9 June 2022
The WA Government is offering a reimbursement and possible grant for influenza vaccinations administered by GP practices during the month of June.
General practices and pharmacies will need to register for the program to access the reimbursements.
General Practices with a Onelink account will receive an email with an individual link for their practice to register. Further information recently updated by the Department of Health WA can be found here.
A recording of our Webinar presented by WA Primary Health Alliance and WA Department of Health Communicable Disease Control Directorate is available now.
The presentation discusses an outline of the program along with record keeping tips, Influenza promotional resources and Quality Improvement opportunities.
A copy of the presentation slides can be found here
To access the recording of the webinar click here
The latest data from WA Health Virus Watch (outlined in the table below) provides a salient reminder of the important role of general practice in driving influenza vaccination.
The number of influenza cases reported to the Department of Health WA increased to 146 in the past week, well above the seasonal threshold and rising at a similar rate to WA’s worst flu season in 2019.
Given the effect of influenza in 2019, it is no surprise that vaccination doses recorded in 2020 remain the highest seen in W.A. Whilst 2022 influenza vaccination doses are trending at 2021 levels, coverage remains lower than historical levels at 20.8% of the population.
Vaccination rates for our most vulnerable cohorts - 65+ are lagging in 2022, at 54.5% overall, whilst in 2021 we managed to achieve over 61% vaccination rates in this group.
With influenza notifications rapidly rising, it is imperative we support our vulnerable population through improved levels of vaccination. For further assistance in identifying and supporting your local vulnerable population please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GP Respiratory Clinics (GPRCs) are available to see your respiratory symptomatic or COVID-19 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 respiratory patients 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
The Australian Government Department of Health has released a new video featuring Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Professor Alison McMillan on why it’s important to get your flu vaccine when you’re pregnant.
The video answers the following questions from patients:
Download the video to share through your practice channels here
There are still hundreds of Medicare ineligible West Australians who are yet to receive their COVID-19 vaccines or who may be due for a booster. The University of Western Australia’s Health and Medical Centre has had great success within this space – administering more than 484 vaccinations to date.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout Medicare ineligible international students at the University were left confused about where to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Practice manager Sharon Almeda said this motivated the doctors at the Centre.
“Our doctors believed it was a public health priority and said, ‘bring them in’, they never really thought about payment for consultations from the international student cohort” Ms Almeida said.
“The students were confused about where they could receive their vaccine and were really appreciative. English is their second language and knowing where to go could be quite confusing.”
The Centre also helped students stranded in Australia due to border closures become fully vaccinated. “They’re students, they’re eating 80cent noodles, so paying for a vaccine can be quite unaffordable,” Ms Almeida said.
Students were encouraged to bring in friends or colleagues who may be Medicare ineligible for their COVID-19 vaccine.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has since organised for doctors at UWA to receive payments for these services via Medicare ineligible patient funding. “The doctors were surprised at the retrospective payment offer by WAPHA,” Ms Almeida said.
Ms Amelda also acknowledged the University’s preferred overseas student health cover provider, Medibank, for supporting COVID-19 vaccinations for students.
Medicare ineligible patient funding has now been extended to 31 December 2022 to the value of the equivalent MBS item number.
If you would like further information about this funding, contact Practice Assist and a member of the vaccination team will be in touch as soon as possible.
With the upcoming flu season, and the need to store both the COVID-19 vaccines and influenza vaccines, some vaccine refrigerators may be reaching capacity. To maintain vaccine potency and safety, sites need to correctly stores vaccines in line with the best practice guidelines found in the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines ‘Strive for 5’.
Some tips for using your purpose-built vaccine refrigerator:
To mitigate the risk of vaccine wastage all sites must manage their stock appropriately. One option is to transfer excess stock to surrounding sites in need of vaccines. We recommend you reach out to your local networks to try and redistribute your excess vaccines.
If you require assistance in this process, please call the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) on 1800 318 208 or email email@example.com . The VOC can attempt to find surrounding sites that need vaccine or may be able to use your excess vaccines to fulfil additional order requests.
The VOC will take into consideration:
Please note despite best efforts, the VOC will not be able to coordinate a redirection for every request.
With the latest facts about COVID-19 in Australia, this webinar for Health Professionals presented by the Immunisation Coalition covers everything you need to know about the disease, available vaccines and the latest developments in the Pandemic
Register for this webinar here
GPs and practice nurses often see the impact of alcohol and drug use on people’s wellbeing and are well placed to offer treatment.
Initiating a respectful, yet clinical, conversation with a patient about their alcohol or drug use can be difficult but there are dedicated resources available to support GPs and practice nurses to carry out these important conversations comfortably and confidently.
The HealthPathways WA alcohol intervention guide provides clinical tools, referral pathways and treatments options to support patients with alcohol and other drug concerns.
For support with addressing alcohol and other drug use among older Australians, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has partnered local addiction specialists and GPs to develop a series of short online video resources to help GPs have respectful conversations about alcohol and other drug use with older patients.
For additional professional development and skill based techniques, primary health professionals can access the WAPHA funded Treating Alcohol and Other Drugs in Primary Care (TADpole) Program delivered by Edith Cowan University (ECU), the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service, delivered by the Mental Health Commission, and national GP AOD education and training programs delivered by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and RACGP.
With the support of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services and Treating Alcohol and Drugs in Primary Care Program, WAPHA has established WA’s first Project ECHO Network to deliver a series of expert led, online forums designed to support
primary health care to work effectively with people experiencing alcohol and other drug related harm.
Project ECHO Initiative Session 5: Let’s keep alcohol use under control takes place Thursday 23 June. Find out more below, and register here
WA’s first Project ECHO, the Alcohol & Other Drug Network – A Project ECHO Initiative, is off to a great start with four completed sessions. General practitioners and other primary care practitioners from across the state are taking up the one-of-a-kind opportunity to collaborate and raise awareness of the current AOD treatment options and support services available in WA.
Conducted via Zoom on the fourth Thursday of each month, the sessions combine the knowledge and skills of the primary care workforce in the AOD space along with Addiction Medicine Specialists. Conducted in a drop-in format, practitioners are invited to join the sessions at any point in time. Over the course of the program, primary care practitioners will build their confidence and capability to support people experiencing AOD issues.
By the end of the program, participants of The Alcohol & Other Drug Network – A Project ECHO Initiative, will be able to:
Studies estimate that at least 30% to 50% of people with mental health or alcohol or other drug problems have co-occurring problems.
Alcohol is responsible for significant levels of preventable harm in Western Australia and causes the most overall harm when considering harm to those who use and harm when compared to other drugs.
Alcohol status is a key lifestyle indicator that can be measured in general practice and has been proven to impact chronic disease and mental health.
Through Practice Assist, our Quality Improvement team can work with you to identify missing lifestyle factors and also target patients who identify under specified criteria. Please contact Practice Assist for additional support.
For access to hard copy resources including brochures, booklets and usb’s click here
In addition there is a range of resources available to General Practice in relation to Alcohol and Other Drugs.
WACHS Director of Public Health Medicine, Dr Marisa Gilles is encouraging GPs to rise to the challenge and join her Dry July Dry Docs team.
Leading by example may help you start those important conversations around safe drinking while raising much needed funds for cancer.
Join Dr Giles team at www.dryjuly.com/teams/dry-docs and download promotional materials and resources to share through your practice channels like this Dry Docs team poster
HealthPathways WA has a suite of Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) pathways which include both clinical and request information. The clinical pathways contain information on how to assess and manage a patient during a consultation, whereas the request pages map services GPs and other health professionals can refer patients into. With the overarching aim of assisting clinicians in navigating patients through the complex primary, community and acute health care system in Western Australia.
The AOD suite of pathways include:
Other related pathways: Chronic Hepatitis C
Disclaimer: Some of these pathways are currently under review.
To gain access to the site, give feedback or to add a service to a request page email the HealthPathways team at firstname.lastname@example.org
The WA Immunisation Schedule has again been updated to include the ‘Free Influenza Vaccination Program - June 2022’.
Please ensure that any outdated schedules are removed from use and replaced with the new pink coloured schedule (dated 1 June 2022).
Please read the following messages from Australian Government Department of Health’s Immunisation and Communicable Diseases Branch regarding the importance of reporting timely and accurate vaccination information to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR):
Reporting timely, high quality and accurate vaccination information ensures that the AIR contains a complete and reliable dataset to enable the monitoring of immunisation coverage and administration. It also ensures that individuals have a complete record of their vaccinations that can be provided as evidence for education, employment, and/or travel purposes.
Under the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 it is mandatory for vaccination providers to report all COVID-19, influenza, and National Immunisation Program vaccinations to the AIR.
To ensure accurate and complete reporting of vaccination information to the AIR, vaccination providers must provide the following information:
It has been identified that a significant number of AIR records have a batch number that has been recorded incorrectly.
Please make sure that you are reporting the correct batch number to the AIR. The Department is aware that some Practice Management Software stores and/or autofill's previously entered information which can lead to data entry errors, it is important to correct this information prior to submission.
When reporting a medical contraindication to the AIR is important for eligible health professionals to complete the Australian Immunisation Register Immunisation Medical Exemption (IM011) form in line with the latest clinical guidance in the Australian Immunisation Handbook, for NIP vaccines, or from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation for COVID.
Vaccination providers are reminded not to include any additional information such as clinical notes or test results and/or attach letters when recording a medical contraindication. This may cause delays in processing and if the IM011 form is incomplete, invalid, or unsigned it will be returned to the vaccination provider.
The quickest and easiest way to record all vaccination information is via the AIR site in HPOS or the relevant Practice Management Software.
For further information on reporting information to the AIR please visit the Australian Immunisation Register for health professionals page.
The Australian Immunisation Handbook (AIH) website, mobile application and National Immunisation Catch-up Calculator (NICC) underwent an upgrade on 24 May 2022.
In addition, the NICC is also being expanded to support children under 10 years who are medically at-risk.
Providers are encouraged to download the latest version of the AIH mobile app, and provide any feedback here.
The School-based immunisation program (SBIP), is a nationally funded immunisation program which offers all students the opportunity to become protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccines are offered to school aged students in:
This year, the routine school based immunisation program (SBIP) will provide vaccinations for eligible students (in Years 7 and 10), as well as catch-up vaccinations for the large number of students who missed routine school vaccinations in 2021 and 2020.
Immunisation providers are encouraged to opportunistically vaccinate students who may not have received all vaccines through the SBIP.
Further information on the SBIP can be found here
Two years ago, the rollout of electronic prescriptions was fast-tracked in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, more than 56 million electronic prescriptions and repeats have been issued by more than 41,000 prescribers.
For patients taking multiple medications, the Active Script List (ASL) provides further convenience and flexibility by removing the need for electronic tokens. Once they have an ASL, any electronic prescription created is automatically added to the ASL (unless the patient asks the prescriber not to) and the patient does not need to present a token at the pharmacy to get their script filled.
You can help your patients use electronic prescriptions, removing the need for them to manage multiple tokens on their mobile device, by encouraging them to talk to their pharmacist about registering for an Active Script List. To get an Active Script List individuals need to register at their local pharmacy.
For more information about electronic prescriptions and ASL click here or access CPD accredited free online training for prescribers here: Electronic Prescribing in your Practice
Download a poster for your practice or a flyer for your patients.
Insync Health, in association with Press Ganey, are inviting General Practice's to join a national research project to assess and profile the primary care industry’s response to delivering compassionate, connected care to patients through the medium of telehealth. Participating practices will be provided with a short survey to share with their patients after a telehealth appointment, real-time access to results, and the ability to validate their performance compared to peer organisations across Australia.
Practices will also receive tailored insights and post-survey improvement support and resources, giving the opportunity to understand and respond to direct feedback from those patients who access telehealth services.
For more information, or to register for the research project contact email@example.com or go to https://insync.com.au/2022-study-assessing-patient-perceptions-of-telehealth/
The Australian Digital Health Agency has published a new webpage for organisations who are yet to transition to a NASH PKI SHA-2 Certificate. All organisations should have plans in place to update their software to a version that can support NASH PKI SHA-2 certificates by 31 December 2022.
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 email us with your feedback or any questions you may have on firstname.lastname@example.org
June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month - Bowel Cancer Australia's signature event to raise awareness of Australia's second deadliest cancer and to also raise funds for prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and the best care for everyone affected by bowel cancer.
Your practice can support Bowel Cancer Awareness Month - register your interest, fundraise and/or order an awareness pack.
Use Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to promote these messages to your patients:
As of 30 May 2022, monkeypox virus infection is an urgently notifiable disease in Western Australia (WA).
Medical and nurse practitioners, and pathologists, have a legal obligation to immediately report suspected or confirmed cases of monkeypox virus infection.
Read the full Monkeypox Clinician Alert
The COVID-19 pandemic is driving higher rates of mental ill-health than ever seen before. At a time when resources are stretched by the additional workload of COVID itself, the corresponding increase in mental health presentations is especially challenging.
In response, a local partnership of government, business, philanthropists, and community services providers called Imagined Futures*, is working together to improve access to treatment and support for people experiencing depression and anxiety across the local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville.
Recognising the critical role that GPs play in treating mental ill-health, part of the group’s focus has been on how to best support practitioners at this difficult time. After consulting with local GPs and the WA Primary Health Alliance Imagined Futures has commissioned specific, localised mental health GP training, and curated resources packages designed especially for GPs and their patients.
Accordingly, later this month the partnership is offering a dinner workshop with acclaimed Psychiatrist Associate Professor Mat Coleman focusing on treating mental health in young people in recognition that increasing rates of mental ill-health is particularly evident in this cohort. In this interactive session, Associate Professor Coleman will present the latest in recommended treatments for depression and anxiety in young people.
Representatives from local community mental health providers, including headspace, lifeline and the new youth mental health service at St John of God Murdoch, will also be on hand to answer questions about what they offer and what makes for a good referral/ partnership.
By connecting with local mental health providers, attendees will gain a better understanding of referral options and processes to help alleviate some of the pressures they are facing.
For: GPs working in the local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville.
When: Thursday 30 June 2022 at 6pm
Venue: Blue Grill Café
Registrations close: 22 June 2022
Event Flyer: Click here
* The group’s work is informed by the grassroots Alliance Against Depression (AAD) framework to help combat suicide and depression in our community. Developed and tested in Europe, the AAD has been shown to reduce suicides and suicide-attempts by 24% over a two-year period.
In order to have quality data and positive patient outcomes you should have a regular process for data cleansing. By cleansing your data you are able to effectively see the active patients within your database and target them accordingly to improve both demographic and clinical data sets.
To ensure high quality data, it is essential to maintain your patient database with regular data cleansing and data quality improvement practices that are designed to keep health records accurate and current.
To achieve the benefits of sustainable digital health activities, it is important to have a continuous focus on data quality improvement.
Our Practice Assist team has developed a range of resources to assist with data cleansing, archiving and base line data collection.
Should you require any assistance with Data Cleansing please reach out to Practice Assist who can align you with your Primary care Navigator and Quality Improvement Coach.
Crazy Socks 4 Docs day is about raising awareness of the mental health of all doctors and health practitioners around the world, and driving positive change via action!
Sock Me is donating $2 to us for every pair of socks purchased through May and June 2022! Simply visit them to buy your socks, knowing that you are helping Crazysocks4docs at the same time!
The Australian Government Department of Health would like to remind everyone about the registration grace period that allows First Nations people who are not correctly registered for the Closing the Gap (CTG) PBS Co-payment Program continued access to a reduced co-payment for PBS medicines covered under the Program.
During the registration grace period a warning message will appear in the pharmacy’s dispensing system advising that a patient isn’t correctly registered for the CTG PBS Co-payment Program. In this situation the First Nations person must be advised to speak to their PBS prescriber or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner about being correctly registered for the Program.
PBS prescribers or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners can confirm if First Nations people are registered for the Program via HPOS prior to issuing a PBS prescription to be covered under the Program. If they are not, the system will indicate that the person is “inactive”.
Services Australia has established e-learning modules to help prescribers to:
Our Practice Assist website is home to a large range of resources developed and reviewed regularly to support general practice.
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.
From 1 July 2022, current eligibility criteria for access to self-collection under the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) self-collection policy will be removed. This change means that self-collection will be available to all women and people with a cervix under the NCSP and will no longer be restricted to under or never-screened women. Expanding the self-collection policy will give participants a choice in screening method – either self-collected or clinician collected – both of which are still accessed through a health professional. Healthcare providers such as GPs & practice nurses will continue to play a critical role in supporting patients with cervical screening.
At this webinar, Gynaecologic Oncologist, Dr Emma Allanson will discuss the change to the self-collection guidelines, as well as the evidence to support such a change.
Medical Scientist, Rossemarie Ramirez-Avalos will discuss the requirements for requesting and processing self-collected tests from pathology laboratories
Dr Emma Allanson, Consultant Gynaecologic Oncologist, King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women
Rossemarie Ramirez-Avalos, Medical Scientist, PathWest
Dr Kyria Laird, GP Clinical Editor, WA Primary Health Alliance
View recording here
The second of three topics being presented on behalf of Perth Children’s Hospital.
This webinar will provide updated & relevant information on how to identify and treat Undescended testicles, Scrotal Swellings and Foreskin problems.
This webinar will aid in the diagnosis and the appropriate management of these conditions. How HealthPathways can assist in the shorting of wait times to see a specialist in Perth Children’s Hospital.
The last of the three topics being presented on behalf of Perth Children’s Hospital.
This webinar will provide updated & relevant information on how to identify and treat Abdomen acute, Chronic pain along with the surgical aspects of Constipation that present in children.
The Immunisation Coalition’s annual update for GP’s, Immunisation Nurses, Pharmacists and other immunisation professionals was held on 25th May 2022.
The recording is now available and can be viewed here
To receive a certificate after viewing this recording, please complete the quiz here
Recognising and Responding to Sexual Violence in Adults
Presented by Monash University
Various dates 2022
Communicable Diseases & Immunisation Conference (CDIC) 2022
Presented by Public Health Association of Australia
20 to 22 June
Meeting the Cancer Screening Needs of the LGBTQA+ Community (covers breast, bowel and cervical)
Presented by Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC)
Advanced HIV Nursing Webinar – Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Presented by ASHM
The Immunisation Coalition’s 2022 Adult Immunisation Forum
Presented by AIF