October - November 2020

Latest News

Excellent response to the One Good Community General Practice grants

Gippsland PHN teams are delighted by the response from regional general practices to the One Good Community General Practice (OGC GP) Program grants.
The grants closed on 30 October with 33 applications received, including a range of examples of how general practices plan to utilise the tools and resources in the Digital Health Toolbox to drive digitally enabled sustainable patient-centred care.
These included innovative ideas about how general practices can better use POLAR to identify and support at risk cohorts, efficiencies in the way they gather, record and utilise the time they spend with patients to deliver better patient care and management.
There was also a willingness to want to better understand how they can use HealthPathways and the Digital Health Guide to improve the way they access resources and local referral options as well as a
commitment to learning and development opportunities available through Train IT Medical and allocation of time to learn and develop workflows that will mean digital health becomes the norm rather than the exception.
Gippsland PHN is excited that 13 general practices want to implement Lifeguard Remote Patient Monitoring and Digitally enabled Social Prescribing.
Over the next 12 months, Gippsland PHN will continue to provide updates as general practices start to implement the many and varied ideas for improving health outcomes for Gippslanders through digital innovation.


New Digital Health Toolbox a resource for Gippsland health professionals

The Digital Health Toolbox was launched as part of the One Good Community General Practice Program.

The Digital Health Toolbox includes a range of information and resources to support health professionals to better identify and understand how digital technologies can be used daily to improve quality, safety, accessibility, transparency, efficiency and patient outcomes.

To better understand how the tools, technologies and resources can support the work you do in providing quality care to the people in your community visit Gippsland PHN’s One Good Community General Practice webpage.

If you have questions about the OGC GP program or the Digital Health Toolbox email Gippsland PHN at, phone 03 5175 5444 or fill in our online form.

Congratulations to the finalists in the 2020 Gippsland Primary Health Awards 

The 14 finalists for the 2020 Gippsland Primary Health Awards have been selected from an outstanding field of nominations.

The winners will be announced at the Gippsland PHN annual general meeting and awards ceremony on Wednesday, 18 November, which will be held online via zoom.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said the nominations highlighted the quality, breadth and depth of primary care health delivered by doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and organisations across the region.

“The Gippsland Primary Health Awards recognise and honour individuals and teams who work together to improve health across Gippsland by providing health and support services to our community,” Ms Proposch said.

“This year has been a challenge for our primary care workforce who have worked tirelessly to keep our community safe and ensure their services are accessible."

For a list of finalists, go to


Farmers Friends support Wellington farming community

Retired Wellington Shire farmer Rob Inglis knows only too well how tough it is to work on the land.

It’s not just drought and bushfires that have wreaked havoc on many Gippsland farmers over the last two years. There’s fluctuating cattle and sheep prices, milk prices, agriculture prices, disease, rising costs of farm equipment and long days repairing fences or ploughing paddocks to name but a few.

That’s why Rob has volunteered to be a Farmers’ Friend – a project being rolled out by Lifeline Gippsland with the support of Gippsland Primary Health Network for Wellington farmers who are a feeling the long-term impacts of the drought and other farming-related problems on their mental health and wellbeing.

“It’s about listening and learning,” Rob said. “Encouraging them to talk about it without actually saying too much.”
If you would like to contact a Farmer’s Friend, call 5136 3500.

If you or someone you know are at immediate risk of harm, please call 000.

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, you can speak to your doctor,

Read the full media release about the Farmer's Friend program here.


headspace Sale opens its office doors for face-to-face visits for young people

headspace Sale is excited to have opened the doors at 453 Raymond Street, Sale. The new service started offering young people the opportunity to make an appointment to see a clinician on-site from Tuesday 27 October.

The new headspace site is operated by Relationships Australia Victoria with support from Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) and a consortium of 11 local service providers.

It began delivering online and telephone services on 15 July 2020, and has been enthusiastically received by local young people, community members, and educators alike, many of whom had strongly advocated for the establishment of a headspace in Sale.

Planning is underway for an official opening early next year.

Read the full media release below.

headspace Sale Media Release Satellite Open FINAL

Eating Disorders Victoria - Gippsland Sports Project 

 EDV, in partnership with headspace, is undergoing community engagement work to raise awareness for disordered eating and eating disorders in sport. It is looking to engage with sporting clubs and organisations, coaches, welfare staff, players, and their families in the Gippsland region. 

Please contact EDV if you would like to know more about the project or if you have contacts within the sporting sector in Gippsland. You can also learn more through this flyer.

Contact Olivia Donati Beech:

Community Guide to health services and supports available – South Coast

The South Coast Primary and Community Partnership have worked with Bass Coast Shire Council and South Gippsland Shire Council to develop a Community Guide to health services and supports available in this region.

This resource follows on from the success of the COVID-19 Community Supports Booklet that was distributed in June, with support from the Department of Health and Human Services and also the Latrobe Health Assembly.

This latest edition is an expansion of the COVID-19 Supports Booklet with a greater focus on local services, in addition to listing various State Government Supports available. With over 130 free or low-cost services included, the guide aims to improve access to services across the sub-region. 

See the guide here.

Call-to-test service for vulnerable people needed a COVID-19 test

 The Department of Health and Human Services is reaching out to vulnerable Victorians with a new in-home testing service. The service is available state-wide to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Call-to-Test service will arrange for a clinician to visit the home of an eligible person and conduct the test there.

Access to the Call-to-Test service will be available to individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms and meet the following criteria:
  • people with an injury, chronic health issue, or frailty affecting mobility
  • people with moderate to severe physical or psychosocial disability
  • people with moderate to severe mental health or behavioural issues not otherwise classified as a psychosocial disability
  • carers for a person with moderate to severe disability
  • must be over five years old.
Close contacts without symptoms can use the Call-to-Test service if the department has told them to get tested and they meet any of the criteria listed above.

How to access Call-to-Test?

Call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 and select option 9 to find out if you are eligible for this service. The Call-to-Test service will operate in regional areas from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

People need a general practitioner) referral for a COVID-19 test to access this service (using your own GP or telehealth appointment). They must not be able to access an existing testing site.
For more information, go to

Gippsland people with mild symptoms can also book an onsite appointment at six Respiratory Clinics across Gippsland at


Returning to the workplace after COVID and unclear on safety protocols?

There is a plethora of information pointing us to what to do, and what not to do, in order to minimise the risks of infection spread. Yet when specifically returning to the workplace, how practical is this information? 

As there are numerous considerations for returning to the workplace, Kineo has created a COVID-Safe Workplace course that has condensed all of this noise into what you need to know.  Clear signposts will help your organisation and staff to understand their role and responsibilities in the workplace.
The best way to reassure yourself is to ask questions. Your workplace will have a plan and you are a part of it. There are heaps of resources available; such as Safe Work Australia’s website, that breaks down requirements industry by industry.

Each state and territory government will have specific rulings for your location, based on the best public health advice available.  Kineo’s COVID-Safe Workplace course has been developed for all workers returning to the workplace after COVID-19 isolation. The course is not industry-specific and is designed to be applicable to a generic workplace.

The 20-minute practical elearning covers:
  • The need for workplace changes
  • How to keep the workplace hygienic
  • Behaviours that minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus
  • Actively caring for your mental health.
The interactive course is available for 12 months so learners can refresh their knowledge and maintain best practice.

Register at

Online training and resources for eye health professionals that aim to reduce and prevent smoking-related diseases

Quit and Vision Initiative have launched an Australian-first; online training and resources for eye health professionals that aim to reduce and prevent smoking-related diseases, including eye disease, among their patients.

A survey conducted by Quit and Vision Initiative shows that most eye health professionals, including optometrists and orthoptists, are not aware that most of their patients who smoke would like to be offered help to quit, and most don’t feel confident in providing smoking cessation support.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that in 2017-18, 16.8 per cent of Gippsland people aged 18 are daily smokers, which is well above the national average of 13.8 per cent.

One of Gippsland Primary Health Network’s priority areas is prevention and it is leading the LHIZ – Early Detection and Screening including Tobacco Initiative, which aims to support people to prevent illness before it occurs, detect illness early and ensure those who need treatment and support services, including to quit smoking, can access them locally.

Quit Director, Dr Sarah White, said the new education package had been specially developed to help eye health professionals talk to their patients and offer practical assistance.

The training and resources were developed by Quit, Vision Initiative and an industry reference group. They assist eye health professionals to link patients who smoke with best practice tobacco dependence treatment.

Watch a short video to learn more about the model and training and feel free to share it with your networks. The training and resources are available online and are easy to use. Register at The training is free for Victorian and SA optometrists and Victorian orthoptists. A registration fee of $20 applies for other states and territories. Completion of the training provides one CPD point.

For more information about Quit's brief advice training and resources for eye health professionals, please email

Calling the Quitline is one of the most effective ways of quitting smoking. Quitline counsellors are trained to listen and talk through ways to quit. For more quitting advice, visit or call the Quitline on 13 7848 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday. Quitline is a non-judgemental and culturally inclusive telephone service for all, including the LGBTIQ+ community. Aboriginal Quitline counsellors are also available.

Serious Incident Response Scheme in residential aged care

The new Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) will start in early 2021 as announced by Australian Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, on 1 October 2020.

This is another important step in the Australian Government’s quality reform agenda to strengthen consumer protections and encourage improved service delivery in aged care.

The department has published a SIRS Model for Implementation paper on its website. This paper sets out the structure and operation of the SIRS for residential aged care and flexible care delivered in a residential aged care setting.

The department encourages all residential and flexible aged care providers to visit the department’s website for more information.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will shortly provide the sector with information.

Campaign to increase awareness of palliative care

CareSearch has launched a national campaign designed to increase community awareness of palliative care as well as highlighting a host of free resources and information anyone can access.
The Part of Life campaign encourages all Australians to learn, care, and plan for death and dying. It follows significant work by CareSearch and its partners to assist health professionals and community members with access to quality information.
“Death and dying will affect all of us. It’s a part of life. And that means everyone has a role to play in palliative care,” CareSearch Director Professor Jennifer Tieman said.
“CareSearch provides evidence, information, and practical palliative care resources for everyone involved in providing care or supporting people at the end of life,” Professor Tieman said.
The Gippsland PHN Needs Assessment notes palliative care service gaps, including pain management, grief and bereavement.
In response, Gippsland PHN is working with the Gippsland Region Palliative Care Consortium to deliver training to improve communication capacity in primary care and to strengthen after hours support for palliative care.
Under the National Palliative Care Strategy, six guiding principles have been identified as fundamental to ensure that all people experience the palliative care they need.
The CareSearch Part of Life campaign highlights six important elements of palliative care, including that palliative care is person-centred care; that care is accessible; and that everyone has a role.
“What we are hoping to achieve through this campaign is two-fold; we want to further support health professionals through easy access to quality information and we also want to lift community literacy as a way to encourage advance planning,” Professor Tieman said.
To explore the Part of Life campaign, please visit
The latest Clinical Care guidelines can be downloaded from the Gippsland Palliative Care consortiums website under Clinical Care guidelines at:
Gippsland HealthPathways also has a localised pathway for palliative care: Link to HealthPathways Palliative care suite

CPD accredited Palliative Care Online Training

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has developed online palliative care training which is CPD accredited.

Developed by AHHA in 2013, the Palliative Care Online Training Portal offers free non-clinical interactive training for carers, community and aged care workers, students, volunteers, family members and clinicians who want to build their skills in caring for someone with a life-limiting illness.

Over 61,000 people have undertaken the Portal’s high-quality training to date and user evaluations indicate that more than 80 per cent of users identify as being more confident in their ability to deliver best-practice palliative care services following completion of the training.

The website recently received a significant update, providing a more modern and streamlined experience for users! Additionally, the new website provides increased functionality for our mobile users, making it even easier for users to access the training.

The Portal currently consists of six training modules and an extensive resource library, covering topics such as:
  • The needs of people and their families as they approach end-of-life.
  • Assessment skills.
  • End-of-life conversations.
  • Self-care and building resilience.
  • Pain management.
  • Recognising deteriorating patients.
The modules are written in plain English and use interactive activities, video case studies and easy-to-understand examples that enable participants from all backgrounds to build skills and confidence in palliative care. The AHHA team is also working to develop two new modules, which will supplement the existing resources.

Additionally, the course has been endorsed by the Australian College of Nursing according to their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Endorsed Course Standards. Users are provided with a certificate of completion for each module, which can be used to claim up to 12 CPD hours.

The module certificates can also be used to gain Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) from accredited training organisations to help with progression to a formal qualification.

Rainbow Health Victoria is launching the latest iteration of the Private Lives research series - Private Lives 3

Rainbow Health Victoria is launching the latest iteration of the Private Lives research series, Private Lives 3.

Private Lives is the largest national survey of the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people in Australia. It began in 2006 with the second survey being completed in 2012.

Private Lives 3 will provide a clear, up-to-date picture of the health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer people living in Australia today.

This research and the accompanying report have been funded by the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services and the Victorian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet, and the research was conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University.

Rainbow Health Victoria has been proud to support this research from beginning to end.
Gippsland PHN welcomes the release of Private Lives 3. For every 100 people in Gippsland, at least 10 people identify as LGBTIQ (Australian estimate from Australia’s Health, 2018, AIHW). It has been reported that people who identify as LGBTIQ may experience increased risk of mental ill-health.

Interested people are invited to the virtual launch of Private Lives 3 on Friday 13 November at 2pm by the Victorian Minister for Health and Equality, Martin Foley. Presentations will be followed by a range of other speakers as well as a discussion panel of community leaders.

Registrations are essential at

Veteran Health Check program funds health assessments for veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veteran Health Check program funds comprehensive health assessments for former Australian Defence Force members with their GP.
 The Veteran Health Check is a comprehensive health check designed specifically for veterans. It provides an opportunity to access early intervention care and appropriate referrals when veterans need it.

It is an opportunity to establish a relationship between veterans and their GPs in order to manage veterans’ health and enjoy better health outcomes both during and in the years after the transition to civilian life.

See the Health Check fact sheet.
See the Health Check flyer.

Comments sought on draft Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is inviting comments from the public on the draft Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard.
Comments are sought from healthcare professionals, peak healthcare and consumer organisations, consumers and any other interested parties. 
The development of national clinical care standards is a priority area in the Commission’s 2018-21 work plan. A clinical care standard contains a small number of quality statements that describes the care a patient should be offered for a specific clinical condition or defined part of a clinical pathway. It supports:
  • People to know what care should be offered by their healthcare system, and to make informed treatment decisions in partnership with their clinicians
  • Clinicians to make decisions about appropriate care
  • Health service organisations to examine the performance of their organisation and make improvement in the care they provide.
How to provide comments:
The draft Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard and instructions for submitting comments are available on the Commission’s website at: 
The public consultation period is now open and will close at 11:59pm on Sunday 13 December 2020.
If you have any questions about the clinical care standards or the consultation process please contact: Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard Public Consultation, phone (02) 9126 3530 or email:


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

Responding and Adapting to Change: An Allied Health Perspective

Are you a dietician, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, podiatrist, psychologist, social worker or speech pathologists with two or more years of postgraduate experience?

A new research study aiming to understand how allied health professionals respond and adapt to change is seeking your input. In times when change is more the rule than the exception, the ability of individuals to be receptive and open to change has become paramount.

Understanding the array of adaptive responses allied health professionals experience when change occurs in their organizations, will assist both the individuals and change leaders to navigate the change initiatives more effectively.

Your input would be greatly appreciated by completing this quick survey. The survey closes on 27 November 2020.

Study on how the primary healthcare workforce engages with the national cancer screening programs

The University of Melbourne, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM), Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) and the VCS Foundation have undertaken a project for the Commonwealth Department of Health to understand how the primary healthcare workforce engages with the national cancer screening programs (bowel, breast and cervical).
Findings from this study have led to the development of communication materials to assist in boosting participation, a qualitative study we are undertaking to evaluate ways to engage with primary healthcare workers about national screening programs (bowel, breast and cervical).
This evaluation has been commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Findings thus far from this study have led to the development of communication materials to assist in boosting participation, education and engagement.  

If you would like to find out more or are interested in participating, please email or call Kristi Milley, National Manager at the University of Melbourne,, 0411873253.

See the flyer about the study here

Have your say on the Governance Framework

Feedback on the National Clinical Trials Governance Framework (Governance Framework) is due on 1 December 2020.

Your feedback on the Governance Framework and the supporting tools and resources will assist the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) to evaluate the resources needed to support health services implement the Governance Framework.

Accreditation to the Governance Framework will ensure that all clinical trial services meet the actions in the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards 1 and 2 for clinical trial services. 
The Commission welcomes feedback from all interested parties on the following:

  • The Governance Framework and how it can be implemented by health services providing clinical trials
  • The tools and resources developed to date to support the implementation of the Governance Framework
  • Additional resources that may be required to support national implementation.

You can access all the tools and resources via the Commission’s website, including fact sheets, the video tutorial and the self-assessment and operational metrics tools. These resources will be available for use beyond the duration of the pilot, which is currently underway.

Please provide your feedback via the pilot survey or directly to the Clinical Trials Team. The closing date for this consultation is Friday 1 December.

Asthma Australia offering research funding

Over the past ten years the Asthma Australia National Asthma Research Program has resulted in significant contributions to important discovery science, clinical, and population health research projects, as well as PhD Scholarships and research fellowships to promote emerging researchers in the field.
Asthma Australia continues to be dedicated to contributing to vital asthma research to realise our vision of a community free of asthma. That’s why, through the Ray O’Donnell Belgrave Lions Asthma Research Fund, the organisation is inviting applications from Victorian researchers for:
  • $300,000 strategic alliance grant,
  • $100,000 partnership grant, and
  • $45,000/year PhD Scholarship.
Asthma Australia invites interested people to apply for this funding and take a significant step towards addressing the evidence gaps and investigating solutions for people with asthma.

For information, click here.

Joint HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health Conferences - 16-20 November

The Joint HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health Conferences will be held from 16-20 November.

A highlight is the SH Symposium: New approaches to STI diagnosis, prevention and control on Wednesday 18 November, from 10-11.30am.

The session focus: As the STI epidemic continues to increase, new approaches to diagnosis, prevention and control are urgently needed. This session will focus on emerging strategies, such as vaccines and novel approaches to diagnosis and surveillance.

For information on the conference and the symposium, go to

Study into the barriers to performing COVID-19 testing on site at GP clinics

Early diagnosis of COVID-19 enables cases to be quickly isolated, helping to limit community transmission.

Furthermore, COVID-19 can be minimally symptomatic in its early stages. Ensuring the public can easily access COVID-19 testing facilities is therefore an important public health response to this unfolding pandemic.

In completing this short survey, you will enable researchers to better understand the barriers to performing COVID-19 testing on-site at general practice clinics. These findings will help policy makers implement changes to better support clinics and the communities they service.

Your participation is voluntary and survey is completely anonymous. Whether you are a GP, practice nurse or practice manager, your opinion is valuable. To access the Plain Language Statement (PLS) and consent form followed by the questionnaire, please click on the following link:

This study has received Deakin University ethics approval (Ref No: HEAG-H149_2020).

If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact the Principal Researcher of this project, Dr Monirul Haque on mobile: 0422 346 609, or email:

Preventing heart disease in women with non-traditional  cardiovascular risk factors

A study is being run and approved by Monash Health Human Research Committee and the Monash Health Human Research Ethics committee to investigate Preventing Heart Disease in Women with Non-traditional Cardiovascular Risk Factors.

Principal Investigator is Associate Professor Sarah Zaman.

Participants are sought who meet the following criteria:
  • female and aged 30 55,
  • had a child/children, and
  • want to reduce the risk of heart disease
Researchers are seeking women who have a past history of:

• Gestational diabetes or high blood pressure
• Pre-eclampsia
• Small for gestational age babies

Enrol by emailing:  for more information please see the flyer below and participant information sheet.

RACGP webinar recording now available

 The RACGP webinar recording for GP research – what’s it all about which took place on Tuesday 27 October is now available.

You can view the webinar on the RACGP Digital Events Program page or copy and paste this link into the browser (
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