Murray PHN eNews #96 | Congratulations to the Rural Health Award winners


Edition 96  | Congratulations to the Rural Health Award winners

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Victorian Rural Health Awards recipients

Congratulations to the 14 recipients of the Victorian Rural Health Awards, nominated from the Murray PHN region. It's fantastic to see how many dedicated and passionate health professionals (and services) are appreciated by their communities - from Echuca to Yackandandah and Nyah to Merbein.

Rural Doctor - Outstanding contribution

  • Dr Ray Moore, Bendigo Primary Care Centre
  • Dr Elizabeth Kennedy,  University of Melbourne Shepparton Medical Centre

General Practice Award  

  • Gateway Health  Medical Practice Wodonga

Rural Aboriginal Health Award

  • Norma Oliver,  Njernda Health Promotion  Echuca

Nursing Award

  • Christine Smith, Mooroopna

Medical Student Award

  • Jessica Paynter, Nyah

Length of Service Award

  • Dr Rebecca Dale, Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic Castlemaine
  • Dr Bala Pillai, Echuca Family Medical Practice
  • Dr John Buckley, Merbein Family Medical Practice
  • Dr Robert Peterson, Seymour Medical Clinic
  • Dr Roderic Booth, Swan Hill Medical Clinic  
  • Dr John Barry, Swan Hill District Health
  • Dr Elizabeth Perry,  University of Melbourne Shepparton Medical Centre
  • Dr Simon Davis, Yackandandah Medical Centre

Nominations are also currently open for the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards.  All Victorian government-funded healthcare providers and organisations delivering public health research or programs are eligible for these awards and can submit an online entry here.

Planning for health services in the Alpine Shire

Around 45 people - including community members, volunteers and service providers - attended Alpine Health's Future Directions Forum yesterday in Myrtleford.
They examined the early research data from the Community Health Priorities Survey currently being carried out by Alpine Health and Murray PHN, and what that could mean for the direction of health services in the Alpine Shire over the next five years.

So far, more than 900 survey responses have been received - but it isn't too late to have your say. Alpine Health and Murray PHN  want to hear from all residents, workers and regular visitors to the shire about current and future health needs and services. To take the survey, click here. It closes on Friday 25 May.

Photo, left to right: Murray PHN Population Health Systems Lead, David Whitrow, facilitator Susan Benedyka and Alpine Health CEO, Lyndon Seys.

Budget measures announced for health

The Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, handed down the Government's 2018-19 Budget on Tuesday evening. Major health commitments include:

  • $550 million to improve the health of people living in rural, regional and remote Australia  including 3,000 extra GPs and 3,000 extra nurses
  • $95.4 million Murray Darling Medical Schools Network with end-to-end rural training
  • $338 million to support better mental health for all Australians
  • The establishment of a new 21st century medical industry plan to create more jobs and support more medical research projects
  • An extra $1.4 billion for listings on the PBS, including Ribociclib for certain types of breast cancer, Nusinersen for SMA and PrEP to prevent HIV transmission.
  • $3.9billion over four years/$10 billion over a decade to improve Indigenous health outcomes, including better health outcomes from more integrated, transparent and responsive funding models.
For more information, click here.

Kerang wants a GP!
Northern District Community Health's novel approach to GP recruitment has gone viral, and attracted the attention of national media.They want a new GP in Kerang in northern Victoria so badly, they created a music video with a song called "We Want A GP" set to the Queen Song "I Want To Break Free".  Staff from Northern District Community Health and passionate Kerang community members feature.

The story and the video have featured on TV shows such as The Project and Today.

Northern District Community Health CEO, Mandy Hutchinson, told local Kerang newspaper The Gannawarra Times "we wanted to get the attention of people looking to apply that the people of Kerang that if they moved here, they would be in a town where people are happy to appear in an online video."

They've now received enquiries and resumes as a result of the video. The video had been seen almost 13,000 times at the time of writing.

Expression of interest | My Health Record pharmacy ambassadorThe Australian Government announced in their budget last year, that every Australian will receive a My Health Record by the end of 2018, unless they choose not to have one. The Digital Health Agency  has partnered with primary health networks to ensure that all community pharmacies, general practices and other healthcare providers have access to information, education and support regarding this Expansion Program.

Murray PHN is looking for a Pharmacy Ambassador who is passionate about the My Health Record system’s benefits and would like to help other pharmacists become proficient in using the system. Free training will be provided to  the successful applicant. If this is you, please email Natalie Tremellen, My Health Record Coordinator outlining your suitability for the position.

New diabetes pathwaysDiabetes has been an area of focus for our HealthPathways team, with 17 pathways recently being  localised to the Murray PHN region.

Dr Ann-Marie McKinnon was the Clinical Editor for the suit of pathways, with  local GPs Dr Tali Barrett and Dr Jayant Banjeri lending  their   knowledge and experiences to them as well. Note that you must be registered and logged in to access these pathways. Health professionals in our region can get free access here.

Preparing for SafeScript: information for doctors and pharmacists    real-time prescription monitoring  

SafeScript, Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system, is on track for implementation to start later this year. After an 18-month introductory period, it will be mandatory for clinicians in Victoria to check SafeScript when writing or dispensing a prescription for a medicine monitored through the system.  These are all Schedule 8 medicines, Schedule 4 benzodiazepines, z-drugs (zolpidem and zopiclone) and quetiapine. Schedule 4 codeine will be included at a later stage to allow clinicians time to adjust to the reschedule of over-the-counter codeine products to prescription only.

SafeScript will collect prescription records in real-time from proscribing and dispensing systems connected to a Prescription Exchange Services (PES), eRx or MediSecure, without any additional data entry required by clinicians. Some regulatory changes are necessary to ensure accurate and complete patient data in the system.

These changes will take effect from 1 July 2018 and will require prescribers to include a patient's date of birth on all prescriptions for monitored medicines and pharmacists to ensure a patient's date of birth is recorded in the patient's dispensing record when a monitored medicine is dispensed. Under the new regulations, all community pharmacies that haven't activated the connection with a PES in their software need to turn on the connection by contacting their software vendor.  For more information, click here.

Getting prepped for PrEP    HIV  

The Commonwealth Government has approved the listing of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). People at medium- to high-risk of HIV can now access PrEP through the PBS to help reduce their risk of HIV.

PrEP is the use of HIV medications to prevent the transmission of HIV. When taken daily, PrEP is up to 99 per cent effective in preventing HIV. Currently only one medication is approved for use as PrEP: tenofovir/emtricitabine. In addition to condoms and undetectable viral load (when a person living with HIV is on treatment, and is virally suppressed, they cannot transmit the virus), PrEP gives people another option to help prevent HIV.

PrEP can be dispensed with a maximum quantity of 30, with two repeats. Patients must return for a new prescription every three months. GPs should provide a full sexual health checkup, including HIV test and screening for the sexually transmissible infections syphilis, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia. The Victorian Government's clinical guideline for PrEP can be found here. More information, including full prescribing guidelines and risk assessment criteria is available here.

New colonoscopy categorisation guidelines  cancer screening  
New Colonoscopy Categorisation Guidelines are in place for Victorian patients that will affect the way GPs refer patients for colonoscopies  in public hospitals. The guidelines were developed to ensure all patients are assessed and booked for colonoscopies according to their clinical risk.

The guidelines are designed to assist health services to consistently apply agreed clinical risk stratified treatment times for patients needing a colonoscopy, outline the information required from referrers to determine need and urgency, and to    reduce unnecessary colonoscopies.

The Department of Health and Human Services has requested all Victorian health services commence triaging, categorising and treating new patients requiring a colonoscopy procedure in line with the new guidelines from 1 July 2018. For more information click here.

Scholarships to improve regional health services    regional health  

The Australian Government's Health Workforce Scholarship Program is available to health professionals in rural and regional Australia wanting to increase their skills.  The Government has announced $11 million over three years from 2017-2018 to help make health services more accessible for people living in country areas.

Support may be provided to health professionals already working in areas experiencing a shortage of services, or to those willing to move to areas where there is a lack of services. There is a "return for service" obligation with the scholarships to ensure recipients practice in rural and regional Australia for at least 12 months on completion of their studies. For more information, visit the Rural Workforce Agency Victoria website.

Update on the National Cancer Screening Register    cancer screening  

Release 2 of the National Cancer Screening Register (the Register) will be available on 29 June 2018. This means all pre-December 2017 results will have been migrated from the state and territory registers   to provide national records for participants of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP).

To ensure the safety net provided as part of the NCSP, participant follow-up and correspondence will continue to be delivered by the state and territory registers in conjunction with the national Register until Release 2 is complete. Please continue to speak to your pathology laboratory for your patient’s screening test result. For further information, please refer to the Quick Start Guide for Healthcare Providers (Transition) available on the NCSR website.

Welcome to our newest Voices who join us from Myrtleford, Wangaratta, Goornong, Benalla, Finley, Corryong, Rochester and Albury.

We still need to hear from more Voices, particularly in areas where we have none  - towns such as Elmore, Koondrook, Nagambie, Yea, Robinvale and Sea Lake.

We are currently collating our chronic disease responses from the last survey and finalising the mental health questions that will only go to those Voices who selected mental health as an area of work or interest in their profile. 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  register to be a Murray Health Voice click here.

Murray PHN CPD events

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.



Research and reports

Awards and Scholarships

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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