From the Executive Officer’s Desk: October 2019

September has been a month dominated PCP advocacy efforts, developing communications and liaising with partners and local politicians. Funding agreements for PCPs across the State are due to end on 31 December 2019, and although the contract has been recurrent since 2000, PCPs have become increasingly concerned about the future, with no certainty of rollover being communicated by State government. The Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos has advised the parliament that no decision has been made as yet, so we await the next sitting on 15 October where she has agreed to discuss her answer. As the IEPCP supports numerous organisations and partnerships, we acknowledge the concerns of partners and potential ramifications in the catchment and region, and I would like to personally thank those of you advocating in support, and also for your personal support to me and my team during this difficult time.

For more information on the campaign, please check our website iepcp.org.au. I urge our members and stakeholders to consider the benefit and value add that IEPCP contributes to your activities and would be very grateful if you could advocate on our behalf to both the Minister and local members as a matter of urgency. IEPCP have provided a letter for you to use here. See also some of the statements our partners have made about IEPCP here.

However, in hoping for the best, we are marching on with business as usual, leading and supporting steering groups, governance, and leadership groups planning and implementing preventative activity; and with IEPCP annual reporting due, and next round of IHP action planning underway.

A couple of highlights were:
• To partner with Link Health and Community to host Seanna Davidson from The Systems School to deliver a workshop on the fundamentals of Systems Thinking, for Managers and prevention practitioners. During an interactive day of theory and practical examples, participants were encouraged to embrace systems thinking approaches to the complexity of health challenges; and to consider potential impacts of interventions, engage many stakeholders to better understand the system, identify leverage points, and allow actions to be iterative as the system changes.

• Another highlight was to be able to secure international speaker on Ageism, Aston Applewhite to come to the Inner East and present to partners interested in Healthy Ageing and Primary Prevention of issues such as Elder Abuse. Invitations are going out now, for the November event.
• Congratulations to our Research and Evaluation Coordinator Sophie Allen who has joined the GenVic Members Assembly – the membership consultative body of the organisation. Sophie has been an active participant of TFER – the Together for Equality and Respect working groups and leadership, and we are delighted to have her contribute on behalf of partners and the IEPCP.

There has also been much activity in the State arena, with key documents being released:
Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2019-2023 and the Victorian Population Health Survey 2017

A new public health priority emerged in the VPHWP, Antimicrobial resistance, with government acknowledging the increasing possibility of not being able to treat infections, particularly bacterial infections, due to the growing resistance to antibiotics by bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungal infections. I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Dr Annaliese van Diemen Policy Advisor to DHHS, to hear about the causes, impacts (which include passing on infectious diseases, issues with surgery and disease treatments) and planned action locally and globally, where the U.N also note it as a priority health issue. For more information, a copy of the presentation is here

And it was exciting to see the Federal Government announce the steering committee to oversee the 10 year National Preventative Health Strategy.
The National Preventive Health Strategy will have a key focus on four key elements:
1. Cancer and chronic disease population screening (current and emerging opportunities)
2. Immunisation
3. Nutrition and obesity
4. Public education and research
Furthermore, the Morrison Government has committed to reducing Australia’s smoking rates below 10 per cent by 2025. The Expert Steering Committee, will be chaired by Health Department Deputy Secretary Dr Lisa Studdert, and includes experts across the public health, research and health promotion fields.

At the local level, congratulations to the Board and staff of the EMPHN, who launched their new strategic plan 2020-2025, with five strategic priorities:
1. Addressing health gaps and inequalities
2. Enhancing primary care
3. Leveraging digital health, data and technology
4. Partners working as a single service system
5. A high performing organisation

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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