Murray PHN eNews #92 | Closing the Gap


Edition 92  | Closing the Gap

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National Close the Gap Day

Today - 15 March -  is Close the Gap Day,  which focuses on the gaps that still exist between the health of  Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and the ways we can help close them.

Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is one of Murray PHN's key priorities. We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a burden of disease two-and-a-half times that of other Australians.

The Murray PHN region  has the highest number of completed 715 Health Assessments in Victoria. Our Indigenous Health Lead, Anna Feiss, is attending Vision 2020's  Close the Gap for Vision National Conference today and tomorrow, where she is presenting about supporting the increased uptake of MBS Item 715 Health Assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Also at the conference,  Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, announced that  the Medical Research Future Fund will fund a National Mission to end avoidable blindness and deafness in Indigenous Australians.

Murray PHN is committed to ensuring primary health services as well as the broader health system across our region  are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Our goals are in keeping with efforts nationally to close the gap in life expectancy and health outcomes experienced by the Indigenous population.  For more information on Closing the Gap, click here.

Picture: Representatives from Optometry Australia, NACCHO, the Department of Health, Vision 2020 and RANZCO discussed the coordination of work to Close the Gap.

My Health Record  focus on Albury
Today,  Tim Kelsey, CEO of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA)  and Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham, Chief Medical Advisor of ADHA (pictured with Murray PHN CEO Matt Jones), visited Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service, Albury Wodonga Health and Central Medical Group to meet health professionals and consumers and  discuss the essential role everyone plays in the use of the My Health Record system.My Health Record will result in a more secure, efficient and connected health system. It puts the patient at the centre of their own care. Clinical documents support  the continuity of care and improve  the interactions between healthcare providers and patients. My Health Records also travel with the  patient and provide potentially life-saving advice and information in an emergency event.

Merbein community learns how to offer support after suicide

The first public event of the Murray PHN-led  Mildura Suicide Prevention Trial  was held in the small Victorian community of Merbein on 5 March 2018.

Run by Standby Murray, the  'What do I Say? What do I Do?' workshop attracted  65 people,  who  learnt the basics of  suicide bereavement, self care,  and  what to say and do after a suicide in their town.

Merryl Whyte, Murray PHN Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Mildura Trial  said that the workshop attendance was a record for Standby Murray.

"The feedback we have had from  Standby facilitator  Lucinda Fraser  is that they have never had numbers of this type turn up to  this workshop before,"  she said.

The Mildura trial, which  began  last August, is one of 12 locations across the state selected by the Victorian State Government to test a new approach to suicide prevention developed by the Black Dog Institute. The approach looks at the whole community and the influences on the people within it.

"We are really pleased that  our local community embraced this event, " Merryl said.   "It's the first we have run as part of our  Mildura trial, we have obviously been able to tap into and meet a community need ."

Photo L-R: Murray PHN's  Connie Cirillo,  Standby Murray facilitator  Lucinda Fraser,  Belinda Pavilach  from DHHS, Murray PHN's  Merryl Whyte, and Pamela Bibby, Merbein resident and President of The Voice for Mental Health .

Free mental health first aid course for Gunbower dairy community    mental health    

Campaspe Primary Care Partnership is offering a free mental health first aid course for the local dairy community in Gunbower. Participants can learn how to assist someone who is experiencing a mental health problem or is in a mental health crisis, and gain an increased understanding of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and substance abuse, as well as other health crises.

This is a 12-hour course that will be held over three sessions: Tuesday 17  April, Tuesday 24 April and Tuesday 1 May. For further information or to register please phone  5484 4485 or email   Click here  for more information.

Hepatitis A cases in Victoria      hepatitis    

Cases of hepatitis A continue to increase in Victoria, with 58 confirmed outbreak cases, seven probable cases and one death.  An additional 16 cases of hepatitis A are under early investigation. In this outbreak, adults who identify as men who have sex with men and/or people who inject drugs  appear to be at highest risk, however local transmission to others has also been found. An emerging risk group is the homeless population.

Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, advises medical practitioners to notify all suspected cases of acute viral hepatitis to the Department of Health and Human Services by telephoning 1300 651 160, without waiting for serology results. Click here for more information.

GPs wanted for Victorian influenza surveillance program  flu season

The Victorian Sentinel Practice Influenza Network (VicSPIN), supported by the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services, is a program that monitors influenza-like illness and laboratory-confirmed influenza in the community.   It measures influenza vaccine effectiveness and provides GPs   with the opportunity to take diagnostic swabs to test for influenza   and participate in an active surveillance program.   The data captured  is used to help understand and compare influenza seasons in Victoria.

The influenza monitoring season this year will run from 30 April to 4 November. RACGP and ACCRM points are available for participating. For further information, visit the website here. send an email to  or contact  Kristina Grantom    9342 9372; James Fielding on 9342 9378; or   Kylie Carville on 9342 9376. GPs who are interested in joining the program in 2018 are invited to apply using the  registration form here.

Changes to Victorian guardianship laws      guardianship    

The Victorian Government has introduced new laws to better protect the rights of adults with disability to make and participate in decisions that affect their lives. The Guardianship and Administration Bill 2018   replaces  outdated laws from 1986 to define decision-making capacity, including a presumption that a person has the capacity to make decisions, unless evidence is provided otherwise.

The laws will recognise that a person also has decision-making capacity if they can make decisions with support, reflecting a more modern understanding of decision-making capacity and disability, and ensure that a person's will and preferences are followed where possible and appropriate. For more information click here.

The RACGP's planning learning and need (PLAN) requirements      CPD    

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has introduced planning learning and need (PLAN) Category 1   quality improvement activity   to enable general practitioners to self-identify general practice learning needs in accordance with their personal, patient and community needs.   The PLAN is mandatory in the 2017-19 triennium and can only be completed through the myRACGP web page.

For GPs who have yet to start this activity, now  is the perfect time to complete step 1: "Practice profile and self-reflection". The RACGP  recommends you complete your self-reflection activity early this year to lay the foundation of your reflective learning for the remainder of the triennium. Doing so gives you the time you need to undertake the learning required to meet identified needs. Click here for more information.

Cancer malnutrition: feeding everyone from hospital to home cancer

The Malnutrition in Victorian Cancer Services Program began in 2011 and has carried out a range of initiatives to address cancer malnutrition in the acute health sector. However practices relating to the management of cancer malnutrition in the primary care and community sectors remain less understood.

Victorian GPs and general practice nurses are invited to participate in a survey aimed at investigating the current practice and education needs relating to cancer malnutrition. It should take no more than five minutes to complete. Click here to access the survey and here to find out more about the program.

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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.
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