7 July 2022
WA Primary Health Alliance acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and recognise the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and well being of the whole community.
Throughout this newsletter, the term "Aboriginal' is used to refer to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, unless stated otherwise.
Cultural awareness and safety training aims to improve the experience and quality of service delivered by health care providers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Ultimately cultural safety training leads to better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Cultural safety involves actions that recognise, respect, and nurture the unique cultural identity of a person and safely meet their needs, expectations, and rights. It means working from the cultural perspective of the other person, not from your own perspective.
It is recommended that health professionals undertake cultural awareness and safety training by a local provider on a regular basis, and prior to commencing work in Western Australia.
The resources provided below are designed to develop further understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and how to deliver culturally appropriate healthcare.
To learn more on WA Primary Health Alliance’s commitment to Aboriginal Health, please refer to our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.
With over 850 patients identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Lockridge Medical Centre employs a strong focus on providing a culturally safe primary health care setting. In addition to their newly installed Welcome to Country installation, they are developing their very own Reconciliation Action Plan and working with Marr Mooditj Training for placement of Aboriginal Health Worker students.
They are also taking the opportunity to celebrate NAIDOC week by offering free and easy access to the MBS 715 Indigenous Health Check. Throughout this week, Indigenous Australians are able to walk into Lockridge Medical Centre any time between 10:00am – 4:00pm (Monday-Friday) to receive a free health assessment without the need for an appointment.
Lockridge Medical Centre Practice Manager Matthew Westerside says this is great opportunity for Aboriginal people to get their yearly health check, because early detection is the best way to treat preventable diseases’.
It is hoped this will support their Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander patients to receive primary health care matched to their needs and encourage early detection, diagnosis and intervention for common and treatable conditions that cause morbidity and early mortality.
The team at Lockridge Medical: Breige, Sarah, Holly, Nurse Germaine, Dr Matthew Hanson and Nurse Isabelle
As we celebrate and recognise the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during NAIDOC week, it is a good time to take another look at WAPHA’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and how it will guide us in our approach to Aboriginal health.
While there have been significant improvements in health outcomes over the last decade, life expectancy rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still below the Australian average. Due to this, WAPHA recognises our role in systematically improving the quality and standard of primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in order to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.
WAPHA also acknowledges the important role Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and General Practices have in providing a culturally appropriate and safe, State-wide primary health care network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
Through the guiding principles of self-determination and empowerment, WAPHA aims to listen to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and build connections and capacity within general practice to deliver culturally appropriate and safe care. We will do this by:
Through WAPHA’s commitment to this RAP, we hope to make a lasting and meaningful difference to the health experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia.
As primary health care providers we all have a role in working together to build a healthier future. The gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians remains far too wide. Life expectancy for Aboriginal men and women is 15.1 and 13.5 years lower than non-Indigenous Western Australians. 1
To improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities the cultural determinants of health should be considered when providing primary health care across health services and general practice.
The cultural determinants of health encompass a strength-based approach and stronger connection to culture and country, which increases sense of identity, self-esteem, and resilience, and improves outcomes across all social determinants of health. Cultural determinants include (but are not limited to):
More information on the WA Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Framework 2015-2030 can be accessed here.
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). (2013). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 Report: Western Australia. Cat. no. IHW 89. Canberra: AIHW.
Cultural Determinants image. Artist: Jonelle (Nellie) Green
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:
With NAIDOC week upon us celebrations are occurring across Australia to recognise the history, culture, and achievements of First Nation people, which makes it a good time to talk about Closing the Gap and connection to culture in primary care.
With physical inactivity accounting for about 8% of the health burden among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (compared to 6.6% in other Australians), encouraging Indigenous communities to remain active as they age is crucial. 1
Exercise prescription, while not traditionally part of the medical curriculum is quickly becoming an essential skill in primary care. Its importance relates to exercise being an effective evidence-based intervention for osteoarthritis, back pain, tendinopathy, some cancers, depression, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 2
Exercise in many forms has been a part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years. Traditional Indigenous Games were played by both children and adults to ward off disease and enhance physical fitness and wellbeing. Today, through consultation with Elders the Australian Sports Commission has developed Traditional Indigenous Games resources that can support and inform exercise prescription.
Whilst referral to exercise based practitioners is an option, the benefits of embedding exercise prescription informed by Traditional Indigenous Games can strengthen connection to culture, family and community and this is central to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
Traditional Indigenous Games resources can be accessed here.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated its recommendations for who can receive a winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine as Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant infections surge in Australia.
The updated recommendations are:
Practices can begin vaccinating those newly eligible from Monday, 11 July.
ATAGI emphasises that people previously eligible for a winter booster dose remain at higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 and should receive a winter booster dose as soon as possible.
The WA Governments "Free Jab June" program has now been extended until.31 July 2022.
The registration for reimbursement for vaccinations administered by general practice has also been extended until 31 July, 2022.
Payments to practices will be provided in two rounds:
The WA Department of Health website has been updated to reflect these changes and provides more details on the grant criteria.
Practices should email email@example.com to register.
Winter is here, and with that we are seeing a sharp rise in the number of reported cases of influenza. Coupled with the risk of contracting COVID-19, it is expected that some people, especially older people and those with chronic health conditions, may be at risk of becoming seriously unwell if they are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination and have not had an influenza vaccination.
The Government of Western Australia has extended its initiative for offering a reimbursement for influenza vaccinations administered by general practices and community pharmacies to 31 July 2022. Further information for practices wishing to register or information regarding grant payment processes, can be found at the Department of Health website.
General practices are strongly encouraged to contact any patients eligible for:
General practitioners who attend residential aged care facilities are also encouraged to work with facility staff to ensure residents are able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination and influenza vaccinations as soon as possible.
Following the TGA’s provisional approval on 9 June 2022 of Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine for use as a booster dose in people aged 18 years and older, ATAGI has updated its clinical guidance.
While mRNA vaccines remain the preferred COVID-19 vaccines for use as a booster dose in people aged 18 years and older, Nuvaxovid (Novavax) can be used as a booster dose in the following circumstances:
The report prepared by National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) summarised perspectives on COVID-19 vaccines of unvaccinated adults living in Australia who were interviewed in late 2021.
Informed by these findings, the recommendations aim to improve communication between health authorities, providers, and unvaccinated individuals and their friends and families.
The report is available on the NCIRS website.
The Australian Government Department of Health has prepared resources that can be used in practice for Aboriginal people promoting winter health, COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.
The WA Department of Health has updated the following resources:
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.
As of 1 July 2022, anyone eligible for a Cervical Screening Test under the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP), i.e. women and people with a cervix aged 25-74 years who have ever had any sexual contact, will have the choice to screen either through:
The National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding have been updated to support the expansion of self-collection. The updated guidelines bring together the best available evidence to prevent, diagnose and manage cervical cancer.
To coincide with the launch of the updated NCSP Clinical Guidelines, Prof Marion Saville AM and Prof Alison McMillan PSM discuss the key changes in this video.
To support the expansion of self-collection eligibility, Cancer Council Australia and the NCSP have developed FAQs for Providers. This quick reference guide provides answers to key questions such as:
What occurs if the self-collected sample comes back positive for HPV?
This toolkit helps healthcare providers engage under-screened and never-screened women in cervical screening, and support them if they choose to participate.
The Australian Government Department of Health is seeking help from healthcare providers to increase participation in the national cancer screening programs (bowel, breast and cervical)
From mid-June 2022, the department will begin distributing cancer screening packs to more than 8000 general practices across Australia. The packs will include:
More information on cancer screening and resources for healthcare providers can be found on the Department of Health website.
The Australian Government Department of Health has prepared resources to assist with the identification and management of monkeypox.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has also released guidance on the use of smallpox vaccine for protection against monkeypox (MPX) viral infection.
The WA Department of Health released the new Paediatric ENT Referral Access Criteria (RAC) on 20 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.
MindSpot is excited to announce that its PORTS service has expanded to become MindSpot GP. MindSpot GP builds on and enhances the world-class mental health care that PORTS provides to the people of Western Australia. Under MindSpot GP, patients will have all the benefits of the PORTS treatment pathway but gain access to an increased range of services and treatment options.
No mental health treatment plan is required for patients to access our services. Our team comprises psychologists, mental-health workers and researchers. We provide a fast and efficient referral and assessment process to ensure patients can access care as soon as possible – and to date, our service has supported more than 10,000 Western Australians.
To help facilitate ongoing referrals, can we encourage practices to:
For practices seeking further information about MindSpot GP, our services, or the referral process, please contact us:
P: 1800 61 44 34
The WA Department of Health End of Life Care Program team have recently published the eLearning program Voluntary Assisted Dying: Essential information for health professionals.
The program will assist health professionals to understand their obligations with respect to patient conversations on voluntary assisted dying (VAD) and where to direct patients to further resources about VAD options. Providing appropriate information on VAD is essential for staff to respectfully engage on the topic in a legally compliant and informed way. WA Primary Health Alliance encourages all health professionals to complete the available eLearning (duration 45-minutes).
The Health Professional Education Resources Gateway contains an extensive range of tailored education resources to assist with setting up PRODA and HPOS. A simulation HPOS Fundamentals is now available that gives an insight on setting up HPOS and overview of the key HPOS features. More details here.
HPOS is an internet-based portal providing a simple and secure way for health professionals and organisations to do business with government online. HPOS enables online self-service access to government programs, payments and services. GPs need a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account to access HPOS.
Even though tobacco smoking rates are declining, tobacco use is still the largest cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. In a bid to prompt people who smoke to quit, Cancer Council WA’s Make Smoking History Program launched a new emotive campaign across Western Australia on Sunday 26 June 2022.
Worried About You is a narrative campaign, produced by Gatecrasher, focusing on a daughter who is worried that her father will become ill from smoking. The television advertisement uses an emotive and powerful story to remind people who smoke to think about how their smoking affects their loved ones. Research commissioned by Make Smoking History found that a key motivator to help people quit smoking is to remind them how smoking impacts their relationships with the people who matter most.
To complement this campaign, Make Smoking History have launched a new interactive quit planner to further support people on their quitting journey. For more information on the campaign or to try out the quit planner, visit makesmokinghistory.tips.
For more information about the Make Smoking History Campaign or resources to help people quit smoking, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Make Smoking History Campaign is an initiative of Cancer Council WA and is funded by the Department of Health WA, Healthway and Cancer Council WA.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) is working with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure that all service providers who receive payments from them are meeting their tax and superannuation obligations. They are doing this through their cross-agency Government Payments Program (GPP), which delivers greater integrity and fairness across a range of Commonwealth programs providing services to the community. Read more here.
From 1 July 2022, the Veterans’ Access Payment (VAP), payable based on Modified Monash Model classifications (MM1–MM7), can be claimed with the Annual Veterans’ Health Check items MT701, MT703, MT705 and MT707.
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.
A new pilot program to screen children for type 1 diabetes is being rolled out in South Perth (Melville & Canning) from mid-August and they need your invaluable support as local GPs and GP Practices. The pilot aims to understand how a national screening program for type 1 diabetes should be offered to all Australian children in the future. We invite you to register here to join an introductory information session via zoom | Wednesday 3 August 2022 | 5:30pm–6:15pm (AWST)
On Wednesday 29 June 2022, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) revised shared Code of Conduct (Code) for 12 National Boards (except Medical, Nursing and Midwifery and Psychology) took effect.
An advance copy of the revised Code was published in April. To support the Code taking effect, on 29 June updated web content and new resources to help practitioners and the public understand and apply the Code was published on the shared Code of conduct page on Ahpra’s website.
Ahpra’s office in Subiaco (Level 1, 541 Hay Street) has now been decommissioned. Ahpra’s new office can now be located in the Perth CBD at:
Level 2, 225 St Georges Terrace, Perth, Western Australia
(All Ahpra phone numbers and the GPO Box 9958, Perth WA 6001 remains the same)
Our Practice Assist website is home to a large range of resources developed and reviewed regularly to support general practice.
Presented by South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) and Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways WA.
SAVE THE DATE! More details to follow.
For more information, contact the Training & Communities of Practice team at WAPHA on Training.CoP@wapha.org.au or 08 6272 4912.
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 in line with PIP QI.
The past sessions form part of valuable resource and 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. The QI team at WAPHA are available to support and implement this process with you.
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
Early Diagnosis of Dementia...Why Bother?
Presented by Dementia Australia in association with WA Primary Health Alliance
The Immunisation Coalition’s 2022 Adult Immunisation Forum
Presented by AIF