GP Liaison Unit
The General Practice Liaison Unit (GPLU) builds and enhances pathways, linkages, capacity, programs and services between general practice, community health care and the hospital.
The service works across the Women's, including maternity, women's health services, outpatients and emergency. The unit also manages the shared maternity care program and provides continuing professional development events for GPs and other community health professionals.
The work of the Women’s GP Liaison Unit
Shared Maternity Care
Shared maternity care at the Women’s is managed by the GP Liaison Unit. In doing so it undertakes many monitoring and clinical governance tasks and responsibilities.
The unit is also responsible for the accreditation and reaccreditation of Shared Maternity Care Affiliate GPs and obstetricians. This accreditation and reaccreditation is a joint process with the Shared Maternity Care Collaborative (The Women’s, Northern Health, Mercy Hospital for Women and Western Health), so doctors can apply to any of these in a single application.
Shared maternity care is an important model of care, with over 25% of women at the Women’s choosing to participate in shared maternity care involving an accredited GP, obstetrician or midwife. A recent survey of women involved in shared maternity care indicates a very high level of satisfaction with shared maternity care.
Shared maternity care is also available at the Women’s at Sandringham with the accreditation and reaccreditation process aligned with the Women’s.
Refer to shared maternity care for:
- Fact sheet for women in a number of different languages
- Information on the schedule of visits
- List of accredited Shared Maternity Care Affiliates
- Information and applications for accreditation and reaccreditation
- Shared Maternity Care Guidelines
Follow-Up Care for women with early breast cancer
The Combined Breast Service of The Royal Women's Hospital and The Royal Melbourne Hospital has introduced a new model of care for women with early breast cancer.
The new model of survivorship care involves:
- Women having a consultation with a Breast Care Nurse to look at ongoing issues and concerns some time after the end of definitive treatment for early breast cancer
- Development of a tailored Follow-Up Care Plan for each woman based on her needs (including a diagnosis and treatment summary, health and wellbeing plan, recommended schedule for follow-up visits, and information on arranging imaging and contacting the Breast Service if required)
- Development of a well-supported shared care arrangement with a woman’s GP - this includes active communication with GPs, agreement on roles and responsibilities, and an easy to follow schedule of follow-up visits with streamlined and rapid access to specialist care if required
- Enhancing systems to share information between a woman, her GP, other community services and the hospital.
During shared follow-up care, the woman will generally be seen by the hospital Breast Service once per year for to the first five years – this visit includes a mammogram at The Royal Melbourne or Royal Women’s Hospital (at no cost). Alternate appointments are with the GP. Beyond five years, we ask her GP to arrange mammograms - these can be done at RMH to provide continuity or if local imaging is preferred, a disc of the two most recent mammograms can be requested by woman/GP for comparison.
The Breast Service works in partnership with GPs to improve quality of care and wellbeing following treatment for early breast cancer.
Endometrial Cancer Survivorship Project
The Royal Women’s Hospital is collaborating with Counterpoint (previously called BreaCan), Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local and Western and Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service in an Endometrial Cancer Survivorship Program.
The goal is to develop, implement and evaluate a model of survivorship care. This model actively involves women and their GPs, recognising the specific issues and opportunities that exist following treatment for early endometrial cancer, and supporting women to live well. It is anticipated that this model of care will result in better coordinated and individualised health care planning and management, and better educated and empowered patients. This will assist in identifying and addressing a woman’s immediate and future needs, and enhance systems to share information between a woman, her GP, other community services and the hospital in order to improve quality of care.
The Endometrial Cancer Survivorship Program will involve:
- Screening for needs after surgery (including medical, psychological, reproductive, psychosexual)
- A consultation with a gynaecological cancer nurse to discuss needs identified and any other issues or concerns
- Development of a Follow-Up Care Plan for each woman
- Discharge to the chosen GP for ongoing care following the nurse-led consultation
- Active two-way communication with GPs as well as rapid access to specialist care if needed
- Providing women with relevant information and resources
- Enhancing systems to share information between a woman, her GP and the hospital
The woman will be asked to make an appointment with her GP within one month of receiving the care plan in order to discuss ongoing care – this also provides GPs with the opportunity to set up their recall systems and develop team care plans or management plans as appropriate..
Other GP Liaison Unit initiatives and activities
Responding to GP queries
The unit provides advice and support to GPs and other community healthcare professionals in order to address communication gaps, support community care, efficient and quality clinical handover and cross health sector coordination and care. This includes information such as navigating services, complaints, follow-up of hospital care, clinical care issues and referrals.
Providing input and policy development
The unit provides input to many hospital and departmental committees including the Primary Care Health and Population Advisory Committee, specialist outpatient committees, pregnancy and birth health information working group, medicines information and the development of IT strategy at The Women’s.
The unit has been pivotal in the development of Women’s policies outlining standards and responsibilities for discharge planning, communication to GPs and other health care professionals and shared care arrangements.
Continuing professional development
The unit runs Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminars for GPs and shared maternity care affiliates on relevant and important topics for providing care for women.
It can also arrange attendance at maternity outpatient clinics for shared maternity care affiliate upskilling or to achieve accreditation as a shared maternity care affiliate.
Performance indicators, audits and surveys
The unit leads and contributes to many audits and surveys of communication and care in order to obtain information and feedback on care and services provided at the hospital. In this way the unit contributes to service development and delivery and continuous quality improvement.
The unit also tracks, reports on and actively contributes to the improvement of communication performance indicators, such as percentage of discharge summaries created, percentage of successful dispatch of discharge summaries, percentage of GP details on patient files and discharge summaries that have not been successfully sent.
Recent surveys include:
- Survey on the Guidelines for Shared Maternity Care Affiliates; sent to shared maternity care affiliates