WA Primary Health Alliance has developed a self-service campaign for general practices to inform, reassure, and encourage patients to keep their health on track. It is also intended to relieve some of the pressure GPs and practice staff are facing in a rapidly changing and challenging environment, where they are busier than ever.
See your GP - Keep your health on track provides practices with communication tools to remind patients of the importance of looking after their health, and to understand why their care may be delivered a little differently at the moment, yet still safely and effectively.
It is an excellent opportunity to promote the benefits of telehealth (where clinically appropriate), e-prescribing, and COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.
Practices can self-serve from the suite of materials, some of which are customisable, such as the patient information sheet and website text, with others being widely applicable, such as the suite of animated videos and social media tiles.
The campaign was informed by members of the WA GP Advisory Panel run by WA Primary Health Alliance in partnership with RACGP WA and Rural Health West.
You can download here and share the campaign materials on your own communication channels.
There is an expectation that the winter flu season this year will require us to be as prepared as possible. Our Winter Strategy Webpage is a collection of information and resources on Influenza and COVID-19 to assist general practices this winter season.
Resources include posters, brochures, links to clinical guidelines, and links to various resources provided by the WA Department of Health, the Australian Government Department of Health and more.
This page will be frequently updated as new information is released or new resources developed.
Contact Practice Assist 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478) or email@example.com for further information or assistance.
With flu season just around the corner and COVID cases continuing to climb, we're pleased to present the next antiviral update for GPs. We'll cover all the important updates on COVID antivirals, pre-exposure prevention for COVID and updates on Tamiflu.
Using the latest advice and evidence, this webinar covers:
You'll have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the webinar. If you have a question prior, you can submit it upon registration.
This webinar in presented in partnership with RACGP, WAPHA and AMA WA.
This webinar, held on 2nd May, is for general practitioners/primary care providers. The panel provide key updates and answer the questions of participants on COVID-19 and influenza preventions and treatments.
The webinar recording can be viewed here
As the number of COVID-19 cases in Western Australia continues to remain high, the Practice Assist team has been monitoring the useful resources available to assist general practice staff.
We have recently released an updated version of our one-page document with COVID-19 Links to Useful Resources which includes a new section about recovered COVID positive patients.
If you would like further information, contact Practice Assist by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).
The Australian COVID death rate was two-and-a-half times higher in people born overseas compared to people born in Australia, according to the latest ABS statistics.
Engaging with migrant populations regarding vaccination is one easy way to bring down the death rate.
Funding is available until 30 June 2022 to support the vaccination of Medicare ineligible patients to the value of the equivalent MBS item number.
To date, WA Primary Health Alliance has reimbursed 20 practices for more than 800 vaccinations of Medicare ineligible patients.
Immunisation providers can request a 10A report from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), to identify Medicare ineligible patients who might be due or overdue for immunisations.
To request a 10A report, you will need to login to PRODA and access your HPOS account. For more information, refer to Services Australia for detailed steps on accessing this report.
If you would like further support with this important data-driven quality improvement (QI) activity or for further information about this funding, contact Practice Assist and one of WAPHA’s Practice QI Coaches or a member of the vaccination team will be in touch as soon as possible.
At last week’s Better Health, Together forum, we welcomed Professor Jeremy Nicholson* to facilitate discussion and provide a better understanding of COVID-19 as a systemic disease. A recording of Professor Nicholson’s presentation is now available, where you can hear his insights on:
View the recording here
ATAGI have updated their infographic table for all COVID-19 doses, dose intervals, and vaccines to reflect recent changes relating to ATAGI dose interval guidelines. The table summarises details for all age groups, including recommendations for the winter dosage.
Review and download this helpful one-pager.
Download full table here
WA general practices have contributed to administering over 3.75 million vaccinations to Western Australians since the vaccine program commenced.
As our vaccination rates for 1st and 2nd dose sit at greater than 95% and our booster rates at greater than 80%, practices may notice a decline in vaccination bookings as majority of the population receives their full course. This may affect the scheduling of clinics, ordering of vaccines and stock wastage.
To minimise wastage and improve practice efficiency, we’ve created some helpful tips for practices who are adjusting to the decrease in the volume of people requiring vaccination.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Practice Assist at 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478).
ATAGI now recommends the dose interval between primary doses of Pfizer (COMIRNATY) and Moderna (SPIKEVAX) should be extended to 8 weeks.
The extended dose interval of 8 weeks has been shown to improve the immune response to vaccination and therefore may improve effectiveness. A longer dose interval may also reduce the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis.
The dose interval can be reduced (to a minimum of 3 weeks for Pfizer (COMIRNATY) or 4 weeks for Moderna (SPIKEVAX)) for people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions), in an outbreak setting, or prior to international travel.
Providers can also consider extending the interval between 2 primary doses of Novavax (NUVAXOVID) to 8 weeks (from a minimum of 3 weeks) to potentially improve effectiveness and reduce any potential risk of myocarditis and pericarditis.
It is now recommended that all people should wait for 3 months after confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection before they receive their next COVID-19 vaccine dose.
This updated advice reflects the lower risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant within the first 3 months following a confirmed infection, particularly if prior COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received.
This information will be added to the modules in the next update.
Significant updates have occurred in the COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program on Friday 29 April 2022 regarding Vaccine Operating Centre Hours and the ATAGI recommendation on boosters in children aged 12 to 15 years old. 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, and all changes from the previous two updates will be identified as 'NEW' and 'UPDATED' in red and white.
Please see the COVID-19 Training Announcement Board for more details.
COVID-19 Primary Care Response First Assistant Secretary, Dr Lucas De Toca, answers the following top three questions on influenza in a new video you can download and share with your patients:
Heart Health Check is the patient-friendly term for comprehensive cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and ongoing management. It principally involves gathering information about a patient’s CVD risk factors, calculating and recording their absolute CVD risk using a validated calculator and managing their risk as per guidelines on an ongoing basis.
The intention of this item is to identify cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people not known to have CVD including:
The heart health assessment item can be claimed once per patient in a 12-month period. The heart health assessment items cannot be claimed if a patient has had a health assessment service in the previous 12 months.
Professional attendance for a heart health assessment by a general practitioner at consulting rooms lasting at least 20 minutes and must include:
For more information on Heart Health Checks , including MBS item numbers, refer to the Practice Assist Heart Health Check Fact Sheet
With one Australian having a heart attack or stroke every 4 minutes, primary care professionals have the power to change this statistic by focussing on simple, yet life-saving preventative care. The Heart Foundation has made routine cardiovascular disease risk assessment and management easy with the Heart Health Check Toolkit.
The Heart Health Check Toolkit is a one-stop shop designed to assist general practice staff to easily assess and manage CVD risk in line with the latest guidance. It offers a range of tools and resources including assessment and management templates, quality improvement tools, patient engagement resources and much more. We are excited to announce three new resources available to assist in conversations with consumers.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
NPS MedicineWise are offering an Educational Visit topic on Heart Failure until the June 30, 2022. The topic can be delivered by video call in 30mins, at a time that suits your GPs. The NPS MedicineWise Heart Failure topic is free and approved for CPD by RACGP & ACRRM.
The learning outcomes for educational visits on Heart Failure are:
For more information and additional resources on this topic, please click 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 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.
Heart Week 2022, commencing on the 2 May, aims to raise awareness about the importance of heart health. The HealthPathways site has numerous pathways and request pages containing information on how to assess and manage patients who have heart and/or associated conditions. The site also contains information on the relevant services health professionals can refer patients to. Some of these pages include:
Alternatively visit the Heart Foundation website.
To gain access to the site email the HealthPathways team at firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1 July 2022, the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will expand screening test options, offering self-collection as a choice to all people participating in cervical screening.
The change means from 1 July 2022 all NCSP participants aged 25-74 years old will have the choice to screen using either a self-collected vaginal sample or a clinician collected sample from the cervix, accessed through a health professional in both cases.
Recent evidence demonstrates a Cervical Screening Test using a self-collected vaginal sample is as accurate as a clinician-collected sample taken from the cervix during a speculum examination.
A self-collected sample is taken from the vagina (not the cervix) and is tested for the presence of HPV. For asymptomatic participants there is strong evidence that HPV tests on self-collected vaginal samples and clinician-collected cervical samples have equivalent sensitivity when using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based HPV test1 – the test used by the National Cervical Screening Program.
More information on the upcoming changes to the National Cervical Screening Program will be communicated through future editions of Practice Connect. A webinar explaining the self-collection expansion will occur in June. Details of this webinar will be published soon.
The WA Department of Health would like to provide an update about short dated ProQuad singles that were distributed in the last month:
The WA Department of Health apologises for the inconvenience this may have caused, and thanks all practices with your continued support of the Western Australian Immunisation Program.
The WA Department of Health would like to provide an update on Sensitech TagAlert®.
Each vaccine delivery from Onelink has a Sensitech TagAlert® cold chain monitor to electronically record the vaccine temperature during transport.
In the Perth metropolitan area, Onelink have commenced using a new model of Sensitech TagAlert®.
Upon arrival of every vaccine delivery, immunisation providers or practice staff must immediately STOP the TagAlert®, and then check it to see if a breach has occurred during transport. This should be done before moving vaccines to the vaccine fridge.
If you do not stop the TagAlert®, it will continue to monitor the temperature, and may alarm.
Instructions on how to stop the new model TagAlert® will be provided along with the TagAlert® with each vaccine delivery.
All breaches must be recorded as per the instructions accompanying the TagAlert®, and should be passed on to Onelink for advice.
The WA Department of Health would like to provide a vaccine ordering update:
Thank you for your continued support for the Western Australian Immunisation Program
The WA Department of Health would like to provide a vaccine ordering update for the following vaccines:
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander routine childhood immunisation campaign was launched on 26 April 2022 to encourage routine childhood immunisations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have higher rates of some vaccine preventable diseases so extra vaccines are available free through the National Immunisation Program.
Vaccination rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have decreased over recent periods, particularly at 1 and 2 years of age.
Skipping or delaying vaccinations puts children and those around them at risk of catching serious diseases. It’s important that children receive their routine vaccines in line with the Childhood Immunisation schedule on time, every time, for the best protection. The campaign encourages parents and carers to get their kids vaccinated on time for the best protection.
Visit the Department of Health website for more information and access to resources.
2022 seasonal influenza vaccine safety data collected as part of the AusVaxSafety national vaccine surveillance program has now been published.
AusVaxSafety has currently received more than 5,000 completed influenza vaccine safety surveys and will continue to update safety data weekly for the duration of the 2022 flu season.
Access the latest data here
Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) has been detected in piggeries in New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria. To date, no cases have occurred in Western Australia. On 4 March 2022, Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sonya Bennett, declared the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) situation a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance.
JEV is spread only through mosquito bites and is more common in areas of increased mosquito activity.
Most people will have no symptoms at all if infected and severe illness is rare. Symptomatic infection usually begins with sudden onset of fever, headache and vomiting. A very small proportion of people infected, less than 1 per cent, may develop a serious illness such as encephalitis and experience symptoms including neck stiffness, severe headache and coma, and more rarely, permanent neurological complications or death. Anyone experiencing these symptoms, where there has been high mosquito activity, should be tested after other common causes have been excluded.
JEV cannot be transmitted from human to human nor by consuming meat from an infected animal.
People should be encouraged to use mosquito repellent containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin and wear long, loose fitting clothing when outside. Mosquito nets or screens should be properly fitted to accommodation and tents.
A national working group of communicable disease, vaccine and arbovirus experts has been established to support the response to JEV. This includes mosquito surveillance and control measures. Vaccines will be made available to those most at risk of infection, based on locality and profession, for more information about priority vaccination please visit the Department of Health website.
For more information about the spread of JEV in people and human health information please visit the following websites:
Over the past number of weeks we have been releasing videos and ‘how to’ fact sheets full of information in regards to Digital Health. These resources are all available by visiting our Digital Health Toolkit webpage.
Each fortnight we upload, videos, imagery and written information on all the important Digital Health tools. All you have to do is click here to choose what way you want to learn more.
As this ‘how to’ series is new to WAPHA we would love to hear your feedback, especially on if you find the information useful and if so, what medium do you prefer it in. You can contact us with your feedback or any questions you may have via Practice Assist.
International Nurses Day (IND) is an international day observed around the world each year on 12th May, to mark the contributions that nurses make to society. The 12th May was chosen to celebrate the day as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
In 2022, the theme for IND is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health.
The focus is on the need to invest in nursing and respect the rights of nurses in order to build resilient, high quality health systems to meet the needs of individuals and communities now and into the future.
You can download a poster from APNA celebrating International Nurses Day to display in your workplace here
National Palliative Care Week is Australia’s largest annual awareness-raising initiative, sparking important conversations about the benefits of quality palliative care and acknowledge and celebrate the commitment and dedication of all those working and volunteering in the palliative care sector.
From Sunday 22 – Saturday 28 May 2022, virtual and face-to-face events will be held across the country for clinicians and the community including:
National Palliative Care Week is also a great time to check out Palliative Care Australia’s 2022-2027 Roadmap meeting the growing demand for palliative care in Australia, expected to increase by 50% between now and 2035, and double by 2050.
Help PCA raise awareness via social media using the campaign resources and events form. Join the NPCW conversation using the hashtags #NPCW2022 and #palliativecare.
The Health Professional and Support Services Award covers employers in the health industry and their employees who are in a classification in the award, and or employers engaging a health professional employee. Examples include general and administrative service employees, including medical receptionists and practice managers.
The Health Professional and Support Services Award has recently been updated.
Changes have been made to:
More information on the changes can be found here.
The Healthy Weight Service at Perth Children's Hospital is creating a Childhood Obesity educational program for WA Health Care Providers. Help us create an education and mentoring program that best meets your needs by completing this survey. This will take approximately 5-7 minutes to complete. To thank you for your time, you will have the chance to win one of two $200 Rebel sport vouchers.
Soundfair and the Deafness Foundation are pleased to announce the launch of a new suite of hearing health information resources.
Research shows it takes on average ten years for people to access help for their hearing loss. With funding from the Deafness Foundation, this suite of resources has been developed by Soundfair in consultation with GPs and co-designed by people with hearing loss.
In addition, the website has a referral algorithm for GPs, information on funding pathways and the find an audiologist tool. To access these valuable tools via the Soundfair link specific to General Practitioners.
Comcare has developed a new one-page resource, designed to assist GPs in assessing their patient’s functional capacity for work. Enabling patients to participate in good work while they recover results in better health and wellbeing outcomes.
Evidence-based assessment should consider both physical and psychological functions and focus on what the person can do, not what they can’t do. This guide will help GPs to perform psychological assessments of capacity for work and make recommendations for reasonable adjustments to support performance of work duties.
The one-page guide is attached, and available here.
Visit Medical practitioners | Comcare for more information and resources to assist with work-related injury or illness, including a free webinar for GPs: Assessing functional capacity to work for psychological injuries.
Register now for this webinar on Thursday 19 May from 7.15 – 8.30 pm AEST.
This webinar is produced by the Mental Health Professionals’ Network in partnership with Comcare.
The Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) Geriatric Assessment Team (GAT) now offers an Ambulatory service with 6 beds which welcomes GP referrals. GPs can contact the RPH Acute Geriatrics GP Hotline (via the RPH switchboard on 9224 2244) between 8am-6pm on weekdays if you are concerned about a patient aged ≥ 65 years/Aboriginal patient ≥ 50 years who lives or is staying in the RPBG catchment area and would benefit from early assessment by a Consultant Geriatrician. Out of business hours, the switchboard will continue to direct GP calls for urgent Geriatrics advice to the on-call Geriatrics consultant.
The GAT also provides timely specialist geriatrics decision making and multidisciplinary care to older patients attending the RPH emergency department (ED) and may contact you if one of your patients presents to ED. The GAT consultant performs an early comprehensive Geriatric assessment to promote safe discharge from hospital and reduce readmission to hospital. The GAT encourages direct referrals from GP’s and other specialties to facilitate direct community reviews and admissions, bypassing the Emergency department and can facilitate early referral to community-based services for ongoing assessment.
The updated East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) GP Factsheet: Seeking clinical advice from EMHS for COVID-positive patients includes antiviral advice changes following the nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) PBS listing from 1 May 2022 and information on referrals for suspected post-COVID syndrome. Please only contact these hospitals (Royal Perth, Bentley, Armadale and Kalamunda Hospitals and St John of God Midland Public Hospital) about COVID patients residing in the EMHS metropolitan catchment area.
What was updated?
Updated Question 1 to “How do I access early intravenous therapy for my COVID-positive patient who does not need hospitalisation but is in a high-risk group and has contraindications or isn’t eligible for molnupiravir or nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) on the PBS?” based on PBS changes that come into effect from 1 May 2022.
Added Question 4 “How do I access specialist care for my patient experiencing suspected post-COVID syndrome?”
The Toolkit 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.
You'll have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the webinar. If you have a question prior, you can submit it upon registration.
This webinar in presented in partnership with RACGP, WAPHA and AMA WA.
Practice Assist in conjunction with Pen CS is running a series of webinars developed to provide you with a refresher on how to use Pen CS. These webinars will support you to evaluate your data, identify areas of improvement that you can work on to improve patient outcomes and meet Quality Improvement requirements.
Regular review of your data will enable you to see opportunities for Quality Improvement which our team of Quality Improvements coaches can support your practice to implement.
Along with our Primary Care Solutions team we have a dedicated Pen CS expert who will guide us through the fundamentals of using your data, in creating positive patient outcomes.
These sessions have been designed to create a suite of resources that we can refer to and share in the future for new users of Pen CS and for those who have missed the previous sessions. If you would like a copy of previous webinars please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478)
Register for upcoming sessions below. These sessions run every Wednesday at 12:30pm
Presented by The Immunisation Coalition, this webinar will have the latest facts about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and vaccination, covering everything you need to know about the disease and available vaccines.
The Communicable Diseases and Immunisation Conference will be held in Sydney from Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 June 2022.
In 2022 the Conference theme will be “Moving beyond the Pandemic”.
The conference is of a Hybrid format, this means that you have the option of attending the conference in person in Sydney or online via the Virtual Event Portal.
Face-to-face registrations also include access to the virtual conference portal. All delegates will have access to the virtual content for 3 months following the conference.
Practice Owners National Conference registrations are open
Presented by RACGP
14 to 15 May
The future is Digital Health
Presented by RACGP