Welcome to this edition of Practice Connect as we celebrate our milestone 100th edition!
Our Practice Connect newsletter was first published in 2017 as part of Practice Assist, a joint initiative of WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) and Rural Health West (RHW), which delivers high-quality support and accurate information to all general practices across Western Australia.
Practice Assist is a free support service that offers guidance through phone 1800 2 ASSIST or email: email@example.com. Plus, an amazing website full of resources designed to help strengthen your practice and improve patient outcomes.
To date since the start of this service our Practice Assist help desk has assisted with 3,694 episodes of support across our state.
Our Practice Connect newsletter has delivered 100 fortnightly updates for practice managers, principals, nurses and administration staff on relevant issues, upcoming events and education.
Since commencing Practice Connect, we have continued to build and maintain a loyal audience base. We currently have over 1,777 subscribers to the newsletter and reach more than 760 general practices state-wide throughout Western Australia with an average of 26 editions per year (plus special editions). As a result, the Practice Connect newsletter continues to be one of our most viewed webpages consistently with each publication.
In our past 100 editions, we have kept our readers informed with relevant industry news, upcoming events, new resources and professional development opportunities. Our most popular topics have included:
The team at Practice Assist look forward to our next newsletter milestone with our readers!
You can subscribe here for more Practice Connect updates from our team, and we also value your feedback on our newsletter and services.
To find out more, please get in touch with the Practice Assist team or visit our website.
As part of our support for general practices, Practice Assist maintains a library of useful resources in our Practice Assist Resource Library. These resources range across different topics from GP Accreditation, Practice Incentives Program, to the latest in resources around COVID-19.
At present we are reviewing and updating all of our resources to ensure that we have current, accurate and useful information available when needed.
A brief reminder to all practices participating in the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) that a new quarter commenced on 1 August. To be eligible for this quarter, practices must undertake continuous quality improvement and share data with WAPHA at least once each quarter. If you have any questions, please visit the Practice Assist FAQ page or speak with your Primary Health Liaison or Comprehensive Primary Care Facilitator.
To encourage patients to receive continuous care from their regular GP or medical practice, it is now a legislative requirement that GPs and other medical practitioners working in general practice can only use the COVID-19 MBS items for telehealth or telephone services where they are the patient’s ‘usual medical practitioner’.
Patients will be eligible for GP and OMP telehealth services if they have seen their GP or health practitioner within the same practice at least once in the preceding 12 months face to face.
The existing relationship requirement does not apply to:
The ePrescribing rollout continues with software vendors and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) working to ensure that pharmacies are prepared to receive eScripts. WA Primary Health Alliance is working with the PSA and the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to identify communities where this work has been completed, and to support the safe switch on of ePrescribing. It is important that any practice wishing to send eScripts first join a Community of Interest to ensure that there are suitable local pharmacies in place to receive and dispense these scripts, as otherwise a replacement paper script will need to be created.
If you would like your practice to become involved in a Community of Interest, or to be provided with an update on the progress of ePrescribing in your community, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information and FAQs on ePrescribing can be found on Practice Assist.
At the height of the pandemic, Western Australian GPs reported a drop-in patient numbers, believed to be related to COVID-19 fears.
To encourage patients to continue visiting their GP through this period, WA Primary Health Alliance created the See Your GP campaign.
While confirmed cases within Western Australia remain low, this message remains timely and important particularly for those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Due to stigmas relating to language and cultural issues, people from CALD backgrounds have a significantly lower level of access to some health services, particularly those relating to mental health.1
A series of resources including social media posts and flyers from the See Your GP campaign have been translated into the eight languages most commonly spoken in WA households after English.
1) Share our translated resources from the See Your GP campaign The See Your GP campaign was designed to remind consumers of the importance of regular medical appointments and reassure them of the availability of safe, essential health care. A series of resources from this campaign have been translated into the eight languages most spoken in Western Australian homes, other than English.
One dose of the annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone ≥6 months of age. However, some people are recommended to receive 2 doses: children aged 6 months to <9 years receiving influenza vaccine for the first time (4 weeks apart) and people of any age receiving influenza vaccine for the first time after haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant ( 2 doses 4 weeks apart). Pregnant women may be vaccinated with the next season’s influenza vaccine if it becomes available in the latter part of their pregnancy, even if they were vaccinated with the previous season’s vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy.There is not enough evidence to routinely support a second dose in the general population at this time, including adults aged over ≥65 years, even if the influenza vaccine was given early in the season
Further information in the influenza section of the online Australian Immunisation Handbook and NCIRS Influenza FAQs and Fact sheet.
This report presents statistics on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) using key performance indicators. Of those who were invited to participate in the NBCSP between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018, 42% undertook screening. For those who screened in 2018, 7% had a positive result warranting further assessment. One in 30 participants who underwent a follow-up diagnostic assessment was diagnosed with a confirmed or suspected cancer. The report can be read here.
NPS MedicineWise are offering a free webinar on Wednesday 26 August, 2020 for Health Professionals working in the aged care setting: Working together to enhance transitions of care for people with Dementia.
In this webinar the panel, consisting of a geriatrician, GP and nurse, will discuss the challenges of optimising transitions of care for people living with dementia using real-life case scenarios.
This webinar has been developed in partnership with Dementia Training Australia. Register here
To assist WAPHA in promoting the upcoming Winter Focussed campaign, the ‘Burst 3’ of the GP Urgent Care Network Pilot awareness campaign commenced on the 2 August. Different components of the publicity campaign will run across specific times, through to the weekend of 12 September.
Details of the campaign to run across the Perth metropolitan area and Bunbury region can be found here on the WA Department of Health Website – GP Urgent Care campaign.
Look out for the following:
The network pilot recognises that GPs, practice managers, nurses and reception staff may need opportunities to refresh their urgent care skills.
WAPHA in collaboration with RACGP WA, Benchmarque, and Ctec (UWA) will deliver a series of workshops over the life of the GP Urgent Care pilot which will focus on relevant skills and topics to support practice staff. These training opportunities can attract Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points.
Members of the Network should check News and Alerts on the WAPHA website for information about up and coming events. The delivery of these training opportunities may change due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For any further enquiries please email email@example.com or call the GP Urgent Care Project Officer Cheryl Bell on 0429 126 925.
Expressions of interest are now open for General Practitioners to participate in the Mental Health Criteria Working Group. HealthPathways WA is partnering with Metropolitan Health Service Providers to create referral criteria for Adult Community Mental Health Services in Perth metro. These criteria will provide referring clinicians with an understanding of the scope and limitations of services and will be published on HealthPathways WA. The working group will be held on the 15th of September 2020 at 7am until 9am, the venue is TBC.
Commitment to a HealthPathways Working Group consists of:
Added RACGP resource - Responding to a COVID-19 case in the practice
Updated advice to state that where possible maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres.
For patients asking about breast implants following the TGA review of breast implants and breast tissue expanders, the WA Department of Health is in the process of sending letters to all patients who have had implants in the last 15 years in a WA public hospital. Patients are advised to seek a review by their GP if they have concerns regarding their implant or symptoms.
GP Referral Guidelines have been developed and are available on the WA Health Central Referral Service guide for referring patients that require an outpatient appointment within the public health system. https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Central-Referral-Service-guide-for-referrers.
The TGA has published fact sheets for both health professionals and consumers.
APNA (Australian Practice Nurse Association) have opened up 4 new sessions of their Disease Management and Healthy Ageing Education Program due to popular demand. Registrations to start the 12-month program are open from the following dates:
As the State and Territory Agent for the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), Diabetes WA wants to inform health professionals that from 1 August 2020, practice nurses (enrolled and registered nurses) are authorised to complete and sign/certify some NDSS forms.
The following forms that can now be certified by a practice nurse are available on the NDSS website at ndss.com.au/forms:
This business process is optional for each GP or medical practitioner / clinic, and a practice nurse would not be required to certify a form unless it is within their scope of practice, knowledge and experience to do so.
More information and access to FAQs for practice nurses are available at www.ndss.com.au/health-professionals/resources/practice-nurses/
Please see Diabetes WA’s website for NDSS-funded Diabetes WA program descriptions, locations, dates and times and Referral forms.
For localised assistance please contact Diabetes WA’s Primary Care Engagement Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Director of the Professional Services Review Professor Julie Quinlivan recently stated, 'patients presenting for COVID-19 testing could cause an unusual level of need for services'.
This will be taken into consideration for any practitioner referred for a breach of the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule refers to a practitioner rendering 80 or more attendance items on 20 or more days in any 12-month period. The Department of Health is required under the Health Insurance Act 1973 to refer these practitioners to the Director of the Professional Services Review.
Read the full statement from the Australian Government Professional Service review here
WA Primary Health Alliance continues to operate a significant logistical strategy to distribute masks during the COVID-19 pandemic to general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, pharmacies and allied health practices that meet the criteria of the Department of Health Tranche 4 guidelines.
For mask requests, visit the Practice Assist website.
Please note, re-orders will not be accepted within five business days (Mon-Fri) of the previous request, except in exceptional circumstances.
Please send all general queries in relation to the National Medical Stockpile to
The daffodil is recognised internationally as the symbol of hope for all people affected by cancer. Cancer Council chose the daffodil as the emblem as the bright yellow colouring heralds the return of spring, representing new life and growth.
To Cancer Council, and those affected by cancer, the daffodil represents hope for a cancer free future.
The Daffodil Day Appeal is Cancer Council's most iconic and much-loved fundraising campaign. It is a day for Australians to give hope to those affected by all cancers by donating to support a cancer free future.
Each year, on the fourth Friday in August, thousands of Australians support Daffodil Day and fund world class cancer research to find new ways to better detect, treat and defeat cancer.
For more information on Daffodil Day please visit https://www.daffodilday.com.au/about.
All events are listed on our Webinars and Workshops page.
Death of a colleague
Presented by Rural Health West and MDA National