Improved access to health services

The Complete Therapies Unit at Gippsland Lakes Complete Health

The Complete Therapies Team remodelled and responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic to safely meet community need. Virtual care for all allied health programs, except for podiatry, hand therapy and high priority speech pathology, became the norm. The team supported staff and clients to use technology and provided resources to complement virtual programs. Innovative service models are now core business.

Innovative support for diverse communities

Headspace Bairnsdale

Headspace Bairnsdale’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Games group began in 2017 as a face-to-face social group for young people with autism in response to young people and families requesting social supports. Due to COVID-19, the group has successfully moved online and maintained steady attendance of between three and six participants attending weekly. The approach has changed considerably from playing board games in the centre to more verbal games like trivia quizzes, Zoom Pictionary and others. Participants have been challenged by this but have enjoyed it. Key benefits include social connections and fostering discussion on shared interests.

Integration and partnerships (Joint winners)

Wellways NewAccess Team

The New Access program is a collaboration to deliver improved health services for Gippsland. NewAccess employs lived experience locals from across the Gippsland region, assisted by using extensive peer networks and upskilling non-clinical coaches to provide low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy. The strength of the relationship between Beyond Blue, Flinders University, and Wellways provides a positive open environment to support staff in their ongoing development, providing an additional skilled and motivated workforce. The NewAccess program can be accessed by a broad section of the community, including mental health workers, laying the foundation for not only achieving positive outcomes and improved access to services. Positive feedback from participants promotes an option that offers easy access and relieves pressure on the limited number of mental health professionals in Gippsland.

 Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria & Relationships Australia Victoria

The Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria (RFDS) and Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) formed a partnership in a year full of challenges. RFDS and RAV worked together to ensure mental health and wellbeing support was provided to individuals, families and frontline personnel who were affected by the East Gippsland bushfires. The Bushfire Counselling and Support Service was established in February 2020 and eight mental health clinicians recruited to cover the region. A collaborative intake and referral process was developed to ensure a streamlined process for community members and referrers. Each partner has used their local knowledge and partnerships across the region to ensure that mental health and wellbeing support has been available for those affected by the East Gippsland bushfires.

Indigenous Health

Gippsland Lakes Complete Health (GLCH) and Lakes Entrance Aboriginal Health Association

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) and GLCH Health Promotion teams have developed a successful partnership working together to prevent smoking. This year, the teams developed a resource package which is designed to go into schools prior to workshops with information for schools and parents. The Tackling Smoking Resource kit includes a children’s story book explaining the difference between good smoke and bad smoke written by TIS team member, Terrick Mullett-Morris, who is a proud Gunaikurnai man. The artwork is all locally produced by another Gunaikurnai man on the TIS team.


 South Coast Prevention Team and South Coast Water Partnership

The Tap Water Every Day social marketing campaign aimed to reduce sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and increase tap water consumption of teenage males aged13 to18 years across the South Coast Region. This project utilised a unique co-design approach, where a cohort of the target audience both developed and delivered project interventions. While the project was delivered on a small budget of $30,000, the reach and impact were amplified through the breadth of project partners engaged, infiltrating schools, homes, sporting clubs, homes and the general community. Evaluation findings highlighted a reduction in SSB consumption and increase in tap water consumption in the cohort. Additionally, the co-design approach reached a typically hard to engaged cohort and left them empowered to make change in their school communities.