HealthWest Update Sign-up

HealthWest Partnership keeps members, affiliates, government, supporters and the community up-to-date with our work and news via our monthly updates.

Click here to subscribe (you will be taken to HealthWest’s mailchimp subscription page).


Latest HealthWest Update


View this email in your browser

13 JULY 2021


Transition update

As I advised in June we are currently in the first phase of the Primary Care Partnership (PCP) transition process. In this phase the Department of Health is conducting a deep dive into our current operations, including gathering a snapshot of our high value functions, staffing levels and program activities. HealthWest submitted detailed reports on 16 June 2021 and further consultation is expected which will support and inform the program transition. Individual transition plans will be developed for each PCP to be able to move into the ‘future state’ from April 2022. Analysis of the data by the Department of Health is expected to occur by late August 2021 and then transition implementation will commence.

Project planning and a new way to manage projects

In the meantime we have commenced planning for the two projects identified as priorities for the next nine months – Better Health Communications and Economic inclusion for health: Addressing the recruitment barriers. More information can be found below.

We are also trialling a new way to manage projects, using an agile approach. Moving forward our projects will be implemented through shorter cycles. Learnings from each cycle will be used to determine the activities of subsequent cycles, and project activities will pivot as needed. This approach will give us more opportunity to adapt and be responsive to what we are learning through our work and partnerships.

Vote for final member of the Management Group

A ballot paper has been emailed to the membership to determine the final position on the Management Group. The new Management Group will have its first meeting on the 19 August and I look forward to working with the four new members.

Gail O'Donnell
Until next month,

Gail O’Donnell
Executive Officer
(03) 9248 9665


Economic inclusion for health: Addressing recruitment barriers

Over the past five years HealthWest has observed increasing interest in workforce diversity from our membership. In 2018 we released the Workforce Mutuality Standards and in 2021 we partnered with the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and the Centre for Multicultural Youth to release the Community Conversations report.

We are planning to continue this partnership, addressing one of the recommendations developed through the Community Conversations project to improve job-seeking processes so that people from all migrant backgrounds can confidently and equitably participate.

Phase one of the project seeks to identify what hinders and enables human resource departments in our sector to make the changes that are needed. Following this there may be opportunities to work with interested human resource departments to support them to design better recruitment practices. Please email us if you are interested in being updated when opportunities to participate arise.

Email us to stay updated

More info:

Gail O’Donnell
Executive Officer

Useful links:

Economic Inclusion for Health project

Better health communication

COVID-19 has demonstrated that clear and culturally appropriate health communication remains a public health challenge, particularly in Melbourne’s west. Developing and delivering clear, concise, timely and consistent health messaging to all communities can help to mitigate greater health inequities. HealthWest sees there is an opportunity for a coordinated regional approach to health communications across Melbourne’s west, which prioritises good health literacy practice and systematic engagement of community throughout.

We are considering work in this space, starting with gaining a better understanding of how health communications are developed and communicated throughout Melbourne’s west, and who is involved.

More info:

Gail O’Donnell
Executive Officer

Useful links:

Better health communication project

Climate change and health in Melbourne’s west

As part of our work facilitating the Western Region Primary Prevention Taskforce, HealthWest has teamed up with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to deliver a forum focussed on climate change and health in July. Climate change is a leading threat to health and wellbeing, and creating resilient, safe, adaptive communities is a key focus within the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2019-2023.

The half day forum will be a great opportunity to see some of our prevention partners face-to-face, and will feature interactive discussions with climate change and health experts. The forum will focus on what’s happening in Victoria and the west, and to explore each of our potential roles in this priority.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage with a range of local and regional climate change, community engagement and policy experts, including from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Sustainability Victoria, Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action (WAGA). We look forward to hearing the range of conversations that will come out of the day, and seeing the new actions and collaborations spurred as a result.

More info:

Anna Vu, Prevention Manager

Useful links:

Western Region Primary Prevention Taskforce

Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) in Melbourne’s west – where we are at

Back in 2019 HealthWest Partnership in collaboration with the Western Region Primary Prevention Taskforce embarked on a journey to build and strengthen the capacity for our primary prevention sector to:

  1. Continually ask questions about the quality and value of our work;
  2. Collect, analyse, interpret and report on evidence; and
  3. Use evidence to inform decision-making and action.

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay

Evaluation Capacity Health Check

The journey began with the development of an Evaluation Capacity Health Check tool. This was followed by an exploration of MEL (monitoring, evaluation and learning) in the time of COVID, and more recently a series of professional development opportunities led by Cultivating Change for the primary prevention workforce in Melbourne’s west.

We have had some rich and creative discussions, have come to better understand enabling factors and those that may hinder our evaluation practice.  We have explored Theories of Change; story telling; data sense-making and the value of reflective learning practice, and through all this, have navigated the challenges of COVID and its impact on our primary prevention work.

Snapshot of the MEL Community of Practice

As we now reach the end of the workforce capacity building phase of our ECB work we will be conducting a Learning Enquiry to

  • reflect on our efforts to date
  • further understand the place of MEL within the broader primary prevention context, and
  • explore how the value of evaluation practice might be further elevated across the system.

We would like to thank all who have engaged in and contributed to this work over the past 18 months and we look forward to sharing opportunities with you all to share your thoughts and experiences of this work through the Learning Enquiry process.

More info:

Kate Baker
Evaluation Project Manager

Useful links:

Evaluation Capacity Health Check

Other events and training of interest

Volunteer Strategy Consultation

Thursday 22 July 2021
10:00am – 12:00pm (arrival from 9:30am)
RSVP by 14 July 2021

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Hon Luke Donnellan and Parliamentary Secretary for Carers and Volunteers, Anthony Carbines MP, will be conducting a community consultation to hear from volunteers, community members and organisations, in the Melbourne Metropolitan area, to inform development of the Victorian Volunteer Strategy.

The interactive format will provide an opportunity for feedback on the development of the Victorian Volunteer Strategy, including providing recommendations to government on priorities for action ideas to support and strengthen volunteering in Victoria.

Expressions of interest are open, please complete the online form and leave your details by 14 July 2021.

Please register early as numbers for a face-to-face consultation will be strictly limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Those who cannot be accommodated face to face will be given opportunity to participate online.

A confirmation email will be sent to you at the close of the EOI process, so we can provide details of the event, including whether you can join the face-to-face consultation or participate online.

For further information please contact Perla Protacio, Senior Project officer, DFFH on

The U3A Network: preventing social isolation and maintaining physical and mental health and wellbeing in older people

The U3A Network represents the U3A movement in Victoria and comprises 104 separate U3As across Victoria with a total membership of approximately 39,000 people aged 55 years and above. The cornerstone for U3As is lifelong learning where ‘the learners teach and the teachers learn’. U3As offer a range of very low-cost activities and classes. They serve an important ‘preventative’ role in maintaining the physical and mental health and wellbeing of members, and their connection to their communities. U3As are keen to be seen as places for vibrant older people – inclusive, welcoming, agile and innovative. However, this active cohort is often ‘invisible’ until they reach the ‘aged care and disability’ stage.

There are five U3As within HealthWest’s ‘catchment’ area (Hobsons Bay, Brimbank, Melton and Wyndham) with a total membership of 570. A U3A in Maribyrnong is in the very early planning stage. We are encouraging the U3As to develop partnerships with as many relevant organisations in their area as they can – including the local councils. The primary aims are to:

  • Develop awareness of U3As in the community (particularly other seniors’ groups)
  • Encourage new members (particularly from CALD communities)
  • Source low cost venues so more classes/activities can be developed
  • Combat ageism and get ‘active ageing’ on the agenda

Please reach out to Martina Ryan, Member Services Manager, if you are interested in partnering with the U3A or for further information.
Direct: (03) 9614 2657

HealthWest acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri, Bunurong, and Wadawurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to their cultures and their elders past and present.