September - October 2021

Latest News

Registrations now open for Gippsland PHN's Annual General Meeting and 2021 Gippsland Primary Health Awards

Registrations are now open for Gippsland PHN's 2020-2021 Annual General Meeting and the 2021 Gippsland Primary Health Awards on Wednesday 17 November.

The major annual event will this year feature respected health journalist, broadcaster and commentator, Dr Norman Swan, as keynote speaker.

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.

We hope you will join us to acknowledge and celebrate our amazing Gippsland health professionals and organisations.

Register here.


Gippsland doctors feature in Gippsland PHN's vaccination campaign - It Starts With You

Watch our Gippsland doctors speak about the COVID-19 vaccinations.
Six Gippsland doctors feature in a new vaccination campaign launched on Monday 27 September by the Gippsland Primary Health Network to support the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

‘It Starts With You’ gives the doctors the opportunity of speaking to those people in their community who may be hesitant about having the COVID-19 vaccines, advising people with questions to discuss them with their trusted local doctor.

Gippsland’s doctors have been a key part of the Australian Government’s vaccination rollout with regional GP clinics and respiratory clinics already administering more than 180,000 doses since 22 March 2021.

Gippsland PHN’s Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said the vaccination rollout across primary care was “amazing”.

“Our general practices and respiratory clinics are doing an outstanding job, with many now administering both Pfizer and AstraZeneca,” Ms Proposch said. “They know how important it is for as many people as possible to get vaccinated and make our community safer.”

Please watch the video and feel free to share.
Media release

Gippsland PHN's community forum on COVID-19 vaccinations attracts good response

Watch a recording of Gippsland PHN's community forum on COVID-19 vaccinations
Members of the Gippsland community watched a presentation by Deputy Director of Medical Services at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Dr Lindy Washington, at last week's Gippsland PHN community forum on COVID-19 vaccinations.

Dr Washington was joined by Dr Lloyd Waters of Clocktower Medical in Sale and Dr Sema Yilmaz from the Bairnsdale Medical Centre..

After the presentation, the three doctors answered questions which were both pre-submitted and also asked on the night. Any unanswered questions due to time constraints will be followed up.

Please feel free to share the recording with anyone interested.

Healthcare worker update – COVID-19 vaccination requirements 

The Victorian Chief Health Officer issued a direction last week requiring Victorian healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, recognising the critical role that vaccination plays in the safety of both the workforce and patients.

The formal direction follows the announcement by the Victorian Premier on 19 September 2021 that healthcare workers would be the next workforce to have COVID-19 vaccination become a requirement to work, drawing on a recommendation from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to National Cabinet.

From 15 October 2021, healthcare workers will be required to have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or an appointment to receive at least their first COVID-19 vaccine by 29 October 2021, or a medical exemption to be able to come to work.

By 15 December 2021, all healthcare workers must provide evidence of their full COVID-19 vaccination of two doses, or a medical exemption by authorised medical practitioner. 

Operators of healthcare settings must also keep a record of workers’ vaccination status, in line with the direction issued by the Chief Health Officer.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and free. Healthcare workers continue to have priority access for COVID-19 vaccination appointments. To book a reserved appointment, healthcare workers can call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 or contact a GP, pharmacy or community health service. 

These measures are part of the Victorian Government’s ongoing efforts to protect healthcare workers and patients from COVID-19.

Further information on the requirement for healthcare workers to be vaccinated can be found here. The formal Chief Health Officer direction can be found here.

Read the Health Worker Update issued by the Victorian Department of Health.

Health professionals can now prescribe social connection to improve their patient's wellbeing

Health professionals can now prescribe social connection and activity to improve their patient’s health and wellbeing.

Using the digital platform, Kaleidoscope, health professionals can support patients to develop a social care plan that helps to identify measurable goals and actions. The patient is then referred to a registered community group or organisation via email under the Social Prescribing initiative. The patient can also choose to contact the community group in their own time.

Social Prescribing is a person-centred program that looks to improve overall wellbeing in non-medical ways in conjunction with a GP or healthcare worker.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said the unique program encouraged people to stay connected to their community while helping groups and organisations increase member numbers.

“Evidence suggests that people who are active in and connected to their community are more likely to have better health,” she explained.

“For community groups and health professionals, this means you can make a real difference in a person’s life who is feeling socially isolated. Non-medical activities like a local walking group, or community garden builds people's social connection and wellbeing…more than we know.”

Register your group’s or organisation’s details in the online community directory here.

For more information, email the Digital Health team at
Media release

Update on Gippsland PHN's Health Needs Assessment progress

Gippsland Primary Health Network’s Health Needs Assessment work is now in the final stages of analysis and writing with submission to the Commonwealth Department of Health on 15 November 2021.
Gippsland PHN is grateful for the valuable input from local stakeholders to help understand what is most needed to improve the health and wellbeing of people across Gippsland.
The Tell Gippsland PHN about healthcare in your community survey attracted 1,383 responses. Additional detail about people’s experiences was be gained from follow up interviews with 21 survey respondents and also from submitted health care stories.
Six workshops to Help set the priorities for the future of health care services in Gippsland were held across Gippsland in August. The workshops had involvement from each of the six local governments, allowing Gippsland PHN to build on the in-depth local knowledge councils have of their communities, used to prepare Municipal Public Health & Wellbeing Plans for the period 2021-2025.
A total of 85 people participated in the workshops with representatives from many organisations including local health and social care service providers, clinicians and community members with a range of perspectives including older people, people with a lived experience of chronic illness, mental health issues, disabilities, LGBTQI+ and cultural and linguistic diversity. 
An Expert advisory group for priority setting met on two occasions to help set the priority areas for the next four years. Members represented health services, education and training providers, primary care providers, community and local and state governments. Their detailed feedback has been valuable in a difficult assessment process.
Results from these activities are still being analysed and Gippsland PHN looks forward to sharing summary reports on the Tell Gippsland PHN website soon.
Some key themes include:
  • Family violence which has become an even greater priority during the pandemic; there has been an increase in calls to 1800RESPECT by 66 per cent. “…it’s coming across our tables daily and impacts the age range 0-25 and housing and family connections.”
  • Access to appropriate housing is becoming acute, especially impacting vulnerable people, but also “There is no housing for healthcare providers”.
  • Youth mental health is an absolute priority. “We need the voice of young people”  
Suggestions still welcome

There is still time to share your suggestions about how to improve health outcomes for people in Gippsland. Access the survey here.

National Carers Week raises awareness about the diversity of our carers

National Carers Week is an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and raise awareness among all Australians about the diversity of Australia’s 2.65 million carers and their caring roles.

National Carers Week runs from 10-16 October, organised by Carers Australia, the national peak body representing Australia’s unpaid carers and advocating on their behalf to influence policies and services at a national level.

This year’s theme is “Millions of Reasons to Care’, which aims to bring attention to the millions of carers around the country and paint and authentic picture of caring in Australia.

For more information, go to the National Carers Week website

Free webinar on 'Caring for the Carer'

Are you working professionally caring for clients on the frontline of healthcare?
The Continence Foundation of Australia Victoria is running a free webinar called ‘Caring for the Carer’ that will help give you greater insight to pelvic floor function and important healthy self- help preventative strategies when you care for significant others. 
Run by the Foundation’s experienced Pelvic Health and Continence Physiotherapist, participants will learn how to take care of pelvic floor health and exercise safely to avoid pelvic floor stress and injury when you’re taking care of others.
The webinar on Monday 11 October at 7pm is part of celebrating Carers Week 10-16 October Register at Caring for the Carer Tickets | TryBooking Australia

Catch up on palliative care webinars

The Centre for Palliative Care webinars are all recorded and freely available for viewing after each event.

The webinars provide insights into various facets of evidence-based palliative care, presented by national and international leaders in the field.

To find out more about the webinars, go to The Centre for Palliative Care - Hot Topics (

Free online library to improve the health and wellbeing of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds

Health Translations is a free online library that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds by providing access to quality translated information. 

The Victorian Department of Health contracts the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health (CEH) to manage and improve Health Translations.
Health Translations has a strong focus on: 

  • Helping communities to understand and make informed choices about their health and wellbeing
  • Motivating and supporting individuals to understand and navigate the Australian health, wellbeing and social services system by providing information that is easy to understand
  • Increasing the health and wellbeing literacy of culturally and linguistically diverse communities and individuals
Having access to current health and wellbeing information has never been so important as the number of health resources is rapidly increasing due to COVID19. It is important that those who speak languages other than English are not left behind when ensuring health information is available. 

The 23,000 plus multilingual resources are translated in more than 100 languages including topics such as: 

You can access translationers at Homepage (

Theme for Foot Health Week is 'Love your feet and ... they'll love you back!'

The 2021 Foot Health Week campaign will run from 11-17 October with the theme, ‘Love your feet and … they’ll love you back!’

The week highlights how taking care of your feet can positively impact the rest of your body and encourage better overall health outcomes for all Australians.
Organised by the Australian Podiatry Association, the week is online with virtual events.
More information and a range of resources are available here.

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

AURA 2021: action needed to improve antimicrobial use and prevent and control antimicrobial resistance in primary and aged care

The AURA 2021: fourth Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health (AURA 2021) was recently published by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission).
AURA 2021 has delivered a powerful reminder that action to improve antimicrobial use and prevent and control antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is vital to the safety of the population, including patients and aged care home residents whose medical care is provided by general practitioners. 
The Commission has produced a range of resources to support improved safety and appropriate use of antimicrobials, and to decrease the risk of AMR in primary care and aged care. These include:  
The Commission has also provided a direct link from its website to the Therapeutic Guidelines – Antibiotic Prescribing in Primary Care Summary Table.
For more information, and a range of companion resources for AURA 2021, please visit:

Celebrate Bisexual Visibility with a new edition of Research Matters

Thursday 23 September 2021 was Celebrate Bisexuality Day. This day is recognised internationally and aims to increase visibility and promote pride for bisexual and bi+ people.
To mark the occasion, Rainbow Health Victoria included in its newsletter the next edition of Research Matters, a series that aims to deliver accessible and concise briefings on current research relevant to LGBTIQ health and wellbeing.

This issue is titled Research Matters: Bisexuality, health and wellbeing, and has been co-produced by researchers and community advocates. You can find previous issues of Research Matters here.


2021 Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey

The community places its trust in the health system to safeguard health information but is the healthcare sector doing enough to protect health information and the security of their systems?

The Australasian Institute of Digital Health is seeking to understand the current state of awareness and processes in cybersecurity across the Australian health sector.

As a result, it has launched the 2021 Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey. The data from this survey will be compared to the 2017 survey report to evaluate what has changed, what has improved and what is yet to be done to safeguard health information. You can access the report (published in 2018) at this link.

The survey, which closes at 5pm on Tuesday 19 October 2021, will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Go to the survey at 2021 Healthcare Cybersecurity Survey.

Have your say on Child Protection Week

The National Association for Prevention of Child abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) has launched a short survey to gather feedback on this year’s National Child Protection Week.

Conversations throughout the week centred on the importance of community in improving the outcomes for all Australia’s children and young people, emphasising this year's theme, "Every child, in every community, needs a fair go".

NAPCAN is planning for next year’s event and wants to hear from the community about how it might improve the campaign.

Access the short seven minute survey at 2021 National Child Protection Week stakeholder survey (
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