • Mildura - 95.83% immunised (94.23% five years ago)
  • Mitchell - 97.48% immunised (95.9% five years ago)
  • Moira - 97.73% immunised (92.86% five years ago)
  • Mount Alexander - 87.8% immunised (93.03% five years ago)
  • Murrindindi - 92.59% immunised (89.19% five years ago)
  • Strathbogie - 100% immunised (100% five years ago)
  • Swan Hill - 96.05% immunised (88.24% five years ago)
  • Towong - 94.12% immunised (100% five years ago)
  • Wangaratta - 95.15% immunised (93.18% five years ago)
  • Wodonga - 93.58% immunised (96.55% five years ago)

Primary mental health reform and stepped care
The primary mental health system is about to change with the implementation of the stepped care model in our region from the beginning of  March. The 11 preferred service providers who will be delivering the new model in our region with their partner organisations, were announced in the last edition of eNews and are now preparing to begin services.

Stepped care is central to the Australian Government's mental health reform agenda and is used by PHNs to guide mental health activity.

This consumer-led reform is  aimed at providing the best possible care for people experiencing mental illness, increasing  care among underserviced  priority health groups  and  making  mental health care available in a way that best suits individuals.

Stepped care gives people the opportunity to step their care up, or step it down, depending on their health needs. It also provides access to a range of care options that my be appropriate from time to time.

General practitioners and service providers will be contacted directly by Murray PHN with information on the changes and supports available.  In the meantime, GPs, clients and carers who are wondering how the changes affect them can access information here.


Help for health professionals
The Australian Digital Health Agency has updated the one page My Health Record Support Model Overview, which lists who you can contact for the different types of supports available - from healthcare identifiers (HPI-Is, HPI-Os and IHIs) to digital credentials  (Medicare and NASH PKI certificates) to general  enquiries and technical support. Click here to access the list.

Community meeting to discuss suicide prevention in Benalla    suicide prevention  

A community meeting will be held to discuss current and future suicide prevention strategies within Benalla. This is an opportunity to hear from the Benalla Mental Health and Wellbeing Steering Committee about what has been happening over the last six months in the place-based suicide prevention initiative.

The meeting will take place at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start on Monday 26 February at Glasshouse, Lakeside Community Centre, Arundel Street South Benalla. Please RSVP by 5pm Thursday 22 February to

2018 Closing the Gap Report released    Indigenous health  
It has been ten years since  the  introduction of the Closing the Gap framework to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes.

This week the Australian Government released the tenth Closing the Gap report,  showing three of seven targets are on track to be met, including the target to halve child mortality. Other outcomes that have improved include higher immunisation rates, increasing levels of antenatal care, decline in circulatory disease and decreased smoking rates.  To access the report, click here.

Quad-strain meningococcal vaccine added to National Immunisation Program    immunisation  

The Australian Government will be  adding a quad-strain meningococcal vaccine to the National Immunisation Program (NIP). The new vaccine (Nimenrix) covers against A, C, W and Y strains (MenACWY) and will be added to the NIP ahead of the next peak meningococcal season which, based on previous years, is expected to be in the second half of the year.

In recent years we have seen a rise in the number of invasive meningococcal cases in Australia. In 2017, there were 382 cases reported nationally, compared with 252 cases in 2016 and 182 cases in 2015. Deaths associated with meningococcal have also risen, with 28 deaths in 2017, compared with 11 deaths in 2016 and 12 deaths in 2015.

Currently, infants aged 12 months are given a single-strain Meningococcal C vaccine. For more information, click here.  

Help to fight flu this winter    immunisation  

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  is conducting a survey  to understand how the Victorian public and those who provide healthcare to them, currently view flu and annual vaccinations, as well as other protective measures.

Your participation  will  assist the DHHS to develop  information and resources available on The Better Health Channel  this coming winter, to help all Victorians understand more about the flu. The survey will close 9 March.  Click here to take the survey.

Nurse practitioner candidates in alcohol and drugs scholarships in the Loddon Mallee region  alcohol and other drugs
Orticare Pharmacotherapy Network is offering scholarships to Alcohol and other Drug (AOD) Nurse Practitioner Candidates (NPCs) working in the Grampians or Loddon Mallee regions.  The scholarships provide financial support towards completion of a Nurse Practitioner master's degree.To find out more or to apply, click here.  Applications close 5pm Friday 9  March 2018.  For further information contact Jacqueline Keevins, Orticare Manager on 03  5338 0511 or sugar off the menu to fight obesity    Shepparton and Bendigo

The City of Greater Bendigo and the City of Greater Shepparton are among eight councils in Victoria partnering with health promotion foundation VicHealth to reduce the availability and promotion of sugary drinks such as soft drinks and sports drinks in kiosks and cafes at leisure centres and sports venues.

The councils are sharing in more than $500,000 in funding as part of the Water in Sport Initiative to promote water as the drink of choice at these facilities. The projects are being delivered in areas with higher rates of sugary drink consumption, obesity or poor dental health. For more information, click here.

Murray PHN CPD events
Murray PHN looks forward to welcoming those who have RSVP'd to our Stop Mental Illness Stigma workshops next week in Bendigo, Mildura and Shepparton. The Albury workshop is  on the 27 February and there is still time to RSVP - click here  to attend.
For the full Murray PHN CPD events calendar click here.


Women's Health | Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Every day in Australia, four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and three will die from the disease. Similarly cervical cancer affects a number of women, with 930 new cases  of cervical cancer estimated to be  diagnosed in Australia this year.Cancer screening is an important way to identify early the onset of many cancers. There are a number of new HealthPathways available to help health  professionals with their female patients, including:  Cervical Screening,  Breast Cancer Screening,  Familial Breast or Ovarian Cancer Syndromes. Note that you must be logged into view the pathways. For more information or to request access click here.

Murray PHN career opportunities

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 and funding


Copyright © 2018 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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