Newsletter Articles - February 2018
Volume 4   |   Issue 2

Message from the Chair

One of the drivers in all the work of the PHNs are to improve safety and quality in healthcare for those living in rural South Australia. I sit on the Primary Care Committee of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care which provides a high level overview of some of the systems and issues at play.

Improving communication and information sharing at transitions of care is an important part of improving safety and quality in health, and is an area that does not currently flow as smoothly as would be ideal.

It is encouraging to see that this is a priority activity agreed to in the recent Bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and SA Health. This will include our tertiary hospitals finally accessing and contributing to the information available on the My Health Record platform which will enhance its use considerably.

The Country SA PHN (CSAPHN) is very keen to continue its work with SA Health in moving towards improved timely information transfer.

The Health Care Homes trial will help focus improvements around a small cohort of patients living with chronic disease, and will help build systems around best managing their needs across sectors.

The CSAPHN has capacity to help all healthcare providers look at ways of assessing and improving service provision individually or for a population cohort. Contact us to discuss how we can best help.

  Notification of new recommendations made in Maternal and Perinatal Mortality in South Australia 2015 Report.

  The Maternal and Perinatal Mortality in South Australia Report is produced annually by the Maternal and Perinatal Mortality Committee, Chaired by Professor Jodie Dodd, and is 
  authorised by SA Health as a quality activity under part 7 of the South Australian Health Care Act 2008.

  This report has been tabled in both houses of Parliament in December 2017 with the expectation that all recommendations in the Report will be implemented.

  The 2015 report:

  New recommendations listed below:

  1. Clinicians are reminded that asthma is a serious condition, which is potentially fatal.
  NB Clinical practice related to this recommendation is supported by the SA Perinatal Practice Guideline:
  ‘Asthma in Pregnancy’: found on SA Health internet site and/or SA Health web-based app

  2. Where severe fetal growth restriction (estimated fetal weight <3rd percentile) is suspected in the second trimester, the case should be discussed with a Maternal Fetal 
  Medicine Specialist

  NB Clinical practice related to this recommendation is supported by the SA Perinatal Practice Guideline:
  ‘Fetal growth’ – Restricted: found on SA Health internet site and/or SA Health web-based app

  3. All neonates who are drowsy, irritable and feeding poorly should be considered seriously ill until proven otherwise, as neonates may not show classical signs of infection.
  Please seek specialist medical advice urgently.

  4. All placentas associated with perinatal deaths should be examined by the Department of Surgical Pathology, Women’s and Children’s Hospital (2003). They should be
  accompanied with all relevant clinical information (2006). Placentas that are not sent for pathological examination should be refrigerated for one week in individually labelled 
  plastic bags (2011).

  NB Clinical practice related to this recommendation is supported by the SA Perinatal Practice Guideline:
  ‘Investigations of Stillborn – SA protocol’: found on SA Health internet site and/or SA Health web-based app

  If you require any additional information please feel free to contact Bonnie Fisher Principal Project Manager, SA Maternal Neonatal Gynaecology Community of 
  Practice:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CKD-DETECT is still recruiting!

Now that the Christmas and holiday rush is over are you a practice nurse looking for a free CPD opportunity and want to make a difference in health outcomes for the 1 in 3 Australians at increased risk of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)? We are looking for 280 general practice nurses to participate in a randomised controlled trial evaluating a pragmatic e-learning intervention to improve CKD screening practices.

Depending which group you are randomised to, we expect that this will take between 1 and 2 hours to complete. A CPD certificate will be awarded upon completion for your professional portfolio.  We will be finishing data collection and closing the study on March 29, 2018.

All participants who complete the program and its surveys will go into a draw for one of three $100.00 Coles-Myers vouchers

If you are interested in participating, please click on this link  to access the participant information statement and study registration page. All of the surveys are anonymous, however you will be required to provide your name and email address so we can register you for the trial and send you your CPD   certificate on completion. If you have any questions about this research you can contact the researcher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This project is endorsed by Kidney Health Australia and considers evidenced based screening practices and practical real world solutions to initiating CKD screening in the general practice setting.

A trial of evidence-based smoking cessation care to pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women. Seeking interested GPs/ Practices to participate.

The SISTAQUIT research trial aims to improve provision of timely, evidence-based smoking cessation care (SCC) for pregnant Indigenous women attending Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS), General Practices and other health services. The multi-component, culturally appropriate SISTAQUIT intervention is based on RACGP guidelines, and trains multidisciplinary teams (e.g. GPs, Aboriginal Health Workers and midwives) using live, interactive webinars.

We aim to improve the quit rates of pregnant smokers, measured by self-report and carbon monoxide testing during pregnancy and after birth, as well as increase the proportion of health providers offering assistance in quitting to pregnant smokers. And we are seeking to improve birth weights of babies and respiratory outcomes of babies in the first six months of life.

The trial resources and techniques were developed over ten years in collaboration with Aboriginal communities and the SISTAQUIT training and resources have been piloted at six AMS in three states. This stage of our study comprises a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) at 30 AMS and/or other health services and GP practices. A comparison will be made between the women receiving the Intervention with those using usual care (control group).

We are inviting services to nominate their interest in being a study site. Each site that is formally recruited will receive reimbursement for the research activities undertaken for the trial. If your service is in the Intervention group, it will receive the training and resources at the start of the project. If your service is in the usual care group, it will be offered training and resources at the end of the study. Pregnant women who are smokers and agree to be in the study will receive a shopping voucher for their participation at each evaluation point. Health providers undertaking the training may be eligible for CPD points.

The research team is led by Assoc. Prof. Dr Gillian Gould and Prof. Billie Bonevski from the University of Newcastle (UON). Our Aboriginal Chief Investigator is Assoc. Prof. Dr Peter O’Mara; Dr Marilyn Clarke and Assoc. Prof. Maree Gruppetta are two Aboriginal Associate Investigators.

Ms Joley Manton, Aboriginal Research Assistant and Cultural Liaison

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Phone: (02) 4033 5720

Follow us on Twitter @sistaquit


Adelaide Hills Aged Friendly Project

Improved information regarding the accessibility of popular local experiences for the ageing population in the Adelaide Hills is now available.

Thanks to a collaboration between Adelaide Hills Council, Adelaide Hills Tourism, Regional Development Australia, Mount Barker District Council, the Hills Positive Ageing Taskforce and Country SA PHN, and with the help of ‘PUSH Adventures’, The Adelaide Hills Aged Friendly Project worked to provide and distribute information regarding age friendly/accessible sites and create opportunities for older people to be part of local, family and community activities.

Exclusion from participation in the local community has multiple impacts on older people, including social isolation, loneliness, and poorer overall mental health and wellbeing.

This information has been disseminated through appropriate residential aged care facilities, carers, dementia support workers, friends and relatives through social media, newsletters, and websites – including a dedicated page on

The project concluded in December 2017 and is a great example of how collaboration between organisations and a group of dynamic and proactive people can achieve positive outcomes. Adelaide Hills Tourism will continue to keep the dedicated webpage up to date moving forward.

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth Survey

The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth invite you to participate in their NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth Survey.

As you are aware, stillbirth has a profound and long lasting impact on parents, families and communities as well as health care providers. Australia trails a number of other high income countries, with late gestation stillbirth rates 35% higher than the lowest reported rates globally.  High quality clinical audits have shown that around 20-30% of stillbirths could be avoided with better care.

The aim of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth is to reduce the stillbirth rate in Australia to that of countries with the lowest rates globally.  They are conducting a survey to understand practices across Australian hospitals around key elements of care to reduce stillbirth, to inform the development of a stillbirth prevention bundle of care, followed by wide-scale implementation. This survey is the first phase of the project and clinician feedback is important to inform the development of the bundle.

The survey will take around 20 minutes to complete. Participation in this survey is entirely voluntary. By completing and submitting this survey, the participant will be indicating their consent to participate. If a participant decides to later their change mind before finishing the survey, they need only to simply close their web browser and no information they have entered will be retained.

The information participants provide is completely confidential. No IP and email address will be recorded. Participants have the option of providing their name and contact details if they would like to be involved and/or learn more about the next phase of the project. The participant’s name and contact details will be stored separately from their survey responses and will be analysed and presented in an aggregate format to ensure neither hospital nor individual respondent can be identified. Access to survey information will be limited to members of the project team only and no information about any individual will appear in any publications or presentations.

The survey has been approved by the Mater Misericordiae Ltd. Human Research Ethics Committee.

Any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this survey, should be referred to Ms Odette Petersen, (07) 3163 1585 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional questions about the survey, can be forwarded to Prof Vicki Flenady (07) 3163 1592 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Prof David Ellwood; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This survey is recommended to perinatal clinicians and it is hoped that many are able to participate in it.

To participate in the survey please click on the link: and kindly complete by Wednesday, February 28th 2018.

Thank you for your anticipated support.

Zostavax® vaccine available now nationally for people 70-79 years

Since November 2016, a free shingles vaccine program has been funded under the Australian Government’s National Immunisation Program (NIP) for 70 year olds, with a time-limited catch-up program for people 71 to 79 years old until October 2021.

At the commencement of the program, the interest in the vaccine was unprecedented.  Early shortages have been addressed and there is now ample stock available to meet ongoing demand under the program.

Zostavax® is available nationally and the vaccine is readily accessible to immunisation providers.

To assist in promoting the program and ensuring people 70 to 79 years old are protected against shingles, it is now timely that providers:

  • follow up with patients or other eligible people 70 to 79 years old who would benefit from the vaccine and who may have missed out earlier in the program.
  • promote the vaccine to eligible people 70 to 79 years old through displaying the program posters and brochures in your clinic or health care facility.
  • report vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Zostavax® supplies can be ordered through the same process currently used to order vaccines for the NIP through your state or territory Health Department.

For further information, clinical advice and promotional materials for the National Shingles Vaccination Program are available for download online at the Department of Health’s immunisation website.

HealthPathways is Going Live!

Country SA PHN is excited to announce that HealthPathways South Australia is on its way and will be going LIVE in March 2018!

It is a free online portal for GPs, practice nurses and other health professionals providing easy access to comprehensive clinical information and resources relevant to their patient’s care.  

HealthPathways South Australia provides:

  • evidence based information for assessment and management of specific health conditions
  • local referral pathways
  • relevant patient resources

Like to be notified when HealthPathways goes live and get access to the portal? Register your interest today – jump on the HealthPathways South Australia project site  



Beckwith Park, 30 Tanunda Road Nuriootpa SA 5355
PO Box 868 Nuriootpa SA 5355
T 08 8565 8900 F 08 8311 1723
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While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

Country SA PHN gratefully acknowledge the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health