As of this week, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has received its full distribution from the National Medical Stockpile which contains enough PPE stock to fill and dispatch all pending orders within two weeks.
Orders to Aboriginal Community Controlled Heath Services and GP Respiratory Clinics have already been dispatched and we are now working though all other orders.
We have updated information provided previously on PPE eligibility. This confirms that general practices which have agreed to see respiratory patients face to face and COVID positive patients virtually, or which are conducting services that may put them in contact with patients with respiratory symptoms are eligible to order P2/N95 respirators and eye protection until 31 March 2022. Please ensure you indicate your eligibility by selecting the appropriate option on the WAPHA PPE order form.
Practices have been provided with a personalised link to order PPE that has been emailed to the designated contact at the practice. This link prepopulates your organisation’s information so you can order PPE more quickly. If you are unable to find your organisation’s personalised link, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively you can access the WAPHA PPE Order form located on the Practice Assist Website and complete your organisation’s contact details and submit a PPE request.
Additionally, soon to be introduced emergency PPE arrangements will mean practices, which do not presently meet the eligibility requirements for the comprehensive PPE bundles but which are impacted or are in urgent need of PPE, i.e. practices which cannot see patients due to a lack of PPE, will be able to contact us via email@example.com to discuss their situation.
In addition to not being vaccinated, there are numerous other factors that can increase the risk of more serious and severe illness from COVID-19 as identified by the Australian Government Department of Health.
To make it easier for general practices to identify their patient cohorts that are at greater risk, we have developed the COVID-19 Identifying At-Risk Patient Cohorts resource.
This new resource outlines a list of risk factors with links to the relevant Pen CS recipes that practices can use to quickly identify patients who may require extra support before they contract COVID-19.
In this edition we are focusing further on new COVID-19 resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is one of the cohorts that have been identified with an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission and severity. General practices can play a significant role in improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mitigating the risk of COVID-19.
To assist general practitioners (GPs) and practices with providing specific support and information to this at-risk patient cohort, we have created a new COVID-19 GP Checklist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People resource.
This simple, two-page resource details a range of actions and MBS item numbers that can be used to prepare, support, manage, educate and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you would like further information about supporting at-risk patient cohorts, contact the team at Practice Assist by calling 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The prospect of a COVID-19 positive case in your practice is now becoming a real possibility. Given that WA has transitioned to a High Caseload environment, understanding the current definition of a close contact will be essential to your response.
We are currently awaiting further information from WA State Health however your initial response should be to contact Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) 1300 316 555.
Regarding information to give to your patients please advise them to contact 13COVID (13 26843) and visit Healthy WA for a range of relevant and up to date information.
For additional support for your clinical team please direct them to WA Department of Health.
There is no better time to ensure that you have your practice plan in place. Contact Practice Assist 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478) for further assistance with the use of our COVID-19 resources and one to one support in developing your plan.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is aware of large quantities of excess adult Comirnaty (Pfizer) in the metropolitan area.
Practices that would like extra vaccines to hold additional clinics should complete the stock redistribution survey.
Practices needing to transfer excess vaccines should give WAPHA as much notice as possible to account for vaccine expiry dates.
It is unlikely that WAPHA can assist with redistribution if the vaccines are due to expire in five days or less.
Please be advised that WAPHA cannot guarantee the successful transfer of stock.
Practices are encouraged to attempt to arrange stock redistribution within their networks of nearby practices and pharmacies.
For logistics and delivery queries, please contact the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) for further assistance on 1800 318 208 or via email
General practices that are already participating in the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program can continue to submit an expression of interest to The Australian Government Department of Health to expand their participation to receive an ongoing allocation of the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine for individuals over 18 years of age who:
Nuvaxovid (Novavax) has not applied for regulatory authorisation to be used as a booster, so therefore cannot be used as a booster dose at this time.
Read the Australian Government Department of Health fact sheet for more information on the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine EOI requirements, allocation and timeframes.
The Department of Health has advised there has already been a high-level interest across Australia from primary care sites wishing to administer the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine and they intend to onboard practices in tranches.
These tranches have been identified by the Department by considering vaccination rates, to maintain per capita state equity and align with existing order windows were possible.
The deadline for interested practices seeking delivery in the first delivery windows (from mid to late February) has closed, but practices can continue to register their expression of interest for subsequent supply.
The supply of the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) vaccine would be in addition to existing Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine and/or SpikeVax (Moderna) vaccine allocations.
Thank you to those practices that have already expressed their interest through this process.
WA Primary Health Alliance is available to answer questions on the National Vaccine Rollout through Practice Assist. Email email@example.com or telephone 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).
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.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced that Novavax (NUVAXOVID) is now approved for use in Australia and Gamaleya Sputnik V is a recognised vaccine. These vaccines can now be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and individuals who had a Sputnik V vaccination overseas on or after 1 March 2020, can have it recorded on AIR.
The Services Australia website lists the COVID-19 vaccines approved or recognised by the TGA that can be recorded on AIR as well as the AIR vaccine code formats.
From 5 February 2022, customers will get a notification when they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination booster.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends providing boosters 3 months after the primary vaccination course. Services Australia will send booster notifications to customers who:
The booster notification reads: 'You are now able to receive your booster dose for COVID-19. If you have not yet booked this vaccination, you can book through the online Vaccine Clinic Finder or contact your vaccination provider.'
Further information about COVID-19 is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
The following content updates have now been published on the HealthPathways site:
The WA Department of Health, in partnership with WAPHA, the RACGP, and the AMA, have commenced planning for the 2022 Influenza Immunisation Program.
Monitor your email and the next edition of Practice Connect for more updates about the 2022 Program.
To keep access to digital health tools such as Electronic Prescribing and My Health Record, you must have a current NASH Certificate installed. NASH Certificates may be expiring in March 2022 for many organisations. Your NASH certificate may originally have had an expiry date past March 13 2022, however due to the upgrade of the NASH PKI certificates to NASH SHA-2 Certificates, your digital health services will discontinue working from March 13 unless it was renewed after September 2021.
If your NASH certificate is not renewed prior to March 13 you will lose access to Electronic Prescribing, Healthcare Identifiers, Secure Messaging and My Health Record. This will affect your ability to upload and access My Health Record, consequently affecting your ePIP incentive.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is hosting multiple webinar session dates that will step you through the process of requesting and renewing a NASH certificate for your organisation.
The staff member who is the Organisation Maintenance Officer (OMO) needs to attend as they are responsible for renewing NASH certificates. OMOs are also encouraged to check they can log into PRODA prior to attending, to ensure the demonstrated steps can be easily completed following the session.
Webinar details: (14 dates to choose from)
Choose a date and register
The ADHA have also released the Renewing your NASH PKI Certificate quick guide to assist you with this process for your practice.
For further support and information on renewing your NASH Certificate please contact Practice Assist.
Every year thousands of Australians are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Australia has recently developed a new resource: a blood glucose monitoring log sheet, to help patients living with type 2 diabetes easily track their glucose levels. This log sheet helps record blood glucose levels and makes note of the different things, such as food and drink, physical activity and medications, that can impact those levels. This can help patients with their diabetes management.
You can download this resource and others to share in practice here
Make sure your doctors are looking after themselves, with being able to access the free DRS4DRS doctor health medical services supported by the Department of Health and Medical Board of Australia.
The DRS4DRS has been developed by the medical profession for the medical profession, and through their network of doctors’ health advisory and referral services, they offer an independent, safe, supportive and confidential service.
DRS4DRS promotes the health and wellbeing of doctors and medical students across Australia. They are there to help find the support needed via online resources, referral services and importantly for wellbeing, and will connect with another GP when required.
In addition to these, Doctors Health Services Pty Ltd (DrHS) is also making available a confidential telehealth service specifically for doctors and medical students who are struggling with their mental health. Full details here
The PATS team is excited to announce the expanded escort eligibility criteria.
The escort eligibility criteria can be viewed on the PATS website.
With the PATS Online Portal development underway, the PATS Application/Claim Forms will not be updated at this point. If you have a patient who meets the eligibility criteria for an escort, but the reason is not listed on the form (ie journey navigation), you can simply write the reason in the space provided for “other”.
This expanded escort criteria comes following a funding commitment from the State Government to enhance the Scheme. This commitment also has seen the increase in commercial accommodation subsidies of up to $100 per night for PATS eligible patients and up to an extra $15 per night for escorts, effective from 13 September 2021.
NPS MedicineWise continue to offer convenient ways to access their free, evidence based clinical education with topics to support best practice care of your covid patients and non-covid patients.
The next topic looks at Mental health and young people: opportunities to empower and engage click here to book.
This program is designed to help GPs assess people aged 16–24 years who present with psychological distress, and discuss medicines and non-medicine management options for depression and anxiety disorders.
The educational visit will focus on how to engage with young people to empower them and increase their autonomy, and support informed decision-making. The visit will consider psychosocial assessment, safety planning, the role for medicines, monitoring and review of agreed management options and the role for family and other supports.
Information will be included on resources and support services that GPs can offer to young people struggling with mental health issues plus practical tips for accessing online mental health tools.
NPS MedicineWise educational visits are recognised by the RACGP & ACRRM CPD programs and available as:
All visits will comply with current state and territory regulations for social distancing.
NPS MedicineWise are funded by the Commonwealth to promote evidence based health information, to support informed health decisions and the quality use of medicines.
Visit www.nps.org.au for more information.
My Aged Care is the main entry point into the aged care system in Australia. My Aged Care aims to make it easier for senior Australians, their families, and carers to access information on ageing and aged care, have their needs assessed, eligibility identified, and be supported to find and access services.
The Department of Health has launched a new My Aged Care face-to-face service offer, delivered by Services Australia. Building on the My Aged Care website and contact centre, senior Australians will now have access to Aged Care Specialist Officers to provide in-person support to access and register for aged care services.
Aged Care Specialist Officers will be available in Services Australia service centres across the country. Initially this will be in 16 locations and will increase to 80 locations by December 2022. Ten Aged Care Specialist Officers will deliver outreach support to senior Australians living in rural and regional areas.
Appointments to see an Aged Care Specialist Officer in participating sites can be made by calling Services Australia on 1800 227 475.
A list of sites offering appointments with an Aged Care Specialist Officer is also available on the Services Australia website, or you can visit My Aged Care for information about government aged care services.
A new ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential aims to help people experiencing eating disorders locate the right treatment at the right time, increasing the chance of positive treatment outcome; and support referrers to easily locate a mental health professional and/or dietitian to provide treatment for people experiencing an eating disorder.
If you are a mental health professional or dietitian with expertise in eating disorders, get registered now. Find out more about the Credential here
Applications for the ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential are free until 30 June 2022.
The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) is providing Professional Development Packages of free training and/or supervision to mental health professionals and dietitians that are new to or early in their practise in eating disorders. These packages support clinicians to meet the required training and supervision criteria for the ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential.
These packages are available to clinicians across Australia, and we encourage you to apply. To find out more and to apply for these packages, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and view the flyer here
Learnings from colleagues on the east coast have indicated that using telehealth services during the pandemic has been critical for the health care of their patients, and the survival of their practice. If you are not telehealth enabled please contact our Digital Health Team or see the Digital Health resources below.
Healthdirect Australia is pleased to announce that the Department of Health has extended the healthdirect Video Call COVID- 19 GP Program to 30 June 2022.
In collaboration with the RACGP, Healthdirect Australia is offering CPD courses that support GPs and Practice Managers to use Video Call more confidently and effectively. The following free courses are run by Healthdirect’s RACGP Education Activity Representatives:
This module is for GPs new to Video Call and covers the basic functionality of the platform. The course will also suit Practice Managers who may be implementing telehealth into their practice workflows. Register here for essential training
This module covers more advanced use of the platform. The course will also suit Practice Managers and anyone interested in how Video Call can reshape the provision of services to patients or clients. Register here for advanced training
Please contact the healthdirect Video Call team if you have any questions.
WAPHA is delighted to host the third on our series of Living with COVID Webinars led by dynamic presenter Katrina Otto.
The webinar will be held on Tuesday 22nd February from 18:00 - 19:00 (with option to extend for further 15 mins Q&A if required).
Topics covered in the session: