What you told us about flu
According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the influenza virus affects about 350,000 Australians a year and is responsible for an average of 3,000 deaths and 18,000 hospital admissions.
Our Health Voices recently helped us understand some of the barriers and enablers that impact the decision to be vaccinated against the flu, and we thank them for responding to the survey.
We shared these findings with partners including the Department of Health and Human Services and Bendigo Health, who are also working on keeping people well this winter. To view the results, click here.
Our new winter wellness page outlines the difference between colds and flu, eligibility for free influenza vaccines, flu myths and facts, plus links to data and prevention and management tips. You can click hereto view.
Targeted mental health surveys
Our most recent Health Voices survey was on chronic disease, but we now need to hear from our Voices about specific aspects of mental health - perinatal, children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander plus suicide prevention. This feedback will inform our next round of mental health commissioning in September. We will email these surveys only to our Health Voices who have registered their interest in these areas.
If you are already a Health Voice and want to update your profile, go to the bottom of a previous Health Voice email and click on "update subscription preferences" .
To take part in our targeted mental health survey, please click here to register to be a Murray Health Voice.
COPD webinars for health practitioners in Murray PHN region
May is Lung Health Awareness Month and the Lung Foundation Australia, is reminding health professionals to be aware of, and alert their patients to, the symptoms of lung disease.
While lung disease affects 1 in 4 Australians and is responsible for 1 in 7 deaths, many people tend to ignore the signs and symptoms, often not doing anything about it for far too long.
As part of the campaign, health professionals are encouraged to "have the CHAT" with each of their patients who have been diagnosed with COPD to raise awareness of the symptoms of COPD exacerbation, to reduce avoidable hospitalisations and keep their patients well this winter. You can find out more here.
Murray PHN has partnered with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and Lung Foundation Australia to deliver free webinars for health practitioners in the Murray PHN region. The webinars begin in May and are on the identification, diagnosis and management of people with COPD in regional and rural settings.
Research from more than 100 international studies suggests reports about suicide deaths are associated with increased rates of suicide attempts, particularly where a death is glamourised, glorified or detailed.
As additional studies show, responsible media reporting can contribute to a reduction in rates and Murray PHN is working with local media, using the Mindframe media guidelines for reporting on suicide.
Murray PHN Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Merryl Whyte, and Communications Specialist, Caroline Hamilton met with media outlets in Mildura last week to talk about the Mildura suicide prevention trial and the importance of responsible reporting around suicide.
Responsible reporting frames suicide as a tragic waste and avoidable loss and can even be helpful where media reports focus on the devastating impact of suicide's aftermath or explore an individual's experience of overcoming suicidal thinking.
The Mindframe National Media Initiative provides access to up-to-date, evidence-based information to support the reporting, portrayal and communication about suicide and mental illness. Guidelines can be accessed here.
Our thanks to the staff at ABC Mildura Swan Hill (left), Mildura Weekly (top right) andSunraysia Daily(bottom right), pictured with Merryl, for taking time out from their busy schedules to talk about this important issue affecting the Mildura community. Strong and enduring local partnerships are a key to the success of place-based suicide prevention strategies.
Alpine community is being asked about their health priorities
Murray PHN has partnered with Alpine Health to promote their important community health priorities survey.Alpine Health wants to hear from all residents, workers and regular visitors to the shire, about current and future health needs and services. This information will then be used to inform a five year health service plan for the region.
By completing the survey, you are giving Alpine Health permission to share the responses with Murray PHN.
A community and stakeholder 'future directions forum' will also be held on Thursday 10 May at Alpine Health in Myrtleford. Click here for full details, including to RSVP.
Share your story
We want to hear from local clinicians who are passionate about using the My Health Record. Your insight into how it makes it easier for you and your patients, will help other health professionals coordinate a better level of care for patients. If this sounds like you, email our team e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Flu vaccines mandatory for residential aged care staff immunisation
The Australian Government has announced that the provision of influenza vaccination programs to all staff in residential aged care homes will be compulsory to maximise protection for senior Australians ahead of this year's flu season.
Last year, just over 1,100 influenza-associated deaths were reported in Australia, with people aged 65 years and older accounting for more than 90 per cent of these. At the same time, aged care homes with only a quarter of their staff vaccinated, had a 25 per cent higher rate of flu outbreaks than those with three quarters or more of their staff vaccinated. For more information click here.
Fluad trivalent influenza vaccine risk to patients with latex allergy immunisation
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has confirmed the presence of natural rubber latex in the sheath covering the needle of the trivalent influenza vaccine, Fluad, which is available for people aged 65 years and over through the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
While reactions to latex are rare, anyone who has a severe allergy to latex should not receive Fluad. Patients aged 65 years and over can still be safely vaccinated with the alternative trivalent influenza vaccine, Fluzone High-Dose, available through the NIP. Note there are no safety concerns regarding the Fluad vaccine itself. For more information, click here.
Multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea detected in Australia sexually transmitted infections
Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea infection have been detected in Australia. The emergence of this strain, resistant to ALL antibiotics that have been in routine use to treat gonorrhoea, is a major public health concern.
Victorian gonorrhoea notifications have increased over the last few years in men who have sex with men (MSM) as well as in heterosexual men and women. For more information, click here.
Clinical placement program in cancer survivorship cancer
The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre (ACSC) is coordinating hospital placements for GPs, practice nurses and community-based allied health professionals to upskill them in cancer survivorship care. The placement is free and ongoing from January 2018 to April 2019. Eight hospitals across Melbourne are offering placements including: Peter Mac, Western Health, Austin Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Monash Health, St Vincent's and South West Healthcare.
One of the priorities for the program is to enable participation from health professionals based in regional areas. The ACSC provides financial support to cover transport, meals and accommodation for regional participants travelling more than 200 kilometres. For more information visit the RACP website or the Peter Mac website.
Genomics in general practice genomics
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released a new guide aimed at assisting general practitioners in the fields of genetics and genomics. Advances in these fields offer great potential for identifying patients at risk of disease and targeting treatment, however GPs need up-to-date knowledge and skills in this domain.
Genomics in general practice is designed to assist clinical decision-making by presenting a snapshot view of the identification and diagnosis on a range of genetic conditions and the use of genetic testing and technologies. For more information click here.