23 June 2022
The Aboriginal population equates to 3.8 per cent in WA, yet they have the greatest health needs of any group in the state.
WA is home to close to 76,000 Aboriginal people. There is a range of resources and services available that we have collated below for ease of access.
These resources are culturally appropriate for the local Aboriginal communities and consider the unique needs they have, covering concerns related to: Chronic condition management, Building cultural competency of general practice, Mental health, Alcohol and other drugs, Suicide prevention.
The Integrated Team Care (ITC) program helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to better coordinate the management of their chronic condition and improve their access to support and other services.
This program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live with complex chronic conditions. It often provides one-on-one support to help people manage their conditions and get the health care they need. It also helps health services provide culturally appropriate care.
Further information on the ITC program can be found below:
In October 2015, the Australian Government released the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 which set goals for 20 indicators with a focus on prevention and early intervention.
Five of the 20 indicators relate to the rates of Indigenous-specific MBS health checks in Aboriginal people of all age groups. The graph below shows how the health check rates are tracking and highlights the need for improvement amongst these important cohorts.
By offering patients an annual Aboriginal Health Assessment (MBS item 715 or 228) and embedding related quality improvement (QI) activities into policies and procedures, your practice can help increase the rates of patient participation.
Below are some examples of QI activities that your practice can implement to improve patient participation in Aboriginal Health Assessments:
These QI activities should form the base of a system-change process where reports are collated on a regular, systematic basis and become part of your practice’s policy or procedure manuals to ensure continuity of care.
The Practice Assist team has developed a new fact sheet about Aboriginal Health Assessments and an example PDSA plan to assist you with developing QI activities. If you would like more information about Aboriginal Health Assessments or implementing related QI activities, contact Practice Assist and one of our Practice QI Coaches will be in touch as soon as possible.
The Closing the Gap reforms of 2008 committed to closing the gap in life expectancy for Aboriginal people, and to halve the mortality rates for Aboriginal children aged under five. Increasing patient participation in annual Aboriginal Health Assessments will play an important role in achieving these commitments.
Aboriginal Health Assessments (MBS item 715 or 228) were introduced because Aboriginal people have considerably higher morbidity and mortality levels, with earlier onset and more severe disease progression for many chronic diseases. The annual health assessments aim to provide Aboriginal patients with primary healthcare matched to their needs by supporting early detection, diagnosis and intervention for common and treatable conditions.
According to ABS Census data the Aboriginal population of WA is close to 76,000, however Medicare data from Services Australia shows there were only 26,193 services processed for MBS item 715 in WA during the 2020/2021 financial year.
To help address barriers to Aboriginal Health Assessments, practices can take the following steps:
Many of the barriers outlined above are also opportunities for QI activities to increase patient participation in Aboriginal Health Assessments. For more information, refer to the Aboriginal Health Assessments Fact Sheet and example PDSA plan or contact the team at Practice Assist.
HealthPathways WA has a suite of Aboriginal health related pathways designed to be utilised during GP consultations and as a point of reference for other health professionals and practice staff.
These pathways can assist practices in increasing their awareness of the importance of Aboriginal health, by providing information on:
To provide feedback email the HealthPathways team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the “Send Feedback” button at the bottom of each page on the site.
Newly released patient first resources are available to help you support Aboriginal people prepare for a hospital stay and manage their care at home after discharge.
The Going to Hospital resource provides information about what to expect when going to hospital for an appointment or surgical procedure while the At Home resource provides information about what to expect after being discharged from hospital and managing a health condition at home.
The resources were developed by WA Primary Health Alliance together with the WA Department of Health to empower Aboriginal people to be an active, involved and informed participant in their healthcare.
The WA Department of Health has launched a campaign to promote Free influenza vaccination during June.
The Free influenza vaccination during June initiative was developed to encourage all West Australians to protect themselves and others against influenza.
The free vaccines are available at participating GP’s and pharmacies, and at COVID community vaccination clinics from 1 June to 30 June 2022.
For the past two years WA has been relatively protected from influenza, however with interstate and international travel open, there is the potential for higher cases of influenza this winter.
Seasonal influenza is a common, highly-contagious, potentially serious viral respiratory illness. Annual vaccination is your best protection and is recommended for everyone aged from 6 months.
You can also help to prevent the spread of influenza by covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands regularly, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are unwell.
Read more about the influenza vaccine.
The campaign has been coordinated by the Immunisation Program team in conjunction with the Communications Directorate. Contact them if you need further information or materials in alternative formats.
In WA, more than 60 per cent of people aged 65 years and over have received an influenza vaccine, while only 12 per cent of children aged six months to four-years-old have received a vaccine.
This age group is at high risk of complications from influenza and for some, this year will be the first time they are exposed to the virus, as COVID-19 measures offered them greater protection over the past two years.
Children in this age group cannot receive an influenza vaccine at pharmacies or State vaccination clinics and rely on GPs to administer them.
It is hoped that GPs can have a chat to parents of children in this age group about influenza, vaccines, and administer opportunistic vaccines as needed.
This age group would also benefit from being included when practices prioritise influenza vaccine appointments.
Further information can be found here
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 Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved a shelf-life extension of Novavax (Nuvaxovid) from 6 months to 9 months from manufacture date, provided that approved storage conditions have been maintained.
The shelf-life extension applies to all future batches and the following batch number:
Please be aware that the packaging associated with the above batches has not been amended to reflect the extended expiry dates. It is expected that all future batches will have the correct expiry date printed on the packaging and vials.
Please reference the above table when receiving Novavax (Nuvaxovid) vaccine for the correct expiry date. The new expiry date of each batch will also be reflected in CVAS when completing delivery acceptance.
There is no longer a specific “COVID ID Consultant” on call at Royal Perth Hospital, effective immediately. Instead, please call “On Call Infectious Diseases Consultant” for early intravenous therapy for COVID-positive patients who don’t need hospitalisation but are in a high-risk group and have contraindications or aren’t eligible for PBS-funded COVID treatment. The East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) GP Factsheet: Seeking clinical advice from EMHS for COVID-positive patients has been updated to reflect this.
The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will expand screening test options from 1 July this year, offering self-collection as a choice to all people participating in cervical screening. Self-collection allows screening participants to have the ability to take their own vaginal sample for HPV testing; for many people removing a significant barrier to participation in screening.
This means that all NCSP participants aged 25-74 years will have the choice to screen either by a self-collected vaginal sample or a clinician collected sample from the cervix (accessed through a healthcare provider in both cases).
Recent evidence has shown that the sensitivity and specificity of HPV testing to detect CIN2+ in self-collected samples were similar to those for clinician-collected samples when using validated PCR-based HPV assays.
A self-collected sample is taken from the vagina (not the cervix). It can be tested for the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) but not cytology (cervical cell abnormalities). If HPV is detected on a self-collected sample, depending on the type of HPV, it is recommended a patient should have a speculum examination with a cervical sample collected for liquid-based cytology (LBC), or be referred directly for colposcopy.
Self-collection of Cervical Screening Tests will be available for everyone who is eligible for the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP), making it easier to participate, especially for people who screen at low rates. Updated NCSP clinical guidelines now provide the latest advice on the expanded eligibility to screen via self-collection, preparing health professionals for upcoming changes to the NCSP.
The updated guidelines won’t come into effect until 1 July 2022, but you can download a PDF version of them now on the NCSP Clinical Guidelines website.
To support these changes, Cancer Council WA have launched the ‘At Your Cervix self-collection’ campaign to assist health professionals in talking with patients about their cervical screening options and facilitating self-collection. For more information, visit the campaign website.
June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
Bowel cancer affects men and women, young and old. It’s also a commonly diagnosed cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The good news is that if found early, up to 90 per cent of cases can be treated successfully. Unfortunately, only one in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 to 74 years takes part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program – less than half the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.
Visit the Department of Health website for information for healthcare workers on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program including:
The Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment have developed an information kit for health professionals about the current Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV).
This kit covers information on symptoms, protection against the disease, vaccination, verified links to sources of information, and additional useful resources.
Access the information kit here
The Department of Health released the new Paediatric ENT Referral Access Criteria (RAC) on the 20th June. The Paediatric ENT RAC will provide guidance on when a referral for a child to see a public ENT Specialist is appropriate. The RAC provides standardised referral criteria and guidance for referrers outlining:
The RAC can be accessed via the WA Department of Health Referral Access Criteria webpage, including a series of FAQs.
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/
Supporting general practice by the numbers
WA Primary Health Alliance is committed to supporting general practice to continue to deliver the highest quality patient care.
Just some of the ways the organisation has been doing so recently include commissioning GP only referral services, onboarding 79% of WA general practices to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supplying much needed PPE throughout the pandemic, providing a bespoke Practice Assist service in partnership with Rural Heath West, maintaining the HealthPathways WA online clinical support tool, and helping practices to unlock their PIP QI payments.
WA Primary Health Alliance General Manager Primary Care Innovation and Development, Bernadette Kenny said our highly skilled staff are dedicated to delivering training and establishing communities of practice, improving quality and clinical outcomes in practices, developing evidence-based, integrated care pathways and navigating practices to our suite of services and resources, housed on our Practice Assist website.
“We listen closely to and respond to what GPs tell us, something that is demonstrated in the establishment last year of a dedicated GP Advisory Panel in partnership with RACGP WA and Rural Health West. This group was integral to the development of our latest self-service public facing campaign for general practices, See Your GP.”
“WA Primary Health Alliance works collaboratively and closely with medical, practice management and practice nursing peak organisations, to ensure we understand the needs of, and challenges faced by general practice teams and make representation to relevant government bodies, where our support can be useful.”
To find out more about how we can help your practice, please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominate them for the 2022 RACGP Awards! The RACGP Awards honour the outstanding contributions of GPs and staff at practices across Australia. Help us formally celebrate this work and dedication to holistic patient care.
For more information or to nominate, visit the RACGP Awards website.
Black Dog Institute is exploring the potential of low-cost, evidence-based digital interventions as a stepping-stone while young people await care. They’re now inviting General Practitioners to participate in an online survey (30 mins long) and share your experiences to help find solutions to this worsening issue.
View the flyer here for more information
Applications for the General Practice Procedural Training Support Program (GPPTSP) are now open. This is a fantastic opportunity for eligible GPs to gain $40,000 of Commonwealth funding to obtain procedural skills in obstetrics or anaesthetics.
Fellows of ACRRM and the RACGP who are practising in MMM 3-7 will be considered. For full application guidelines and program eligibility, visit the ACRRM website.
Apply online here before 11.59pm Sunday 31 July 2022.
Researchers at Curtin University are evaluating the impact of the No Jab No Play legislation in Western Australia. This project is funded by the Department of
Our Practice Assist website is home to a large range of resources developed and reviewed regularly to support general practice.
Trying to find your feet in primary health care or want to try your hand at mentoring nurses new to primary health care? This program will
help you grow your skills, knowledge, and confidence and set you up in your career. The 12-month program will support the transitioning nurse through tailored CPD, mentorship, and support in primary health care settings such as (but not limited to) general practice, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health care, and community health.
Do you have a great idea for a Nurse Clinic? Want to develop skills and knowledge to deliver a new model of care? The Building Nurse Capacity Project focuses on the development of nurse-led (team-based) models of care to meet local population health needs, and contribute to building the capacity of the collaborative healthcare team. Grant funding and APNA support will be provided to successful applicants.
For more information, visit https://www.apna.asn.au/profession/buildingnursecapacity
Advance your skills in the chronic diseases and healthy ageing space. The CDMHA Program provides nurses in primary health care additional guidance, with an evidence-based framework of education and support over 12 months. This includes the use of self-assessment to prioritize learning, a community of practice to share and collaborate with other nurses & education modules to increase your knowledge with 26 specific learning areas.
For more information, visit https://www.apna.asn.au/education/cdmha
Practice Assist in conjunction with Pen CS has been running a series of webinars developed to provide you with a refresher on how to use Pen CS. These webinars have been designed to support you to evaluate your data, identify areas of improvement that you can work on to improve patient outcomes and meet Quality Improvement requirements. The past sessions are available for download and can be requested by contacting Practice Assist 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478).
Empowering your Quality Improvement (QI) team to regularly review your data will enable your team to see opportunities for QI which will improve patient outcomes and the QI team at WAPHA are available to support and implement this process with you.
Given our previous rescheduling of sessions we have allocated the session on 6 July 2022 to Health Promotion: Health Assessments. If you have previously registered for this session the link will remain the same, however the session title and content will reflect the new subject as per below.
Our final sessions have been designed to be open for your requests. We would like your input on the topics or queries you would like to focus on.
Please provide your input via your Primary Care Navigator or Practice Assist 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478) or email email@example.com
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.
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.
Recognising and Responding to Sexual Violence in Adults
Presented by Monash University
Various dates 2022
The Immunisation Coalition’s 2022 Adult Immunisation Forum
Presented by AIF