SEHPA e-News Final Edition

Final Edition of our eNews and Change in SEHPA Office Hours

This is the final edition of South Eastern Health Providers Association’s (SEHPA) weekly eNews.  Thank you to all our members and readers who have supported us over many years.

Please note that the SEHPA office will be closed from 5pm on Thursday 22 December for the Christmas – New Year period.  From January 2017 we will be operating limited business hours.  If the office is unattended, please leave a message on 1300 473 479 or email

Other Useful Newsletters / Information Sources

There are a number of other newsletters / websites that you may find it useful to subscribe to for current news.  To register for any of the following newsletters free of charge click on the link provided:

  • South Eastern Melbourne PHN (SEMPHN) Network News for General Practice click here
  • SEMPHN Commissioning News click here.
  • Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) newsletter ‘APNA Connect’ click here
  •  RACGP weekly news click here
  • ·Australian Department of Human Services ‘News for health professionals’ click here
  • Victorian Department of Health Immunisation Newsletter click here
  • Victorian Department of Health – Health Alerts / Advisories and other news click here
  • Australian Doctor Newsletter click here
  • Australian Association of Practice Managers website listing of latest news click here.

Chief Health Officer Advisory:  Thunderstorm Asthma (Update)

Key messages:

  • Ambulance Victoria and hospital emergency departments saw a significant increase in patients presenting with respiratory symptoms following the thunderstorm event on the evening of 21 November 2016.
  • Thunderstorms have been linked to epidemics of asthma symptoms, especially during the grass flowering season which is typically October to mid-December.
  • Review existing asthma management plans for all patients with asthma and review patients who experience symptoms for the first time.
  • An asthma attack can be life threatening. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call 000.

Chief Health Officer Advisory:  Cutaneous Mycobacterium ulcerans infection (Buruli ulcer)

Key messages:

  • Cutaneous Mycobacterium ulcerans (also known as M.ulcerans) and the cause of Buruli ulcer, continues to be a concern in Victoria with most cases linked to exposure to known endemic areas in the Mornington Peninsula and Bellarine Peninsula.
  • There has been a steady increase in notifications of M. ulcerans.  The infection affects people of all ages.
  • Consider the possibility of M.ulcerans in patients who present with a painless ulcer or compatible lesion after exposure to an endemic area.  Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to minimise skin loss.
  • Mosquito bite from an infected mosquito is considered a probable mode of infection so encourage all patients to take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
  • M.ulcerans is a Group B disease and must be notified to the Department within five days of diagnosis.

National Health Service Directory – Check Your Service Listing

Is your service registered on the National Health Services Directory (NHSD)?  The NHSD is a joint initiative of all Australian governments to enable health professionals and consumers to access reliable and consistent information about health services.  Ensuring you are listed, and keeping your details up to date is important to reflect all the services you provide.   To check if your service is registered or to check your details are correct or for more information about the NHSD click here.

Immunisation News December 2016

The December edition of the Department of Health’s Immunisation News is now available.  To view the newsletter click here.  The newsletter includes:

  • Zostavax limited supply currently
  • Infanrix or Tripacel for 18 month olds
  • Chickenpox season
  • Shingles vaccine and nurse immunisers
  • Translated immunisation information for consumers
  • Updated immunisation history form

OPTIMISE: Improving Accessibility, Quality and Coordination of Primary Health Care for Refugees in Australia

Australia’s newly arrived refugees have their initial health care needs addressed by refugee focused health services (RFHS) before transitioning to mainstream GPs for ongoing care.  This system is under strain: many RFHS are operating at capacity, transition to general practice is inconsistent, and mainstream general practice is challenged to provide high quality care to this vulnerable population.  In OPTIMISE Partnership Project, Monash University leads a consortium of 11 partner organisations and an international research team, to address priority health system gaps affecting Australian refugees.  The project aims to improve the accessibility of primary health care services, increase the effectiveness of transitioning patients between health services, and enhance the quality of primary health care services to people of refugee backgrounds.  If you are a registered GP with an interest in refugee health, get in touch with the research team to learn about how you can be part of this work:

Dr Shiva Vasi, phone: 9902 4529

Ms Nilakshi Gunatillaka, phone 9905 0509

GPs – Find Accredited QI&CPD Activities Online to Meet Your Requirements

Are you searching for accredited activities to meet your RACGP QI&CPD triennium requirements?  There is a large range of local accredited activities available through the ‘Find a course’ page on the RACGP website click here.  You can refine your search for activity type, category, curriculum and domain as well as directly search for CPR and quality improvement activities.  If you require assistance in meeting your QI&CPD requirements contact your local QI&CPD office click here.

Preventing Sexual Transmission of Zika: Updated Advice

The Department of Health has provided updated advice regarding recommendations on preventing sexual transmission of Zika.  The main change is the period of abstinence/pregnancy deferral/safe sex for asymptomatic men, which increases from eight weeks to six months.  The revised version emphasises the availability of testing for couples and people who cannot wait the recommended time periods, noting concerns about consequences of delaying pregnancy.

These revised recommendations are based on the evidence that:

  • the longest reported period between symptom onset and sexual transmission is 32–41 days (based on an incubation period of 3–12 days)
  • Zika virus RNA has also been found in the semen of five men more than 90 days after onset, and in one case up to 188 days after onset of infection
  • viral RNA has been detected in the genital tract of one woman on day 11, and another up to day 13, and was cleared by day 17 in both women.


Mindhealthconnect is a national online mental health portal which provides access to a range of trusted mental health and wellbeing resources.  The mindhealthconnect website covers over 80 different mental health topics and has a strong focus on promoting wellbeing and mental health literacy.

Asthma News for Health Professionals November 2016

The November edition of Asthma News for Health Professionals is now available and includes:

  • Thunderstorm asthma
  • Thunderstorm asthma webinar
  • Older women still more at risk of dying from asthma
  • Rip up the carpet …. or not?

Free Webinars: Child Safety for Victorian Organisations

Are you involved with a community organisation that is focussed on children?  Free webinars are being run to help organisations to be ready for new Child Safety Standards legislation that applies from January 1, 2017.  Expert trainers will help you become aware of new responsibilities that you may face.  These free Webinars are being provided by Our Community and Moores with the support of the Commission for Children and Young People.  Attendees will be provided with free access to Moores not-for-profit Legal Advice Line to 1 January 2017, providing uncapped 24/7 access and advice from lawyers that are trained in child protection laws.  For more information about the webinars click here.

Carer Gateway

Funded by the Australian Government, Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service that provides practical information and resources to support carers.  The interactive service finder helps carers connect to local support services.  Information available through Carer Gateway includes:

  • Local support such as respite services
  • How to look after yourself while caring for someone
  • Financial and legal considerations
  • What to do in an emergency or crises situation
  • How to adjust when caring ends

For more information visit the Carer Gateway website phone 1800 422 739

Defibrillators – Discounts Available

SEHPA still offers significant discounts off the recommended retail price (RRP) of LIFEPAK defibrillators.  To view the defibrillators and RRP pricing click here.  To obtain your discount pricing you will need to order through SEHPA.  Please contact SEHPA on 1300 473 479 for more information.

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