19 October 2022                                                                                   View this email in your browser

This Primary Care Update expands on the previous COVAX updates to include a broader range of information to support current challenges faced by primary care providers. If you have items to share across the network, please send them to

Please forward this update to any colleagues who may be interested and view previous editions here.

Flood recovery

  • The Victorian Government has a Flood Recovery Hotline available on 1800 560 760 from 7.30am to 7.30pm every day (click the image to make it bigger).
  • Emergency Relief Centres are listed here.
  • The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) is a lump sum payment available to people significantly affected by floods in the following local government areas (LGAs) – Benalla, Campaspe, Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Loddon, Mitchell, Mount Alexander, Murrindindi and Strathbogie. 
    • Employees and sole traders who lost income as a direct result of the floods may also be eligible for Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA). This payment is available in these LGAs - Alpine, Benalla, Buloke, Campaspe, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Indigo Shire, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mansfield, Mitchell, Moira, Mount Alexander, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Swan Hill, Wangaratta and Wodonga.
    • Both payments are available until 17 April 2023.
There are many areas of the Murray PHN region that are now in the clean-up phase after water has subsided. Here are some things to consider:
  • Contaminated floodwater can carry an increased risk of infection - Healthdirect and WorkSafe QLD have tips to help avoid problems.
  • NSW Health has outlined ways to stay healthy during and after floods, including ensuring drinking water is safe, thorough hand washing after handling flood-affected items and wearing suitable protective clothing while cleaning up.
  • Mosquitos will be out in force, bringing increased risk of contracting Japanese encephalitis - see the Vaccination Pathways section below for more information.
  • Look out for signs that you or those around you might be struggling with the trauma of the event. This short video from the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing explains how early preventative measures, such as regular check-ins with a GP, can help put people on the road to recovery. Please see the Education and Training section below for further training opportunities. 
Emergency volunteer register
If any health professionals are available to help support affected primary care providers and relief centres, please consider registering as an emergency volunteer. Find more information and a registration form here.


Prepare for a flood emergency
Further rain is expected across the Murray PHN region over the next week and the Bureau of Meteorology has issued Major and Moderate Flood Warnings for rivers in Victoria and NSW

Murray PHN staff are contacting primary care providers to determine their current service status and whether there may be anything they need in terms of support or advocacy. If you require assistance for Emergency Response preparation, please contact or 03 4408 5600. Alternatively, call the Quality Improvement Consultant in your region. 

Have you considered?
  • The location of the nearest generator
  • Ensuring sufficient supplies of medications and consumables
  • The needs of at-risk patient groups such as those requiring methadone
  • Ensuring patients have physical prescriptions to take with them
  • Maintaining cold-chain requirements if power is cut off.
If you are a Victorian general practice, part of your plan can include the cloud-based Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT), developed in conjunction with the RACGP to help prepare for, respond to and recover from the impacts of emergencies and pandemics. The Victorian Department of Health is providing free access to the ERPT until 31 December 2023. If you need support with access, contact your local Quality Improvement Consultant or

For assistance in flood and storm emergencies, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500. Further information can be found on the websites of NSW SES and Victoria SES.

Changes to MBS items for telehealth
Patients in flood-affected areas can see a new GP via telehealth - the ‘established clinical relationship’ requirement is waived in that situation. More information is supplied by MBS online here.

Support for general practice staff
Murray PHN has fully subsidised an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) available to general practice staff and their immediate family members. EAP is a confidential support service that can help with a wide range of problems, at no cost to you. You can contact the EAP 24/7 by calling 1300 361 008 and quoting Murray PHN General Practice.

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)
The current flood situation in Victoria and NSW will lead to an increase in mosquito activity. All eligible people are strongly encouraged to obtain a vaccination as soon as possible.

Providers of the vaccine in the Murray PHN region can be found here and local public health units are also providing JEV vaccines. Please call ahead to ensure stock on hand.  

Note that some sites will be closed due to flooding. 

The Victoria Department of Health, in collaboration with Ovens Murray, Goulburn Valley and Loddon Mallee Local Public Health Units, is currently conducting a serosurvey for Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV). This serosurvey seeks to better understand the spread of JEV in northern Victoria and risk factors for infection. The study will support the targeting of local prevention and vaccination strategies ahead of future mosquito seasons.

If you have a patient who would like to be involved, click here to access the consent form and questionnaire.

Further information is available from each Public Health Unit: 

The Victorian Department of Health webpages include information for health professionals and the public. A social media pack for the promotion of prevention messages to community is also available.

Support for homebound individuals
If you have a homebound patient, Murray PHN can help to engage a local primary care vaccine provider or apply to the Commonwealth for a VAPP provider to be allocated.
Click here to see eligibility criteria and complete a referral form or for further information, contact Emma Healion t: 0437 616 877 or e:

Local outreach vaccination and testing clinics
Upcoming clinics in the Murray PHN catchment:   
  • GV Health COVID-19 vaccination buses are also providing Pfizer, Moderna bivalent boosters and JE vaccines to those who meet eligibility criteria. There will be a clinic running at the Shepparton Senior Citizens Centre on Tuesday 25 October, 11am – 6pm. Jabba the bus will be at the following sites next week:
    • Nagambie Community House, Monday 24 October, 10.15am – 3pm
    • Kilmore District Health, Tuesday 25 October, 1.30 – 4pm
    • Yarrawonga Maternal & Child Health Centre, Thursday 27 October, 10.30am – 3pm
  • Bendigo Health Covid Clinic is open 10am-5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday. 
  • Ovens Murray PHU vaccination clinics – COVID-19, influenza and JE vaccines are available at the Wodonga site (corner of Smythe and Stanley streets) on Thursdays and Fridays from 8.30am to 4pm. Outreach clinics will be operating across the region on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – dates and times in the link above.
Note: many clinics across the region will be closed due to the current flood emergencyClick here to download a list of providers who are closed or offering limited services (current as of 19/10).

To promote vaccination outreach clinics or events, e:

Local vaccination providers
Details of local general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and pharmacies providing COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations are available on Murray PHN's website. If you wish to opt-out, e:

Note: Sites listed on our website are those classified as ACTIVE by the Commonwealth. Where specific vaccines are classified as DORMANT (no orders and <10 total administrations in the last 4 weeks) those vaccines have been removed.

COVID care in the community 
The COVID-19 Positive Community Care and Treatment pathway supports health professionals in the management of COVID-positive adults in the community, including in aged and disability care facilities. It contains information on the prescription of antivirals and the Murray PHN funded face-to-face home assessment and monitoring service.

If you have a patient who is located in Albury, Towong, Bendigo, Heathcote, Quambatook/Pyramid Hill, Kerang or Robinvale who has a positive COVID result and is managing their symptoms at home but requires escalation of care to avoid hospitalisation, they may be eligible for this service - view the referral section of the pathway for details.

Supporting the disability sector

Disability providers and liaison officers have been advised to contact Murray PHN for assistance with engaging local primary care providers to offer in-reach vaccinations or to request Commonwealth in-reach. If your practice is able to assist with in-reach or homebound vaccinations, e:

Primary care vaccine providers can access support and resources from Disability Liaison Officers to enable people with disability to access COVID-19 vaccination at their site in: 

For additional vaccination information for specific groups, click here.

Education and training

Online learning

Recorded webinars

New and updated resources

Further assistance

Copyright © 2022 Murray PHN, All rights reserved.

Murray PHN acknowledges its catchment crosses over many unceded First Nations Countries, following the Dhelkunya Yaluk (Healing River).
We pay our respects and give thanks to the Ancestors, Elders and Young people for their nurturing, protection and caregiving of these sacred lands and waterways, acknowledging their continuing cultural, spiritual and educational practices.
We are grateful for the sharing of Country and the renewal that Country gives us. We acknowledge and express our sorrow that this sharing has come at a personal, spiritual and cultural cost to the wellbeing of First Nations peoples. We commit to addressing the injustices of colonisation across our catchment, and to listening to the wisdom of First Nations communities who hold the knowledge to enable healing.
We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Murray PHN (ABN 92 156 423 755) acknowledges the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

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Murray PHN · 3-5 View Point · Bendigo, Vic 3550 · Australia