August - September 2021

Latest News

'Better Gippsland' the theme for the 2021 Gippsland Primary Health Awards - nominations now open

Gippsland health professionals are at the forefront of caring for their regional community to provide better health outcomes for everyone.

To acknowledge their incredible work, especially in the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Gippsland Primary Health Awards will embrace the theme, Better Gippsland.

Nominations are now open for the awards which were developed by Gippsland Primary Health Network (Gippsland PHN) three years ago to recognise and honour individuals and teams who work in primary care.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said the last year had seen the primary care sector working under extraordinary circumstances.

“Gippsland’s health practitioners and health services work incredibly hard to deliver health care to local communities,” Ms Proposch said. “They have shown they are agile and responsive to meet the constantly changing demands of COVID-19.”

The award categories this year are:

• BETTER Access to health services
• BETTER Support for diverse communities
• BETTER Partnerships
• BETTER Deadly health
• BETTER Prevention
• BETTER Primary care research

Doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and organisations providing health and support services to people across Gippsland are encouraged to enter the awards, with nominations closing on 30 September, the finalists announced on 8 October and the winners to be announced on 17 November at the awards event which will be held online again this year because of the c

You can access information about the awards and entries at or email

Read the media release below.
Media release

Respected commentator, Dr Norman Swan, guest speaker at Gippsland PHN annual general meeting and awards event

Respected health journalist, broadcaster and commentator, Dr Norman Swan, will be guest speaker at Gippsland Primary Health Network’s annual general meeting and 2021 Gippsland Primary Health Awards on Wednesday 17 November 2021.
Also featuring at this year’s event will be young Indigenous singers, Bethany and Laurena from Nowa Nowa, who were a highlight of the 2020 event. The youngsters touched the hearts of all who watched them perform.
The event will be held online again this year because of the coronavirus pandemic with registration details to be provided closer to the time.
Dr Swan has emerged as the go-to health correspondent during the COVID19 pandemic and is regarded as one of the most trusted voices in the country on coronavirus. He hosts the daily ABC podcast Coronacast which aims to help answer questions about coronavirus or COVID19. The podcast breaks down the latest news and research to help the community understand how the world is living through a pandemic.

Dr Swan also hosts The Health Report on the ABC’s Radio National, is a regular panelist on The Drum and a guest reporter on Four Corners on ABC Television. The Health Report is the world’s longest running health programme in the English-speaking world and Norman has won many awards for his work including Australia’s top prize for journalism, the Gold Walkley.
Save the date!

Portable health checks pop up across the Latrobe Valley in joint initiative

Gippsland Primary Health Network (Gippsland PHN) is partnering with Federation University to deliver pop-up health checks to the Latrobe community.

Portable health check clinics will be ‘popping up’ in the major towns of Traralgon, Morwell and Moe offering free, 15-minute health checks by nursing students from Federation University - supervised by a registered nurse.

The nurses will conduct a basic check that will potentially identify any early warning signs. If required, the nurse will recommend a visit to a local health service for a more comprehensive assessment.”

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said the aim of the initiative was to increase awareness amongst the community that regular health checks with a doctor or nurse could help identify early signs of illness or disease.

“This free, 15-minute health check could help to identify the warning signs of various conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, that when found early, treatment may be more successful,” she said.

“The pop-up health clinics are also providing student nurses with the opportunity to put some of their learnings into practice. It’s a great partnership that we hope will yield some very positive results for everyone involved.”

Read the media release about the pop-up health checks below.
Media release

DigitalCare@Home empowers Far East Gippsland residents to better manage their own health

A new program allowing patients to be monitored from the comfort of their own home is being used in Far East Gippsland.

DigitalCare@Home is a joint venture between Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Victoria and Gippsland Primary Health Network (Gippsland PHN). It supports participating health services to monitor their patients and catch signs of deterioration early, before the patient’s situation becomes urgent.

This new digital software platform from Gippsland PHN, called Lifeguard, allows health professionals to monitor their patients in real-time while they remain in the comfort of their own homes.

Participants with chronic disease such as respiratory, cardiac conditions and diabetes simply use a mobile app to enter health data on a daily basis. The data is monitored by dedicated ‘Care Coordinators’ and if a participant reports a change in their condition, an alert is triggered on the system and the health service is notified.

Through this immediate response, DigitalCare@Home can help to prevent unnecessary hospitalisation.

Read the media release below.
Media release

Gippsland HealthPathways is inviting allied health professionals to list their services

Are you an allied health professional operating in Gippsland?
Gippsland PHN is expanding its referral pages available on Gippsland HealthPathways and is inviting allied health professionals to list their services.
Gippsland HealthPathways offers clinical and referral pathways and resources for use by healthcare professionals at the point of care. It’s simple and easy to register your services with Gippsland HealthPathways Just complete this online form and your services will be listed on the new referral pages. 
If you would like to know more, please email or register here to login today.


Thank you - Gippsland PHN's major survey was completed by 1,353 people

A Gippsland PHN major survey was completed by 1,353 people with the survey results to be included in the Gippsland PHN Health Needs Assessment which is currently being updated.
It is important to include information collected directly from people in Gippsland to understand what people need and how those needs can be met.
The Health Needs Assessment is submitted to the Australian Department of Health every three years with the current assessment deadline in November 2021.

We would like to thank all our health and wellbeing partners who helped distribute the survey to their networks. Ten lucky survey respondents have won one of ten $100 supermarket vouchers.

Gippsland PHN is committed to hearing directly from people in Gippsland and to working with our partners to address the identified needs. The information we receive from the survey will help us decide where to direct funding to improve health and wellbeing in our communities.
Preliminary results indicate that 78 per cent of respondents had a usual doctor (general practitioner); 11 per cent had another usual health care provider (such as bush nurse or allied health care provider) while 11 per cent did not have a usual health care provider.
Preliminary results also show that 23 per cent of respondents had already used a video conference consultation with their doctor or other health professional; 21 per cent do not want to use video consultations at all and another 32 per cent only want a video consultation when necessary; and 24 per cent would like to use it sometimes or as often as possible.
Many people wrote about their experiences and described what would be most important to them to improve health. We look forward to summarising the findings. One respondent noted that “Being able to see the same doctor and being able to understand the doctor” would be most important.

In earlier surveys, we have learnt there may be many barriers to access services that are needed. These include cost, long waiting times and lack of transport. We have also heard about complicated referral processes and how vitally important it is that professionals listen respectfully, especially for people who may be going through a tough time.
Gippsland PHN is now inviting suggestions about how the identified needs can be addressed. Your suggestions can be submitted to or you can provide your contact details via this online form if you would like to be invited to future opportunities to assist us in our work.
For more information, please visit our website. Summary results from engagement activities will be available here.

Survey – Gippsland PHN is seeking suggestions about the best way to address health and wellbeing needs

Gippsland PHN is currently updating our Health Needs Assessment. As part of this process, we are inviting suggestions about how to improve health outcomes for people in Gippsland.
A summary of health needs among people in Gippsland can be found here. Or visit our website.
Suggestions can be about existing services and how they could be improved to better meet community need, new service suggestions or other ways of addressing health and wellbeing needs.
An overview of Gippsland PHN commissioned services can be viewed here.
The things we will look at (criteria) when considering each suggestion include:

  • Effectiveness – do we know if the suggestion (is likely to) make/s a difference?
  • Efficient – is the suggestion likely to be good value for money?
  • Appropriate – is there strong engagement with community, consumers and carers?
  • Sustainable – is there ongoing funding and support from partners and professionals?
  • Fairness – is the suggestion addressing equity and/or factors affecting health?
  • Risks – are there identified risks such as workforce shortages?
Access the survey here.
We will include all suggestions in our thinking, and they will help inform the Health Needs Assessment. They don’t need to rate highly for all criteria – new innovative suggestions are welcome.

Women's Health Week - get involved

Women's Health Week started on Monday 6 September and continues throughout the week with a nation-wide campaign of events and online activities – all centred on improving women's health and helping women to make healthier choices. 

In 2013, realising that there was no event dedicated to women's health in Australia, Jean Hailes for Women's Health ran the very first national Women's Health Week. Thousands of women across Australia subscribed to take part in a week of events and online activities, learning more their health.

Now in its ninth year, Women's Health Week continues to gain groundswell nationally and is now a permanent feature on the Australian calendar taking place in the first week of September.
Go to the website to see how you can be involved.


Are they really OK? Ask them today. This is the message for the 2021 R U OK Day

Are they really OK? Ask them today. This is the message for the 2021 R U OK Day on Thursday 9 September 2021.

Do you know how the people in your world are really going? Life's ups and downs happen to all of us. Chances are someone you know might be struggling. Your genuine support can make a difference whatever they are facing, big or small. 

R U OK? is a harm prevention charity that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives.

The charity’s work focuses on building the motivation, confidence and skills of the help-giver – the person who can have a meaningful conversation with someone who is struggling with life.

R U OK? contributes to suicide prevention efforts by encouraging people to invest more time in their personal relationships and building the capacity of informal support networks – friends, family and colleagues – to be alert to those around them, have a conversation if they identify signs of distress or difficulty and connect someone to appropriate support, long before they’re in crisis.

So, don’t wait until someone’s visibly distressed or in crisis. Make a moment meaningful and ask them how they’re really going. Are they really OK? Ask them today. Your conversation could change a life. Find out more here.
If you or someone you know needs help contact:

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • beyondblue Support Service – 1300 224 365
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • MensLine – 1300 789 987
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
  • Qlife – 1800 184 527

To access professional mental health support in Gippsland, speak to your local doctor.
You can also call HeadtoHelp on 1800 595 212 or visit

CarerHelp shares resources for those caring for others

The current COVID-19 restrictions are affecting many among us in Australia, particularly family carers caring for a person at the end of life.

The Australian Government has funded two CarerHelp projects. The first project, CarerHelp Project, ran between 2017 and 2020 established the CarerHelp website after a review of the evidence, scanning for Australian resources and interviews with carers.

The second CarerHelp Diversity project is running between 2020 and 2023. As well as maintaining the CarerHelp website, the primary aim of the funding is to ensure that CarerHelp is accessible and able to reach a diverse population of Australian family carers.

CarerHelp is sharing the following information resources for organisations and individuals involved in caring: 

Welcome to the Research Hub

Gippsland Primary Health Network’s vision is a measurably healthier Gippsland.

This section of our LINK newsletter provides articles on research being undertaken by Gippsland PHN and in collaboration with other organisations that are contributing to this vision. It will also feature research and studies from outside our region which may be of interest to our stakeholders.

For all things ‘research’ related, please email

COVID Vaccine Preparedness study

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency that has affected every country in the world. 

The COVID-19 vaccines are an important way to protect people from COVID-19, including the risk of going to hospital or death. Health professionals say a very high percentage (up to 80 per cent) of people need to be vaccinated for protection of the community, but not everyone plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine straight away.
To support the COVID-19 vaccine program, the Victorian Government funded this research to find out if Victorians were planning to get the vaccine, what concerns people had, and what information they needed to make this decision.

See the report summary here.

Help shape Victoria’s first Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy

Victoria is responding to the growing international threat of antimicrobial resistance, with the development our first Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy.

Antimicrobial medicines were developed to treat harmful microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. But over time these microbes can adapt and become resistant to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines.

When those medicines stop working, infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat – which is known as ‘antimicrobial resistance’ or AMR.

Antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines have treated infections for many decades and saved millions of lives, but their efficacy is under threat by misuse and over-use.

As antimicrobials are used within the human health, animal health and agriculture sectors, a co-ordinated, broader ‘One Health’ approach is required across these sectors to address AMR.
AMR is a major problem around the world. We’re already seeing increasing resistance worldwide to common bacterial infections and resistant organisms in the animal, food production and the environment sectors have the potential to affect food security and cause economic loss.

At least 700,000 people around the world die every year from drug-resistant infections and by 2050 this number could reach 10 million. The World Health Organization has declared AMR one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.

We are now developing the first Victorian Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2021-2031, with a comprehensive consultation process to enable key stakeholders, researchers, and the community to provide input into the objectives and priority actions.

You’re welcome to comment on the development of Victoria’s strategy through a survey on – which will be open between 27 July and 7 September. Please share this information with your colleagues and networks.


Quick survey - facilitators and barriers to prescribing treatment for hepatitis C

If you are a registered general practitioner currently working in primary care in Australia, we would like to invite you to take part in a survey regarding facilitators and barriers to prescribing treatment for hepatitis C.

By completing this survey, you agree for your responses to be collected by the University of Sydney to inform future research in to strategies to increase the uptake of treatments for hepatitis C. Taking part is voluntary. Your responses will be anonymous.

See the details here.

2021 Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Conference

The Department of Rural Health is hosting the 2021 Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Conference with the keynote address by journalist Stan Grant.

The event is on Wednesday 13 October 2021 from 9.30am.
Ticket Prices:
  • $50 Non Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • $25 Aboriginal &/or Torres Strait Islander
  • $50 Conference dinner – The conference dinner will be held in Shepparton, venue details to be confirmed at a later date, subject to COVID restrictions
  • $20 Online craft classes - If you wish to virtually attend one of the online craft classes (either a ceramic turtle or grass weaving coil provided by Kaiela Arts) you will receive your craft kit in the mail
For more information contact Ms Di Doyle (Events Coordinator), (03) 5823 4512 r email
Register for the conference HERE

Study exploring blood biomarkers to improve early and timely diagnosis for people with younger onset dementia

The Markers in Neurpsychiatric Disorders (MiND) Study is exploring blood biomarkers (such as Neurofilament Light) to improve early and timely diagnosis for people with younger onset dementia (and other cognitive, psychiatric and neurological symptoms).

The ultimate goal of this research is to lead to a routine, clinically available blood test that would improve outcomes for people with cognitive, psychiatric and/or neurological symptoms, their families, clinicians and healthcare systems.
The Study Team from Neuropsychiatry at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne is welcoming healthcare professionals, mainly general practitioners, to refer people with symptoms (and healthy controls). 
If you are an individual interested in participating, please discuss a referral with your GP, treating specialist, or other healthcare professional.
Eligibility criteria:
  • Aged 40 to 80 years 
  • You, your family, or your doctor are worried about cognitive or psychiatric symptoms that are new or recent (within the last 5 years).
    • Examples of cognitive symptoms (or problems with thinking): problems with memory, problem-solving, finding words, or changes in personality or behaviour.
    • Examples of psychiatric symptoms: changes in mood such as depression or mania, psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations
  • If you have a long history of a psychiatric illness/diagnosis, you may still be eligible if there have been recent changes in your symptoms or treatment needs.
- OR -
  • ‘Control’: no current cognitive, psychiatric or neurological symptoms, illnesses or diagnoses. Aged 40-80 years.
All participant information and consent forms available here. Healthcare professions can refer potential participants through our brief online referral form

Melanoma Tumour 2021 Summit

The Victorian Tumour Summits are Department of Health (DH) funded clinician-led forums that use state-wide data to identify unwarranted variations in tumour based clinical practice and cancer outcomes that could be addressed through state-wide action.

In addition to the review of data, consumers are engaged to present on patient experiences of care and priority areas for improvement at the summit. Priorities for improvements in patient experience are derived using consumer surveys and focus groups.

Clinical review of data that reflects current practice is used to help define recommendations and determine priority areas for quality improvement projects in Victoria. This program facilitates state-wide clinical dialogue about the pathways of care and is one of the strategies to support consistent implementation of Optimal Care Pathways (OCP).

A Melanoma 2021 Summit is planned for November 2021 and is supported by a VTS Project Manager and Project Officer and overseen by the VTs Steering Committee. A clinical Working Party of specialists in melanoma from across the state are involved in identifying key data to reflect clinical practice and with the DH data team review and analyse available data to identify unwarranted variations for presentation at the summit.

Read about the Melanoma Tumour 2021 Summit Working Part Terms of Reference.

Read about the Melanoma Tumour 2021 Summit background.


Melbourne University study team is recruiting participants from general practice

The University of Melbourne is evaluating the National Cancer Screening Register's new healthcare provider portal (the portal is accessed through a PRODA account and gives real time cervical and bowel screening information for patients).

The study team is recruiting doctors, nurses and practice managers to take part.

Find out more here.

To keep up to date with information from Gippsland PHN, you can follow us on Linked In, Facebook and Twitter - just click on the icons below. You can also go to the Gippsland PHN website at
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