news

Thursday 22 August 2024, 5.30pm - 7.30pm

AI as a tool to enhance or support decision-making is everywhere and promises to be the next revolution in healthcare. From early detection of cancer to waiting list backlog. However, AI is a loose term that prompts strong emotional reactions, capable of bringing utopia or the end of humanity. The term itself is meant to represent a machine that can have cognitive abilities similar to humans. In this panel discussion, Prof Rafael Perera-Salazar and other experts in machine learning and innovation in healthcare will discuss the basic premise of AI, some of the basic tools that have been developed as a way of reaching this (theoretical) goal and how these tools are changing the way we interact, including how healthcare is or might be delivered in the near future.

Prof Andrew Zannettino (chair), Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Prof Rafael Perera-Salazar, Director of Medical Statistics in Primary Care (University of Oxford), Visiting Professor 2024 - Northern Community Health and Research Foundation.

A/Prof Johan Verjans, Consult Cardiologist, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Jones Radiology; Future Industry Making Fellow, Australian Institute for Machine Learning, University of Adelaide; Platform leader AI, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

Mr Mark Wheeler, Director, Health and Acting Director, Critical Technologies, AI and Digital Health, SA Department for Trade and Investment.

Dr Melissa McCradden, Women's and Children's Health Network AI Director; The Hospital Research Foundation Clinical Research Fellow in AI Ethics, AIML.

Drinks and nibbles offered at the end, courtesy of the FHMS Career Development Committee and Australasian Epidemiological Association, SA Chapter.

Register online for this free panel discussion.

Thursday 29 August 2024, 5.30pm - 7.30pm

Join us for an in-person, free public lecture by the 2024 Northern Community Health and Research Foundation (NCHRF) Visiting Professor, Professor Rafael Perera-Salazar.

“Multimorbidity, the experience of living with two or more long-term health conditions, is a problem caused by dramatic improvements in medical treatments and overall living conditions, which have increased life expectancy in most countries over the last 50 years. However, our healthcare systems were not designed to deal with this problem, generally specialising and focusing on single conditions. Across the world, rates of multimorbidity are rising, with one in four adults in the UK now affected. This public lecture will explore how we got here, the challenges, and some suggestions for improvements”.

Professor Rafael Perera-Salazar is the Director of the Medical Statistics group at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford. He has spearheaded the development of a highly esteemed methodological/statistical team in the UK, with a special focus on multimorbidity and the monitoring of long-term chronic conditions.

Do not miss this rare opportunity to hear from one of the leading authorities in the field of multimorbidity and control of long-term conditions as he shares his insights and findings on the impacts on healthcare systems.

Light refreshments offered at the end of the event over a networking opportunity.

Register online for this free public lecture.

In June, country SA care finders gathered in Port Pirie with Helen Morley, care finder lead, to enjoy a day of learning, connection and collaboration. Supporting the commissioned service providers care finder workforce to be together, created a great sense of mutual purpose and much conversation, with many care finders meeting for the first time.

We welcomed several speakers, including Country SA PHN, Bridget Kennelly, Manager Community Collaborations, speaking on the Community Advisory Committees role and achievements, and Litza Meyers, Clinical Coordinator speaking on HealthPathways. In addition, we were lucky to have two members of the Department of Health and Aged Care, country SA Stewardship Team spend the day with us, they shared their roles and how care finders can connect. There was a lively conversation session between the Department and care finders, on what is working well in the Aged Care Sector and what aspects generate barriers for the older people care finders support.

We heard from care finders who have been part of local interagency collaborations, and learned from a care finder manager about the details of the new Integrated Assessment Tool which really informed the group ahead of the tool implementation date in July.  

An interactive workshop facilitated by Sandra Fuchs; Senior Manager of Country North Homelessness Alliance, was a timely continuation of the foundational work as Country SA PHN, with GPEx and Sandra Fuchs develop an innovative, online education module for country SA care finders on Homelessness.   

Helen Morley said, “We all left feeling upbeat, better connected and keener to enhance collaborations across country SA which is so crucial as the care finder program continues to evolve.

Visit the Country SA PHN website for more information on the care finder program and how to contact a care finder service in country SA.

Medicare Mental Health Centres

As Chief Executive Officer of an organisation whose mission it is to bridge the gap in health equity for country South Australians, it is rewarding to see the improvements Country SA PHN is making to primary health for our communities. A significant part of this improvement is in the area of mental health.

While I think it’s fair to say that as a society, we are more aware of the importance of taking care of our mental health today, than we were in the past - knowing when, where and how to reach out for support remains challenging for many and for some the context of rurality further exacerbates this. The Department of Health and Aged Care’s Head to Health initiative is designed to make accessing mental health support and services easier. Medicare Mental Health Centres (formerly known as Head to Health centres) provide free, walk-in, immediate mental health support. Country SA PHN is currently funding and supporting a Medicare Mental Health Centre in Mount Gambier, provided by FocusOne Health and establishing another in Mount Barker to be delivered by Summit Health.

I am now very pleased to announce that we will be working with Neami National to open a new Medicare Mental Health Centre in Port Pirie.

The Port Pirie Medicare Mental Health Centre will be of tremendous assistance to the people of Port Pirie and surrounds. It will complement existing services, offering free, walk-in mental health support in a safe and welcoming environment. The centre will be staffed by a range of mental health professionals, including clinicians, and peer support workers with their own experiences of mental health challenges and recovery. They will offer caring, inclusive and confidential support for adults who are experiencing distress or are worried about themselves or someone they care about. Additional on-call clinical support will also be available.

By removing traditional barriers to accessing mental health support the Medicare Mental Health Centre model enables people to walk in and get immediate care when they need it with no appointment or referral needed.

The model seeks to address key gaps in the system by:

It’s anticipated the Port Pirie Medicare Mental Health Centre will be available to the Port Pirie community by early September 2024 with the Mount Barker centre expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The Head to Health model also offers free, confidential mental health support through the Head to Health Phone Service on 1800 595 212 across South Australia. This is for anyone seeking support for their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Health professionals seeking information on mental health services available in your region or how to refer a patient, can contact the team who will assist in determining the most appropriate referral pathway and level of care for your patients, they will even support referral where required.

The phone service is available between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday and is staffed by mental health professionals. The Head to Health website is also available for support.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our commissioned service providers and the Country SA PHN mental health team who are collaborating to offer these support services for country South Australians.

Please visit our website for further information about Medicare Mental Health Centres and Head to Health support.

Monthly remote Practice Manager and Practice Network meetings continue to be well attended supported by face-to-face visiting by the Primary Care Support team. In May and June, the team visited the following regions:

In July and August visits are scheduled for Adelaide Hills, Far West Coast and Eyre Peninsula and the Clare region.

The Primary Care Support officers were in the Southeast discussing quality improvement, digital health and mental health resources and several funded PHN programs.

Primary Care Support Officers Richard Pierce and Katrina Coppock with Medical Clinic Millicent Practice Manager Bronwyn Barker
Primary Care Support Officers Richard Pierce with Tatiara Medical Centre Practice Manager Debbie Koch and Zara

Acknowledgement of Country

Country SA PHN would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands across Australia and pay respects to the Elders past, present and future. We recognise and respect the unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters, and seas, which continue to be important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living today. 

Message from the CEO

Mark Hartigan

As Chief Executive Officer of an organisation whose mission it is to bridge the gap in health equity for country South Australians, it is rewarding to see the improvements Country SA PHN is making to primary health for our communities. A significant part of this improvement is in the area of mental health.

The Department of Health and Aged Care’s Head to Health initiative is designed to make accessing mental health support and services easier. Medicare Mental Health Centres (formerly known as Head to Health centres) provide free, walk-in, immediate mental health support. Country SA PHN is currently funding and supporting a Medicare Mental Health Centre in Mount Gambier, provided by FocusOne Health and establishing another in Mount Barker to be delivered by Summit Health.
Read more

Country SA PHN Activity



Primary Care and Digital Health Support

GoShare Plus

GoShare Plus makes it easy for Practice staff to send patients engaging, credible information relevant to preventative health campaigns and quality improvement activities.
Read more

Regional practice visits

Monthly remote Practice Manager and Practice Network meetings continue to be well attended supported by face-to-face visiting by the Primary Care Support team.
Read more

Practice Support project for regional and rural South Australia

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is delighted to announce a practice support bundle for South Australia’s regional and rural pharmacists working in the Country SA PHN region.
Read more

HealthPathways SA HIV management suite of pathways

HealthPathways SA offers free access to comprehensive and evidenced based care pathways like our latest on HIV and Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
Read more


Aged Care

First national evaluation report: care finder program

The Department of Health and Aged Care engaged Australian Healthcare Associates to evaluate the care finder program nationally, with the first report released in May.
Read more

Country SA care finders connect, learn and collaborate

In June, country SA care finders gathered in Port Pirie with Helen Morley, Country SA PHN care finder lead, to enjoy a day of learning, connection and collaboration. 
Read more

Palliative Care

A Message from Uncle Moogy: The Vital role of Palliative Care

Through funding from the Greater Choice for at Home Palliative Care initiative, Country SA PHN has developed a valuable resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Read more

Regional Primary Health Activity


Electronic prescriptions improving patient safety
The electronic prescribing initiative continues to evolve and improve. For patients taking multiple medications, the Active Script List (ASL) is a solution that provides further convenience and flexibility, streamlining electronic prescription management. More information

Preventive Health South Australia Better Health Coaching Service Updated Referral Form
The Better Health Coaching Service updated referral form now includes an additional field to determine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. More information 

General Practice in Aged Care Incentive
From 1 July 2024, eligible general practitioners (GPs) and practices registered with both MyMedicare and General Practice in Aged Care Incentive will be able to receive incentive payments. More information

‘Staying at Home’ Program in Regional South Australia
The program offers short-stay respite care, where the person living with dementia and their carer stay together on retreat with others for up to three days and two nights away, with 24/7 staff support. More information

Release of Grant Opportunity for alcohol and other drug treatment services and support in Ceduna
Funding will be provided to support alcohol and other drug treatment activities that complement existing services, addresses service delivery gaps, and aligns with the needs and expectations of the communities. Read more

Have you been affected by natural disasters while managing a health condition?
Macquarie University is seeking volunteers to take part in an interview about their experience of managing a health condition during natural disasters. More information

The 2024 Helen Mayo House Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Conference - Registration now open
The Conference will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 21 - 22 November 2024. Take advantage of earlybird prices and register now. More information

APNA Programs
Did you know that APNA offers a range of programs for nurses working in primary health care that also benefit busy practices like yours? Read more

Registering a patient for an Active Script List
Did you know that a patient must provide consent in order to register for an Active Script List? It is important to have a conversation with the patient where you explain what they are registering for.
More information

SA Health campaign to assist with hospital demand
A new SA Health public awareness campaign advises the community to call healthdirect to find the best care for their circumstances to support demand on the hospital system.
Read more

Spot Checks to be conducted for Low COVID-19 Vaccination in Aged Care Homes
The Department of Health and Aged Care have announced that “spot check” will be conducted at Aged Care Sites will low vaccination rates. Read more

ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential for GPs
Funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care, this Credential aims to enhance the effectiveness and consistency of care for eating disorders in Australia. More information 

SHINE SA launches new campaign: ‘Get Lucky? Get Tested for Syphilis’
The campaign aims to raise awareness of syphilis as well as to encourage South Australians to practice safer sex, get tested regularly and get treated. Read more

NHMRC-funded ALIVE National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation and Australian National University
The 2024 ALIVE Lived Experience research priority-setting study is focused on the views of young people who have lived experience of mental ill-health, and/or as a carer, family or kinship group member supporting someone with mental ill-health. Read more

Research Opportunity: Promoting Oral Healthcare among women in perimenopause/menopause
Researchers from the Australian Centre for Integration of Oral Health (ACIOH), Western Sydney university invite you to participate in their study. Read more

Nominate a health professional or organisation for The National Rural and Remote Health Awards
The Awards aim to pay tribute to exceptional professionals and organisations that have significantly contributed to improving rural and remote health across Australia. Nominations close on 8 July 2024. More information

Job Opportunities


Mental Health Clinician
Medicare Mental Health Centre (formerly known as Head to Health) in Port Pirie
Apply now. For the full position description visit the Neami National website or SEEK.

Peer Support Worker
Port Pirie Head to Health Satellite
Applications close Monday 8 July 2024. For the full position description visit the Neami National website or SEEK.

Country SA PHN Funded
Educational Events


Face to Face

Skin Cancer Skills Training - Port Lincoln
Wednesday 7 August 2024, 6.30pm - 9.30pm 
More information

Webinars / e-Learning

Skin Cancer Webinar
Monday 8 July 2024, 7.00pm – 9.00pm
More information

Childhood Immunisation Schedule
Monday 12 August 2024, 7.00pm – 9.00pm
More information

Industry Education and Events


Health Weeks in July

Dry July
1 July - 31 July 2024
More information

National Diabetes Week
14 July - 20 July 2024
More information

NAIDOC Week
7 July - 14 July 2024
More information

National Pain Week
22 July - 28 July 2024
More information

Face to Face

Mental Health First Aid Workshop
Wednesday 24 July 2024, 8.30am – 12.30pm
and 1.30pm – 5.30pm
More information

Wound Care Masterclass
Sunday 28 July 2024, 8.30am - 4.00pm
More information

Webinars / e-Learning

Electronic prescriptions and Active Script List in your practice
Free CPD accredited online training for prescribers. More information

My Health Record FAQs: for specialist practices
Grow your understanding of My Health Record by reviewing our frequently asked questions.
More information

Using My Health Record for Specialists
This module provides an overview of My Health Record and describes how specialists can use it in their clinical practice. More information

GP dementia resources, training and education support
Resources to support recognising, diagnosing and managing dementia.
More information

Supporting Children’s Resilience in General Practice
eLearning that introduces a whole-of-practice approach to supporting child mental health.
Read more

Mental Health First Aid Digital Workshops
Tuesday 9 July and Wednesday 10 July 2024
6.30pm – 9.00pm
More information

EMET Cardiac Emergencies Victor Harbor
Wednesday 24 July 2024, 6.00pm – 10.00pm
More information

Electronic prescriptions and Active Script List (MySL) in community pharmacy
Free CPD accredited online training for dispensers. More information

Registering your organisation for My Health Record
This course is designed to help you register and prepare your organisation to access My Health Record. More information

Six Steps to Support you to Assess and Respond to Elder Abuse
Self-paced eLearning module.
More information

The Wellbeing Prescription Podcast
Insightful and practical resource for Health Professionals who are tackling the all-too-common issue of job-induced stress and burnout. More information

Identifying and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect
Self-paced eLearning module.
More information

Blood Essentials: All About Bruising, Bleeding, and Iron Management
Tuesday 23 July 2024, 7.30pm - 9.00pm
More information

Emergency or umm…ergency? Do you know what to do when you’re injured or unwell

A new SA Health public awareness campaign advises the community to call healthdirect to find the best care for their circumstances to support demand on the hospital system.

When someone is unsure what to do when they have a non-life-threatening illness or injury, they can call healthdirect to speak to a registered nurse who will help them find the best care.

healthdirect may also assist the patient to find a GP in their area or offer a phone or video call back from a healthdirect virtual GP for an assessment.

You can download promotional resources for your practice, including posters and TV screens, via Dropbox. For more information, visit the SA Health website.

Women are at higher risk of developing oral health problems during menopause. These oral health problems can significantly affect their quality of life. However, there is currently limited evidence on the oral health knowledge, attitudes, and practices of women in perimenopause/menopause worldwide. Providing appropriate assistance during the early period of the menopausal transition could potentially reduce the prevalence of oral health problems in the perimenopausal/menopausal period and improve overall well-being in the later years. 

Researchers from the Australian Centre for Integration of Oral Health (ACIOH), Western Sydney university invite you to participate in their study. This study aims to explore the current role and experiences of General practitioners/Practice nurses in promoting oral health among women approaching or in menopause.

Participation will involve a 20–30-minute interview. The interview will be conducted at a convenient time for you using either phone, online platforms like zoom, or face-to-face. The valuable information you provide will assist in the development of strategies to support future resources and training programs around oral health care and menopause. Participation is voluntary and the information you provide will be strictly confidential. 

GPs and Practice Nurses who would like to participate in an interview may express interest here.
For further information refer to the Participant Information Sheet.

Over the past few years there has been a dramatic increase in cases of syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI). When left untreated syphilis can cause serious health consequences, including during pregnancy. Unfortunately, syphilis can be highly infectious, however the good news is that syphilis is a curable infection. This makes regular testing crucial for effective treatment and prevention.

In response to rising cases, SHINE SA has launched a new campaign: ‘Get Lucky? Get Tested for Syphilis’. The campaign aims to raise awareness of syphilis as well as to encourage South Australians to practice safer sex, get tested regularly and get treated.

Get involved by ordering free posters or brochures. For a limited time only, until stock runs out! For Syphilis information and resources for Health Professionals, visit the SHINE SA website.