Practice Connect #125

19 August 2021

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



WA GP Advisory Panel Expression of Interest now open


WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), Rural Health West (RHW) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA (RACGP) WA (the Steering Group) have partnered to create a WA GP Advisory Panel.

The WA GP Advisory Panel will comprise a diverse range of GPs from across WA who will be able to provide timely guidance, advice or options to support the development and delivery of projects and initiatives being led, or input to, by WAPHA, RHW and RACGP WA.

We are calling for expressions of interest from General Practitioners across WA who are passionate about their fields of expertise and able to commit to quarterly meetings as well as occasional ad hoc consultations.

To express your interest in being part of this panel, please complete the Expression of Interest form by COB Friday 3 September.


To discuss the Panel, please contact Jane Harwood, Stakeholder Engagement Manger at WA Primary Health Alliance by email via



Connect patients with free mental health care via the MH Connext program 

mh-connext.jpgThe MH Connext program helps connect general practice patients who are experiencing severe and complex mental health issues with the right mental health care at the right time. 

This recovery-oriented program is provided in the community by experienced mental health practitioners who work together with general practitioners (GPs) to offer patients emotional and psychological help and connect them with local support services. 

The MH Connext program is free for patients 18 years and over in the Perth metropolitan area referred by their GP with a Mental Health Treatment Plan. 

To find out more about the MH Connext program and download the referral forms, visit the WAPHA website




RANZCOG and RACGP urging practitioners to follow ATAGI guidelines related to COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) released a statement on 12 August urging general practitioners, to heed the advice issued by RANZCOG and ATAGI which recommends that pregnant women are routinely offered Pfizer (Comirnaty) at any stage of pregnancy.



Western Australians aged 16 plus eligible for COVID vaccination

015_RU4WA_Web_16-VaccineAnnouncement_August.jpgThe McGowan Government has expanded eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccinations to enable all Western Australians aged 16 years and above to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at WA Health clinics.

This is the first opportunity for people aged between 16 to 29 to get vaccinated at State-run clinics. People in this age group can now start booking their vaccination appointment.

Read the full media statement here.



COVID-19 vaccine resources for health professionals working within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The Australian Department of Health has created resources targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for health providers to access, download or print to use in their health clinics and practices.

These materials include web pages, videos, posters, social media resources and handouts which can be accessed here.




COVID-19 Vaccine: Moderna Spikevax (elasomeran) approved for use in Australia

On 9 August 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) granted provisional approval to Moderna Australia Pty Ltd for its COVID-19 vaccine Spikevax (elasomeran) making it the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval in Australia. Current approval is for adults aged 18 years and over.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison provided a statement related to the supply of Spikevax (elasomeran) to primary care.



COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

download.jpgIndividual states and territories may have implemented different eligibility criteria for state-led clinics within their jurisdictions outside of the national eligibility criteria agreed by National Cabinet.

​All primary care vaccination sites – including general practices, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services should follow the national eligibility criteria.You can find the national eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines at When will I get a COVID-19 Vaccine? and the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

If you have excess doses left that may expire before you can run your next vaccination clinic, vaccines can be administered outside of existing eligibility to minimise wastage. You can review the excess dose policy here.



COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout expansion: How to get involved

Accredited general practices still have an opportunity to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine program.

As vaccine supplies increase, the Commonwealth is expanding the role of general practices within the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.

If your practice is not currently taking part in the rollout and would like to apply to administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, please email



COVID-19 HealthPathways Updates

The following content updates have now been published on the HealthPathways site:
Recently Localised Pathways
Recently Reviewed Pathways
To access HealthPathways, email the HealthPathways team at



COVID-19 Vaccination Training Modules Updated

Updates have occurred in the COVID-19 vaccination training program on Friday 6 and Friday 13 August.  Module progress and completion have not been affected.

Staff at vaccinating clinics are expected to log-in and view the new information. A summary of the updates can be found in the announcement forum. All changes within the modules are identified by 'NEW' in red.You can log-in to the training modules here.




Allocation of surgical masks from the National Medical Stockpile

WA Primary Health Alliance has been advised by the Australian Department of Health that the National Medical Stockpile is a strategic reserve and not a general supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE). The Stockpile is only intended to provide PPE where commercial supply is unavailable and there is a demonstrated need or clinical advice for its use.
We appreciate that some providers have been accessing the Stockpile regularly until now.

Due to the widespread commercial availability of PPE supply, as per Government advice, WA Primary Health Alliance will request a declaration from your organisation as proof it has been unable to source a commercial supply.
WA Primary Health Alliance can only provide PPE where commercial supply is unavailable and requests meet the following criteria:

  • There is no local supply available commercially.
  • The people coming to your practice are more likely to have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Your practice has an unusual number of patients who have respiratory symptoms.
WA Primary Health Alliance will provide surgical masks to community pharmacies if they meet both of the criteria below:
  • There is no local supply available commercially.
  • Staff have significant contact with people who have fever and respiratory symptoms.

If you are experiencing difficulties obtaining PPE from a commercial supplier, please email WA Primary Health Alliance via addressing the above points.



Maintaining routine immunisation services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Immunisation is an essential health service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Immunisation providers must maintain routine immunisation services and ensure on-time vaccination according to the current recommended schedules. These routine services include:

  • infant and early childhood immunisation sessions providing the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule vaccines
  • adolescent vaccination for catch-up of NIP vaccines
  • influenza vaccination program
  • adult vaccination for provision of NIP vaccines
  • provision of additional recommended vaccines as required.

The ATAGI Guiding Principles for maintaining immunisation services during COVID-19 pandemic provides further information for immunisation providers and is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.



Updated factsheet on zoster vaccines for Australian adults

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has updated its factsheet on the use of zoster vaccines in Australian adults to align with new ATAGI advice. The updated factsheet includes information on the disease, the vaccines available, the benefits of the different vaccines, contraindications, and more.

Access the new factsheet here



NCSR integration with MedicalDirector now live

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) has introduced an online Healthcare Provider Portal and integration with clinical software, providing new ways to interact with the National Register. These channels enable healthcare providers to access and submit bowel and cervical screening data electronically in a self-service fashion.

Clinical information systems MedicalDirector and Best Practice are now fully integrated with the National Register, with the aim to integrate more software vendors over time to ensure healthcare providers can seamlessly access and submit data for their patients.
For more information visit the NCSR website or call the Contact Centre on 1800 627 701.



Supporting patients who have experienced trauma

Patients who have experienced trauma can have difficulties with intimate examinations, such as cervical screening.

To support these patients in accessing healthcare that is sensitive to their needs, the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) has developed a Sensitive Practice Request form. This form should be accessible for discreet patient use prior to an appointment. The information will help inform the healthcare provider on how to best support the patient during the appointment.

For more resources on supporting patients who have experienced trauma visit the SARC website.



Medical Services Advisory Committee support expanding self-collection as a cervical screening option for all women aged 25 to 74 years

To increase participation in the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) and contribute to the elimination of cervical cancer, the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) has recommended the NCSP Self-collection Policy be expanded to offer all NCSP participants a choice to screen via either a self-collected vaginal sample or a clinician-collected cervical sample.

Under the current system, self-collection is only available to those aged 30 years and over who have never participated in cervical screening or are overdue by two or more years. The proposed changes aim to increase participation amongst those most at risk of developing cervical cancer, and are supported by recent evidence, expert advice and consultation with the NCSP sector.

The MSAC recommendation is now pending a funding and policy decision by Government which is required prior to any implementation of the proposed policy. For more information read the MSAC application here.


Provide your feedback on the proposed changes to self-collection

Healthcare providers are invited to complete a short online survey to provide feedback on the proposed policy changes to self-collection. 

Complete the survey here.

The survey should take about 5 minutes to complete and you will have the choice to go into the draw to win 1 of 2 $200 Red Balloon Gift Vouchers



eLearning Module: Changes to cervical screening intermediate risk pathway

This free online module provides cervical screening providers with critical information about the change to the intermediate risk pathway within the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP).

It includes:

  • Why the intermediate risk pathway changed
  • Who is affected by the new intermediate risk pathway
  • The new intermediate risk cervical screening pathway
  • Management guidelines
  • Case studies, quiz & resources

This module was developed by Queensland Health and True Relationships & Reproductive Health, in partnership with Victorian Cytology Service (VCS) Foundation and the NCSP.
For more information or to register, visit the True Relationships & Reproductive Health website.



Changes to PIP Indigenous Health Incentive Program

The Practice Incentives Program – Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI) encourages general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to appropriately and effectively meet the health care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a chronic disease.

Chronic disease is responsible for 70% of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. The PIP IHI seeks to address this gap.

The Australian Government announced changes to the PIP IHI as part of the 2021–2022 Budget following a national consultation process. From 1 January 2023, the following will change:

  • Eligibility will be expanded to include children under the age of 15.
  • GP Mental Health Care Plans will be added as eligible items for the purposes of outcomes payments.
  • The requirement to deliver a certain number of services in a calendar year will be replaced with a 12-month rolling window, starting from the date the first eligible service is delivered. This will give practices more time to deliver the services required to achieve outcomes payments.
  • The program will start moving towards a back-ended payment structure. This means the majority of the payment will be provided after a threshold level of care has been provided. A transition period – where registration is gradually reduced, and the Tier 2 payment is gradually increased – will give practices time to adjust to this change.

You can read more about the PIP IHI on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

You can also download a fact sheet with information about the changes to the PIP IHI here.



ePrescription SMS subsidy extended to at least 30 June 2022

SMS costs for GPs issuing electronic prescription tokens to patients’ mobile phones will continue to be subsidised by the government until at least 30 June 2022.
According to the Australian Medical Association (AMA), it has been calling on the Department of Health and the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to develop long-term solutions to avoid SMS costs being passed onto prescribers.
“The Department of Health is now considering the outcomes of this work and intends to engage in further consultation across the health sector,” the AMA said in an online news update.
“It should be noted that SMS costs are specific to the provision of electronic prescription tokens to patients on their mobile phone. Alternatives exist for prescribers and dispensers to send electronic prescriptions to patients via email or through mobile applications that do not incur these SMS costs.”
To read the full article on the AMA website, click here.





Consumers urged to see their GP ahead of changes to nicotine vaping laws (FED)

ecigarettes-1.jpgUsers of nicotine vaping products are encouraged to make an appointment with their GP to discuss their smoking cessation options, ahead of changes from 1 October 2021. The regulatory changes mean that consumers will need a valid prescription to legally obtain nicotine vaping products, such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine, from an overseas website. A valid prescription is already required to purchase nicotine vaping products from Australian pharmacies. Purchase of nicotine vaping products from other Australian sources is already not permitted and will remain illegal. These changes balance the need to prevent adolescents and young adults from taking-up nicotine vaping (and potentially smoking), while enabling current smokers to readily access these products for smoking cessation with appropriate medical advice.

Read the full media release here



NPS MedicineWise update

Dementia and psychotropic medicines


Interested GPs can still book an NPS MedicineWise virtual visit on the Dementia and Psychotropic Medicines topic. 

This topic discusses the options available to manage changed behaviour in this complex condition, including:

  • Non-pharmacological interventions are recommended as first-line management of changed behaviour in dementia, and should be continued even if a medicine is trialled.
  • Health professionals are encouraged to be guided by a person's background, likes and dislikes, culture and life experiences to choose appropriate non-pharmacological interventions.
  • When antipsychotic medicines and benzodiazepines are used, review early and often for the emergence of adverse effects.
  • Antipsychotic medicines should only be used in severe cases of changed behaviour where non-pharmacological interventions have failed.
  • Consider ceasing an antipsychotic medicine if the targeted behaviour has not improved after 1–2 weeks, or if the person has been taking the medicine for at least 12 weeks.
NPS MedicineWise educational visits and virtual visits are independent and evidence based. 

Topics are free and accredited by RACGP & ACRRM.
To book, visit the NPS MedicineWise website:



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.
Here are some of our new and updated resources:

COVID-19 Resources

Programs & National Schemes

Digital Health


If you have an idea for a new resource or feedback on our current resources, please email with ideas and comments.



Health Promotion Events

Upcoming NCIRS webinar: What’s next for Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine program?

Thursday 26 August - Time: 9.30am – 11.00am (WST)

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) will host a webinar discussing what’s next for Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine program. Speakers include Dr Randall Hyer, Senior Vice President, Moderna Therapeutics and Professor Jodie McVernon, Director of Epidemiology, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

In this webinar you will:

  • learn about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that will roll out in Australia from September 2021, with an overview from Dr Randall Hyer, Senior Vice President, Moderna Therapeutics, Inc
  • be updated on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and protection against the Delta variant
  • gain a deeper understanding of modelling of the COVID-19 vaccine impact that is informing Australia’s approach to emerging from the pandemic.

This webinar is open to all immunisation providers and health professionals. Visit the NCIRS website for more information and to register.

17th Women’s Health Day 2021 

Saturday 4 September 

The 17th Women’s Health Day 2021 is a cancer education activity for general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses. 

The Day is being developed and delivered in collaboration with Cancer Council WA, Sexual Health Quarters, BreastScreen WA, King Edward Memorial Hospital and WA Primary Health Alliance. 

Morning tea and lunch will be provided. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the online registration webpage




Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: live panel session 

Thursday 9 September at 6pm (AEST) 

Lung cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, however diagnosis usually occurs at late stages limiting patients access to quality treatment. 

Lung Foundation Australia is hosting a free one-hour, live panel discussion for health professionals to review the latest evidence and clinical recommendations for investigating symptoms of lung cancer. 

For more information or to register, visit the Lung Foundation Australia website


Annual Review of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes (ARMED) 2021 

Saturday 30 October 

The Annual Review of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes (ARMED) 2021 is presented by South Metro Health Service, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Diabetes WA in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways WA. 

During this free event for general practitioners (GPs) the following topics will be covered: 

  • Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Workshop: Tailoring Type 2 Diabetes Treatments
  • ​Workshop: Diabetes Remission
  • Workshop: Issues for Diabetes in Pregnancy, pre and post
  • Diabetes Foot Disease
  • HealthPathways and Primary Care Resources

Morning tea and lunch will be provided. For more information, refer to the event invitation

To register, submit the online registration form by Monday 4 October. 

Digital health tools are a game changer

Tuesday 31 August 2021 at  5:30 – 6:30pm AWST (7:30 – 8:30pm AEST)

Digital health tools are changing how healthcare is delivered in Australia. Access to My Health Record and telehealth consultations is transforming health service delivery, not only in remote Aboriginal communities but across the country. Please join the Australian Digital Health Agency, WA Primary Health Alliance, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, and special guest panel members from Aboriginal Medical Services across WA, to hear how digital health has been a game changer for them. Healthcare professionals from across all sectors are encouraged to attend, hear these success stories and be inspired to start using digital health. There will also be the opportunity for participants to ask questions.

Registration link:



Australian Digital Health Agency Events and Updated Virtual Classrooms

The Australian Digital Health Agency offers a range of training and events on digital health, My Health Record, electronic prescribing and more. To view upcoming events and training please click here or you can view archived webinars here

Updated direct links to our Virtual Classroom Sessions

Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP) education for health care providers -
My Health Record - Aged Care Case Study -
My Health Record - Aged Care Overview -
Best Practice -
MedicalDirector -
Genie -
Zedmed -
Communicare -
Fred IT -
National Provider Portal (NPP) -
Practice Manager - Compliance Sessions -
Pharmacy staff - Compliance Sessions -
Data Quality -


Welcome to the TADPole Education Program: Alcohol and drug issues in general practice

The Treating Alcohol and Drugs in Primary Care (TADPole) program is funded by the WA Primary Health Care Alliance (WAPHA) with the primary aim of increasing the capacity of the WA primary care workforce to provide alcohol and drug treatment and support.
The team at Edith Cowan University of WA drug and alcohol specialists have developed educational resources to enhance the skills of GPs looking after patients with common alcohol and other drug problems, e.g. alcohol dependence, benzodiazepines and methamphetamine use. Please visit the TadPole website for more information.

They would like to offer you the opportunity of having a small group education session in your practice. This is free and qualifies for RACGP CPD points. The facilitator (an addiction specialist or a GP with a special interest in addiction) will give a short presentation about alcohol or other drug topics of interest followed by 30 minutes to talk through case studies or any concerns you have about your patients.

They will supply lunch/snacks and accreditation for 2 RACGP CPD points in the 2020-2022 triennium.

  • Choose one hour between 12 and 2pm or 5:30 to 6:30pm, Tuesday through Friday.
  • Choose two topics of interest. See over page.
  • Email and we will get back to you to confirm arrangements.
View the flyer here for more information.


Education and training

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

Webinars & Workshops

Paediatric eczema, allergy and asthma update for Primary Care Nurses WA
Presented by Perth Children’s Hospital
Saturday 21 August

Advance care planning workshops: Residential Aged Care
Presented by Cancer Council WA & PaSCE
Wednesday 8 September

NDSS Aged Care Update
Presented by Diabetes WA
Monday 23 August
Shared care management of opioid dependence
Presented by RACGP
Wednesday 8 September
HIV Case discussion
Presented by ASHM
Wednesday 25 August
Common arrhythmias and ECGs
Presented by RACGP
Tuesday 14 September
Hepatitis B Case discussion webinar
Presented by ASHM
Thursday 26 August
Quality Improvement: What has it got to do with GP research?
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 16 September
What’s next for Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program
Presented by NCIRS
Thursday 26 August
AAPM State Conference
Presented by AAPM
Friday 17 September
Cervical Screening for nurses
Presented by Sexual Head Quarters (SHQ)
24 & 25 August
Advance Care Planning Workshops: Residential Aged Care
Presented by Cancer Council WA & PaSCE
Monday 20 September
Podiatry essentials – Common & high risk foot presentations
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 26 August
Become a rural GP: Emergency medicine skills
Presented by RACGP
Wednesday 22 September
Digital Health tools are a game changer
Presented by Australian Digital Health Agency
Tuesday 31 August  
The health effects of climate change
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 30 September
CAT Plus for General Practice
Presented by PEN CS
Tuesday 31 August
ENT Update
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 7 October
Become a rural GP: In conversation with Rural Generalists
Presented By RACGP
Tuesday 31 August
NCNP National Symposium
Presented by ACNP
Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 October
Heart Failure: How a team approach can optimise patient care
Presented by NPS
Tuesday 31 August
Advance Care Planning Workshops: Residential Aged Care
Presented by Cancer Council & PaSCE
Monday 25 October
2021 Wound Management Workshops: Rural
Presented by Clinical Design Solutions
Multiple dates (rural WA)
Annual review of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes (ARMED) 2021
Presented by Health Pathways
Saturday 30 October
Rural Health Webinar Series - The assessment and management of toxicological emergencies
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 2 September
Advance Care Planning Workshops: Residential Aged Care
Presented by Cancer Council & PaSCE
Monday 1 November
17th Women’s Health Day 2021
Presented by Cancer Council
Saturday 4 September
Advance Care Planning Workshops: Residential Aged Care
Presented by Cancer Council & PaSCE
Monday 15 November
Joint Australasian Sexual Health and HIV&AIDS Conferences: VIRTUAL
Presented by ASHM
Monday 6 to Thursday 9 September
Aboriginal Health Conference 2021
Presented by Rural Health West
Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 November





Online Training

Foundations of Spirometry in Primary Health Care
Presented by APNA
Keeping your practice COVID-safe
Presented by RACGP
GP Framework for Child Mental Health Assessment
Presented by Emerging Minds
Medico-legal concerns and My Health Record
Presented by RACGP
Diabetes in Practice for Nurses
Presented by Diabetes Qualified
Chronic Disease Management and Healthy Ageing online program
Presented by APNA
Electronic Prescribing online training
Presented by ADHA
Safety Through Reporting
Presented by Department of Health & TGA
RACGP webinar - Phone and Video consultations
Presented by RACGP

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.