May - June 2021

Latest News

We welcome your support - Tell Gippsland PHN about health care in your community

Gippsland Primary Health Network is launching a major survey as part of gathering information for its new Health Needs Assessment, due to be submitted later this year.

Gippsland PHN is funded by the Australian Government to help people in Gippsland become healthier. We do not deliver direct services; our job is to make the health system work better, especially for people who find it hard to access the help they need.

To do this, we gather information to understand the health needs of the Gippsland community. 

We are working with Monash University to do this and would like to hear from people who live, work or study in Gippsland through a survey that takes around 10 minutes to complete.

The information you and the wider community gives us will help us decide what are the main areas we should work on and where to direct funding. After completing the survey, you will have the opportunity to share your story about health and wellbeing in Gippsland in an interview or written format.

Our advisory groups are helping us with this task. We would also appreciate if readers of our newsletter would share the survey as widely as possible.

You can find out more by reading the Explanatory Statement on our website:

Access the survey here or phone (03) 5175 5444 and ask for paper copies, reply paid envelopes and flyers to be mailed to you.

New report from Latrobe Health Advocate and Gippsland PHN - COVID-19 Impact and Recovery in Latrobe

The Latrobe Health Advocate, Jane Anderson, has partnered with the Gippsland Primary Health Network to produce a report which details the impact of COVID-19 in the Latrobe Valley.

The report, COVID-19 Impact and Recovery in Latrobe, is designed to identify system gaps, consider broader opportunities for health system reform, and provide advice to the Victorian Government and local service organisations about the key commitments required to steer recovery in the Valley.

The findings included: more support for people to access technology and data; greater collaboration between health services; a whole of government approach for bolstering digital infrastructure; patient-centred care; and community-led recovery.

To achieve these and other recommended commitments, and inform a healthy and equitable COVID-19 recovery for Latrobe, the report suggests a collective approach between organisations and services needs to be established.

The report will be provided to the Victorian Government, local services and organisations within the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone.

Read the media release here and see the report below.


COVID-19 Impact and Recovery in Latrobe

New palliative care learning modules for aged care nurses 

palliAGED has developed online learning modules for nurses to introduce palliative care in aged care.
The interactive modules cover 10 essential topics and will help aged care nurses to learn the fundamentals of palliative care, as well as prepare to support older people at the end of life.

The modules are designed for self-paced learning, are free to use and come with supporting resources such as a printable manual, forms, validated tools and Practice Tip booklet/sheets. Each module comes with a certificate of completion and like all palliAGED resources, are practical in nature and grounded in evidence.
To learn more about the modules, visit the palliAGED website and read the blog.
These free-to-use modules are based on the evidence-based palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets for Nurses new to palliative care. You can download a certificate to add to your learning portfolio for CPD. If you are looking for education and training options, explore the palliAGED Training and Education section.

To learn more, visit the About palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets page and read the Clinical Disclaimer.

Aged care services can also make use of these modules and other palliAGED resources within their organisation. If you would like to add these to your local Learning Management System, contact palliAGED.


Free online trauma-related training

Free online trauma-related training is being offered to health professionals and community across Gippsland.

One course is tailored to the needs of staff who work in general practice and other community healthcare settings to help better support community members affected by the 2019-20 bushfires. Participants will learn trauma-informed care principles for interacting with people who have experienced trauma to create an environment that allows for their recovery and supports your own wellbeing.

If you are interested, please submit an Expression of Interest

Additional training programs are tailored to the needs of managers, staff and volunteers who work in emergency services and will help better support employees, colleagues and community members affected by the recent 2019-20 bushfires.

For this training, please submit an Expression of Interest

All training is being provided by Phoenix Australia with funding from the Australian Government.

Supporting improved mental health outcomes including trauma recovery from bushfire and disaster events in Gippsland is a strategic priority for Gippsland PHN. 

In a regional workforce survey conducted by Gippsland PHN in February 2021, trauma was rated by mental health clinicians as one of the top preferred professional development topics.


Cancer Council Victoria offers free Nurse Ambassador Program

The Cancer Council Victoria is offering a free Nurse Ambassador Program for practice nurses looking to broaden their scope of practice to include cancer screening and prevention activities across their whole practice.
The program will provide practice nurses with the latest clinical knowledge about the three national cancer screening programs (bowel, breast and cervical) and viral hepatitis so they can effectively discuss and endorse cancer screening participation and drive cancer screening uptake in their practice.

The program will also focus on how to engage and support underscreened communities in cancer screening and achieve health equity for all Australians.

The program is free to all practice nurses. Register at Meeting Registration - Zoom
To find out more, please see the flyer below or contact Cat Hone on 1800 111 255 or via


New Eating Disorders Pathways now on Gippsland HealthPathways

Gippsland PHN has been working with Eating Disorders Australia, the Butterfly Foundation and a range of local Gippsland health professionals to develop a suite of eating disorders resources.
The Eating Disorders Clinical and Referral Pages are now live and aim to assist health professionals working with people with eating disorders to effectively manage and access local supports.
The following HealthPathways have been developed and include:

  • Eating Disorders 
  • Eating Disorders Treatment and Management Plan (EDTMP)
  • Eating Disorder Referral

If you are a health professional working with people with an eating disorder, please follow the link  and complete the form. Your service will then be listed along with other services on the eating disorders referral page.
Need a login? Request access here 

COVID-19 GP Snapshot 6 - Prescribing

The Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research at Macquarie University has released its sixth General Practice Snapshot.
The snapshots are part of a series of reports aiming to identify trends related to COVID-19, its diagnosis, treatment and impact on patients.
They have been developed as part of a Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre project involving Macquarie University, Outcome Health, Gippsland, Eastern Melbourne and South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Networks and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Programs, with participation from Central and Eastern Sydney and South Western Sydney Primary Health Networks.
COVID-19 GP Snapshot 6 – Prescribing 
This snapshot investigates the impact of COVID-19 on medication prescribing by analysing the period from January to December 2020, encompassing the first wave in NSW and Victoria and second wave in Victoria alone. Implications include:
  • A notable increase in total prescription counts during March 2020 coincides with the first wave of COVID-19 in Australia and another relative increase (from May to July) in prescription counts approaching the second wave of COVID-19 in Victoria.
  • Prescription encounters during March 2020 were only slightly higher than March 2019 before decreasing during April 2020. This finding suggests that the spike in the prescription counts during March 2020 was likely a result of a higher volume of prescriptions being issued per consultation at a time when consumers were concerned about maintaining adequate supplies.
  • For the top five ATC drug classes, the greatest change in 2020 was a decrease in prescription encounters per 100 consultations for anti-infectives for systemic use, a trend that is not apparent for the remaining four drug classes, with only the respiratory system drug class showing a small yet persistent relative decrease.
If you have any questions related to these snapshots or would like further details about the project, please contact Macquarie University’s Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research (CHSSR) at 

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

10 Years Beyond the Bushfires Report

The Beyond Bushfires: Community, Resilience and Recovery study was conducted to examine the impacts of the 2009 Victorian bushfires, including Black Saturday, on the mental health and wellbeing of community members.
The report’s focus was on how individual outcomes were influenced by social connections and community-level recovery.
The research was extended into the 10 years Beyond Bushfires study and a range of related disaster research studies. The study aimed to build an understanding of longer-term recovery and the ongoing impacts of a major disaster experience, to identify where support is needed for those affected and to guide preparedness and recovery from future events.
This report presents an overview of the key learnings in the 10 years since the bushfires.
See the full report here.

How will climate change affect healthcare delivery in rural and remote areas?

Monash University is seeking healthcare practitioners to take part in an online survey and an interview of between 20-30 minutes on their perceptions and preparedness for the health impacts of climate change.

This project will assess the level of current understanding and planning among health care workers for future climate-related impacts on delivery of care, and the areas of need for development of future training programs to be incorporated into medical and nursing curricula.

Find out details in the flyer here.


University trial seeks support from general practitioners

Do you see patients with mental health conditions that have arisen as a result of work?
Monash University is interested in hearing from general practitioners who would like to improve their care for patients by joining in a new partnership trial entitled Implementing work-related Mental health guidelines in general PRactiCE (IMPRovE).  The trial is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Over a nine-month period, GPs who are randomised to receive the intervention will receive one tailored academic detailing session plus engagement and support through an online community of practice.
GPs who are randomised to the control group will be offered key components of the intervention when the trial concludes.

GPs who complete all requirements of data collection plus academic detailing and attendance at one pre-specified webinar will receive $800 plus 40 RACGP CPD points or eight PDP ACRRM points at the conclusion of the trial, and their practices will receive $500.

The trial has commenced recruitment of interested GPs who practice anywhere in Australia and can assist to recruit patients with confirmed or suspected work-related mental health conditions.

If you would like to know more about this IMPRovE trial, please visit: or contact or 0428 044 655.


Findings from the Victorian Population Health Survey 2017 - The health and wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer population in Victoria

Evidence about the health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) Victorians is crucial for the development and delivery of appropriate and inclusive health system and policy responses for Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ community.

This report on the health and wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer population in Victoria is the first of its kind in Australia.

The report outlines the issues that contribute to LGBTIQ+ health inequalities, including demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, social capital and discrimination. Experiences of discrimination in the past year are significantly higher for LGBTIQ+ respondents compared with the proportion in non- LGBTIQ+ respondents, and these persist across ages up to 64 years.

The dimensions of social capital measured (trust, support and community engagement) are significantly lower for LGBTIQ+ respondents, as are food security and home ownership.

Read the report here.

End of life and palliative care: a community perspective

In 2017, the Palliative Care Policy Unit in the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Victorian Department of Health approached the Health Intelligence Unit in the Victorian Agency for Health Information to request the addition of three questions in the survey questionnaire on end of life and palliative care.

This was to gain an understanding of the uptake of end of life and palliative care plans in the community and to measure the informal support that is provided to people with life limiting Illness who were living at home.

Read the full report here.


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, the University of Sydney would like to invite you to take part in a survey regarding facilitators and barriers to prescribing treatment for hepatitis C.

For details, see the flyer here.
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