The Australian Government is taking further steps to support and strengthen the health system as we move to living with COVID-19.
The intention is that practices willing to manage COVID positive patients will receive access to a bundle of PPE from the National Medical Stockpile, pulse oximeters for their patients where clinically indicated, support from the PHN-commissioned home visits and the new $25 MBS rebate for general practitioners which can be claimed in addition to existing general consultation items to support face to face care of COVID positive patients.
See here for further information https://www.health.gov.au/news/supporting-and-strengthening-primary-care-as-australia-opens-up
On 8 November 2021 a new MBS item number was released to support medical practitioners providing treatment to COVID-19-positive patients.
GPs and other medical practitioners can access MBS item 93715 to provide clinically relevant, in-person service, to a patient who has recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 following positive laboratory PCR testing.
This item can only be claimed in conjunction with another eligible MBS item, including standard in-person business and after-hours general attendance items, urgent after-hours items and residential aged care facility attendance items.
Item 93715 is not location-specific and is not restricted to services provided at consulting rooms. However, it cannot be provided in conjunction with telehealth services. This item will be available until 30 June 2022.
Visit MBS Online for more information.
The National COVID Vaccine Taskforce (Taskforce) has updated a range of documents on the Department of Health’s website to support vaccination providers in administering COVID-19 booster doses to individuals aged 18 years and over:
Providing primary course doses to any eligible person who has yet to receive two vaccine doses is of key importance to ensure everyone has protection against the COVID-19 vaccine.
Approximately 326,000 individuals received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine six months or more ago, which will increase by over 250,000 next month. This means over 577,000 people will be able to receive their booster doses in the coming weeks.
Clinics should continue to accept appointments for booster doses using processes consistent with their first and second doses. You may want to consider creating specific booster appointments within your online booking system.
Please also continue to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster doses. To date, nearly one in two people aged 12 and over who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have completed their primary two-dose course of the COVID-19 vaccination.
Boosters can be funded through the existing dose two MBS item (items 93644, 93645, 93646, 93647, 93653, 93654, 93655 and 93656 or equivalent for Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics), which allows for ‘second or subsequent COVID-19 Vaccine Suitability Assessments’.
Immunisation providers are reminded that suspected adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) are notifiable conditions in WA (Public Health Regulations, 2017) and must be reported to the WA Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) system within 72 hours of recognition of the event. This includes deaths and other serious outcomes that may occur up to 42 days following immunisation with a COVID-19 vaccine.
Immunisation providers are asked to be aware of the extended time-frame during which AEFI may occur following a COVID-19 vaccine and to report any suspected adverse event using the WAVSS on-line reporting system.
Additional COVID-19 vaccines given overseas since 1 October 2020 which are not currently registered in Australia but have been recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) can now be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). These vaccines are Covishield (AstraZeneca), Coronavac (Sinovac), Covaxin (Bharat Biotech) and BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm). A COVID-19 Digital Certificate will be available for individuals who have had two doses of these vaccines at the accepted interval. It is important that Country of Immunisation and batch number is recorded as this information is needed to produce an International COVID-19 Digital Certificate.
The overseas vaccination/s can be reported to the AIR by a recognised vaccination provider in Australia, with the patient present (to confirm/validate vaccination history and revaccinate if required). The records must be in English (original or translated). If you deem that there is insufficient or potentially fraudulent evidence, you may request additional supporting information. If you do not believe the evidence provided is sufficient, you are not required to report the vaccination to the AIR. Information about Translating Services is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.
A list of all vaccines currently able to be reported to AIR is available on the AIR vaccine code page which is updated regularly. It is important that the latest version of clinical management software is being used to ensure there is the ability to record new vaccines as they become available. If recording immunisation encounters using the AIR Site, the latest vaccines available will be presented for selection from the Vaccine/Brand field. More information about accessing the AIR site is available on the Services Australia webpage: How to set up your access to AIR.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has updated its guidance for employers and employees regarding the collection of proof of COVID-19 vaccination status to align with new guidance from the Fair Work Ombudsman on workplace rights and obligations.
To find out more and access these resources, visit the OAIC’s COVID-19 advice and guidance webpage.
General practices that are taking part in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program and administering Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and/or Comirnaty (Pfizer) can now submit an expression of interest (EOI) to provide Spikevax (Moderna).
To register your interest in administering Spikevax (Moderna) please complete this form
Read more details here
Significant updates have occurred in the COVID-19 vaccination training program on Monday 1 November. 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.
The Australian Government has announced that all women under the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will be able to self-collect their own screening sample from 1 July 2022. Details of this announcement can be found here
At its meeting on 30 March/1 April 2021, the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) supported the expansion of eligibility for self-collection, following a review of available evidence showing that self-collected samples are as safe, effective and accurate as clinician collected tests. The MSAC outcome was publicly released on 21 May 2021 and published here
Please send any questions or concerns to NCSPCommittees@health.gov.au
For media enquiries, please email to email@example.com
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated its advice for immunisation against herpes zoster in adults aged over 50 years. The updated advice recommends Shingrix as the preferred vaccine for this age group based on its higher efficacy, and outlines a number of other important considerations regarding vaccination in this age group. See the updated advice here
Recent changes to the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) as recommended by the clinician-led MBS Review Taskforce or the MBS Advisory Committee have seen the inclusion of a new item number for diagnosis of hypertension through Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for people with suspected hypertension (high blood pressure).
The purpose of the service is to monitor a patient’s blood pressure continuously over 24 hours via a wearable device to diagnose if they are hypertensive or not. The service includes the fitting of the device, analysis of the data, generation of a report and development of a treatment plan and all consultations associated with the service. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is the best available test for diagnosing hypertension and is more effective than in clinic blood pressure monitoring.
Further details are available in the factsheet. Download full MBS details here
On Wednesday 29 September, Minister Hunt formally launched the Raising Healthy Minds phone app, a copy of Minister Hunt’s media release regarding the launch is available here.
The app is a great resource for parents, providing free access to information, ideas and guidance to help them support their child’s social and emotional health and wellbeing.
You can download the app from the Apple or Google Play stores or access it via raisingchildren.net.au/raisinghealthyminds
Cancer Australia has released a new interactive diagnostic tool for investigating symptoms of lung cancer. Based on Cancer Australia’s Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for all health professionals, the tool features a contemporary, user-friendly, mobile-optimised, and responsive interface.
This tool can be used at the point of care and for educational purposes. The tool is designed to assist health professionals to:
For further information and to access the digital version of the Guide, visit: canceraustralia.gov.au/interactive-islc-guide
NPS MedicineWise offer regular podcasts to help health professionals stay up to date with the latest evidence for medicines, tests and treatments, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In each episode they 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 this episode, NPS MedicineWise medical advisor Dr Caroline West interviews Professor Julie Leask to discuss the COVID 19 vaccination and it’s availability to children over the age of 12. They discuss the hesitancy some parents have toward the vaccines and how to address the questions parents have.
Access podcasts here
The optimal care pathways describe a model of cancer care that puts the patient at the center of care decisions. They describe a national standard of high-quality cancer care that all Australians should expect.
The optimal care pathways aim to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive cancer treatment.
Short-term restorative care (STRC) provides a range of early intervention services for up to 8 weeks, twice within a 12-month period, to reverse or slow functional decline in older people who are having difficulty performing their day-to-day activities.
The aim of STRC is to help older people restore their independence at home by providing services that can improve their health and wellbeing, prevent or reduce problems completing daily tasks,
and delay or avoid long-term or higher levels of care.
The services provided via STRC are selected with the older person’s input to meet their individual needs. STRC services may include, but are not limited to, aids and equipment, audiology, nursing support, continence management, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, cooking assistance, nutrition, personal care and home maintenance.
STRC is delivered using a multidisciplinary care approach via a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of three or more specialist care providers, which must include a medical clinician, such as a GP or a geriatrician, to ensure that any underlying clinical issues are identified.
To be approved to receive STRC, an older person must have an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment. GPs can refer a patient to My Aged Care and request an aged care assessment with a view to STRC by completing the online health professional referral form. It is important to state the urgency and include as much information as possible because requests will be triaged.
The current STRC providers across Western Australia’s three PHNs include:
If your patients or their representatives would like to receive face-to-face support about STRC
or other aged care services, they can book an appointment with an Aged Care Specialist Officer in Fremantle by calling Services Australia on 1800 227 475.
For further information about STRC and the eligibility requirements, refer to the Practice Assist STRC fact sheet, the STRC Programme manual or the STRC Programme webpage on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
The Heart Foundation have developed a new video as part of the Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program that is now available on their website : Know the signs of a heart attack
This complements their first video: Get a heart check as well on the Heart Foundation website , these 2 animations are loaded onto video brochures for use by WA health professionals in settings such as remote clinics and where internet access is an issue.
To order a video brochure please complete the attached form and return to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have already received a video brochure (with Get a heart check loaded), please contact the Hearth Foundation for information about how to upload the second heart attack animation to the videobrochure.
You can also download the heart attack action plan to support the message or order as fridge magnets here
We’d love to hear feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those who work with communities, email to email@example.com
The ‘Vaccination for Our Mob’ report is a summary report of vaccine preventable disease and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This report is intended for use by healthcare providers who provide immunisation services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families. The most recent report, with data from 2011 to 2015, was published in 2019.
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) would like to invite you to participate in a survey evaluating the 2011–2015 Vaccination for Our Mob report. They would value your time and feedback, thoughts and comments on the report. Your feedback will shape future Vaccination for Our Mob reports.
The survey will take approximately 10–15 minutes to complete. Participation in the survey is voluntary.
Access the survey here
Primary care practitioners can now access free online training on managing youth suicide risk and self-harm.
Developed by Orygen, Australia’s centre of excellence in youth mental health, the one-hour training module aims to improve practitioners’ knowledge and skills when it comes to supporting young people at risk.
The training contains videos and interactive components and covers:
To complete the training, and provide valuable feedback on it, visit the website here
Each day of Nursing Australia Week, you will receive:
All this, FREE for every nurse, and delivered to you in audio podcast format. No sitting in front of a computer screen, join on your smartphone wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.
This is a week for you, to help put some wind back in your sails after a tough 22 months. There'll be prizes and giveaways - it’ll be the pick me up that you need right now!
Visit the Resources page to download a range of items that you can use to share and promote the campaign message. You can also download the campaign kit with ideas of how to get involved in the 2021 campaign.
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.
This e-learning has been developed by Emerging Minds to equip GPs with knowledge of common child mental health conditions, strengthen their engagement skills for interacting with a child and their family, and develop practical skills for child mental health assessment and management.
The course is accredited with the RACGP as a CPD Accredited Activity (40 CPD points) and with ACRMM as a PDP Activity (6 PDP hours). It is also accredited by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) as stand-alone Clinical Enhancement Module. As with all their training and resources, this course is available to practitioners free of charge.
View the MHST Course Summary and the Pathway summary for general practice for further information.
Workshop: Podiatry essentials
Presented by RACGP
Tuesday 30 November 2021
Practical Updates in HCV Management and Treatment: HCV in Children
Presented by ASHM
Wednesday 17 November
Aboriginal Health Conference 2021
Presented by Rural Health West
Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 November
Hepatitis C Case Finding for Practice Nurses
Presented by ASHM
Wednesday 24 November