February-March 2021

Latest News

Gippsland PHN offering scholarships to upskill regional health professionals

Gippsland PHN is offering grants of up to $15,000 to upskill health workers, including nurses working in Gippsland-based organisations in the areas of mental health and alcohol and drugs (AOD). 
The Gippsland Workforce Development Scholarship Program – Mental Health and AOD is providing the scholarships for Gippsland health professionals to undertake further education that will enable them to increase their scope of practice, and build their skills, knowledge and capability in the areas of mental health and AOD.
This includes targeting Gippsland’s’ newly established HeadtoHelp workforce, encouraging them to apply for mental health focussed scholarships supporting the professional development of mental health workers in the region. 
Applications opened on Tuesday 23 February and close on 15 March, 2021.
Gippsland PHN is committed to supporting the growth and maintenance of a strong mental health and AOD workforce throughout Gippsland to be effective, efficient and deliver services which are safe and of high quality.
A webpage with guidance information and an application form is available at

Meanwhile if you have any questions, please contact Gippsland PHN Coordinator Bushfire Trauma Response, Rosie Tira on 0427 924 018 or


Get involved in our Health Needs Assessment update

Gippsland Primary Health Network’s Health Needs Assessment will be fully updated this year, including a re-assessment of priority areas, and it is seeking community input.
The purpose of the Assessment is to inform Gippsland PHN investments to achieve our vision of a measurably healthier Gippsland.  
Individuals and organisations who play a role in improving the health and wellbeing of people in Gippsland are invited to be involved and ensure the Health Needs Assessment incorporates insights from the wider community perspective.
The most recent update of the Gippsland PHN Needs Assessment occurred in 2018 and it can be accessed on the Gippsland PHN website here. The full report can be accessed at Gippsland PHN Needs Assessment 2019-22 or a summary of priorities Gippsland PHN Priorities 2019-22 Snapshot.
Additional resources are available via the Gippsland PHN website here. They include the Population Health Planning Hub, Health Issue Fact Sheets and Issues Papers. We hope you will find them useful and invite your comments or suggestions.
Options for how you and/or others in your organisation can be involved in the Gippsland PHN Health Needs Assessment 2021 include:

  1. You or another person in your organisation nominates to be part of the Gippsland PHN Expert Advisory Group for Health Need Priority Setting.
  2. Share data and/or information that may help inform the Health Needs Assessment. Examples of items you may like to share include any community engagement findings and any reports which document health needs and/or service gaps from a consumer’s perspective and/or from a provider perspective that you have been involved with or know of. We will keep these confidential as appropriate and advised.
  3. Help promote a community survey planned for May 2021.
  4. Suggest alternative or additional ways to contribute.

Please access a short online survey to express your interest in being involved. See link here.
For questions relating to the Health Needs Assessment, please contact Maria Garrett, Population Health Planner via email or phone 0447 206 817.

Grants available for Latrobe general practices to set up a nurse-led clinic

Grants are now available for Latrobe general practices to support the establishment of Nurse-Led Clinics – Risk Prevention Project.

This project focuses on optimising utilisation of a nurse delivered, team-based model of care (nurse clinic) to identify patients at risk of developing chronic disease. This is in conjunction with validated screening tools (where available), either self-administered or administered in conjunction with the general practice nurse, to facilitate access to preventive strategies related to chronic disease.

Project aims:
  • Build the capacity of the primary health care nursing workforce to optimise risk prevention activities in clinical practice.   
  • Improve team-based approaches to primary health care service delivery through nurse delivered (team based) models of care.
  • Support nurses working in primary health care settings to build the knowledge and skills to deliver best practice clinical services in relevant priority areas of primary health care.
  • Improve access to opportunistic screening and early intervention services for identified priorities areas.
  • Promote, and increase the use of, existing primary care systems to assist healthcare providers to identify clients eligible for screening and support targeted health promotion strategies to encourage community participation in available health screening.

Expressions of interest are now open and close at midnight on Thursday 18 March. Access the link here.

Networking opportunity for Gippsland health professionals - Expression of Interest

Gippsland PHN is providing an opportunity for health professionals/organisations to participate in a networking opportunity to better inform general practitioners of their services.

The event will be held face-to-face with an opportunity for health providers to engage for three minutes with GPs on a rotational basis to inform of their service and referral pathways for patients.

The objective of the event is to inform and introduce GPs to local health professionals and organisations that can support referral of patients in a timely and equitable way, and ensure services are listed through the Gippsland HealthPathways for ease of referral information.

This is an Expression of Interest only and confirmation of your participation at the event will be confirmed at a later date.

Expressions of Interest will need to be received by close of business 12 March in order to be considered.

The following dates and locations for the events are planned:
  • SALE - Tuesday 20 April 2021 – 6-8pm
  • LAKES ENTRANCE - Thursday 22 April 2021 – 6-8pm
  • TRARALGON - Tuesday 27 April 2021 – 6-8pm
  • INVERLOCH - Thursday 29 April 2021 - 6.30-8pm
Lodge your Expression of Interest here

Update to Gippsland HealthPathways Mental Health Referral Pages

In Gippsland, 14.3 per cent of adults report high to very high psychological distress compared to the Victorian average of 12.6 per cent and general practitioners report mental health as one of the most common reasons for patient visits.
For this reason, Gippsland PHN is updating Gippsland HealthPathways Mental Health Referral Pages.
To ensure that patients experiencing mental health concerns can access the most appropriate supports, we are seeking input from local Gippsland providers.
HealthPathways Gippsland offers clinical and referral pathways and resources for use by healthcare professionals at the point of care.
If you or your service delivers support to people in Gippsland experiencing mental health concerns please complete this simple online form.
If you would like to know more please email or register here to request a login today.

Social Prescribing project to assist community members' social connection and wellbeing

Gippsland PHN is currently developing a directory of community groups and activities for its Social Prescribing project.
Social Prescribing involves the referral of patients by their healthcare professional to non-medical activities ranging from a local walking group, to community garden or other local programs that can help build people's social connection and wellbeing.
If you or someone you know is involved in a community group or activity that would support other community members to connect and become involved, please spread the word.
Follow the link to form New Social Prescribing – Community Directory Provider Information form | Folio ( to register today.

Third General Practice Snapshot highlights impact of pandemic on pathology testing

The Diagnostic Informatics research team at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, has published the third General Practice Snapshot, highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pathology testing in general practice.
At a glance:

  • During the first wave, pathology testing volume decreased by 33% in Victoria and 29% in New South Wales
  • In Victoria across weeks 10-40, pathology testing fell by 26% for women and 29% for those aged 65+
This Snapshot is part of a series of reports the centre will be releasing, aiming to identify emerging trends related to COVID-19, its diagnosis, treatment and impact on patients.
Future snapshots will deal with areas related to chronic disease, aged care, mental health and cancer screening.

Read the Snapshot here

Expressions of Interest sought to develop palliative care and advance care planning activities

The End of Life Direction for Aged Care (ELDAC) Working Togethers Program's team of facilitators assists, supports and enables health and aged care workers to provide the best quality care for older Australians and their families at the end of life. 

Expressions of interest are now open for aged care service providers who wish to develop palliative care and advance care planning activities within their organisation.
Expressions of interest close on 19 March 2021.
To find out more, visit the website.


Eating Disorders Victoria - three webinars 

Addressing Eating Disorders in the Gippsland sports community

Did you know that one in 20 people are currently experiencing a diagnosable eating disorder?

Eating Disorders Victoria is holding an online information session for people involved in community or professional sport in the Gippsland area. Learn how to foster a body positive environment at your club or institution, as well as how to appropriately support those at risk of eating disorders.

When: Wednesday 10 March, 7-8.30pm

For further information and registration, click here.
Eating disorders explained for Gippsland professionals working with young people

Are you a professional working with young people aged 12 to 25 years in the Gippsland region? Are you interested in learning more about eating disorders and how best to support young people who may be at risk of developing an eating disorder?

This two-hour webinar workshop will provide a general overview of eating disorders. It includes medical and allied health professionals, community and youth workers, school staff, and others working directly with young people.

When: Thursday 11 March, 9-11am

For further information and registration, click here.
The overlap between performance and eating disorder prevention

This online workshop will educate attendees on the overlap between striving for performance while supporting and promoting eating disorder prevention.

The workshop will cover a range of the latest research including concepts such as The Female Athlete Triad, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), energy availability, eating disorder presentation in athletes and the disordered eating continuum. It will touch on some lesser known conditions commonly seen in sport including compulsive exercise, orthorexia nervosa and muscle dysmorphia.

This session will be facilitated by Georgie Buckley, an Accredited Practising Dietitian and PhD Candidate, Swinburne University of Technology.

When: Wednesday 24 March, 7-8.30pm

For further information and registration, click here.


Online training - preventing violence against women with disabilities

Women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to experience violence as those without disabilities.

Women with Disabilities Victoria is holding ‘A Right to Respect: Preventing Violence against Women with Disabilities Training’ this month.

This online workshop, aimed towards disability and social services workforces, will show how gender and disability inequality drives violence, and how you can prevent it.

The training will be delivered over three sessions:

Session 1: Introduction to Prevention of Violence against Women with Disabilities
Session 2: Drivers of Violence and Essential Actions
Session 3: Prevention in Action

  • Session 1: Tuesday 16 March
  • Session 2: Tuesday 23 March
  • Session 3: Tuesday 30 March
Time: 10am–1pm

Location: Online via Zoom (details will be provided upon registration).

Participants must register by Tuesday 9 March via this link

For more information, contact Olivia Franklin at or 0433 691 548. See the flyer below. 
Online workshop flyer

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

National workforce survey for family, parent and child mental health: help improve outcomes

In order to best meet the needs of the health, social and community services workers across a range of professions all over Australia, Emerging Minds, with its delivery partners, is conducting the national workforce survey for family, parent and child mental health.

This survey is the first of its kind and will provide a baseline measure for improving the way we support children’s mental health through workforce development.

Take the survey


Study to help shape the Victorian COVID-19 vaccination communication strategy

COVID-19 vaccine delivery may be prioritised for people aged 70 years-old and older, and for adults with chronic conditions like heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes, neurological conditions, immunocompromising conditions, renal disease or haematological disorders.

If you’re in one of these groups, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute wants to hear from you, your family members and friends. It is seeking feedback on what  you want to know about the COVID-19 vaccines and how do you want to get that information.

The institute wants to understand what is needed to help people make decisions about getting vaccinated.

Help shape the Victorian COVID-19 vaccination communication strategy by completing the institute’s COVID Vaccine Preparedness Survey which takes 10 minutes.

This study is led by researchers from the institute with partners from the University of Melbourne, Monash University, The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. It is funded by the Victorian Department of Health.

To learn more about the study and complete the survey, click HERE

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Jessica Kaufman 03 9345 4890 or

Podcast features interviews with cancer in primary care researchers from around the world 

Are you looking for your next podcast? Dr Kristi Milley suggests mixing work with pleasure by listening to her Research Round-Up, sponsored by the Primary Care Collaborative Clinical Trials Group (PC4).
Each month, Kristi interviews cancer in primary care researchers from around the world about their research and what it means for primary care and clinical practice. It covers the whole cancer continuum from prevention to palliative care.

It’s short, sharp and connects you with primary care research champions.  
Listen here: 

Chronic disease prevention and management in general practice – case-based learning series

General practitioners and practice nurses are invited to attend a case-based learning series focused on cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Participants will hear from, and join in conversation with, colleagues in general practice as they discuss approaches to prevention and management of these chronic diseases.

Presented by Future Health Today (Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne), the six sessions will take place via Zoom on Thursday evenings across March-June 2021 using the Project ECHO model. View the flyer below for more information. 

See flyer here

Do you provide care for pregnant women in Victoria?

The Health Protection Branch of the Victorian Department of Health is evaluating the service delivery of interventions for vaccine preventable infections (pertussis, influenza and hepatitis B) in pregnancy in Victoria.
Please click here for more information and/or to complete this 10 minutes survey.
The department has engaged the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity to undertake this evaluation.
If you have any questions, please contact Nafisa Yussf on 0402 369 183 or
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