ATAGI recommends an additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine to increase vaccine protection before winter for selected population groups (see below) who are at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and who have received their primary vaccination and first booster dose.
Click on image to download or download here
ATAGI recommends the rollout of the winter dose for the above groups commence from April 2022 which will coincide with the rollout of the 2022 influenza vaccination program.
On the 25 March, the Australian Government advised that the additional winter COVID-19 vaccine dose can be:
According to Australian Government advice, COVID-19 vaccines Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) are the preferred vaccines for this winter dose.
Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) can be used when an mRNA vaccine is contraindicated or a patient declines vaccination with an mRNA vaccine.
Nuvaxovid (Novavax) can be used as a booster if no other COVID-19 vaccine is considered suitable for that individual.
This Australian Government Department of Health poster may help you communicate these changes to patients.
Read the ATAGI statement
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI) have provided a detailed infographic of all COVID-19 Vaccine recommended doses and booster schedules, including for this winter season.
Review information for all age groups with advised timings for the entire vaccination course and guidelines for an additional booster before winter for select population groups.
View the printable poster here
The ATAGI recommendations on a winter booster dose can be viewed here
The WA Department of Health has recently updated the fact sheet ‘What to do when you test positive for COVID-19’, to incorporate information on testing once an individual has recovered from COVID-19. This information is reflected in HealthPathways WA COVID-19 Assessment and Management pathway.
Please be reminded that a COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with other vaccines, including an influenza vaccine and routine childhood and adolescent vaccines, if required. There have been reports of families being advised to book separate appointments for COVID-19 and other vaccines.
ATAGI advises that there are no minimum intervals between COVID-19 vaccination and other routine vaccination (i.e. HPV, dTpa, or meningococcal ACWY vaccines) on the basis that the benefits of ensuring timely vaccination to protect from vaccine-preventable diseases outweigh any potential risks associated with immunogenicity, local adverse reactions, or fever.
When co-administering a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine, it is recommended to administer the vaccine in different limbs.
For more information on the clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Commonwealth Department of Health website.
See useful patient resources here
As the WA health sector responds to the increase of COVID-19 infections in the community, GP Respiratory Clinics (GPRCs) are available to see your symptomatic or COVID positive patients (both adults and children) face-to-face and via telehealth. GPRCs provide assessment and management for COVID-19, and are not just testing centres. They can follow up with COVID-19 positive patients who require clinical support.
This may be a good option if your practice cannot see them safely, reducing the risk of infection to staff and other patients. It also provides an option for COVID-19 positive telehealth patients that you think may need a face-to-face examination that cannot be done at your practice.
Read more and book an appointment here
HealthPathways WA is a secure web-based portal with information on patient assessment, management, and referral pathways to assist clinicians in navigating patients through the complex primary, community and acute health care system in Western Australia. The pathways are developed by General Practitioners (GPs) to be used during consultation but can also be utilised by other health professionals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic HealthPathways has served as a valuable source of reliable and up-to-date information on the assessment and management of COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccination, personal protective equipment, and infection control measures.
Antiviral information can be found on the COVID-19 Assessment and Management pathway under the heading ‘Antiviral and Monoclonal Antibody Reference Guide’. Information listed of particular interest includes how to access treatment and the WA Department of Health (WA Health) COVID-19 Emergency Treatment Approval Forms which enables access to WA Health’s supply from the National Medical Stockpile. Please note these forms can only be completed by registered medical practitioners and the form links cannot be shared, bookmarked, or saved.
To gain access to the site email the HealthPathways team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to provide feedback use the “Send Feedback” button at the bottom of each page on the site.
Practices can only transfer COVID-19 vaccines between sites taking part in the vaccine program.
The Australian Government Department of Health only supports the transfer of vaccines between participating sites provided both sites:
If your practice is not currently onboarded to administer a specific vaccine type for example Nuvaxovid (Novavax) or paediatric Comirnaty (Pfizer) but would like to receive supplies of these from another site, please contact Practice Assist for information on submitting an EOI.
It has been more than eight weeks since the first COVID-19 vaccine bookings were offered to 5 to 11 years olds.
Many children are now eligible for their second dose of their primary course.
The Australian Government Department of Health are encouraging practices to reach out to parents and carers of children who have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to remind them they are now due for their second dose.
The Department has suggested that this is also a good opportunity to conduct whole-family vaccination appointments where available and offer adults their boosters.
Co-claiming can be used for these appointments, please refer to the MBS factsheet for further information.
This Australian Government Department of Health resource can assist patients who would like further information on types of vaccines.
The poster can be printed and displayed within practices.
These resources provide information for Aboriginal patients on what to do if they test positive to COVID-19, how to get ready for a positive case and what to do if there is COVID-19 in their remote community.
The Australian Government Department of Health has developed a poster providing key differences between each COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia as per the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenges for the Australian health system. In some instances, this may impact the ability of general practices to participate in on-site accreditation assessments to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Standards for general practice 5th edition.
To provide certainty for general practices and to facilitate accreditation assessments proceeding where possible, the following provisions for accreditation assessments apply during 2022:
For more information and to find out how these arrangements apply to you, download the fact sheet on our National General Practice Accreditation Scheme page.
If you have questions, please email email@example.com
Latest COVID-19 vaccine safety data from AusVaxSafety active surveillance indicates that children aged 5–11 years are reporting fewer side effects than older Australians following their dose 2 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.
33 per cent of children experienced one or more expected side effects, compared with 53 per cent of the Australian population aged 12 years and older, in the first 3 days following their dose 2 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.
Children aged 5–11 years were also less likely to visit a doctor or emergency department following dose 2 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination than older Australians, with medical attendance rates similar to those reported for other childhood immunisations.
Access the data here
From 24 March 2022, all PPE orders from general practices which qualify for Living with COVID PPE Bundles from the National Medical Stockpile will be dispatched through a national distribution system. This will be overseen by the Australian Government Department of Health and run by DHL.
This change will support a more streamlined approach to PPE distribution and provide greater visibility of stock tracking and delivery via a national distribution centre.
WA Primary Health Alliance’s role will be to receive and validate orders, then release them into the national ordering system.
General practices should continue to submit orders using their organisation’s personalised link to the WA Primary Health Alliance PPE order form. If you cannot find your personalised link, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be no change to the way in which general practices submit their orders.
However, the form has been updated as general practices must now include the Provider ID numbers of relevant general practitioners managing COVID positive patients for whom the PPE is sought. These numbers will be used by the Australian Government Department of Health to ensure correct allocations of PPE.
WA Primary Health Alliance will validate orders before releasing them into the national system within 24 to 48 hours of receipt, or the following business day for orders received after 12pm on a Friday.
DHL will email a purchase order confirmation that general practices can use to track their order. Delivery timelines will vary depending on location.
You can continue to send any queries to email@example.com and, if necessary, we will escalate these to the Australian Government Department of Health.
Read the fact sheet on the new process, including confirmation of which general practitioners are eligible for Living with COVID Bundles, here.
In our last edition of Practice Connect, we discussed the new Digital Health - 'How To Series' available by visiting our Digital Health Toolkit webpage.
Each fortnight we will upload, videos, imagery and written information on all the important Digital Health tools. All you have to do is click here choose what way you want to learn more.
This fortnight we are fully focused on My Health Record. You will find written information as well as videos on everything to do with My Health Record. We have pulled together an FAQ on My Health Record so if you have a specific question, we are sure it will be answered there, if it is not please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further.
As this ‘how to’ series is new to WAPHA we would love to hear your feedback, especially if you find the information useful and if so, what medium do you prefer it in. You can email us with your feedback or any questions you may have on firstname.lastname@example.org
With interim arrangements for image-based or digital image prescribing in community settings coming to an end 31 March 2022, prescribers are encouraged to use electronic prescriptions (eScripts) where appropriate during telehealth and face-to-face consultations.
Image-based prescribing was introduced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and the WA Government Department of Health outlined the interim arrangements regarding the use of digital images for the supply of medicines during telehealth consultations.
Existing repeats of paper prescriptions written and dispensed via image-based prescribing before 31 March 2022 may continue to be dispensed from the original copy.
All new prescriptions written from 1 April 2022 will only be dispensed from an original paper or eScript.
For further information, refer to the fact sheet with a guide for prescribers from the Australian Government Department of Health.
This fact sheet can help patients understand the process of accessing medicines through electronic prescribing.
If your general practice team requires assistance with electronic prescribing, contact the Digital Health Team via Practice Assist, access videos, how-to guides, and FAQs at WAPHA's Digital Health Toolkit or visit HealthPathways WA - Electronic Prescribing (email HealthPathways WA for login details).
The Department of Health has funded access to the HealthDirect Video Call platform to 30 June 2022.
This provides free Video Call access for general practitioners working in private practice and/or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).
The WA Department of Heath 2022 influenza online education module is now LIVE. The influenza module has been developed to support immunisation providers to undertake an annual refresher on this topic and provides the user with up-to-date information for the upcoming 2022 influenza season.
In order to access the influenza module, as well as the full library of Immunisation Update modules, users are required to complete a registration form. Your request will be responded to within 3 working days. Please note: please look out for an email from Rise Education with a link to complete the modules.
Once access is provided, users will have two weeks to complete the module and obtain a copy of their certificate. Please note: user access to the platform will be automatically removed at the end of the two-week period. WA Health does not keep a record of any assessments or certificates, and it is up to the user to save a copy for their records.
As of March 2022, the Japanese encephalitis (JE) situation in Australia has been declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance. The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) causes JE, a vaccine-preventable disease.
Recently, the Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases hosted a webinar in which Professor Tom Solomon and local experts delivered an update for Australian clinicians. Watch a replay of the webinar below.
For the latest information and medical advice, visit the Australian Government Department of Health 'Health alert' web page for JEV.
There have been many articles over the years about how the healthcare system is keeping the use of fax machines alive. Although we’re seeing a significant reduction in paper around general practice, there is still more work to do in the adoption of secure messaging channels.
The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) is helping reduce the reliance on fax within the healthcare system with the introduction of new digital channels. In just one year, the number of fax requests for cervical screening histories received by the NCSR has dropped by 94%, due to the release of secure online alternatives to access and submit patient screening information in real-time.
In October 2020, the NCSR released an online portal for GPs and practice staff to access patient data via PRODA. This was followed by integrating the NCSR with clinical information systems, Best Practice in January 2021, MedicalDirector in August 2021 and Communicare in December 2021, allowing users of these systems to access and submit data to the Register, directly from within a patient record.
Having access to a patient screening status from within a patient record can prompt an extremely valuable discussion around early detection and potentially lead to opportunistic screening. Noticing a patient is overdue for bowel screening and understanding why a patient discarded their recent iFOBT kit can lead to a potentially life saving consultation. The new functionality now provides GPs with the opportunity to order a replacement test kit to be issued directly to a patient’s address.
Having prompt, real-time access to cervical screening histories is also reducing the number of unnecessary cervical screening tests performed which often result in patients being charged if they are not due for a test.
Read more here
Do you work with people living with overweight or obesity? Then the Weight Education and Lifestyle Leadership (WELL) Collaborative is here for you!
The WELL collaborative is a group of people working in the health and community sector, and people living in larger bodies who want to work together to change the way they talk and think about weight. The WELL Collaborative is led in partnership by Health Networks, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), and the Health Consumers’ Council (HCC).
Their focus is to change the stigmatised ways in which our society often thinks and talks about weight, to improve the quality of health services available to people who want to change their lifestyle to live healthier, on their own negotiated terms. Their focus also aims to support health professionals to work with their clients in respectful, empowering and non-stigmatising ways.
They understand that every weight journey is unique and our health and community services should be supported to respond to this need; for the health of our whole community.
Check out The WELL Collaborative website at thewellcollaborative.org.au to find training on how to have supportive conversations about weight, policy resources, stories from consumers, including insights about their weight journeys, and much more.
The WELL Collaborative community and website is ever growing and evolving, and are excited for you to join them on this journey.
13YARN (13 92 76) is our first national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crisis support line; a collaboration between Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) and Lifeline. The service is run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mob and offers confidential, one-on-one yarning and support 24/7!!
Further information here
View resources for your practice here
13YARN - Call 13 92 76 | 24 /7 Crisis support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
ForWhen is a new national service that connects parents experiencing moderate to severe perinatal mental health issues navigating the complex waters of pregnancy and new parenthood to the critical mental health services they need most.
Karitane has joined forces with other early parenting services across Australia to launch this new national initiative supporting the mental health of expectant and new parents. ForWhen provides new and expecting parents – mums, dads, and guardians – with a caring, supportive mental health navigation service, to guide families throughout their perinatal journey, from baby’s conception until their first birthday.
Please visit forwhenhelpline.org.au for more information.
Taking the learnings from our pilot in 2021, which reached over 42,000 Australians, we will soon be launching Phase 2 of the program which aims to increase the number of Australians who visit their general practice for Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk screening.
The Text to Detect – National Heart Health Check Recall program aims to support general practice with the targeted identification and management of CVD via an efficient recall system. Recall activities will be supported by GoShare Plus, an SMS recall tool that is embedded within CAT4. Practices will also be supported by practical tools and resources that will help them conduct and streamline Heart Health Checks.
To find out more about this opportunity and to hear from practices who participated in the recall pilot last year click here
Please visit the program webpage for more information.
This document provides Australian (AU) Commentary on the AASLD-IDSA HCV Guidance: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Children. Recommendations for testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C.
Australian commentary has only been provided where needed in order to provide additional clarification or detail variations found in the Australian setting.
Topics cover testing; transmission and prevention; monitoring and medical management; whom and when to treat among children and adolescents with HCV infection; and HCV antiviral therapy for children and adolescents.
This two-page summary was developed from the HCV in Children: Australian Commentary on AASLD-IDSA Guidance.
The resource supports clinicians to provide advice and manage hepatitis C in children.
Page 1 provides recommendations on which tests to order and when testing of babies born to mothers with hepatitis C infection should occur. Page 2 covers natural history; transmission and prevention; parental advice; HCV treatment; monitoring and medical management, including lifestyle recommendations; and specialist referral indications.
ASHM & ACON’s Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Care e-learning has been co-designed and developed for clinicians working in a sexual health clinical setting or delivering sexual health care in primary health care settings.
The e-learning consists of five modules:
Through interactive quizzes and real-world case scenarios, learners recognise affirming trans clients leads to better health outcomes, healthier people, and communities, and reduced mental and physical health disparities.
The e-learning emphasises the importance of individualised care thereby not making assumptions and asking clients in a sensitive and affirming way their wants and needs from health care.
The e-learning also challenges the notion of cisgenderism within health care settings, specifically in relation to reproductive health care, and challenges learners to consider ways to address this within their own practice and clinical setting.
The overall direction of the e-learning is to ensure learners recognise that trans and gender diverse communities are experts of their own experience. Clinicians should always work collaboratively with their clients to achieve the best health outcomes.
To help manage long waiting lists and allow prioritisation of patients who need hospital outpatient review, the East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) has started to review referrals of patients waiting for a first outpatient appointment to ensure they meet the Referral Access Criteria (RAC) for public outpatient services recently released by the WA Department of Health.
The review will commence with Royal Perth Urology referrals not meeting the RAC which do not have an appointment booked. These patients will be written to and asked to book to see their GP to arrange for an updated referral if they believe they still need a public outpatient appointment. The hospital will also write to the GP currently nominated for that patient.
EMHS plans to move on to ENT and Neurology referrals after their RACs go live.
The RAC and further information, including a series of FAQs, are available on the WA Department of Health Referral Access Criteria webpage https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/N_R/Referral-Access-Criteria.
HealthPathways WA also contains more information on assessment, management and referral of these conditions. If needed, please Request a login or email email@example.com
The Tool Kit provides useful fact sheets, user guides, checklists, business plans, posters and other resources covering all aspects of the day-to-day operations of successful general practices.
Join the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) annual influenza webinar and find out what you need to know to be prepared for influenza and COVID-19 vaccination in 2022.
Hear from leading experts in the field on:
Thursday 28 April 2022 (6.00pm – 7:30pm WST)
The Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD)Network commences their third session, if you have an interest in:
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is delighted to share the learning content of two webinars that were delivered by National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in late 2021.
Both seminars were delivered by the National Disability Insurance Agency, in collaboration with We the People and St John of God Midland.
See below for the individual session topics and the links to the recording.
Access the recording here
Access this recorded webinar, held on 17 March, to hear from experts on the emerging Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) outbreak in Australia. The webinar includes a presentation from Professor Tom Solomon, who has more than 30 years of experience working on Japanese encephalitis. The panel also had NCIRS Director Professor Kristine Macartney providing information on the currently available vaccines, their efficacy, and safety.
View the webinar here
BreastScreen WA mobile visit CARNARVON
Presented by BreastScreen WA
16 March to 11 April
COVID-19 & Diabetes
Presented by Diabetes Australia
Hepatitis B Case Discussion
Presented by ASHM
Conversations that Work
Presented by Leaders for Life & AAPM
7 & 8 April
Practice Owners National Conference registrations are open
Presented by RACGP
14 to 15 May
Hepatitis C in Drug and Alcohol Settings
Presented by ASHM
2022 ACNP National Conference: Inspiring Future Growth for Nurse Practitioners and Advanced Practice
Presented by ANCP