The unique challenges of the COVID-19 Vaccine Program have seen many general practices move outside of their traditional business model and offer unique ways for patients to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
Lockridge Medical Centre is one practice that has risen to the challenge - offering walk-in appointments – outside of its traditional booking system.
The practice was motivated to give patients a “choice” around when they receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
The first walk-in Saturday clinic was a success with 144 COVID-19 vaccinations administered.
Clinic attendance was made up of 101 booked appointments and 43 walk-in appointments.
Practice staff have engaged with local businesses in the area.
These business are working with vulnerable populations to improve vaccination rates in the area.
The clinics were made more enjoyable with the addition of a sausage sizzle run by a local Scouts group and a prize draw.
Lockridge Medical Centre will continue the clinics every Saturday until 27 November.
Western Australia is getting ready to manage COVID-19 in the community. WA Primary Health Alliance is aligning resources to help primary care be in the best position possible to be ready for this time. To do so we need to understand where practices currently stand and their intent in the event of managing COVID-19 in the community.
On Monday 25 October WA Primary Health Alliance sent out a survey to ask General Practices in WA where they stand currently in their readiness for Covid- 19 in the community. We have had an impressive 102 early responses to our survey to understand how COVID-19 in the community will impact on your practice and how we can support you.
If your practice has not responded to the survey you can check who it was sent to email@example.com – responses must be in by Friday 5 November.
WA Primary Health Alliance is dedicated to assisting primary care in times of crisis. We can provide additional personal protective equipment (PPE) from the National Medical Stockpile (NMSP) to enable face to face consults; support your staff in the implementation of Telehealth services and e-prescribing tools and provide other resources to assist your practice to function in this new circumstance.
For further information and assistance please contact Practice Assist on 1800 22 77 478 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The WA State Government has published its latest clinician alert covering the Primary Health Care Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions that prevent all primary health care workers, inclusive of general practice staff, from entering or remaining at a primary health care facility if they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The alert contains information on:
There are many people working within general practice, either directly or indirectly, who have been included in the Primary Health Care Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions.
The directions cover:
General practice patients are not included in the Directions.
FairWork has produced a useful resource for workplaces affected by vaccine mandates covering topics including:
Further support on the setup and use of ePrescriptions is available from HealthPathways, your software vendor and the Practice Assist Digital Health page.
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.
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).
Significant updates have occurred in the COVID-19 vaccination training program on Friday 15 October and Friday 22 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 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.
On October 12, 2021 the new National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards (the NSQPCH Standards) were launched in Australia. These new standards aim to protect the public from harm and improve the quality of health care delivered. The NSQPCH Standards bring together a nationally consistent framework which all primary and community healthcare services can apply when delivering healthcare.
The NSQPCH Standards have been designed to be person centred and describe the processes and structures that are required to deliver safe and high-quality healthcare. The NSQPCH Standards are comprised of three standards: Clinical Governance; Partnering with consumers; and Clinical safety.
Each of the standards contains:
The NSQPCH Standards have been developed to align with existing standards within the industry such as the RACGP accreditation standards. Therefore, general practices that are accredited by AGPAL or a similar body will likely already be meeting the requirements of the new NSQPCH Standards.
Applying and being accredited under the NSQPCH Standards is a voluntary process. Some practices may wish to accredit themselves under these new standards as well as RACGP standards, but it is not necessary. Accreditation under the NSQPCH Standards will be available from mid 2022.
Where it may be useful for general practices to consider accreditation under the new NSQPCH Standards is if they have other health professionals within their scope outside of GPs such as Allied Health.
More information around the new NSQPCH Standards can found in the below fact sheets (can practice assist add these ones that are attached) as well as on the commission website
If you are a provider in the Perth metropolitan area and order government-funded vaccines from Onelink, please read the information below regarding changes to the way vaccine orders are packed and delivered.
We appreciate your patience during this time and thank you for your ongoing commitment to the immunisation of Western Australians.
The Department of Health has extended the shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine catch-up program available under the National Immunisation Program. Shingles vaccination with the Zostavax® vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for people aged 70. The catch-up program offered to people aged 71-79 years was due to end on 31 October 2021. This program has been extended for a further 2 years to 31 October 2023. This program extension will allow those who missed or delayed vaccination due to pandemic restrictions or other reasons, extra time to get vaccinated with Zostavax® to protect against shingles disease.
As Zostavax® is a live vaccine, it is contraindicated in some patients with immunocompromising conditions. It is important to review the latest guidance on herpes zoster in the Australian Immunisation Handbook and screen patients for contraindications using the screening tool in the Handbook.
Vaccination providers are also reminded that it is now mandatory to report all NIP vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register.
Vaccination providers and other interested stakeholders can get the latest National Immunisation Program updates by subscribing to the Department of Health email list.
Visit the Department of Health website for the full news item for health professionals and consumers.
Enhancements have been made to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to remove the maximum dose number for the meningococcal B vaccine, Bexsero®. Previously, the AIR only allowed a maximum of four doses to be reported for an individual. As Bexsero® is a non-standard vaccine, the removal of the maximum dose number makes it consistent with other non-standard vaccines.
Vaccination providers can now report all Bexsero® vaccines administered to an individual to the AIR, ensuring they have a complete immunisation record.
Revised clinical guidelines recommend a second follow-up HPV test for women at intermediate risk instead of referral for colposcopy at the time of their 12-month follow-up intermediate risk result
The revised Clinical Guidelines, introduced in February 2021, confirm that it is safe for patients with a 12-month follow-up HPV (not 16/18) result and negative liquid-based cytology (LBC), or possible low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (pLSIL) or LSIL (intermediate risk result), to have a second follow-up HPV test in a further 12 months after their first follow-up HPV test, instead of referral to colposcopy.
Note the exclusion criteria below for patients at intermediate risk at their 12-month follow-up test after an intermediate risk cervical screening test result
For women who may be at higher risk of a high-grade abnormality, a referral for colposcopy is recommended if HPV (any type) is detected at the first 12-month follow-up HPV test, regardless of the result of reflex LBC.
This includes any of the following groups:
*Initial screening relates to the first cervical screening test undertaken which determined the patient met criteria for the intermediate risk screening pathway
Patients who meet the abovementioned exclusion criteria should be referred for colposcopic evaluation at the time of their 12-month follow up intermediate risk result.
Please discuss with your patient their individual circumstances and how this may impact them.
Patient details and their history can be updated via the Healthcare Provider Portal. Alternately, please contact the Register on 1800 627 701
Changes to the clinical management of women at intermediate risk – frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) can be viewed here
A Cervical Screening Flowchart can be viewed here
The 2020 Vaccine safety in Australia AusVaxSafety summary report is now available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
The report shows how people receiving vaccines, or their parents and carers, responded to an SMS about their health a few days after their vaccination at each schedule point in the National Immunisation Program in Australia in 2020.
Using de-identified data reported directly from people receiving the vaccines (or their parent or carer), AusVaxSafety monitors adverse events following immunisation and facilitates early detection of potential vaccine safety issues.
The report includes infographics highlighting the vaccines given at each schedule point, the percentage of reported adverse events, the percentage of those who saw a doctor or emergency department in the days after vaccination and the most commonly reported events. These infographics are an excellent resource when counselling patients on the short-term safety of vaccines at each vaccine schedule point.
Access the report here
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has developed a new resource which lists the nurse immuniser courses recognised in Australia, and which states and territories each course is accepted in. The resource provides information on the states and territories you would be authorised to give vaccines in based on your qualification, and is a useful tool when deciding which course to undertake.
View the resource here
Breastscreen WA is pleased to announce they are coming back with one of their state of the art mobile clinics to QEII.
The mobile clinic will be parked at QEII, Visitor car park 7B off Caledonia Crescent, behind Crawford Lodge from 1-12 November 2021.
Dr. Liz Wylie, BreastScreen WA’s Medical Director is encouraging women working at QEII and SCGH to have a free screening mammogram. “By taking the time to have a regular screening mammogram every two years, women will increase their chances of detecting breast cancer at an early stage. Early detection and treatment may save many lives,” Dr Wylie said.
BreastScreen WA has 12 permanent clinics and 4 mobile units travelling WA. The closest permanent clinics to QEII is East Perth Mardalup, 63 Adelaide Terrace and Rose Clinic, 3rd Floor David Jones Hay Street Mall. BreastScreen WA realises this may be a barrier for some women and encourages them to support this initiative of mobiles in the workplace and book in for your free screening mammogram.
BreastScreen WA screens women 40 years and over, specifically targeting women aged 50-74 years with no breast symptoms.
Appointments for QEII mobile visit are now open – please book Online or phone 13 20 50.
Resources can be ordered via the online order form.
NPS MedicineWise offer a range of RACGP & ACRRM accredited webinars and clinical case studies through their website (www.nps.org.au).
These activities are free and can be completed online, in your own time. Topics include Chronic Pain, Dementia, Heart Failure, Asthma and IBD.
To access the webinars and clinical case studies, visit the Health Professionals tab on the NPS MedicineWise website.
We are seeking applications from:
If this sounds like you then please submit your expression of interest by COB Friday 5 November.
Flinders University invites you to participate in a research project being conducted by their researchers.
The aim of the research is to understand how caring relationships in healthcare settings should look and feel, so that we can design measurement tools and interventions to improve these relationships.
Volunteers will complete an online survey (15-30 minutes) and receive a $20 gift voucher. You’ll be asked to answer some questions, read the start of a hypothetical story and finish writing it in any way you like.
The project has been approved by Flinders University's Human Research Ethics Committee (Project ID 4610).
For more information: visit the website, see the recruitment flyer, or email the chief investigator: Kristi Urry, email@example.com
A significant number of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients have not been correctly registered for the Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme Co-payment Program (the Program). As of 1 February 2022, these patients will not have the applicable co-payment reduction applied when their prescriptions are being dispensed. PBS General Schedule medicines prescribed under the Program have been issued for patients who are not formally registered for the Program with Services Australia. The Department is seeking your assistance to address this issue.
To ensure eligible patients are formally registered for the Program and continue to receive their PBS medicines at the reduced PBS co‑payment, we are asking that you review the registration status for any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patients. Patient registration status can be checked using the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS). If the patient is not formally registered with Services Australia, HPOS will indicate that the person is “inactive”. In this case you will need to contact that patient to arrange to have them assessed by either a PBS Prescriber or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner.
This issue must be rectified before 31 January 2022 to ensure all eligible Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patients who have previously received their PBS General Schedule medicines under the Program can continue to do so.
Information on registering patients for the Program can be found on the Department of Health website
For PBS Prescribers, if you require information on using HPOS this can be found on the Services Australia website
The Department of Health appreciates the important work that Practice Managers/ PBS Prescribers do and trust that you will assist the Department in ensuring that all eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are correctly registered for the program.
Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre (NSCLC) has recently expanded its services to include a referral only mediation service that facilitates difficult family discussions between older people and their families due to age related issues.
This is a referral only service provided by NSCLC for the purpose of assisting older people to maintain important relationships and to address family conflict as early as possible.
Mediation is an impartial confidential and voluntary process that older people and their families can engage with during the early stages of conflict. The service is available in the Perth Metropolitan area with referrals from professionals, service providers and agencies involved with older people more information download the flyer.
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, read more here on how to apply.
Hosted by the Immunisation Coalition, this webinar will provide attendees with an update regarding shingles epidemiology and current trends in vaccination rates. Low shingles vaccination rates in Australian adults impact the epidemiology of the disease. This webinar will explore what current guidelines advise regarding improving pertussis vaccination rates in Australia, and therefore reducing disease burden and complications.
It will discuss the two shingles vaccinations available in Australia, comparing efficacy, safety, dosage regimens and indications for each vaccine.
Accredited with RACGP (305628) & ACRRM (24536)
Understanding the significance of cultural identity is crucial when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, but what does that look like in practice? This webinar will discuss the importance of cultural identity in relation to engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 08 6389 4500.
Sexual Health Nursing: Working with Young People
Presented by ASHM
Multiple Dates - November
Curing Hepatitis C in Primary Care
Presented by ASHM
Saturday 30 October