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Keep up-to-date with the latest primary health news and events from across Victoria.

Primary Health News welcomes contributions from across the sector. To submit an article for the next edition, simply complete the article submission template and email it to

VicHealth’s new funding is all about partnerships

 Vic Health logo

To get VicHealth funding you need to think laterally about partnerships. 

VicHealth has changed the way they deliver grant funding. Their newly-created Partnership Grants opened on 19 November 2019, after which there will be two major VicHealth Partnership Grant rounds each year.  

VicHealth knows that forming strategic funding partnerships with diverse organisations is an effective way to improve the health and wellbeing of the Victorian community. Therefore, they are looking for organisations who are passionate about achieving health and wellbeing outcomes to create partnerships and apply for one or more of the seven funding opportunities currently available.  

Learn more and apply at the VicHealth website.

Making naloxone more accessible for people who need it

The Victorian Government has allocated funding to service providers across Victoria to continue the Naloxone Subsidy Initiative in 2019-20. Naloxone is a medication that reverses opioid-related overdose, and the Naloxone Subsidy Initiative is designed to get naloxone in the hands of people who are most at risk of, or likely to witness, an overdose. It also provides overdose prevention and response training through the Community Overdose and Prevention Education (COPE) and Drug Overdose Prevention/Peer Education (DOPE) programs.

Since it began in 2017, over 7,000 people have accessed naloxone through the program, and over 5,000 people have received overdose response and prevention training. Service providers work closely with local GPs, pharmacies and other health services to make naloxone more accessible for people.

For further information about training or other aspects of the initiative, contact

Penington Institute's website information on opioids and opidoid dependence

Penington Institute has developed Life Savers, a brief online guide to treatment for healthcare providers, people concerned about their usage of opioid drugs, and their family members and friends.

Life Savers is a resource for people from all walks of life who have questions or concerns about all types of opioids, from the pharmaceutical pain medications prescribed by doctors and pharmacists every day, to typically illicit opioids like heroin and opium. 

If you are a healthcare provider and would like a poster to hang in your office or waiting room for the benefit of your patients or clients, please email

Find out more on the Life Savers website.

Integrated care resources available

The Department of Health and Human Services is developing six online resources to support those wanting to provide high quality integrated care in their network.

Keep an eye out for the third resource, ‘Leadership, collaboration and governance integrated care’, arriving by the end of the year. 

Once you are logged in, you can freely access readings, case studies, activities and videos that will extend your understanding of the key principles, concepts and approaches of person-centred integrated care. As each resource is released, you’ll automatically get access through your account.

For more information about the resources, or the Victorian Integrated Care Model currently being piloted, please access the Victorian Integrated Care training website.

New directors on Eastern Melbourne PHN's Board

Three new directors have been appointed to Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network’s board. 

Terry Symonds has held senior leadership positions in government and worked closely for over a decade with Boards of public health services across Victoria. He is the Deputy Secretary, Health and Wellbeing at the department.

Dr Caroline Johnson is a practising GP, Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne and provides vocational training for GP registrars. She is actively involved in mental health advocacy work through the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. 

Tim Flowers has extensive expertise in financial reporting, enterprise management and governance and a passion for supporting organisations to successfully work within the NDIS. He has extensive experience working with the disability and community health sector as well as peak bodies, funders and government departments.

Power of Words resource – reducing stigma for people who use alcohol and other drugs

By focusing on people, rather than their use of alcohol and other drugs, and by choosing words that are welcoming and inclusive, professionals working with people who use alcohol and other drugs can reduce the impact of stigma and improve health outcomes.

Download the practical guide on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website.

Influenza: reflections on 2019 season

A webinar for GPs, emergency department clinicians, infectious disease clinicians and aged care service providers will be held on Tuesday 17 December from 1:30 – 2:30pm. 

Invited panel members will cover several issues including:

  • The challenges of increased community presentations of influenza in the emergency department and general practitioner settings.
  • When to test for influenza
  • When to offer Oseltamivir
  • The role of influenza surveillance
  • What are the learnings for next season?
Find out more and register online.

Thunderstorm asthma warnings

The risk of an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event occurring is forecast twice daily during the Victorian grass pollen season (typically 1 October to 31 December). 

The department has worked with the Bureau of Meteorology and a number of partner organisations to develop the forecasting system. 

You can view maps of current epidemic asthma thunderstorm forecast by region on the department’s website.

Further resources and links are also available on the website.

Survive the heat

The Department of Health and Human Services heat health alert system notifies local governments, departmental program areas, hospitals, and statewide or major metropolitan health and community service providers of forecast heatwave conditions that are likely to impact on human health.

Go to the department’s website to view pages with resources on heat health including: 

Subscribe to heat health alerts and other emergency advice from the department at 

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