Practice Connect #34

Welcome to Practice Connect, a fortnightly update for practice managers, nurses and practice administration staff on relevant issues, upcoming events and education.

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Self-collected cervical screening samples should not be offered until further notice

The National Cervical Screening Program has released an important revision to one of the components on the renewed National Cervical Screening Program launched on 1 December 2017.

The self-collection method has been included in the program to encourage women who are aged 30 years or over and have never had a screening test; or who are overdue for testing by at least two years; and in either case have declined a healthcare provider-collected sample, to participate in cervical screening.

However, self-collection can only be implemented when the laboratory and platform testing processes and equipment attain the various accreditation requirements. Laboratories are not yet accredited to perform the test and therefore the self-collection method is not yet claimable against the MBS.

Healthcare providers who conduct cervical screening tests are advised not to offer the self-collection method to eligible women until further notice. All other aspects of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program will go ahead as scheduled on 1 December 2017.

Further information on the Renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program is available here.


Communicare changes name

The practice software package commonly referred to as Communicare (DCA Direct Health Pty Ltd, trading as HealthConnex), has changed its name to Telstra Health Pty Ltd.

Users of the software have been advised that as a result of the name change, communications will now come from Telstra health Pty Ltd and not DCA Direct Health Pty ltd. The ABN remains unchanged and no action is required other than perhaps updating your accounts records where required.


Implementing the renewed National Cervical Screening Program

1 December 2017 marked the implementation of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP). Significant changes have occurred, with a shift to a primary oncogenic HPV test with partial genotyping, a change in the test interval and screening age ranges, and an option for self-collection.  A range of resources are available to support these changes in your practice.

Resources for the renewed NCSP for healthcare providers and women are available to order and download here.

An NPS Medicine Wise online training module is available to assist healthcare providers to understand the new test and clinical pathways. This training is recognised as continuing professional development hours with RACGP, ACRRM, ACN, ACM and APNA. Access the training.

Cancer Council Australia developed the clinical management recommendations for the renewed NSCP: Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding (2016 Guidelines).

The new WA Cervical Screening HealthPathway can be accessed. To access HealthPathways please contact your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison or email the HealthPathways team for login details at

Online information from the WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program can be accessed through the following websites: Access online tools and resources to promote the renewed NCSP in your practice.
For more information contact the WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program on 9323 6788 or at


NPS MedicineWise Update

NPS MedicineWise and American Express Openair Cinemas are hosting #PreserveThePower, a national competition to produce a 30-second short film about the global threat of antibiotic resistance.

Shortlisted films will be aired at cinema locations nationwide with two winners awarded prizes of $5000.

For further information, please visit the NPS MedicineWise website


HealthPathways Update

HealthPathways WA have now reach 341 pathways. The 10 most recently published pathways are: The recently published Drug and Alcohol pathways are of particular interest to health professionals as they contain information sheets with support lines for patients as well as service information for youth and adult detoxification and rehabilitation programs.
To access HealthPathways please contact your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison or email the HealthPathways team for login details at


 National Indigenous Bowel Screening Project update

Online Module for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers

The NIBSP will launch a new Online Training Module as part of a campaign to encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 to 74 to take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).

The module, Bowel Screening, no shame - just a part of life, is designed to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers with the skills, knowledge and confidence to talk with their patients about bowel screening through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).

The participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NBCSP is low, with just 23.5% of those in the eligible age range taking part.

Menzies School of Health Research has been funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to consult, develop, prepare and deliver an initial awareness campaign and in 2018 a national pilot of an alternative option for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access the NBCSP. 

As part of this work, Menzies consulted widely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers, other health professionals, community members, and government and non-government organisations involved in cancer screening and/or primary health care services.

The online learning module is free and available for anyone to complete.

Please note, this version of the module deals with the NBCSP’s usual approach of mailing kits directly to individuals. An updated version of the module will be made available for the proposed National Pilot next year.


Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)

Annual conference

Nurseforce for the Future, APNA’s 10th National Conference will be held in Brisbane from 10 to 12 May 2018.

APNA are currently calling for abstracts to showcase leading examples of efficient models of care, quality and safety, workforce recruitment and retention, innovation and embracing change in primary health care settings.

Abstracts are due Wednesday 3 January 2018.

For more information please visit the conference website.


My Nursing Future

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association have a new program called My Nursing Future, aimed at giving an insight into primary health care nursing and a self-assessment that can help current primary health care nurses discover their strengths, demonstrate their value to employers and plan their CPD.
For further information, please visit the My Nursing Future website.


Screening and Identifying Chronic Disease in Primary Health Training – Fully Funded Places Available

The Benchmarque Group (Benchmarque) has developed a new upcoming program, Screening and Identifying Chronic Disease in Primary Health.  

Supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Chronic Disease Support Project, the Screening and Identifying Chronic Disease in Primary Health Program will be offered online via Benchmarque’s online learning portal, BenchmarqueIQ.

This program explores ways that primary health organisations can more efficiently screen and proactively identify patients managing chronic disease. Accurate Health assessment is fundamental to establishing a pathway for individuals within the health care system regarding their primary disease management, care planning and funding models.  

The program is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to support improved outcomes for patients within the framework of primary and preventative care. For more information about the course please visit the Benchmarque website.

Applications close at 5pm, Friday 29 December 2017 and applicants will be notified of the outcome by 15 January 2018.


Health Workforce Scholarship Program – applications now open

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health designed to improve access to health services needed in rural areas.

Rural and remote general practitioners, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals working in a location classified as MMM 3 – 7 can apply for scholarships and bursaries to upskill and improve the health outcomes of their community.
To find out your location classification please visit Doctor Connect.
Funding can be used towards:
  • Undertaking further post-graduate study.
  • Development and upskilling courses.
  • One-off payments to cover the cost of training or course fees and/or to cover or partially cover some training-related expenses such as accommodation and transport, where appropriate.

Round 1 is now open and will close on 20 December 2017.  
For further information read the Frequently Asked Questions.

Education and Training



Better Health Program – January 2018

The Better Health Program is a fun, interactive 10-week healthy lifestyle program for children aged 7 – 13 years old. In a supportive and friendly environment, children become fitter, healthier and happier. Practice staff who have parents concerned about their child’s weight are encouraged to look at the Better Health Program and make use of the referral form. For more information please view the flyer and the referral form.
Date:                            Commencing 7, February 2018
Venue:                        Mike Barnett Sports Complex, Dixon Rd & Goddard St, Rockingham WA 6168
Cost:                            Free
Time:                           4:00pm – 6:00pm


Save the Date: Speed date your WAPHA service providers in Mandurah – 14 March 2018

General Practitioners, Practice Managers and Nurse Managers are invited to attend an interactive evening to meet the commissioned WAPHA services in Mandurah. Meet the providers face to face and see what they can offer your patients.
Date:                           Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Venue:                        Mandurah Quay Resort, 40 Marina Quay Drive, Erskine 6210
Cost:                           Free
Time:                          6:00pm – 8:30pm
Registration:             For more information and to register, please contact Bethany Goodall, Regional Coordinator on 0459 883 533 or via

Practice Assist acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the country on which we work and live and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community.

We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to Elders both past and present.