Practice Connect #105

22 October 2020

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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Additional MBS mental health supports during COVID-19

From 9 October 2020 until 30 June 2022, 10 additional individual psychological therapy sessions, previously available only to people whose movement was restricted by a state or territory public health order, are now available each calendar year to all eligible patients under the existing Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative.
From 9 October 2020, the requirement for people to be subject to self-isolation, quarantine or a Public Health Order restricting movement within a state or territory in order to access the additional sessions has been removed.
In order to access these sessions, patients will be required to:

  • have a Mental Health Treatment Plan;
  • have used all of their 10 sessions in the calendar year; and
  • to undertake a review with their GP after their 10th session.
The change will also extend the timeframe for which additional sessions are available. Service availability is as follows:
  • Additional Better Access services performed in person will now be available until 30 June 2022;
  • Additional Better Access services performed by telehealth or phone will be available until 31 March 2021
For more information please view the:



Good News Story: Breast Cancer Awareness Month October 2020

Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, general practices across WA have focused their efforts on women’s health.
To raise awareness of breast cancer, and the impact it has on our communities, many practices throughout October were decorated pink.

At the heart of these ‘pink’ activities was the idea of making practices a joyful and safe space for health professionals and patients to have difficult conversations.

GP on Beaufort Practice Manager Janet Leighton said the d├ęcor had generated interest and allowed patients to have open and honest conversations about this important issue.
“Also involved in this initiative is Teddy, a 10-week-old chocolate labrador,” she said.

“Patients have been excited to see him play a part in this promotion and his enthusiasm generates a fun atmosphere, breaking barriers in this otherwise very serious messaging.” 
Breast cancer affects one in seven Australian women, with women over 50 years of age accounting for three quarters of all diagnosis.
Each year in Western Australia, about 1,300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Oxford Street Medical Centre’s pink week culminated with the practice hosting a Pink Ribbon Breakfast.
Staff members provided a variety of pink baked goods, wore pink and filled the practice with pink balloons and raised almost $580 for breast cancer research.
The event prompted patients to talk about breast cancer awareness, as well as the Breast Screen WA screening programs available to patients.



Practice Assist Resource Library: Editable PDF resources

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 our resources to ensure that we have current, accurate and useful information available when needed.
As part of this review we have produced our Templates and Checklists in Editable PDF format. This means the practices can add information relevant to their practice. These templates and checklists can also be used as a source for practices developing their own practice specific resources.

Business Management


Digital Health

Practice Incentives Program

Programs and National Schemes

Human Resources

General Practice Accreditation

Quality Improvement

We would appreciate your feedback on this new editable pdf format for practice use, please email with ideas and comments.



MBS Xml and Factsheet updates for October and November now available

The updated XML file for changes to the MBS is now available for download here.
Factsheets on the changes for October and November are available here.
These factsheets include changes to Urology, Chemotherapy, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Blood products, CT Angiography, COVID-19 Pathology Items and the Additional 10 Mental Health Sessions.



New mental health support service for culturally and linguistically diverse people

Culturally and linguistically diverse people can often experience difficulty with using mainstream mental health services.
Cultural differences, language barriers and lack of understanding and confidence in the health system can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to access mental and general health care and can contribute to a person's distress, confusion, or reluctance to get the help they need.

WA Primary Health Alliance has partnered with Life Without Barriers to provide culturally appropriate support for people with mild-to-moderate mental health issues and care coordination for those needing help with accessing additional healthcare services.

Expected to launch in late 2020, The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Psychological Service will be delivered through a combination of clinic-based appointments, home visits and/or in-reach services from clinics in Mirrabooka, Cannington and Leederville.
Life Without Barriers WA State Director, Jennie Burns, said social isolation and cultural disconnection are major contributors to mental health issues amongst CALD populations.
“We have a dedicated team of workers, including a CALD peer support worker. The service will include access to CALD specific group sessions to help clients stay connected with their community and develop an increased awareness of mental health and wellbeing.
“Along with access to interpreters if needed, our team of psychologists, each fluent in a different language, will be available to support clients throughout their time with the service, Ms Burns said.  
Clients will soon be able to access the service by being referred by their General Practitioner, health services, school psychologist and other allied health practitioners.



Nursing Australia podcast: COVID vaccine - Immunising the nation

When a COVID vaccine arrives in Australia, primary health care nurses will play a key role in immunising the Australian population. Learn about what nurses need to do to prepare for the mass-vaccination and the logistics of getting the vaccines into your clinic or facility. The podcast can be listened to here.



No Jab No Pay raises catch-up vaccination rates

The national ‘no jab, no pay’ policy has been associated with substantial catch-up vaccination activity in lower socioeconomic status areas, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia. The full report is available on the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) website.



SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development: is a finish line in sight? Webinar Monday 23 November

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) will be presenting a webinar discussing the latest developments in the journey towards COVID-19 vaccines – for both Australia and the world. You can register for the webinar here.
Join the outstanding speakers and panel to:

  • gain an understanding of the current COVID-19 vaccine development landscape, clinical trials and next steps in vaccine deployment
  • hear an overview of and update on the Oxford Vaccine Group-–Astra Zeneca ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine development from Professor Andrew Pollard 
  • learn about the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI)’s COVAX response to COVID-19 from Dr Melanie Saville
  • hear about where we are now in Australia and internationally and realistic expectations for the next 6–12 months 
  • consider the ethical and logistical implications of global vaccine implementation, specifically approaches for the Indo-Pacific region

There will be opportunity for questions and discussion.



Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA)

This short 12-minute presentation provides in-depth information about SIRVA, correct vaccination techniques and how to avoid this injury. This presentation is available to all immunisation providers on the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) website.



2021 Influenza Season - a letter from the Acting Chief Medical Officer

This year 2020 saw a record number of influenza vaccines administered in Australia. The demand for vaccines is expected to remain high in 2021 and this letter from Acting CMO Professor Paul Kelly urges those involved in sourcing and administering the vaccine to start planning for 2021 now. The letter can be read here.



Being MedicineWise

NPS MedicineWise has a wide range of resources available to download from their website.  The resources aim to help health services promote being medicinewise and include posters, short informative videos, fact sheets etc.
Being medicinewise reinforces antibiotic awareness and helps patients make better health decisions and get the most benefit from their medicines, safely.
The NPS MedicineWise BeMedicineWise resource hub is updated regularly with links to articles and resources.
NPS Medicine Webinar: DEMENTIA: a multi-disciplinary approach to caring for people with changed behaviours
Thursday, 29 October 2020, 12:00 – 1.15pm (AWST)
This webinar will emphasise how working and communicating as part of a multidisciplinary team can empower health professionals to optimise non-pharmacological approaches in management. Panel members will discuss a case study that illustrates how to implement a person-centred approach to managing changed behaviours in people living with dementia.

For more information, and to register please click here.



GP Urgent Care updates

The GP Urgent Care Network Pilot is nearly in the final 2nd phase and WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), would like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge all the practices for their participation in the pilot project.
A reminder email this week will be sent to practices as a reminder of submission’s to MEDrefer of all GP Urgent Care appointments up to date for the last 3 months.

Training for GP Urgent Care Practices

The WAPHA GP Urgent Care Team is working with Benchmark, Ctec and RACGP for expressions of interested in upcoming upskilling opportunities.

Benchmarque Group

Benchmarque Group have been contracted to facilitate a series of one- and two-day courses for GP’s and practice nurses treating patients under the GP Urgent Care Network Pilot.  This training supports General Practitioners and practice nurses to manage patient presentations attending GP Urgent Care practices.
Ten planned training sessions across Perth Metro, South West and Country Regions from December 2020, consisting of Online learning, face to face workshop delivery and post program student survey and summary. Each course will be available in 10 different locations, offering 10 places per course, through an EOI process managed by Benchmarque, across Perth Metro and South West aligning to the GP Urgent Care Practices.

Benchmarque courses

  •  Wound Closure - Included competencies are CWCAFC001 (Assess wound for closure), CWCPWC002 (Perform wound closure), and CWCPCC003 (Provide post wound closure care)
  • Peripheral Intravenous (IV) Cannulation Program - Delivered as a half-day workshop, followed by workplace-based observed activity this program
  • Cast application and immobilisation – non accredited
  • Wound management: Foundations and Principles, and Wound Management: Advanced Practice. The Foundations Program is delivered online, the Advanced Practice program is delivered as a face-to-face skills-based workshop

Ctec - University of Western Australia

CTEC, University of Western Australia have been contracted by WAPHA to facilitate a series of one day Wound Closure and Plastering courses for GP’s and practice nurses treating patients under the GP Urgent Care Network Pilot. 
CTEC, School of Medicine, University of Western Australia are a Registered Training Organisation and attendees will get a certificate of attendance. If they wish to gain competency on certain aspects of the sessions, they will need to do this at their practice and be signed off by their GP.
  1. Two planned training sessions at School of Medicine, University of Western Australia.
    1. Course one - 12 places per course - 28 November 2020
    2. Course Two – 12 places per course - 20 February 2021
    3. Course three and Four – 12 places per course dates TBC


RACGP Urgent Care: Peer group learning workshops

The Urgent Care Peer Group Learning (PGL) activity is designed to maximise the benefits of working and learning together in a peer group educational setting.
Please complete the details to express your interest via :
Interested in becoming part of the General Practice Urgent Care Network Pilot?
Please contact the GP Urgent Care Project Officer by email or alternatively by contacting 0429 126 925.



COVID-19 HealthPathways Updates

The following content updates have now been published on the HealthPathways website:

COVID-19 Assessment and Management
  • Updated pathway to reflect the changes for incoming travellers to Western Australia as per latest testing criteria effective the 2nd of October 2020.
COVID-19 Impact on Clinical Care
  • Added resource for family and domestic violence under abuse and violence in the general impact section.
  • Under palliative care - added link to the COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce flow chart for the management of people with COVID-19 who are receiving palliative care.
COVID-19 in Residential Aged Care Facilities
  • Added a link to the COVID-19 Evidence Taskforce flow chart for older Australian who are living with frailty and/or cognitive impairment.
COVID-19 Telehealth and COVID-19 MBS Items:
  • Updated new temporary MBS telehealth items information to reflect changes which came into effect as of the 1st of October.

To access HealthPathways please contact your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison or email the HealthPathways team at




Palliative Care Predictive or Prognostic Tools (PCAT Survey)

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and the Australian Government Department of Health are working together to deliver the National Palliative Care Strategy 2018. It prioritises the need for early planning and referral to palliative care for people affected by life-limiting illnesses. To help improve the identification of people who may need end-of-life services, the Commission developed the Palliative Care Predictive or Prognostic Tools (PCAT) Survey in consultation with healthcare workers across Australia.
The PCAT survey is designed for all healthcare workers including those who provide direct treatment and/or care and those who do not such as managers and administrative staff. In March the survey was piloted and now the Commission is seeking the opinions from all healthcare workers to determine the:

  • Tools used by healthcare workers to identify patients nearing the end of life;
  • Extent to which these tools are used within different settings; and
  • Facilitators and barriers for using the tools.

The survey is open from 1 October to 31 October 2020, complete the survey here.



Have your say on eating disorder research

The Inside Out Institute for Eating Disorders is interested in hearing from health professionals about what they think the eating disorder research and translation priorities are for Australia.
For this study to be truly representative, they need input from people with a lived experience of eating disorder (consumers and carers), clinicians and researchers from across Australia.
To participate in this research study please click here, or for further information please email
For patient support, call the national eating disorder helpline on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673).



ANU General Practice Survey: COVID-19 impact and management

Australian National University is part of a collaboration of international researchers that have been conducting regular surveys through-out the COVID-19 period. Over this period PHNs have been invited to share these surveys with their key clinical stakeholders.
For your information you can view the summary results of the two most recent rounds of surveys:

General Practitioners, Primary Care Nurses, and Practice Managers are invited to participate in round 10 of the survey series. This round is seeking a more in depth understanding of the barriers to telehealth, complete the survey here.



WA Rural Health Conference 2021

The 2021 conference theme of lessons learnt from past disasters will focus on learnings and effects from the recent disasters that have impacted both Australia and the world and how we can prepare for future adversities. The conference will focus on dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and COVID-19. Delegates will share ideas and challenges with forward thinkers, whilst having the opportunity to network with colleagues. The WA Rural Health Conference 2021 will provide clinical updates, case studies, small group discussions and workshops covering topics relevant to the rural workforce. Travel support provided to medical practitioners, nurses and midwives who work and live in rural Western Australia, and their partners.
For further information or to register please visit WA Rural Health Conference 2021



Partner Education Grants 2020/2021: Applications now open

Partner Education Grants offer the partners of rural West Australian medical professionals, nurses and midwives financial support towards their own professional development. Grants of up to $1,000 per successful partner are available and can be used towards expenses such as course fees, conference registration, membership to professional associations and training related expenses such as course resources, direct travel and accommodation costs. 

To review frequently asked questions including eligibility criteria and to apply please visit the website .



Wellbeing support at hand during stressful times for WA general practice teams

Professional and personal pressures can arise for general practice teams at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic.
To support GPs and practice staff to look after themselves and take the necessary steps to support their wellbeing, WA Primary Health Alliance is offering three free confidential counselling sessions via its Wellness Program.
Provided through AccessEAP, and available to all WA-based general practice staff, the program offers confidential sessions with a counsellor who can offer information and assistance in navigating the COVID-19 response as well as other personal and professional issues.

Issues that can be addressed during counselling sessions include:

  • Preparing for major life changes
  • Changes at work
  • Changes within family (marriage, new baby, divorce/separation)
  • Goal setting for professional or personal life
  • Developing new strategies for handling stress at work or at home
  • Or simply to have someone to speak to about any of life’s inevitable challenges
To book a confidential phone or video counselling appointment, you can call AccessEAP anytime on 1800 818 728. You will need to identify as a WA Primary Health Alliance member.
GPs and practice staff can also contact Practice Assist by calling 1800 2 ASSIST or emailing with any questions about the program.
For more information please visit the Practice Assist COVID-19 Well-being and Support webpage.



Allocation of surgical masks from the National Stockpile

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



Health Promotion Events

November is Movember Month

The Movember movement aims to support all areas of men’s health. Such as mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer, as well as general health and wellbeing.

Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world.

For more information and some great Movember stories click here.

Get involved

How can you get involved this Movember?

  •  Grow a Moustache – Your face will raise funds and awareness for men’s health
  • Move for Movember – Run or walk 60km over the month for the 60 men lost to suicide every hour across the world
  • Host a Mo-Ment – Rally a crew and do something fun and easy, virtually or in person
  • Mo Your Own Way – choose your own adventure challenge
  • Events – take part in one of the many Movember events

For more information or to find an Movember event go to the Movember Australia Website!


Coming up soon…
World Polio Day October 24
Lung Cancer Awareness month November 1-30
Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Week November 8-14
Antibiotic Awareness Week November 11-17
World Diabetes Day November 14



Education and training

Visit our Webinars & Workshops page at for the events calendar.

Pilbara Health Professionals Network – Newman
Presented by PHPN
Thursday 22 October
Registrar series: Medicare update
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 22 October
Real women, real care: managing the interface between primary specialist care for young women
Presented by KEMH in partnership with WAPHA
Saturday 24 October
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Presented by Women’s Health & Family Services
Tuesday 27 October
COVID case in our practice. An actual experience case study
Presented by AAPM
Thursday 27 October
COVID-19 Webinar Series: Topic 3 ‘’Vaccine development: where we are up to and what are reasonable expectations’’
Presented by the Immunisation Coalition
Wednesday 28 October
Pilbara Health Professionals Network – Karratha
Presented by PHPN
Wednesday 28 October
My Health Record in Mental Health Toolkit Launch
Presented by ADHA
Thursday 29 October
Environmental health: how climate change affects health and healthcare
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 29 October
Pilbara Health Professionals Network – Port Hedland
Presented by PHPN
Thursday 29 October
GP Invitation: 3rd Australian Consensus on the Prevention of Osteoporosis Fracture in RACFs
Presented by AIMSS & University of Melbourne
Friday 30 October
Menopause Essentials Update Workshop
Presented by Australasian Menopause Society
Saturday 14 November
TADPole Alcohol Education Event: Does my patient have a drinking problem?
Presented by ECU and WAPHA
Saturday 14 November
2020 Practice Management Education Day
Presented by AAPM
Thursday 12 November
Virtual Data & Analytics in Healthcare
Presented by Public Sector Network
Thursday 12 November
SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development is a finish line in sight
Presented by NCIRS
Monday 23 November
WA Rural Health Conference 2021
Presented by Rural Health West
Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 March
COVID-19 Infection Control Training
Presented by Department of Health
Online training
Chronic Disease Mgmt Healthy Ageing Program
Presented by APNA
Online training
Advanced Skills Training AOD - GPs
Presented by RACGP
Online training
STI Testing in Primary Care
Presented by ASHM
Online training



Practice Assist acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.

While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.