As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and restrictions are eased, we expect there may be more (but milder) COVID-19 cases in the Western Australian community. There will be those people for whom hospital care is neither desirable nor appropriate. General practice will be critical to ensuring that COVID-positive people with mild to moderate symptoms can be effectively cared for in the community.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is committed to supporting general practice as the cornerstone of WA’s primary health care system. As such, we recognise the importance of robust planning alongside your practice team ahead of borders re-opening, ensuring you have COVID safe practices in place and helping you prepare to continue the management of your patients with chronic disease.
As the operator of WA’s three Primary Health Networks (PHNs), WAPHA has been tasked by the Australian Government Department of Health to support and strengthen the primary health care system to manage an increase in COVID-19 cases as our borders re-open in 2022.
This work comprises of three new and one continuing activity streams, namely:
Many of these supports will be coordinated by WAPHA, and they include:
Please contact Practice Assist via email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).
The impacts of COVID-19 and competing pressures on business are changing the landscape of running general practice.
As we prepare to manage COVID-19 within our community it is essential that we are prepared for the changes that are inevitably ahead of us in the coming months.
These are just some of the activities we will be undertaking to support general practices.
From the recent feedback in the GP-Preparedness survey, practices told us that they want more assistance with digital health; in particular, ePrescribing and telehealth.
These resources will be available through Practice Assist and in addition, the introduction of these resources will provide opportunities for practice staff to network, come together and ask questions. We will work with you to provide the best support possible in helping you transition into Living with COVID.
This transition will create many opportunities for Quality improvement within your practice and we encourage you to reach out to our team for assistance.
Practice Assist will remain the first point of contact for participating general practices. The service can be contacted via email email@example.com or telephone 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).
To help general practice teams undertake quality improvement (QI) activities, the Practice QI Coach Team at WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has developed an online QI Tool Kit with a range of useful information, resources, tools and templates.
Toni Davies, Practice Manager at Power Medical Centre in Busselton, has welcomed the creation of the QI Tool Kit because of the many benefits it will provide to practices and their staff and patients.
“The development of the QI Tool Kit as a resource to assist practices in the development of a quality improvement system is exciting. I love watching our practice grow through documented QI activities. Our patients benefit through quality improvement and our staff can see the positive outcomes from the contribution they make,” she said.
Ms Davies quality improvement journey started four years ago during an accreditation visit when she was asked about how her practice records quality improvements.
“This question became embedded in me. We had practice policies and procedures around quality improvement, but we didn’t have an established, repeatable system. Six months later, I was introduced to a practice support program, based on the 10 Building Blocks of High Performing Practices, underpinned by the Quadruple Aim of Healthcare with the need for a practice quality improvement program,” Ms Davies explained.
Today, Ms Davies is proud of the fact that Power Medical Centre in Busselton is a data-driven practice with QI activities driven by Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles.
“Our Visual Management Board is pivotal and all of our meetings are QI meetings. We have implemented our emergency response plan and funded a patient feedback terminal, which is vital to continuously improving our patient-centred care. Our embedded QI system greatly supported our recent accreditation. We reviewed our QI system and process as a QI activity itself and our policy, procedures and processes are truly reflective of what we do at our practice. And we can demonstrate all of it,” Ms Davies said.
A number of practices have reported that individuals are presenting at practices for vaccination but then do not provide informed consent, and in some cases, display aggressive and threatening behaviour.
Staff safety is a priority and staff do not have to tolerate aggressive behaviour.
To support you and your teams, The Australian Government Department of Health has developed a factsheet which provides guidance and talking points for how to handle consent refusal.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released updated advice for influenza vaccination in 2021.
With borders reopening from November 2021 and greater population movement, a resurgence of influenza activity is expected and influenza vaccine coverage in Australia in 2021 has been lower compared to 2020.
Influenza vaccination with the 2021 vaccine is recommended for anyone aged 6 months and over who has not had an influenza vaccine this year, particularly those in higher risk groups.
It is also recommended those planning international travel receive the 2021 influenza vaccination before departure.
Influenza vaccines can be co-administered with COVID-19 vaccines and immunisation providers should check a vaccine’s expiry date before administration and not issue expired vaccines.
2021 influenza vaccines should continue to be offered as long as valid, unexpired vaccine is available. Some vaccine brands now have expiry dates up to late February 2022.
The updated advice can be read here
A COVID-19 Decision aid has been developed to help people make an informed decision about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Healthcare providers can use this tool during consultations with patients to support discussions about COVID-19 vaccination.
The tool provides evidence-based information about both the disease and the vaccines and, through five simple steps, helps people weigh up the risks and benefits of vaccination for them and their family.
The tool has been developed by Dr Jane Frawley from the University of Technology Sydney and a group of public health researchers, social scientists and clinicians using the best available research about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. It has been reviewed by technical staff at NCIRS and will be updated as new evidence becomes available.
General practices can now access a series of videos aiming to encourage COVID-19 vaccination in young people and Aboriginal people, as well as videos targeting the wider community with a personal call to action from the WA Premier.
The We had the jab, why don’t you? campaign features personal stories from young Australians talking about the many reasons they chose to get vaccinated, including Rowena's story. The videos also address common misconceptions about the vaccine and explore ways of navigating difficult conversations.
Produced in collaboration with the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, the Help stop the spread videos feature a variety of Aboriginal people talking about how important getting vaccinated is to protect their communities.
WA Primary Health Alliance has added these videos to a Trello board as a visual way to showcase the range of resources available. You can share a selection of 30-50 second videos on your social media channels or on your in practice screens.
To view and share of videos, visit: https://trello.com/b/5lvxYlim/campaign-board
The Australian Department of Health has produced three easy read fact sheets about boosters and third doses.
Fact sheet about the third dose
Immunisation providers are invited to participate in a short survey to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of immunisation providers regarding vaccine safety monitoring in Australia. The survey is part of a study being conducted by researchers at National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). The study aims to better understand whether immunisation providers know about existing vaccine safety surveillance systems, how they use data from these systems and whether these systems contribute to confidence in vaccine safety.
The roll out of multiple new COVID-19 vaccines to the Australian and global populations has highlighted the importance of having comprehensive vaccine safety surveillance systems. This work will contribute to improving Australia’s vaccine safety surveillance, including the national AusVaxSafety system, and adverse event following immunisation reporting.
The Carramar clinic has been set up to support people with a disability, who have mental health conditions, require a low sensory environment or who may need other additional support to receive their vaccination.
The clinic offers:
Clinic attendees can discuss their needs prior to the visit by completing this form
WA Primary Health Alliance has a 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 stock redistribution form to help WA Primary Health Alliance allocate the appropriate support required for your practice.
stock redistribution form
General practices joining the COVID-19 Vaccination Program can be provided with both a Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) allocation.
If your practice would like to join the Program please contact Practice Assist at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and complete the expression of interest form for Comirnaty (Pfizer) here
Practices participating in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program that would like to administer Spikevax (Moderna) should fill out the following EOI
The Commission and the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) have produced a joint statement on the importance of effective hand hygiene and the responsibility of medical staff to wash their hands and comply with hand washing guidelines.
This new statement highlights the importance of effective hand hygiene, infection prevention and control practices and the impact of these practices on reducing healthcare-associated infections and ensuring patient safety. The statement also provides medical practitioners with strategies they can use as clinical leaders to promote hand hygiene, infection prevention and control, and the prevention of healthcare-associated infections.
The Statement from the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Hand Hygiene Compliance and Medical Practitioners (attached) has been published on the Commission’s website and is available at: www.safetyandquality.gov.au/ACSQHC-CPMC-handhygiene
For further information please contact HAI@safetyandquality.gov.au
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) have released their Annual Immunisation Coverage Report. It examines Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) data for children, adolescents and adults.
This is the first NCIRS annual report to present whole-of-life data from the AIR, with adolescent and adult data included for the first time.
The full report can be viewed here
A summary report of the key findings can be found here
A report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2020 and an associated ABC 7.30pm broadcast this month, on lower cancer screening participation rates and a subsequent lower rate of cancer detection during 2020, are a call to action for general practices to encourage those eligible to have their regular cancer screening.
A Vic Health Cancer Registry report in March 2021 also drew attention to the estimation that over 2500 cancers diagnoses were missed during 6 months of lockdown in Victoria in 2020. It is likely that many community members couldn’t access screening or assessment, put off their regular screening tests and check-ups due to lockdowns and/or a fear of a COVID 19 infection leading to a late diagnosis of cancer when treatment options are more limited, more invasive and complex and survival rates are lower.
While WA hasn’t experienced the same lock down restrictions, cancer screening rates did decrease in 2020, increasing the risk, that cancers that normally would have been found early due to regular screening, being detected later.
While screening rates are improving, the Practice Assist Team is available to work with general practices wanting to identify those patients overdue and needing follow up through QI activities. GPs can also access their practice cervical and bowel cancer screening data through the Health Care Provider Portal.
Western Diagnostics are the latest pathology provider to have started uploading results onto My Health Record. As of the end of November, all results from Western Diagnostics are uploaded into an individual’s MHR for immediate viewing by clinicians and after a seven day period for consumers. These results are uploaded regardless of how the original test had been requested or for the request to be made directly, and do not replace the usual method of receiving results directly from the laboratory.
With all major pathology providers in Western Australia now able to upload results to MHR, clinicians and consumers across the state have access to a valuable resource of information.
1Confirm with your CliniPath Business Manager that uploads for your practice have been setup as this is not always done automatically
It’s important to remember that Pathology results are subject to the same implied consent model as all other clinical documents in My Health Record. Should an individual request that their result(s) not be uploaded to My Health Record, it is important that you confirm this on the initial request form.
If you have any queries about My Health Record, setting up eOrdering of Pathology or any other Digital Health tools, please view the Digital Health webpage on our Practice Assist website or contact the Digital Health Team.
NPS MedicineWise is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to improve the way medicines and medical tests are prescribed and used.
In addition to providing accredited, evidence-based resources for Medical Practitioners and other Health Professionals, NPS MedicineWise also offer reliable, evidence-based information for consumers and carers.
NPS MedicineWise consumer information is clear and accessible. It can empower consumers to engage more effectively with their GPs and share responsibility for improved health outcomes.
Visit the NPS MedicineWise website for more information and printable handouts: https://www.nps.org.au/consumers.
WA Primary Health Alliance would like to hear from primary care clinicians with experience working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds to be a part of the WAPHA CALD Stakeholder Reference Group. The group will to inform, guide and support WAPHA to work with communities, primary health care providers and partners across the WA health system to commission culturally safe services and increase cultural competency and safety for CALD communities.
Visit the Primary Health Exchange website for more information and to submit your Expression of Interest by Friday 10 December 2021.
The Primary Heath Network program is evolving, as is WA Primary Heath Alliance’s role as the operator of WA’s three PHNs. This maturity has been evident in our impact, innovation and progress in driving integration across WA’s health system this year.
The extraordinary circumstances of 2020 and 2021 highlighted the important role primary health care providers and PHNs can and should play during a crisis. During this time, we continued to deliver on our commitments, including investing $123 million across 267 different services and programs to improve the health and wellbeing of Western Australians.
Watch our Year in Review video to see some of our top highlights and key achievements over the past year as we work to deliver better health, together.
There are new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items available to eligible allied health professionals for participating in multidisciplinary case conferences.
These items will further support allied health professionals to improve the outcomes that matter most to patients and their families. For more information on the new items, their eligibility and how they can be accessed, there is a dedicated Fact Sheet on the MBS Online webpage.
On 30 November 2021, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) launched the Every Moment Matters, a campaign about the importance of alcohol- free pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Every Moment Matters aims to empower Australians by providing clear information about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It will demonstrate support for alcohol-free pregnancies and improve public awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) – a disability caused when a developing baby is exposed to alcohol before birth.
It is one of the most comprehensive awareness campaigns in the world to highlight the risks associated with drinking alcohol while pregnant.
The campaign includes information and resources for health professionals and will help address the mixed messages people often receive about alcohol and pregnancy.
For more information about the campaign, please feel free to contact Susan Hickson at FARE on 02 6122 8600 or by emailing email@example.com
Australian health practitioners will be better able to care for patients and their children experiencing violence and abuse under new guidelines that have been released.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released the 5th edition of The White Book, which contains updated, evidence-based guidelines designed to help health practitioners identify and respond in clinical practice to patients impacted by family and domestic violence and abuse.
Read the full media release here.
You are invited to participate in a study about real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) tools. This online questionnaire is part of Phase 1 of a two-phase study on real time prescription monitoring tools and healthcare professional use conducted by La Trobe University.
In Phase 1 of the study they hope to learn:
For further information please view the Participant Information Statement and Consent Form.
Are you a healthcare worker looking to expand your skills and knowledge to deliver evidence-based telehealth services?
Monash University in partnership with Turning Point have developed the Graduate Certificate of Telehealth, which examines the most recent evidence underpinning effective telehealth services.
The past 18 months has highlighted more than ever the important role telehealth and online counselling play in the delivery of healthcare treatment, particularly where there are barriers to seeking help in rural areas, stigmatising attitudes and confidentiality concerns. Providing telehealth services increases accessibility for everyone to seek help and allows for the utmost quality of care.
The course covers a wide range of telehealth knowledge and modes of delivery to provide effective healthcare at a distance, the future for healthcare professionals.
Applications are now open for Semester 1 - starting February 2022
View the flyer here for more information
This infant and child mental health assessment and management e-learning course focuses on the identification, assessment, care planning and support required for children aged 0-5 at risk of or experiencing mental health difficulties. The course is built around three key areas of evidence-based practice – research evidence, practitioner experience, and child and family partner feedback.
This course has been specifically designed for GPs who are seeking to enhance their clinical practice in mental health when working with infants and young children aged 0-5 years.
This course is accredited with the RACGP as a CPD Accredited Activity and will attract 40 CPD points.
View the flyer here for more information
ASHM is currently seeking the expertise of nurses and midwives to join a Clinical Advisory Group who will be responsible for the review and update of an online learning module (OLM) called Sexually Transmissible Infections and Blood Borne Viruses: Nursing Modules. As a member of the Clinical Advisory Group, you will be asked to provide recommendations on learning outcomes and the curriculum, as well as contribute to the review of this e-learning resource such as updating epidemiological data, interactive quizzes, relevant assessment etc.
Remuneration will be offered to those who are involved. To express your interest, please click the following link here
Please submit your expressions of interest submissions close Friday, 18 February 2022.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0411 539 615 for further details or with any questions you may have.
Pre-pregnancy planning and care for women with diabetes is an online course for health professionals developed as part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS). Three e-learning modules cover key aspects of planning and preparing for pregnancy for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Four non-assessed case studies have been incorporated into the modules to assist learners with applying the content to their practice.
The course is free to complete and takes approximately 2 hours. A certificate is provided upon completion of the modules and course evaluation. Health professional CPD points are available for this learning activity.
For more information visit the NDSS website.
This module is availabe free online and approved for 2 CPD points in the RACGP CPD program.
Chronic respiratory disease is prevalent among Aboriginal children but most doctors never had the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal paediatric lung health or were given tools to take a respiratory history in a culturally appropriate way. This module will give health practitioners skills to engage effectively with Aboriginal parents when it comes to the respiratory health of their children. This module includes information on protracted bacterial bronchitis, chronic suppurative lung disease and bronchiectasis -conditions often overlooked or misdiagnosed in Aboriginal children. Management of chronic wet cough –an important symptom in Aboriginal lung health will also be discussed.
View the module here
Chronic respiratory disease is prevalent among Aboriginal children but most doctors have never had the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal paediatric lung health or were given the tools to take a respiratory history in a culturally secure way.
This module focuses on the diagnosis of asthma and the use of spirometry to diagnose respiratory disease. This is the second module in a series on Paediatric Aboriginal Lung Health and builds on the first training module which gives health practitioners the skills to engage effectively with Aboriginal parents when it comes to the respiratory health of their children.
Presented by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), a recording of the first ‘primer’ module in this practical online course is now available to view. The course is designed for people relatively new to the area of immunisation and for those wanting to broaden and update their understanding of vaccines, vaccine development and the principles underpinning the introduction and running of immunisation program.
View the module here
Registration fee for the remaining 10 modules is A$200 (standard), A$100 (full-time students) or A$100 for 6 or fewer modules. Full fee remission scholarships are available for those from selected regional countries. Instructions on applying for scholarships will be available with registration for Module 2 onwards.
Hepatitis C Case Finding for Practice Nurses
Presented by ASHM