29 April 2015

Welcome to HealthWest’s fortnightly newsletter. Read on for the latest in health news, resources, events and more!

News at HealthWest
Health Literacy
Community Partnership and Engagement
Service Integration
Aboriginal Health
For Your Diary


News at HealthWest

Welcome Jasmine and Ray!

We are pleased to advise that we have two new staff members forming our Aboriginal Health team. Jasmine Kildea joins us as our Koolin Balit Projects Manager and Raymond Marks as our Koolin Balit Projects Officer. Both Jasmine and Ray will be working part-time Monday to Wednesday. Welcome to the team!

Position Statement on Health Literacy

HealthWest is proud to release our new position statement on health literacy. It outlines why health literacy is important and the great work we are doing to promote health literacy in Melbourne’s west. Please use and share as you wish.

If you would like more information on the position statement or HealthWest’s work in health literacy, please contact Mindy Allott, Program Manager Health Literacy & Community Partnership on 03 9248 9658 or mindy.allott@healthwest.com.au.

More info: view the statement on our website.

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Health Literacy

Patient Health Literacy Workshop

South West Melbourne Medicare Local (SWMML) is running a free Patient Health Literacy Workshop for GPs, practice nurses, practice staff and allied health professionals.

Workshop participants will gain:

  • Awareness of low health literacy, moving audience from contemplation to action
  • Ability to build on current skills set of staff to support clients with low health literacy
  • Skills to improve provider mindfulness of communication processes and strategies.

When: Wednesday 27 May, 6.30-9pm
Where: SWMML Training Room, Level 1, 242 Hoppers Lane, Werribee
More info: contact Sonia Zahra 03 8731 6534 or 0488 994 221

Health information for the Afghan community

Some great videos have been created to communicate important health information to the Afghan community.

Videos are available in Dari, Pashtu, Hazaragi and English. Videos are about:

  • Talking about health
  • When you need to see your doctor
  • Getting medical help when the doctor’s clinic is closed
  • When you are feeling sad or worried.

More info: view the videos.

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Community Partnership and Engagement

Carers Victoria survey for LGBTIQ carers

Carers Victoria is excited to announce a new project to build support for LGBTIQ young people with caring responsibilities. We will work with young carers, support staff and services to develop online inclusive practice tools for workers.

We are keen to hear from young queer carers (14-25) about their needs and concerns. They may be current or former carers. The survey is now open.

More info: any queries can be directed to Meredith Butler, Carers Victoria at youngqueercaring@carersvictoria.org.au or on 1800 242 636.

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Service Integration

New project to support GPs to work with people from refugee backgrounds

In late 2014, the Victorian Refugee Health Network began work on a dedicated project to build the capacity of general practice in Victoria to work with people from refugee backgrounds. This project builds on the work of many others in the sector, including Refugee Health Nurses, Refugee Health Fellows and Medicare Locals.

The Network Primary Care Project aims to increase the number of general practices who are able, willing and confident to work with people from refugee backgrounds. The project takes a whole-of-practice approach and considers the role of general practitioners, practice nurses, allied health and non-clinical staff including practice managers and reception staff in the delivery of health care to people from refugee backgrounds.

An April 2015 progress update is now available.

More info: visit the Refugee Health Network website.

World Health Organisation’s new guidelines for sugar intake

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released their updated sugar intake for adults and children on 4 March 2015. While the previous recommendations focused on population goals, the new guideline is targeted at individuals.  The new guideline recommends that people of all ages reduce their intake of free sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages and naturally present sugars) to less than 10% of their total energy intake.

More info: read the guideline.

Primary health care and integration with aged care services: challenges and approaches in Australia

Recent Australian health reforms have highlighted the need for effective primary health care (PHC) in providing coordinated, person-centred care to keep individuals out of hospital. In the context of an ageing population and rising rates of chronic and complex conditions, there is growing demand for integrated health services to support the health, wellbeing and ongoing care of older people.

More info: read the full article.

Improving the integration of mental health services in primary health care at the macro level

Mental disorders are highly prevalent in Australia. Comorbidities (both physical and mental) are common and many people with mental health conditions also face a range of non-medical issues. Most people requiring mental health care are supported in primary health care (PHC), but some also need specialist care. Ideally, in multidisciplinary, collaborative care approaches, mental health services need to integrate with partners across PHC and broader areas of the health system, but also develop close ties to non-health sectors, including housing, employment and education.

More info: read the full article.

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New National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics

The National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data (NOPSAD) collection provides information on a snapshot day in June 2014 on clients receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment, the doctors prescribing opioid pharmacotherapy drugs and the dosing points (such as pharmacies) that clients attend to receive their medication.

Highlights include:


  • 2 in 3 were male
  • Median age was 40 and is increasing
  • 1 in 10 identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Heroin was the most common opioid drug of dependence for which treatment was sought
  • 2 in 3 were treated with methadone.


  • 82% worked in the private sector
  • 74% were authorised to prescribe more than 1 type of pharmacotherapy drug
  • 21 clients on average were treated by each prescriber.

More info: visit the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website.

Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services Data

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released the latest data from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS).

Key findings include:

  • Around 122,000 clients received more than 180,000 treatment episodes from alcohol and other drug treatment agencies
  • 2 in 3 clients were male (67%), just over half were aged 20–39 (55%) and 1 in 7 clients were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (14%).

More info: visit the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website.

Community consultations for Royal Commission into Family Violence

The Royal Commission into Family Violence is beginning a targeted five-week community consultation program on 20 April 2015.

The bulk of the community consultations will involve people directly affected by family violence and those who work with people affected by family violence.  The sessions, which will be group-based, are being held in metropolitan Melbourne and across regional Victoria.

More info: anyone whose experiences and ideas may assist the work of the Royal Commission in developing practical recommendations for change should call 1800 365 100 to register their interest in attending a session.

New report: Disadvantaged Young People Place High Value on Getting a Job

A new not-for-profit report surveying disadvantaged youth from across Australia reveals that they place a much higher value on getting a job than other young people. Mission Australia’s Youth Survey is the largest annual survey of young people in Australia, with 13,600 respondents in 2014.

The survey results, outlined in ‘Mission Australia’s Voices of the Vulnerable: Insights and concerns from young clients accessing our services’, includes a cross section of young people who are accessing the organisation’s employment, education, homelessness, drug and alcohol services and makes nine recommendations.

Getting a job was highly valued by 50 per cent of Mission Australia compared with 30.9 per cent of national respondents.

More info: visit the Mission Australia website.

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Aboriginal Health

Effects of maternal inflammation and exposure to cigarette smoke on preterm birth

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), neonatal deaths and deaths from infection are higher among Indigenous Australians. This study aimed to determine the effects of inflammatory responses and exposure to cigarette smoke, two important factors associated with sudden death in infancy, on preterm birth and birth weight in a cohort of Indigenous mothers.

More info: read the full article.

Toward making inroads in reducing the disparity of lung health in Australian Indigenous and New Zealand Maori children

To reduce chronic pulmonary disease in adults, interventions during critical phases of lung development in early childhood and even in the pre- and ante-natal periods may be necessary.

More info: read the full article.

Australian Burden of Disease Study: fatal burden of disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010

This is the second report in the Australian Burden of Disease Study series. It provides estimates of fatal burden for 2010 for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population as well as estimates of the gap in fatal burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Injuries and cardiovascular diseases contributed the most fatal burden for Indigenous Australians (22% and 21% respectively), followed by cancer (17%).

More info: read the full report.

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For Your Diary


2015 ADMA National Conference

The closing date for oral abstracts has now been extended to 1 May 2015 (5pm AEST) and the closing date for poster abstracts is 4 August 2015.

When: 10-11 September 2015
Where: Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane
More info: view the event flyer.


2nd Annual Australian and New Zealand Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference

This year, the conference has developed a program centred on Finding a Common Ground for both Eating Disorders and Obesity researchers and professionals. The Annual Australian and New Zealand Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference is hosted by the non-government, not for profit, ANZ Mental Health Association Inc.

When: 18-19 May 2015
Where: Outrigger, Surfers Paradise, QLD
More info: register online.

Melbourne Metro

MS Awareness Professional Development Program – MS in the 21st Century Webinar

This program will support health professionals to understand what multiple sclerosis is, disease progression, current treatments and symptom management. Services of MS will also be discussed.

When: Friday 8 May, 9.30-11am
More info: register online.

Patient-centred care and peer support: a marriage made in heaven?

The Health Issues Centre is running a workshop on patient-centred care. This workshop is for health practitioners who work with patients living with chronic or long term illnesses.

Topics discussed will include:

  • What matters most to patients and families?
  • Can we be patient-centred in our care without including peer support for people with chronic disease?
  • Why is this important to me as a health professional?

When: Monday 11 May, 9-11.30am
Where: Kensington Town Hall, 30-34 Bellair St, Kensington
More info: visit the workshop’s Eventbrite page.

Good Practice When Working with Young People from Refugee and Migrant Backgrounds

This webinar from the Australian Institute of Family Studies will explore good practice when working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds using the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN) soon-to-be-released Youth Settlement Framework.

When: Wednesday 13 May, 1.30-2.30pm
Cost: free
More info: visit the Australian Institute of Family Studies website.

GP training: Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing

GPs are invited to this free workshop to learn strategies to safely prescribe opioid replacement therapy.

When: Wednesday 10 June, 7-9pm
Where: Inner North West Medicare Local, Level 1, 369 Royal Parade, Parkville
Cost: free
More info: visit the Inner North West Medicare Local website.

Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria Webinar – Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects 3-5% of the population and is the most common cause of widespread pain. It has high impact on the both the affected individual and society as a whole, yet remains poorly understood by many health workers and other service providers. Recent advances in pain neuroscience have defined many of the mechanisms causing fibromyalgia and allowed for better management. Significant improvement in clinical outcomes is now possible. The signs, symptoms, diagnostic criteria, mechanisms and management of this important condition will be reviewed in this webinar.

When: Wednesday 20 May, 7-8pm
Cost: from $38
More info: register online.

Local Area

Diabetes in Braybrook Focus Group

HealthWest are currently working on a project to assist people in Braybrook living with diabetes.  We are seeking people who live in Braybrook to participate in a focus group to assist in enhancing the effectiveness of diabetes messaging in the Braybrook community.  There are only 10 places available and each participant will receive a $20 voucher.

When: Wednesday 6 May, 10:30am-12:30pm
Where: The Braybrook Hub, 107 -137 Churchill Avenue, Braybrook
More info: to register please contact Raini on 9248 9664 or raini.nailer@healthwest.org.au.

The Refugee and Asylum Seeker Experience

This workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to working with people from a refugee background, including asylum seekers.  Participants will gain knowledge of the refugee and asylum seeker experiences and ways of working with this highly vulnerable group.

When: 7 May 2015
Where: SASHS Western Network (Salvation Army), 6/147 Harvester Rd, Sunshine
Cost: $210
More info: visit the Foundation House website.

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