December 2021

Latest News

Gippsland health professionals honoured at 2020-2021 Gippsland Primary Health Awards

Gippsland healthcare professionals and organisations were honoured for their work at Gippsland Primary Health Network’s 2020-2021 Gippsland Health Awards on Wednesday 17 November 2021.

Respected health journalist and commentator, Dr Norman Swan, announced the winners of the five categories at an online event attended by more than 100 people.

The ‘Better access to health services’ award went to the Gestational Diabetes Team at West Gippsland Healthcare Group for ensuring there was no disruption to the Gestational Diabetes Service in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jamie Supple from Outcome Health claimed the ‘Better prevention’ award for developing the Gippsland PHN COVID-19 Testing report.

The award for ‘Better support for diverse communities’ went to Gippsland Lakes Complete Health and Nowa Community Development Group for working to improve mental health through an increase in community connectedness in the drought and fire impacted community of Nowa.

Dr David Campbell and Dr Yousuf Ahmad shared the ‘Better partnerships’ award. Dr Campbell is chair of the East Gippsland COVID-19 Sub-regional Network and Dr Ahmad chairs the Wellington group.

The award for “Better primary care research’ went to Dr Lindy Washington of Bairnsdale Regional Health Service. Deputy Director Medical Services/Chief Medical Officer and Senior Emergency Consultant, Dr Washington was honoured for her contribution to high quality research findings and data presented at the East Gippsland COVID-19 Sub-regional Network meetings, providing support for general practitioners and health services during the pandemic.

For a further report of the meeting, see the media release here.

Gippsland PHN's 2020-2021 Annual Report tells the story of our past year

Gippsland Primary Health Network’s 2020-2021 Annual Report is an opportunity to share highlights and learnings from the past year.

From our COVID-19 response through to the many services we commission,  there is one constant theme – outcomes important to community, outcomes important to the service provider and most importantly, outcomes important to the individual.

You can access the report here.

Tell Gippsland PHN about healthcare in your community - summary of results now available

The Tell Gippsland PHN about healthcare in your community engagement project informed the 2021 Health Needs Assessment update which was submitted to the Commonwealth Department of Health 15 November 2021.
A survey was completed by 1,383 respondents with 21 follow-up interviews conducted via phone call or Zoom and four people submitting a healthcare story. Ethics approval for the project was provided by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee.
Information gathered directly from people in the community is very valuable to make sure we align what we do with what people in Gippsland really need.
A summary of results is now available and can be accessed here.
We found that 11.6% of people did not have a usual healthcare provider and some groups of people were less likely to have a usual healthcare provider, including LGBTQI+ people (24.5%) and people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background (19.6%).
Almost all respondents (97%) agreed that they were responsible for taking care of their own health, while 89% felt confident they could tell a doctor about their concerns, even if they didn’t ask. A few key expectations of healthcare were identified and clear, open communication was seen an important basis for coordinated care.
A majority of respondents (55%) already used phone calls with a doctor or other professional or wanted to use phone calls as often as possible for their healthcare. A third (33%) had already used or wanted to use video calls for their healthcare as often as possible.
Additional analyses will inform Gippsland PHN’s work over the next three years. We will also keep in contact with more than 70 people who expressed an interest to become a Gippsland PHN Community Contact for additional opportunities to Tell Gippsland PHN. If you would like to be kept informed about coming opportunities, please submit your details via an online form here.
The 2021 Health Needs Assessment will be published on the Gippsland PHN website once approved.

New pathway for GPs to monitor low-risk COVID-19 positive patients

Gippsland general practices can monitor low-risk COVID-19 positive patients in their home, thanks to a partnership between Gippsland Primary Health Network (Gippsland PHN) and the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit (GRPHU).

The new model of care is designed to relieve pressure on the acute care health system to manage positive cases in response to a predicted surge in the number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between now and January 2022.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said Gippsland PHN had worked closely with the GRPHU and other state health services since the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.

“The development of this new ‘COVID-19 Positive Pathway for GPs’ is a great outcome from this ongoing collaboration and importantly, a great outcome for the community,” Ms Proposch said.

“General practices are already monitoring their patients who approach them directly. This new pathway provides an embedded process for positive patients once they have been assessed by the GRPHU team.”

Low-risk patients will be referred to their local doctor who will monitor them remotely through their usual process such as telehealth or can use the digital Platform called Lifeguard.
Gippsland PHN is providing start-up funding up to $10,000 to 34 Gippsland general practices to enable them to utilise Lifeguard.

Read more about this new initiative here.


Gippsland PHN collaborates to vaccinate vulnerable people in the community

Pictured above is Morwell Neighbourhood House Manager, Tracie Lund, at the recent pop-up clinic and Craig Bekaste from the Carry On Cafe.

Gippsland Primary Health Network (Gippsland PHN) and the Gippsland Regional Public Health Unit  (GRPHU) are partnering to vaccinate vulnerable populations in Gippsland.
The initial focus has been on Latrobe City with clinics held at two Morwell locations and one in Churchill for everyone aged 12 years and over with all three COVID-19 vaccines available – AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna. Next week, clinics will be held in Wonthaggi and Leongatha in conjunction with the Salvation Army.
GRPHU provides the vaccination team with Gippsland PHN supporting with distribution of free “showbags” containing general health information on subjects such as cancer screening, quit smoking support, heart, stroke and diabetes advice and nutrition guides. Gippsland PHN also hosted free sausage sizzles, a coffee van and coffee and cake.
The venues have been the Morwell Neighbourhood House and the Carry on Café (not-for-profit) in Morwell, and the Churchill Shopping Centre, in conjunction with the Gippsland PHN pop-up health check clinic.
In a separate project, Gippsland PHN has commissioned Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS) who is partnering with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to also vaccinate vulnerable communities. The two services have united to deliver both outreach and in-reach to people in Latrobe City and Baw Baw Shire.
Some cohorts identified include residents in caravan parks, large families who find it difficult to access vaccination services and people who cannot leave home due to conditions such as agoraphobia.

Managing a COVID positive patient? Here is how digital health can provide support

Gippsland PHN's One Good Community (OGC) Digital Health Toolbox has a range of digital health tools available to assist health professionals provide continuity of care to COVID positive patients.

Digital Health tools can compliment the management of COVID positive patients.

Gippsland HealthPathways has a suite of COVID-19 pathways to assist health professionals provide ongoing assessment and management of COVID positive patients.If you don’t have access, you can Request access here.

Healthdirect Video Call Service assists health professionals to continue to monitor their COVID positive patients while providing ongoing care for their patients via this easy to use video platform that health professionals can access via their desktop or tablet. The video call service provides a similar experience for patients who enter a virtual waiting room before entering their individual consultation.

The Digital Health Guide can quickly help you to determine suitable apps for patients and electronically prescribe the app to your patient. The Digital Health Guide features reviews on apps for hundreds of health conditions that can help you support your patient to manage their health when COVID positive.  

Remote Patient Monitoring assists general practices to remotely monitor a COVID positive patient using the digital platform, Lifeguard. The software includes a mobile app for patients, a web portal and a mobile app for health professionals, and the infrastructure to connect these together.

COVID-19 care plan templates have been developed by general practitioners and are inclusive of clinical thresholds for symptoms and vital signs related to COVID-19. If a patient records data outside of the defined clinical thresholds, the care team located in the general practice will be alerted via the platform and early intervention can be taken including contacting the patient (or carer) via telehealth, requesting an appointment with the practice or directing the patient to urgent care services.

General practices can receive up $10,000 to support COVID positive patients, for more information click here. Find out more about funding guidance here. Apply for funding here.

Visit the OGC Digital Health Toolbox webpage or email and one of our staff can assist you today.     


Mental health program makes a difference to Gippsland aged care residents

In the last edition of LINK, we outlined  the Mental Health in Aged Care Program in Gippsland which is available to all residents either living or transitioning into Residential Aged Care.

Supported by Gippsland Primary Health Network and delivered through Wellways, the program supports residents who may be experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of mental ill-health.

One of the participants in the program is Bill Parker, a resident at Lyrebird Village Aged Care facility in Drouin. Bill spoke to Gippsland PHN about how the program had helped him. He has 
now joined the MHiAC Steering Group with his lived experience so important to the growth of this program.

Read the full story about Bill here.

For more information about MhiAC, call Wellways 03 5622 4140 or email for further information.

Lyrebird Village resident Bill Parker is pictured above left with his Wellways’ mental health and Wellbeing worker, Japhet Lagat and right, on his scooter ready to head off busking.

Abuse and violence: working with our patients in general practice, 5th edition (the White Book) - updated resource now available

Abuse and violence: working with our patients in general practice, 5th edition (the White Book) was developed by general practitioners and subject matter experts to ensure that the content is the most valuable and useful for health practitioners.

The guideline is a practical resource and is based on the best-available current evidence.

The update of the White Book was supported with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

All chapters in the 5th edition have been updated with new guidance based on the latest evidence. This edition has been expanded to include six new chapters:
  • Supporting men who experience intimate partner abuse and violence
  • Trauma-informed care in general practice
  • Adolescent-to-parent violence
  • Dating violence and technology-facilitated abuse
  • LGBTIQA+ family abuse and violence
  • Intimate partner abuse and violence: Education and training for healthcare professionals
In this edition, the term ‘victim/survivor’ is used for patients who experience abuse and violence, and ‘perpetrator’ for patients who use abuse and violence (although we acknowledge these terms are not always preferred by some people). 

Chapters are presented under six topics:
  • ‘Domestic’ or intimate partner abuse/violence
  • Trauma- and violence-informed care
  • Children and young people
  • Specific abuse issues for adults and older people
  • Specific populations
  • System issues
You can access the White Book here

New Raising Health Minds app a great resource for parents to support a child's social and emotional health and wellbeing

The new Raising Healthy Minds app, developed by the Raising Children Network, is a great resource for parents, providing free access to information, ideas and guidance to help them support their their child’s social and emotional health and wellbeing.

This new app is aimed at parents and carers of children aged 0-12 years. It is free to download and filled with tips and practical ideas to help families raise confident, resilient kids. There are also resources aimed at professionals working with children and families, to ensure they have the latest evidence-based information to respond to questions raised with them by parents.

Raising Healthy Minds is designed to promote children’s social and emotional wellbeing, allowing parents and carers to check on emotions or behaviours that might be concerning them, or get helpful information based on their child’s age. At the same time, it will help increase mental health literacy and reduce stigma in talking about problematic or concerning behaviours or emotions that children may be experiencing.

The app has been developed in consultation with leading health, mental health and parenting experts as well as being codesigned with parents from across the country. It provides evidence-based advice and referral information that can help parents and carers become more confident in identifying when additional help is needed. It has been codesigned and user-tested to be as accessible as possible to parents from all backgrounds and abilities, using videos, images and infographics as much as possible.

You can download the app from the Apple or Google Play stores or access it via


Evaluation of HeadtoHelp service - we would appreciate your feedback

Monash Rural Health is undertaking an evaluation of the HeadtoHelp program in Gippsland, supported by Gippsland PHN.

We would like to know your views on key aspects of this program including telehealth, the Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) model, peer workforce and the hub and spoke model.

Our aim is to identify if there are any processes that can be used to improve routine services in the future. As part of this evaluation, we are inviting you to participate in an online anonymous survey. If you would like to know more about this evaluation, please read the explanatory statement. 

After you have completed the survey, we will donate a sum of $20 to a listed Gippsland service/charity as a token of appreciation. You will also be invited to participate in a semi-structured interview. An additional donation of $30will be made to a listed Gippsland service/charity once you participate in the interview.

To access the survey, use the link here.

Pop-up clinics to check in on your health

Gippsland Primary Health Network (Gippsland PHN) partnered with Federation University to deliver pop-up health checks to the Latrobe community.

Portable health check clinics ‘popped up’ in the major towns of Traralgon, Morwell and Churchill offering free, 15-minute health checks by nursing students from Federation University - supervised by a registered nurse.

The nurses conducted a basic check that would potentially identify any early warning signs. If required, the nurse also recommended a visit to a local health service for a more comprehensive assessment.

The aim of the initiative was to increase awareness amongst the community that regular health checks with a doctor or nurse could help identify early signs of illness or disease.

The free, 15-minute health checks helped identify the warning signs of various conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, that when found early, treatment may be more successful.

The pop-up health clinics also provided student nurses with the opportunity to put some of their learnings into practice.

In just 15 minutes, a person had their blood pressure, blood glucose level and blood cholesterol levels checked, their waist circumference measured, Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated and vital signs monitored. Some people also took up the opportunity to talk to a student nurse about preventative health and strategies they could put in place to ensure they stayed healthy.


Lung Health Training and Education Framework for all primary care health professionals

The Lung Foundation Australia and the Thoracic Society Australia and New Zealand have received a grant from the Australian Government’s Department of Health to develop a Lung Health Training and Education Framework for all primary care health professionals.  
Their goal is to develop a nationally recognised best practice competency framework for primary care health professionals to equip them to deliver high-quality care and health outcomes to individuals living with a lung condition.  
This project seeks to achieve Priority Area 3.1 as outlined in the National Strategic Action Plan for Lung Conditions (2019), part of the Australian Government strategy to undertake a collaborative and evidence-based approach to reducing the burden of lung conditions and improving lung health in Australia.  
Once developed, the framework will support higher levels of best-practice care for people with lung conditions in Australia. Via a person-centred approach, the Framework will define health professional competencies and referral pathways in three key areas: identification, diagnosis, and management.  
The organisations plan to engage with primary health care professionals and organisations in several ways including short E-surveys, facilitated workshops and national roundtables, virtual and face-to-face (February 2022) COVID dependant. 
If you would like to be involved in this initiative, please sign and return the attached confidentiality agreement. For more information, see below.

Lung Learning Vision and Scope
Terms of Reference
Confidentiality agreement


End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC)

ELDAC toolkits provide evidence-based resources for professionals working in primary care and supporting older people at the end of their life.

To access this toolkit visit:

ELDAC also has a toolkit to provide information and guidance to support people living in residential aged care and their families. To access this toolkit visit:

National Cervical Screening Program -
expansion of self-collection from 1 July 2022

The Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC, formerly VCS Foundation) has launched a state-wide campaign called Self-Collection Saves Lives.
The campaign aims to raise awareness among health practitioners about HPV self-collection for cervical screening.
The Australian Government has announced that all women under the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will be able to self-collect their own screening sample from 1 July 2022. Details of this announcement can be found here.
From 1 July 2022, current eligibility criteria for access to self-collection under the NCSP Self-collection Policy will be removed.
This change means that self-collection will be available to all women and people with a cervix under the NCSP and will no longer be restricted to under-screened or never-screened women.
This change is supported by evidence showing that HPV tests performed on self‑collected vaginal samples are as safe and accurate as HPV tests performed by a clinician.
For those who have never screened, research shows that taking part in self-collection could reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by around 40 per cent (Smith et al. 2016). Self-collection is the best tool in our kit to help reach underscreened women and people with a cervix, catch pre-cancerous cervical disease early and save lives.
You can access the campaign toolkit here.
Want to know more? Please send any questions or concerns to


Advance your AOD career with postgraduate study in Addictive Behaviours

The alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and gambling sector offers a broad range of career options and pathways.

Turning Point, in partnership with Monash University, offers three online postgraduate courses in Addictive Behaviours to develop your specialist knowledge and professional skills.
In dynamic times, it is important to be informed by the latest research, theory and practice innovations. This course will give you the confidence and competence to make evidence-informed decisions when supporting AOD patients, clients and consumers in clinical practice and developing policy and public health responses.

These courses have undergone significant redevelopment for delivery in 2022 and beyond:

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

Speech Pathology Australia undertakes national workforce survey

Speech Pathology Australia is undertaking a national project with AHP Workforce to better understand the speech pathology workforce in Australia.

This research is critical to developing an understanding of the demands of the profession and the current and future needs of the community.

Whether you are someone who has accessed speech pathology services, an employer, a practitioner or a speech pathology student (regardless of if you are a member or not). Speech Pathology Australia would like your feedback.

How to participate

Speech Pathology Australia has developed different surveys to capture the views of speech pathologists; employers of speech pathologists; and speech pathology service users.
Each survey contains a mixture of open ended and multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

To participate in the survey, please select the survey/s that are relevant to you by following this link.

Surveys close on 10 December 2021.


The Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has been commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health to conduct a multi-year Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study (IHMHS) between 2020 and 2023. This is the largest and most comprehensive study of the physical and mental health of Australians ever undertaken. 
The National Health Measures Study (NHMS), a voluntary biomedical component of the IHMHS, will be commencing in 2022. Respondents in the IHMHS will be invited to participate in the NHMS to provide biomedical samples. Participants’ biomedical samples will be used for a suite of biomedical tests to assess population levels of selected biomarkers to inform decisions and policy development.
The ABS will be presenting a virtual information session on NHMS in early 2022. The session outlines the NHMS and possible involvement of health practitioners.

To express your interest in attending the virtual information session or if you have any questions about the IHMHS and/or the NHMS, contact the ABS at

Drive change with Dementia Australia

If you want to help transform your organisation’s approach to supporting people living with dementia, there is a program designed by Dementia Australia that may help.

Dementia Australia’s Communities of Practice program is for professionals working in residential or home and community aged care.

It brings together individuals with diverse experience. What you will share is a passion and capacity to drive change. As a group, you will work together online to create positive change and foster innovation in your workplace.

Members of the Communities of Practice will:

  • Develop a support network with like-minded people.
  • Share knowledge and ideas with professionals Australia-wide.
  • Learn about new dementia care trends.
  • Build mentoring skills to implement change.
  • Feel inspired by speakers and dementia experts.
  • Access online education, our library and resources.

The program is suited to individuals or small groups from the same organisation. For organisations wanting many staff to attend, Dementia Australia can design bespoke Communities of Practice.

Enquire at Dementia Communities of Practice - Centre for Dementia Learning | Dementia Australia Centre for Dementia Learning | Dementia Australia

Call for papers to be presented at Closing the Gap Conferences in 2022

Indigenous Conference Services (ICS) Australia is hosting a series of Closing the Gap Conferences in Cairns from 8-10 June 2022 -  the National Indigenous NDIS Conference, National Indigenous Allied Health Conference, National First Nations Suicide Prevention Conference and National Indigenous Mental Health Conference.
A call for papers is now open and sought for from NDIS participants, advocates, support coordinators, allied health practitioners, behaviour support specialist, plan managers, psychologist, social workers, community-controlled organisations, NDIS providers, mental health practitioners, recovery coaches, NGOs and governments who wishes to share their program successes, challenges and personal journeys.
To submit your entry, please complete the online form at this link:


Super Early Bird registration for VH2022 conference

The VH2022 committee has announced that Super Early Bird registration is now open for the 13th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference.

Don't miss the opportunity to get in early and save on registration for the 2022 conference.

The Super Early Bird Registration Deadline: Sunday 5 December 2021 by going to Registration Rates 2022 – vh2022 (

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