LINK Newsletter 

Latest News

Gippsland PHN office holiday hours

The offices of Gippsland PHN will close from Thursday 24 December, 2020, re-opening on Monday 4 January, 2021.

We thank all our partners and service providers for supporting us in our vision for a measurably healthier Gippsland in 2020. We look forward to working with you in 2021.

We wish you Season’s Greetings and a safe, happy and healthy New Year.
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 visit 

Looking after our health professionals - some important resources

Health professionals across Gippsland have experienced a challenging year. They have responded to the call to help and support communities in bushfire-affected areas and during the coronavirus pandemic, caring for patients experiencing mental and physical issues.

It is also important that health professionals can identify when they too might need assistance.

There are a range of organisations who assist health professionals, including general practitioners, pharmacists and nurses, with day-to-day issues.

Clinical psychologist, Dr Rob Gordon, has also written this article below on what chronic stress does to your mind and body – and what can be done about it.

Also attached is a list of resources that can be accessed by health professionals.

Dr Rob Gordon on chronic stress
Helpful resources for health professionals

If you have mild symptoms, please get tested

Gippsland PHN is currently running a campaign to encourage Gippsland residents and visitors to keep testing over the summer if they have any mild symptoms.
The easing of restrictions will let Victorians return to doing the things they enjoy over the summer however DHHS says testing if you have mild symptoms is the best way to keep our community safe, together with social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing a mask when required.
Our six Gippsland Respiratory Clinics will be closed over Christmas-New Year period. See the hours below:
Warragul Respiratory Clinic

  • Closed 25, 26, 27 and 28 December. Closed 1,2 and 3 January.
  • The clinic is open on 29, 30 and 31 December for limited hours.
The Healthcare Centre/Latrobe
  • Closed from 2pm 24 December.
  • Closed 25, 26, 27 and 28 December. Closed 1, 2 and 3 January.
Wellington Respiratory Clinic
  • Will be open every day except weekends and public holidays.
  • Closed 25, 26, 27 and 28 December. Closed 1, 2 and 3 January.
Bairnsdale Respiratory Clinic
  • Closed 25, 26, 27 and 28 December. Closed 1, 2 and 3 January.
  • Will be open Wednesday 30 December as it is a short week (normally closed on Wednesdays)
Wonthaggi Respiratory Clinic
  • Closed 25, 26, 27 and 28 December. Closed 1, 2 and 3 January
Foster Respiratory Clinic
  • Closed 25, 26, 27 and 28 December. Closed 1, 2 and 3 January and 26 January.

For more information go to our website.

Primary heath care sector shines at 2020 Gippsland Primary Health Awards

Gippsland’s primary health care sector was on show at the 2020 Gippsland Primary Health Awards last month.

The award winners across five sections were announced and honoured by a large gathering of guests.

Gippsland Primary Health Network Chair, Therese Tierney and Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, congratulated the winners, praising their respective entries which had helped make a difference to their communities.

See the full list of winners and their projects at

Gippsland Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan

As part of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments have agreed that local health networks and Primary Health Networks will develop and publicly release joint Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plans by 2022.

The Gippsland Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Final Plan will be a comprehensive service development plan, which is informed by evidence-based service planning tools and detailed service and workforce mapping. 

See more about the plan.

See our plan on a page here.

Counselling support for communities as bushfire season approaches

The Frontline Bushfire Counselling service in East Gippsland has assisted more than 400 people with 2000 appointments since it was set up in January this year to support those impacted by the devastating summer bushfires.

Now, a primary concern for communities is the coming bushfire season and the traumatic triggers associated with the 12-month anniversary of the fires.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said it was anticipated that service delivery would increase over the Christmas and New Year period.

Read more here

Call for expressions of interest - see details in Research Hub

Gippsland PHN is call for two expressions of interest – one for the POLAR Data Governance Committee and the other for the Development of Gippsland PHN’s Research Strategy. Details of these are located in the Research Hub section of LINK below.

Changes coming to disability parking medical assessments in your local area

Victoria is transitioning to the new Accessible Parking Permit (APP) Scheme and online administration system, making the application process easier, simpler and more consistent across the state. 

These changes will improve the way general practitioners assess a patient’s eligibility for a permit. Occupational therapists will also be able assess applications for the first time.

A pilot of the Accessible Parking Permit (APP) Scheme and online administration system has commenced in: Knox City, Yarra Ranges Shire, Baw Baw Shire, Latrobe City, South Gippsland Shire, Wellington Shire, East Gippsland Shire and Bass Coast Shire.  

GPs and OTs with patients in these areas will start to see their patients presenting reference numbers to complete an online functional assessment. For these patients, they will need to use the new online system and assess them with the new criteria. 

The assessment takes about five to 10 minutes and can be done via tele-health if the GP or OT is familiar with their patient’s condition.

GPs should continue to use existing forms and administration processes for all other patients from non-pilot council areas.

Following a successful pilot, the remaining Victorian councils will transition to the new scheme in 2021.

For more information visit

Digital Health Basics and how to renew National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) PKI certificates

The National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) is used by Australian healthcare providers and supporting organisations to securely access and share health information.
Steps to renew NASH PKI certificates are available from Services Australia and HealthVitalIT.

HealthVitalIT is a collaboration between Infoxchange and South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN), providing education on the use of technology.

Digital Health Basics: PRODA, HPOS and the Healthcare Identifiers Service

A webinar hosted by the Australian Digital Health Agency on 29 September provided managers of medical practices, community pharmacies and other healthcare organisations with knowledge of how to put in place the prerequisites to connect to digital health services such as Electronic Prescriptions, My Health Record, Secure Messaging and future interoperability opportunities.

Topics included:
  • Getting started in PRODA and HPOS
  • Who should register an organisation – their roles and responsibilities.
  • Digital health identifiers - HPI-O, HPI-I, IHI
  • NASH Certificates and Medicare PKI Site Certificates
A recording of the webinar is available here along with a copy of the presentation.
More information:
Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service - Identifier queries and organisation registration. Phone 1300 361 457
PRODA Help – PRODA queries. Phone 1300 361 457
HPOS Help - HPOS queries. Phone 132 150
eBusiness Service Centre - Certificates, including Medicare PKI Site Certificates and NASH. Phone 1800 700 199
My Health Record Help Line - General enquiries and detailed support for individuals and healthcare providers. Phone 1800 723 471
Australian Digital Health Agency Help Centre - Complex queries, vendor enquiries, secure messaging delivery enquiries, and digital health education. Phone 1300 901 001. Email

New and reviewed Gippsland clinical Health Pathways

Gippsland HealthPathways have recently completed the Optimal Cancer Care pathways project. Optimal Care Pathways are national guidelines that describe the best possible cancer care for patients with specific types of cancer.
There are a number of new and reviewed clinical pathways now available for use by general practitioners and health professionals the pathways include:
Cervical Cancer -
Lymphoma -
Brain Tumours -
Cancer of the Unknown Primary -
Soft Tissue Lumps and Sarcoma in Adults -
Suspected Pancreatic Cancer -
In addition there are a number of recently localised clinical and referral pathways suites published for:

Cardiology -
Endocrinology -
Ophthalmology -
Rheumatology -
Obstetrics -
Need a login? Request access here

Health Living Guide for the Aboriginal Community – tips and links to support healthy living

Caring for country and for collective wellbeing is something our First Nations have done for over 65,000 years.

The health of Indigenous people is paramount in maintaining strong connections to country and in maintaining strong communities.

A priority for Gippsland PHN is supporting better health outcomes of Aboriginal Australians.  

Building on that strength and informed by community and artists, Hepatitis Victoria’s LiverWELL has launched a customised Healthy Living Guide for the Aboriginal Community that offers multiple tips and current links to support healthy living.

Read more about the new guide here.

Extension of grant opportunities for residential aged care facilities

Grant opportunities for the Business Improvement Fund for residential aged care have been extended to 30 April 2021.

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) recently hosted a webinar demonstrating how to access the Business Improvement Fund. You can watch the webinar, or view the presentation slides.

Providers can apply for funds to improve business operations, support the sale of a facility to another provider, or closure where there are no other options available.
The Business Improvement Fund is designed to support small to medium providers:
  • with limited access to other financial support
  • facing significant pressures which may impact on care or risk service closure.
For more information visit the GrantConnect website or email queries to

Applications must be submitted via GrantConnect by 2pm on 30 April 2021.

For general information and resources, go to the Gippsland PHN website on

Or head to the Department of Health and Human Services website for resources on the Aged Care Sector

Helping pregnant women and their partners to stop smoking - new quit resources released

More pregnant women and their partners will be supported to stop smoking with new Australian-first resources designed for their treating health professionals.

The resources – clinical guidelines and an online training package – have been produced by Quit and Alfred Health to help GPs, obstetricians, midwives and pharmacists have a simple conversation and provide best practice care so pregnant women and their partners can lead healthier lives for themselves and their babies.

Watch the short video to learn more or click the button below to view the guidelines and training. 

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

Gippsland PHN seeks expressions of interest

POLAR Data Governance Committee

Gippsland PHN is seeking expressions of interest from general practitioners to join the POLAR Data Governance Committee.

The role of the POLAR Data Governance Committee is to provide strategic direction, leadership and advice to Outcome Health and all stakeholders engaged with the POLAR platform regarding processes and frameworks and secondary use of data for research, linkage or population health planning.

Meetings (1.5hr duration) convene every four months and you will be remunerated for meeting participation and pre-reading/preparation.

Development of Gippsland PHN’s Research Strategy

Gippsland PHN is seeking expressions of interest from primary healthcare professionals, including GPs, general practice nurses, nurse practitioners, allied health professionals and others, to be involved in developing our Research Strategy.

One key aim of Gippsland PHN’s Research Strategy is to define and develop our areas of research focus. With the participation of the local primary healthcare workforce, we can better shape and be connected to the primary care research being conducted in our region, as well as drive areas for quality improvement.
If you would like to be involved in the POLAR Data Governance Committee and/or the Gippsland PHN Research Strategy, please send an email to or contact for more information.


First general practice snapshot released

The Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research has released its first general practice snapshot, highlighting the uptake of GP telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This General Practice Snapshot – Issue 1 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.
This snapshot provides some key comparative findings related to the utilisation of GP telehealth (telephone and video) services across participating Primary Health Networks in NSW and Victoria. It also draws out important implications of the findings, particularly as they relate to patients, general practice and the community.
The snapshot is 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.
Future snapshots will deal with areas related to pathology testing, chronic disease, mental health and cancer screening.
If you have any questions related to this snapshot or would like further details, please contact Professor Andrew Georgiou at the centre, Macquarie University, phone 02 ​9850 2424​ or mobile 0421 040 341.

Monash University immuniser survey

Monash University is conducting an evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of immunisation services.

The objective of this survey is to understand how COVID-19 has impacted your capacity to give vaccines and any changes you have implemented in an effort to maintain coverage.

The survey is aimed at immunisation providers including GPs, nurse immunisers, school based program immunisers, and others. Completion of the survey is voluntary, anonymous and will take approximately 10 minutes.

The survey can be accessed online here:

Supporting physical activity promotion in primary health care

To help increase population levels of physical activity, reduce health inequities and reduce the individual, societal and economic costs of physical inactivity, evidence-based interventions(external link) that are effective across social groups should be widely implemented in practice.

Robust evidence from controlled trials demonstrates that physical activity promotion interventions in primary care are effective at increasing physical activity(external link) and are cost effective(external link).

Because of its effectiveness and potential for wide population reach, delivery of physical activity promotion interventions (external link) in routine primary health care could help to tackle high levels of inactivity and subsequently lead to substantial clinical, population health and economic benefits.

Primary health care has been shown to provide an effective platform for access to support with physical activity for individuals in disadvantaged communities and for individuals needing support with physical activity engagement.

In this policy evidence brief by the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy and La Trobe University, they present evidence and then provide policy options to support evidence-based physical activity promotion in primary health care to increase physical activity and reduce inequities in physical activity participation. Please click here for more details or the links below.

See the Policy Evidence Brief here.

Full article is here.
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