Practice Connect #107

19 November 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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Practice Connect Newsletter Feedback


As a valued subscriber to our Practice Connect newsletter, we would appreciate your feedback on our publication to ensure it remains relevant and useful for practices.
The Practice Connect survey should take no longer than two minutes to complete. Your feedback will be used to guide future improvements.
Please submit your feedback to us by COB Friday 11 December.
For further information regarding this survey please contact the Practice Assist Team on 1800 2 ASSIST or




New fact sheet for the National General Practice Accreditation Scheme

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has published a new fact sheet designed to provide general practices with simplified guidance about the National General Practice Accreditation (NGPA) Scheme.
The NGPA Scheme was introduced in January 2017 with the primary aim of supporting the consistent accreditation of general practices nationally. Since introducing the NGPA Scheme, the Commission has implemented an approval process for accrediting agencies, formalised the accreditation cycle (including delivery of reports and remediation periods for non-compliances), and sought to standardise processes such as the provision of extensions and the process for relocation.
The new fact sheet subtitled Key Actions for General Practices, summarises some of these key activities and achievements, and will assist practices in understanding the role of the Commission and the NGPA Scheme’s interaction with other stakeholders.
If you have any questions, please speak with your WAPHA practice support team member, or email the Commission’s advice centre on You can also refer to the Commission’s website for information on the NGPA Scheme.



APNA's 2020 Workforce Survey is now open

Nurses, this is your chance to tell it like it is. The 2020 APNA Workforce Survey needs your input so a comprehensive picture can be painted for the Government of the working conditions and professional concerns of primary health care nurses across Australia.
The survey, run by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, is open to nurses working in general practices, aged care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health plus all other non-hospital community settings.
Every nurse who completes the survey has the chance to win a $1,000 Red Balloon experience voucher.

Complete the survey here



Preparing for the voluntary assisted dying: GPs and Nurse Practitioners

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Leadership Team by WA Department of Health are hosting a series of webinars in partnership with Victorian service providers to share their experiences and learnings with Western Australian service providers. Information is available here. Further webinars are listed in our education and training section (for Aged Care providers; Hospital and other health providers and Palliative Care providers).



Practice Assist Resource Library

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.
These are some of our newly, and or updated resources in our Resource Library.

Business Management


Digital Health

Practice Incentives Program

Programs and National Schemes

Human Resources

General Practice Accreditation

Quality Improvement

We would appreciate your feedback on our resources for use in your practice use, please email with ideas and comments.



Good News Story: Dianella Family Medical Centre

Dianella Family Medical Centre, a participating GP Urgent Care practice has been educating their reception staff and nurses to identify GP Urgent Care patients at the initial triage stage.

This education initiative has helped reception staff to identify the patients’ needs and allow for the correct booking to be allocated in the booking system.
The process is then simplified as MEDrefer then talks to Best Practice and their eForms are auto filled and prepopulated.
This creates an easy workflow for all staff and doctors at Dianella Family Medical Centre.
The practice staff are the influencers about the services that are most suitable for patients. If this process is followed correctly, they are then able to continue to assist with keeping the pressures off our emergency departments.



GP Urgent Care Updates

The Summer Burst Media Campaign will be launched in December. We encourage all practices in the pilot to ensure  an online booking is activated as an option for patients to book a GP Urgent Care Appointment.

Training for GP Urgent Care Practices

Benchmarque Group
Ten planned training sessions will be available 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.

  • Benchmarque courses:
  • Wound Closure
  • Peripheral Intravenous (IV) Cannulation Program
  • Cast application and immobilisation – non accredited
  • Wound management
CTec - University of Western Australia
CTec, University of Western Australia have been commissioned by WAPHA to facilitate a series of one day Wound Closure and Plastering courses.

Two planned training sessions at School of Medicine, University of Western Australia.
  • Course one - 12 places per course - 28 November 2020 Fully Booked
  • Course two – 12 places per course - 20 February 2020
  • Course three and Four – 12 places per course dates TBC

All training information can be found on the WA Primary Health Alliance GP Urgent Care webpage here.

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 here.
Interested in becoming part of the General Practice Urgent Care Network Pilot?
For further queries please email or contact the Project Officer for GP Urgent Care, Cheryl Bell on 0429 126 925



COVID-19 vaccine development update

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) COVID-19 vaccine development landscape webpage provides a summary of the current state of development of COVID-19 vaccines and clinical trials. This web page is updated weekly. Information about the Australian Government’s strategy to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to all Australians is now available on this page. The webpage can be accessed here.



Preparing the public for COVID-19 vaccines

There are currently more than 200 COVID-19 vaccines in development worldwide, with several now undergoing stage 3 trials. While a vaccine in 2021 appears likely, its delivery poses significant challenges.
This article from the Australian Journal of General Practice provides recommendations for primary health care to build confidence in, and encourage uptake of, the COVID-19 vaccine



Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on standard immunisation services

Monash University is conducting an evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of immunisation services within Australia. The objective of this survey is to understand how COVID-19 has impacted the delivery of immunisation services and any changes that have been implemented in an effort to maintain coverage.
Immunisation providers (including nurse immunisers, general practitioners, pharmacist immunisers) should access the survey link and can choose if they would like to complete the survey which is confidential and anonymous. No identifiable information about providers will be collected.



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.



Immunisation Coalition's COVID-19 Webinar Series - Recordings Now Available

The Immunisation Coalition have three webinar presentations from some of Australia's most respected experts in the field available for you to view. You can view the recent COVID-19 Webinars for healthcare professionals via their production partner Praxhub. Once you have registered an account with Praxhub, head to the ‘All Organisations’ tab and then select ‘Immunisation Coalition’.



Immunosuppression and Vaccines - Fact Sheet

Immunosuppression occurs when a patient’s immune system is weakened. For some vaccines, this means additional doses to account for suboptimal seroprotection. For others, the patient’s history needs to be reviewed carefully to ensure they can receive the vaccine safely. A new factsheet from the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre can be read here.



Updated information now available regarding access to the Australian Immunisation Register

The Services Australia website has been updated to include information for different immunisation providers and organisations about accessing the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). This new information aims to assist providers in self-servicing when creating their PRODA account for access to the AIR and includes advice on how to link a PRODA account to the AIR. Visit the Services Australia website for further information.



What are the recommendations for hepatitis B vaccine non-responders?

Individuals who do not mount an appropriate immune response to the primary hepatitis B vaccination course (i.e. who are not infected with hepatitis B virus and have had 3 appropriately spaced doses excluding birth dose and anti-HBs < 10mIU/mL) are recommended to receive further doses of hepatitis B vaccine and undergo serological testing. People can receive a single booster dose (4th dose) of vaccine to confirm non-responder status. People who still have anti-HBs < 10mIU/mL 4–6 weeks after receiving the booster should be tested for hepatitis B virus infection. If negative, they are recommended to receive 2 more doses of hepatitis B vaccine 1 month apart (i.e. to complete their second 3-dose course) and then re-test for anti-HBs level at least 4 weeks after the last dose.


The online Australian Immunisation Handbook has a dedicated hepatitis B disease section with further information about hepatitis B vaccine non-responders including the use of intradermal vaccination in non-responders and post-exposure management of persistent non-responders.



Veteran Health Check Program - Patient Information

The Veteran Health Check is a comprehensive health check designed specifically for veterans. It provides an opportunity to access early intervention care and appropriate referrals when needed by the veteran. It is an opportunity to establish a relationship with the patient and the GP in order to manage their health and enjoy better health outcomes both during and in the years after their transition to civilian life.

The Veterans Health Check program is providing additional information for your patients, with the attached Veteran Health Check flyer and Veteran Health Check Frequently Asked Questions flyer.

For further information please visit the Veteran Health Check program website.



Improving patient participation in Heart Health Checks

Would you like to implement quality improvement activities for PIP QI and improve the prevention of cardiovascular disease for your at-risk patients? Healthily and the Heart Foundation are giving 200 practices Australia-wide an opportunity to achieve this while using GoShare Plus, an innovative health promotion and recall tool.
Practices will receive a free 12-month subscription to the GoShare Heart Health Check recall bundle to send SMS messages to eligible patients. This will not affect any other recall systems you may already use. Healthily will also provide one to one support including online training, resources and troubleshooting throughout the project.
To be eligible, your practice must have PenCS CAT4 and use Best Practice, Zedmed, Genie, Medtech, practiX, Communicare, MMEX or PCIS.
Expressions of interest must be made by mid-December via this online form. Places are limited.
If you would like further information, please contact Healthily on 03 9534 7222 or or view the flyer here.



Virtual Classroom Sessions for Practice Managers - Understanding compliance requirements for accessing My Health Record

These accredited one-hour sessions will equip Practice Managers and administrative staff with a sound knowledge of how to implement and maintain policies and procedures to govern access to the My Health Record within their organisation. These sessions are CPD Accredited and will attract five CPD points for AAPM members.
These sessions will be run multiple times each week and cover the following topics:

  • Understanding the legislative framework for accessing My Health Record
  • Creating and maintaining security and access policies for My Health Record
  • Managing My Health Record user accounts and training registers
  • Understanding the importance of Health Identifiers and correct system configuration
  • Designating roles and responsibilities for practice staff engaging with My Health Record
  • Understanding when and how to access information contained with a consumer's My Health Record

There will be 15 sessions available from 10 November to 10 December.
Click on the link here to see available session time and to register.



Virtual Clinical Information System (CIS) - Classroom Sessions now accredited for CPD points

The virtual classroom sessions that the Provider Adoption team are conducting for clinicians to access My Health Record through various clinical information systems (Best Practice, MedicalDirector, Zedmed, Genie and Communicare) have been accredited by:

  • RACGP - 2 activity points
  • ACRRM - 1 educational activity and
  • AAPM - 5 CPD points
These one-hour sessions are aimed at GPs, Specialists, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses interested in learning more about My Health Record and how to use it most effectively in routine practice. Using the Agency's Training platform, the instructor will demonstrate how to:
access a patient’s My Health Record via conformant software:
  • use filters to find documents;
  • view documents and overviews;
  • enter access codes for patients with protected documents/records;
  • upload documents to My Health Record; and
  • ensure appropriate security and access governance mechanisms are in place.
Run via GoTo webinar platform, these sessions will afford an opportunity for participants to raise questions directly with the instructor and, if time permits, discuss other issues encountered in using My Health Record.

These demonstrations will be run on a weekly basis at varying times throughout the day. The below table provides the registration links for each CIS. After clicking the registration link, the dropdown menu in the date field will reveal all the available sessions for the specific CIS.

CIS Sessions Link
Best Practice 36 sessions from 20 October to 9 December
MedicalDirector 38 sessions from 21 October to 11 December
Genie 20 sessions from 19 October to 11 December
Zedmed 19 sessions from 19 October to 8 December
Communicare 14 sessions from 27 October to 10 December

For more information please contact the WA Primary Health Alliance Digital Health Team



NPS MedicineWise podcast

Supporting clinicians to provide safe and quality health care

A regular 15-minute podcast from NPS MedicineWise helps health professionals stay up to date with the latest evidence for medicines, tests and treatments, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosted by a rotating group of interviewers including NPS MedicineWise CEO and pharmacist, Adj A/Prof Steve Morris, and GP and NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr. Anna Samecki, the podcasts wade through the reams of information – and sometimes misinformation – to provide answers from trusted sources for all of your quality use of medicines questions.
In the latest episode Supporting clinicians to provide safe and quality health care, Steve Morris interviews Dr Robert Herkes, Chief Medical Officer with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and past Director of Intensive Care at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. They discuss the ways in which the Commission has been supporting clinicians during COVID-19 and touch on some of the important lessons learned as a result of the pandemic. 



NPS MedicineWise: Heart Failure - An active role for GPs and patients

Early diagnosis of heart failure and effective management in primary care prolongs lives, keeps people out of hospital, and improves quality of life.
NPS MedicineWise is offering educational visits as part of this multifaceted program [Read more].



National Asthma Council: Spirometry Infection Control Information for Primary Health Care

Spirometry is the most frequently performed pulmonary function test in general practice.
The National Asthma Council has developed the attached document about Spirometry Infection Control [Read More].



Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for all health professionals

Cancer Australia has developed a guide that assists health professionals in the identification and appropriate investigation of symptoms and signs of lung cancer and supports the timely referral of patients into the multidisciplinary diagnostic pathway. This resource is an update of the 2012 publication Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for GPs.
An accompanying Evidence Report for the guide is available.



COVID-19 HealthPathways updates

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

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



Physiotherapy in mental health treatment - Research study

Curtin University School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science is looking for general practitioners to participate in a study looking at the role of physiotherapy services in treating the physical health of people with serious mental illness. In particular looking at referral patterns and the barriers to, and enablers of, access to physiotherapy services for these people.
For more information click here, or email Eleanor Andrew.





National Safety and Quality Primary Healthcare Standards

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is developing National Safety and Quality Primary Healthcare (NSQPH) Standards to assist primary healthcare services to minimise the risk of harm and improve care for patients. Following workshop sessions undertaken in 2019, the Commission now has a draft set of Standards available for feedback, with the intention that the NSQPH Standards will be finalised and published in 2021.
Consultation on the draft NSQPH Standards is open until Friday 27 November 2020, and you can provide your feedback in three ways:

  • Complete the short online voting poll
  • Provide a written submission
  • Participate in an online consultation forum (these will be held throughout November)

All primary healthcare providers, consumers, peak professional bodies, and other sector representatives are invited to provide feedback, including those who are currently assessed against profession-specific standards.
The draft NSQPH Standards can be downloaded here.
For more information on the development and consultation, or to provide your feedback or register for an online forum, please visit the Commission’s NSQPH Standards page.



East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) 2020 Communicating for Safety GP Survey

Many thanks to the 118 respondents who gave their time to help the East Metropolitan Health Service understand how GPs are finding communication from Royal Perth, Bentley, Armadale, Kalamunda and St John of God Midland Public Hospital and how this can be improved. This feedback is extremely valuable and is currently being analysed. Key findings will be published in future editions of Practice Connect and GP Connect, along with actions planned.



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



TGA Product Defect Alert - Some Softmed surgical masks

A Product Defect Alert notice for some Softmed branded disposable surgical masks manufactured by Wuhan Topmed has been issued following the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) post market review on face masks.
TGA testing showed the masks did not perform, in relation to fluid resistance claims, as labelled.
The TGA advises if there are no alternatives, a face shield should be used in addition to a mask in high risk settings.
This alert does not relate to masks distributed by WA Primary Health Alliance from the national stockpile, however some of these defective masks are available in WA through commercial supply.
Not all Softmed masks are subject to the Product Defect Alert.
Read the full advice from the TGA here.



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.



World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is an initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Every year it aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.


This year the awareness campaign will run from 18 – 24 November 2020, and campaign materials are available to download from the WHO website here.



Health Promotion Events

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 16 to 20 November

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2020 will be held from November 16 -22. The theme of the week is “Time to Catch Up”. We are asking all Australians with a cervix if it is time for them to catch up on their cervical screening? This year, some Australians have fallen behind in their screening due to COVID-19 or other reasons.

Is it time for you to catch up?

See some of the way’s that you can get involved here


WHO Global Elimination Strategy Launch

On Tuesday November 17, the World Health Organisation made a historic announcement: for the first time ever that the world has committed to eliminate a cancer. With this announcement, WHO will launch a global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer, which has just been adopted by 194 countries during the World Health Assembly.  The launch will be a day of action around the world.  Events to promote cancer prevention and treatment are being organized by cancer survivors, ministries, NGOs, and partners in many countries.

Visit the World Health Organization to find out more.
For more information visit the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation website.


Coming up soon…
Lung Cancer Awareness month November 1-30
National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month November 1-30
Lung Cancer Awareness Month November 1-30
Decembeard for Bowel Cancer December 1-31
World AIDS Day December 1
International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 3




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 .




WA Rural Health Awards - Nominations Now Open

The WA Rural Health Awards celebrate the achievements of clinicians who have enhanced the range and quality of medical care available in rural locations. These awards are an opportunity to shine the spotlight on health professionals who have contributed to rural health in Western Australia. When news of the COVID-19 pandemic broke, the world hit unchartered waters and health professionals rose to the challenge. Never has there been a better time to acknowledge these heroes.


Nominations are now open for the 2021 awards in the following categories:

  • Building Healthy Country Communities
  • Clinical Leadership
  • GP of the Year
  • People’s Choice
  • Metropolitan-based Bush Champion
  • Procedural GP/District Medical Officer of the Year
  • Rising Star
  • Rural Nurse/Midwife of the Year
  • Rural Researcher or Educator
  • Specialist of the Year (non-GP)
All the awards (except People’s Choice) are peer/supervisor nominated, so please consider nominating a colleague or staff member that is worthy of recognition.
For further information on the award categories and criteria please visit
Nominations close 30 November 2020




Education and training

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

Virtual Classroom Sessions for Practice Managers - Understanding compliance requirements for accessing My Health Record
Presented by ADHA

Multiple dates
Preparing for voluntary assisted dying: Palliative Care providers
Presented by WA Department of Health
Thursday 19 November
Preparing for voluntary assisted dying: Hospital and related service providers
Presented by WA Department of Health
Monday 23 November
Preparing for voluntary assisted dying: General Practitioners and Nurse Practitioners
Presented by WA Department of Health
Tuesday 24 November
Preparing for voluntary assisted dying: General Practitioners and Nurse Practitioners
Presented by WA Department of Health
Tuesday 24 November
Preparing for voluntary assisted dying: Residential Aged Care providers
Presented by WA Department of Health
Wednesday 25 November
SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development is a finish line in sight
Presented by NCIRS
Monday 23 November
The long-term implications that COVID has for Australia's older people
Presented in partnership by WA Primary Health Alliance and Nous Group (Dr Norman Swan)
Tuesday 24 November
Symptoms and signs that might be lung cancer – a new guide to optimal investigation and referral in general practice
Presented by Cancer Australia
Wednesday 2 December
COVID and Australia's mental health - dealing with the symptoms that we will not have a vaccine for
Presented in partnership by WA Primary Health Alliance and Nous Group (Dr Norman Swan)
Tuesday 8 December
The pandemic that will shape a generation; how do we support our children and young people to be part of the conversation?
Presented in partnership by WA Primary Health Alliance and Nous Group (Dr Norman Swan)
Wednesday 9 December
WA Rural Health Conference 2021
Presented by Rural Health West
Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 March
Rural Remote Retrieval Weekend 2021
Presented by Rural Health West
Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 May
Rural Anaesthesia Down Under Conference 2021
Presented by Rural Health West
Sunday 13 to Wednesday 16 June
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



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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.