Over two days from 30 September to 1 October, more than 360 residents from in and around the town of Kununurra walked into the local leisure centre to receive their first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment.
The successful mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the East Kimberley, known as the Kununurra Vaxathon, was a collaborative effort between the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service WA Country Health Service, Wunan Health, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley, Royal Flying Doctor Service and St John Ambulance.
Derek Donohue, Practice Nurse Manager at the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service, said that numerous factors contributed to the success of the Kununurra Vaxathon, including the provision of entertainment and catering which was funded by WA Primary Health Alliance.
“Food and refreshments played a huge role in garnering interest in the event. A sausage sizzle, boxes of fruit, slushy machine and bottled water were available. As always, food is a major drawcard to any community event,” he said.
Jane Angliss with local Kununurra residents
The entertainment featured something for the whole family including a bouncy castle, face painting, live music, drag queen show, prize giveaways plus the opportunity to have a photo with West Coast Eagles football players and the team mascot.
“Enabling access to the event was paramount. OVAHS supplied a bus which ferried clients back and forth from the reserve areas. On the bus at times were one of the AFL players and the mascot, which helped to draw clients in,” Mr Donohue said.
Lorrie Morris, Clinical Coordinator at Wunan Health, the local general practice, said the Kununurra Vaxathon had a great atmosphere on both days and she was very pleased with the success of the event.
“We had quite a few people come through who don’t have Medicare and thought that they wouldn’t be able to get vaccinated. They were very happy when we told them of course you can! It was also great to see the different agencies come together and work alongside each other. Derek did a great job getting this off the ground so quickly,” she said.
The next Kununurra Vaxathon will be held at the end of October as a twilight event to avoid the heat of the day and allow people to come in after they finish work.
Kununurra Vaxathon signage at the local leisure centre
On 10 October, State Minister for Health Roger Cook announced that Western Australian primary and community health staff would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend their workplace.
The new public health directions will mandate that staff must have a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by 1 November 2021 and have a second dose vaccine by 1 December 2021. The directions will include:
The directions will provide exemptions for certain categories of employees, which include medical exemptions and other temporary exemptions. WA Primary Health Alliance will provide links to the directions as soon as they become available.
COVID-19 vaccine appointments can be booked via the Vaccine Clinic Finder and Vaccinate WA.
From 11 October 2021, the Australian Government announced that individuals who are severely immunocompromised should receive a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Assessment of suitability for third doses are eligible for MBS reimbursement with the same rules as suitability assessments for second doses. The same second dose MBS items are used, including when a medical practitioner performs a suitability assessment for a patient and determines they are not suitable for a third vaccination dose.
Just a reminder that no fee can be charged to a patient (Medicare eligible or Medicare ineligible) for any reason under this program to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
For further information, you can learn more here.
The Australian Government has released a National Framework to inform decision making after a COVID-19 exposure in a health care setting in the context of an outbreak and community transmission of COVID-19. Any actions taken should be in line with public health policy and directives of the Chief Health Officer of WA.
In Western Australia, positive COVID-19 cases are notified to the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) which will then provide guidance regarding isolation, quarantine and testing requirements, including for workers exposed to COVID-19 within a health care setting.
Clinician alert #68
General practices joining the COVID-19 Vaccination Program from late October can be provided with both a Pfizer and Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) allocation.
If your practice would like to join the Program please complete the expression of interest form for Comirnaty (Pfizer) here and email Practice Assist regarding an EOI for Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca).
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has answered some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about COVID-19 in children, vaccines available in Australia, vaccine safety and schooling.
For further information, the FAQs are available on the NCIRS website.
The Australian Government has created a series of posters in a variety of languages other than English, explaining that children aged 12 years and over can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The posters are available for download here.
New COVID-19 vaccine safety data from AusVaxSafety has shown adolescents aged 12 to 19 years are reporting similar short-term vaccine side effects to those reported by older Australians. Commonly reported adverse events among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years following COVID-19 vaccination include pain at injection site, headache and fatigue. These common adverse events are linked to the immune response following vaccination and are generally mild and short-lived, with the overwhelming majority of recipients recovering within 3 days.
AusVaxSafety has received more than 150,000 completed day-3 safety surveys from adolescents aged 12 to 19 years who received their COVID-19 vaccine and, to date, data analysis has not detected any safety signals for this age group. On the whole, data reported by this age group has been largely consistent with those seen in AusVaxSafety analysis of COVID-19 vaccine safety at a population-wide level.
For further information, the data can be accessed here.
A framework has been released by the Australian Government to inform decision making after a COVID-19 exposure in a healthcare setting.
The framework contains a process and tools to support exposure assessment, work restriction and return to work decision making for workers in healthcare settings.
For further information, you can read more here.
Significant updates have occurred in the COVID-19 vaccination training program on Friday 1 October and Friday 8 October. Module progress and completion have not been affected. Please note that certificates will display the date that the module was originally completed and will not be updated if the module is repeated.
You are expected to login and view the new information. A summary of the updates can be found in the COVID-19 Training Announcement Board. All new changes and updates within the modules for this week are identified by 'NEW' and 'UPDATED' in blue with white, all information relating to the Moderna (SPIKEVAX) vaccine are identified by ‘NEW’ in purple and white. All changes from previous updates will be identified as 'NEW' and 'UPDATED' in red and white.
WA Department of Health would like to remind regional providers that Zostavax (Shingles), Varivax (Varicella), and ProQuad (MMRV) are temporarily unavailable. It is anticipated that distribution will recommence in 5-6 weeks. In the meantime:
WA Department of Health appreciates the patience of regional providers during this time and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their ongoing commitment to the immunisation of Western Australians.
WA Primary Health Alliance has a new process to support practices to organise COVID-19 vaccine stock redistribution between vaccine providers.
We appreciate that despite best efforts in stock management, practices occasionally have a need for additional stock, or may have excess stock on hand that is at risk of expiring.
If your practice requires assistance to redistribute stock, please complete the new stock redistribution form to help WA Primary Health Alliance allocate the appropriate support required for your practice.
For further information, you can access the survey here.
The RACGP has developed a brief guide to help practice teams identify and manage incidents of patient aggression and violence. The guide addresses common questions about dealing with aggressive or violent patients, including:
The guide also includes editable templates for you to use when issuing warning letters, placing patients on acceptable behaviour agreements or discontinuing care for patients at your practice.
The RACGP has also developed posters you can display in your practice to inform everyone that aggression and violence will not be tolerated.
VIEW THE GUIDE
A NASH (National Authentication Service for Health) PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) certificate allows your organisation to access digital health services such as My Health Record, ePrescribing and Secure Message Delivery.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has been working with Services Australia and the medical software industry to upgrade the NASH system. These changes will provide enhanced security protection for healthcare information and reduce the need for organisations to manage multiple certificates.
Most general practices currently work with a NASH SHA-1 certificate and will need to transition to a NASH SHA-2 certificate prior to 13 March 2022. These certificates became available on 20 September to request and download. Please ensure that you review any notices from your software provider regarding NASH SHA-2 readiness.
The first step in this process is to ensure that your software is SHA-2 ready. The ADHA has developed a register so that healthcare organisations can check whether their current software product and version are SHA-2 ready. Before logging into HPOS to request a new NASH certificate, check the register to see if your software product is SHA-2 ready.
When you renew your existing NASH certificate, you will receive either a SHA-1 or SHA-2 certificate based on whether your software version is SHA-2 ready. SHA-1 certificates will not be available after the 13th of March 2022. To access the functionality that a NASH certificate provides, your software must be upgraded to a SHA-2 ready version prior to March 2022.
Please contact the WAPHA Digital Health Team via firstname.lastname@example.org or via Practice Assist for further information.
PATS supports WACHS to achieve the mission to improve access to health services for people living in country WA. PATS provides a subsidy to assist with a patient's travel and accommodation costs associated with needing to travel to access specialist medical services that are not available locally.
The WA State Government recently advised of a funding commitment to further support PATS with:
WACHS is seeking GP participation to assist in the defining of “vulnerable and disadvantaged” client groups who will be eligible for an escort in the updated PATS Guidelines. This may include cultural differences, language barriers, and physical and cognitive disabilities or barriers. It should be noted that the existing Exceptional Ruling process will remain.
We are anticipating that consultation will occur from early October to late November 2021, with the updated PATS Guidelines due to be completed at the end of the year.
If you would like to be involved or receive regular email updates or have a quick chat about the expanded escort eligibility, email the PATS Area Office team at PATSAO@health.wa.gov.au
The annual Health & Wellbeing Equality Index has been designed to assess and benchmark LGBTQ-inclusive service provision amongst health, wellbeing and human service providers.
The benefits include:
View the flyer here or visit the HWEI website for further information.
NPS MedicineWise is now delivering its new educational visiting topic - Anticholinergic burden: the unintended consequences for older people.
This topic discusses improving the safe use of medicines with anticholinergic effects for older people which can have a positive impact on quality of life and reduce the risk of side effects such as falls.
NPS will have educational visitors in Albany, Busselton and surrounds to deliver this topic to local GPs, week commencing 6th December. The topic is also available to be delivered virtually, by video call to GPs throughout WA, at any time.
NPS MedicineWise Educational topics are free and accredited by RACGP and ACRRM. For bookings, visit the NPS website.
Please be aware, as a not-for-profit organisation, NPS cannot provide food with their practice visits.
General practitioners are the first point of contact for most Australians seeking healthcare, with 83.2% of the population seeing a GP in the previous 12 months. In 2018-19, nationally there were 158 million GP attendances, or 6.3 per person, up from 5.3 per person (113 million) in 2008-09 claimed through Medicare.
The Practice Incentives Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) Incentive is a payment to general practices for activities that support continuous data driven quality improvement in patient outcomes and the delivery of best practice care.
The first annual report has been released by the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing (AHIW). The report on the 10 PIPQI measures shows data (2020-2021), shared at the community level, and collected through the PIPQI Incentive, has the potential to inform primary health providers how to improve care and services to clients and within a population.
For further information, refer to a summary of the findings of the report for Western Australia or view the full report and data.
Nominations for the 2022 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards are now open
The 2022 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards recognise and acknowledge health professionals who have dedicated their careers to caring for rural communities, and celebrate the achievements of health professionals who have enhanced the range and quality of medical care available in Western Australian rural locations.
Having access to quality healthcare is extremely important for rural communities and these awards are an opportunity to shine the spotlight on health professionals who have contributed to rural health in Western Australia.
The categories for the 2022 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards include:
Additional information about each of the award categories and the criteria can be viewed on the 2022 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards website.
Nominations close Monday 8 November 2021
You can nominate now. If you have any enquiries, email the WA Rural Health Excellence Awards Coordinator via email@example.com or call 08 6389 4500.
Start your journey to Fellowship now with the Practice Experience Program (PEP), an RACGP-approved program that can put you on the path to Fellowship. With access to online education, experienced GP mentors and an optional structured exam preparation course, you can draw from and expand on your ongoing experience. Most importantly, you’ll remain eligible to sit exams while accessing full A1 Medicare rebates.
Applications are now open and close on 25 October 2021. Visit www.racgp.org.au/pep for more information.
Non-VR doctors, don’t delay your application - the rules are changing in January 2022
From January 2022, in order to be eligible to sit the RACGP Fellowship exams it will be compulsory for all doctors to be enrolled in an RACGP-approved program such as the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT), Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) or have completed the Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream or Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream.
There are only two more PEP application periods remaining for the current government funding scheme which are:
The Future Leaders program is designed to give RACGP Fellows the confidence to lead change in their community.
The program prepares both current and future generations of GP leaders by critically evaluating and implementing evidence-based methodologies in leadership, connecting an ever-broadening network of GP leaders, and allowing new and relevant ideas to come to the fore and be put into action.
The program supports participants to network with people from different parts of the community and to develop a network of support within the RACGP.
Many alumni progress into key RACGP roles, work on local, national and global projects, and propose recommendations for the future of general practice – from peer group mentoring to recommendations for how primary care can address climate change.
Running from March to October each year, Future Leaders incorporates a blended, action learning approach and covers organisational dynamics, change management, influencing, strategic thinking, advocacy and representation. Each participant undertakes a project, engages in facilitated peer group discussions, and a monthly webinar.
Applications are now open and close on 24 October 2021. Visit www.racgp.org.au/futureleaders for more information.
WA Country Health Service (WACHS) is pleased to announce that from Monday 11 October 2021, public referrals for a first specialist outpatient appointment for Neurology, Haematology and Paediatrics (medical and developmental) will now be processed by the Central Referral Service and allocated straight to the South West, based on service availability and patient postcode. More information is available here.
For further information and to read the full article, click here.
The RPH GP Notify system was turned off on 15 September 2021 due to technical problems causing multiple duplicate notifications to be sent. A solution is still under investigation.
GP Notify is the system RPH uses to send GPs automated notifications by fax or email about their patients' admission, discharge or death. Other communications such as discharge summaries or outpatient letters are not affected by GP Notify being out of action and will continue as usual. RPH apologises for any inconvenience if you received duplicate notifications and/or a lack of notifications.
The Australian Government has announced a new review process to allow general practices to challenge the Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification for their area.
Federal Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie, announced the new exceptional circumstance review with the intent that the review process will help regional and rural areas respond to unforeseen workforce and population changes affecting local GP services.
The review process has been welcomed by the RACGP and the AMA. Similarly, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), Rural Health West and WAGPET support the opportunity this affords practices to bring critical GP workforce shortages in specific regions to the attention of the Australian Government when considering DPA status.
WA general practices applying for a DPA classification review can request a letter of support from WAPHA, which will support applicants who can demonstrate the following:
To request a letter of support from WAPHA, general practices are required to email their request with the above information to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be escalated to the Strategy and Engagement team.
For further information about the DPA exceptional circumstance review, refer to the media release and assessment criteria from the Australian Government Department of Health.
To find out more about the review application process, visit the Rural Health West website or email email@example.com
A limited number of fully funded places are available for the University of Melbourne and the Benchmarque Group online authorised immunisation courses. Registered nurses are encouraged to access the websites below for selection criteria and to register their interest by completing the Expression of Interest form. Please note that some allocations may have been exhausted.
WA Primary Health Alliance, in partnership with the WA Department of Health, invite metropolitan-based GPs with an involvement or interest in the delivery of care within Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) to participate in a Forum on end-of-life and palliative care in WA RACFs.
Who should attend? GPs in metropolitan areas of WA who are providing care to people living in RACFs.
The Forum will bring together metropolitan-based GPs to consider primary care in the RACF setting and how future service improvement projects can best support them to meet the end-of-life and palliative care needs of RACF residents and their families.
View the agenda here or find out further information about the forum here.
Don’t miss out on the next heart failure management workshop. This is your chance to hear from cardiologists on the latest updates, connect with primary health professionals and learn ways to change your patient’s approach to their heart failure management.
This masterclass has been designed for primary healthcare professionals, including GPs, nurses, pharmacists and Aboriginal community health workers. The masterclass builds on understanding of current evidence and guidelines for optimising outcomes in heart failure patients within the primary care setting. Attendees will also learn and utilise principles of change management to establish a vision and strategies for ensuring optimised patient care for people with heart failure. Attendees will be challenged by a diverse array of case study scenarios.
For more information, view the flyer here or register here.
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:
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.
The Aboriginal Health Conference hosted by Rural Health West will celebrate culture, strengths and successes in Aboriginal health – a time to reflect on past achievements and how we can address the challenges. The conference will provide a space to rejoice and reconnect with colleagues after a challenging year in terms of environmental impacts and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Aboriginal Health Conference is open to:
Visit the Rural Health West website for further information.
Edith Cowan University (ECU) is offering Perth metropolitan general practices the opportunity to have a free education session
in their own practice to provide 'Enhanced understanding of specific drugs and comorbid conditions'.
ECU will organise an addiction medicine specialist to visit your practice during your lunch hour to provide education on alcohol addiction, including information on the prevention of FASD and parent child attachment from an Aboriginal culturally appropriate framework. They will also provide lunch and submit RACGP points for the GPs.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 28 October