Welcome to Victoria - a Healthy Checklist

Coming to live in Victoria? Smart move. You’re joining millions of others who have decided this is the place to be! Our population is growing by 1.7 per cent per annum which only goes to show that Melbourne and Geelong, in particular, are dynamic and prosperous places to call home.

While moving to a new house can be a daunting prospect, relocating from another country or interstate certainly adds a layer of complexity, especially if you’re leaving a trusted general practitioner or medical specialists.

Dr Ron Sultana, Director of Emergency Medicine, Epworth HealthCare has some tips to ensure your move is as smooth as possible, from a health perspective.

Before moving, I’d recommend you visit your general practitioner to collect enough repeats of your regular medications, so you’re covered until you establish a relationship with a GP in your new neighbourhood.
— Dr Ron Sultana, Director of Emergency Medicine, Epworth HealthCare

It is also reassuring, he says, to be prepared for the unexpected.

If you live with a chronic health condition it’s a good idea to know, in advance, where your nearest emergency departments are located so you don’t waste time should urgent assistance be required.

Victoria’s largest population centres of Melbourne and Geelong are home to Epworth’s two large, fully-equipped emergency departments.

Richmond is home to Epworth’s largest inner-city hospital and an hour away to the south-west is Epworth’s newest hospital, Epworth Geelong in Waurn Ponds.
— Dr Ron Sultana, Director of Emergency Medicine, Epworth HealthCare

Unless you’ve chosen to opt-out, every Australian is soon to have a personal, electronic health file known as My Health Record. Having a My Health Record will allow new treatment teams to check your health history wherever you present for a planned or emergency medical consultation.

Other tips for a smooth and healthy move:

  • Redirect your mail, so reminders from health services reach you

  • Provide your new address to existing health providers and let them know you’re moving. Don’t forget your dentist and maternal and child health services.

  • Join Ambulance Victoria

  • Update your health insurance details

  • Obtain pet medical records from the vet (well let’s face it - they are part of the family)

Finally, have you heard of thunderstorm asthma? In 2016, Melburnians experienced a rare and frightening event when ten people died following a mass asthma event. During the evening of November 21, more than 8,500 people sought help from hospitals and medical centres. 1,900 people made emergency calls in just five hours, overwhelming emergency services.

People with asthma or hay fever are particularly at risk of thunderstorm asthma, and for many, it can be sudden, serious and life-threatening. Not every thunderstorm causes thunderstorm asthma. Fortunately, authorities have created a forecasting system to predict epidemic thunderstorm asthma which is triggered by high grass pollen levels and a certain type of thunderstorm.
— Dr Ron Sultana, Director of Emergency Medicine, Epworth HealthCare

Dr Sultana recommends new residents download the free Emergency Victoria app from iTunes, Google Play or visit the Emergency Victoria website, so we are all aware when there is a risk of thunderstorm asthma. Even if you have never had asthma, we are all potentially at risk of an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event from October through to the end of December.

“And, of course, regardless of weather events, if you know you live with asthma, ensure that your hay fever and asthma are well controlled, and you have an asthma action plan in place.”