4 August 2022
WA Primary Health Alliance acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and recognises 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.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released its recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine use in children aged six months to under five years.
ATAGI recommends COVID-19 vaccination for children aged six months to under five years with severe immunocompromise, disability, and those who have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19.
It is expected the rollout for this cohort will begin early-September.
The outcome of a recent EOI to administer vaccines to this cohort will be communicated to practices shortly.
For more information on dosing schedule and the full list of health conditions read ATAGI's full recommendations here
Free Jab June and July has now ended, and while vaccines administered from August onwards are not eligible for reimbursement, providers are encouraged to continue to administer government-funded vaccines to all West Australians including those who are not usually eligible to receive a free vaccination via the National Immunisation Program (NIP) or ongoing state-funded programs.
The Department of Health encourages participating GPs, community pharmacies and AMSs to continue providing the WA community with opportunistic influenza vaccinations as influenza cases remain high. You are encouraged to use your remaining government-funded influenza vaccine stocks and order more if required.
More than one million West Australians are now vaccinated against influenza.
Free Jab June and July was estimated to have boosted vaccination numbers by 30 per cent.
More than 555,000 influenza vaccines were administered by general practice.
The vials for Comirnaty (Pfizer) 12+ have slightly changed with a variation in size and cap shade.
The vials are slightly larger and a grape-coloured shade as per the below photos.
This batch has commenced being thawed and started being dispatched from Friday 22nd July 2022.
There is no change to the volume of vaccine or doses per vial. The vials are still able to fit in the current packaging.
The Australian Government Department of Health have advised there has been a change to the name of the existing Spikevax (Moderna) product in CVAS from Moderna to Moderna 6 years+ (Red).
This will be visible within CVAS to all sites currently activated for Spikevax (Moderna).
The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia produces a resource called, Don’t Rush to Crush.
This includes advice on what options are available for people eligible for COVID-19 oral treatments, who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules.
Details are available online
The Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS), in conjunction with Professor Chris Blyth (Infectious Disease Physician), have developed a series of short informational videos for healthcare providers, to facilitate discussions surrounding influenza and COVID-19.
'Talking COVID and Flu' with Professor Chris Blyth covers a range of topics, including:
These videos were not developed for public viewing so have an internal focus but we hope providers find these videos beneficial.
A recording is now available of the Immunisation Coalition’s ‘Preventing Paediatric Influenza & Improving Vaccination Rates’ webinar held on Wednesday 27 July 2022.
Infectious Diseases Specialist and Paediatrician Professor Robert Booy moderates a session on ways to improve vaccination rates in children, reduce hospitalisations and control disease transmission.
Covering topics from vaccine safety and efficacy to harnessing communication skills when encouraging parents to opt in for vaccination.
View the webinar here
The WA Department of Health is working with the Australian Government to secure limited supplies of vaccines for the prevention of Monkeypox.
Vaccines, when available, will be prioritised to those at highest risk of contracting Monkeypox, which will initially be those who have confirmed high-risk exposure to someone who has tested positive to Monkeypox.
As more vaccines become available, they will be offered to other priority groups.
Widespread vaccination is not currently recommended due to the low risk of infection for the general population.
Further updates will be provided by the WA Department of Health as soon as information is available.
The WA Department of Health has advice recommending that those at risk of exposure to Monkeypox (for example, those travelling overseas and taking part in high-risk activities) take precautions to prevent the spread of Monkeypox with more information available at
HealthyWA Monkeypox which provides information on vaccination.
Clinicians can find further information at WA Department of Health Monkeypox
On Thursday 28 July, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly declared Monkeypox a communicable disease incident of national significance.
In Australia, there have been 44 cases of Monkeypox, while none have been found in WA.
GPs are being urged to be on the alert for cases.
The WA Department of Health has Monkeypox guidance for patients via HealthyWA
The Monkeypox frequently asked questions may be useful for patients most at risk of contracting Monkeypox.
The WA Department of Health has guidance on testing, use of PPE, management of contacts and reporting of Monkeypox.
Cases must be reported urgently by telephone to the Public Health Units (Healthy WA) within a few hours of first suspicion of diagnosis.
The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has prepared fact sheets and posters to help health professionals and patients identify Monkeypox.
These can be found using this link
The WA Department of Health produced a Monkeypox update for clinicians on 13 July 2022.
A health assessment is an opportunity to take stock of a patient’s total health and wellbeing including physical, psychological, and social function. Health assessments have been one of those activities that have proved understandably difficult to maintain over the past two years.
Preventative care in General Practice is vitally important. According to the RACGP Guidelines for preventative activities in General Practice it is estimated that 80% of premature heart disease , stroke, and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be prevented through health lifestyle interventions.
Medicare provides for preventative care via Health Assessment activities with targeted MBS items. These items focus on at risk groups and allow for assistance from a practice nurse or an Aboriginal health professional to assist the usual medical practitioner in performing the health assessment.
The Health Assessment target groups detailed below are an excellent opportunity for practices to design focused preventive care strategies for these patients:
Our practice QI Team and Primary Care Navigators can help practices use their practice data to identify patients in these target groups as well as assistance with strategies.
For further information contact us via Practice Assist.
Health assessment participation can greatly contribute to the prevention, early identification, and appropriate management of many health conditions. By performing targeted and effective Quality Improvement activities practices will gain improved, sustainable business and health outcomes.
Focusing on system change processes where reports are collated on a regular, systematic basis and become part of policy and procedure is the most effective way of ensuring continuous quality improvement in practice.
Ideas for improving participation and follow up of health assessments in general practice may include system improvements and changes such as:
Our practice QI team and Primary Care Navigators can help practices use their practice data to identify patients that are in these target groups as well as assistance with strategies to invite and accommodate Health Assessments in your practice.
For support on implementing Quality Improvement (QI) activities in your practice, please contact Practice Assist and one of our QI coaches will be in touch with you.
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 health care system in Western Australia. The pathways are developed by General Practitioners to be used during consultation but can also be accessed and utilised by other health professionals.
HealthPathways WA currently have two pathways to assist GPs with completing health assessments:
You can request access or provide feedback via the HealthPathways WA Project Site or by emailing the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
In June, Cancer Council Australia, in partnership with the Australian Government, launched a national campaign to encourage people to Get2it and participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).
An important part of this campaign is the call to GPs and other primary care health professionals to continue to encourage their patients to take part in bowel cancer screening.
We are asking you to help spread the message around the importance of the NBCSP.
Please share content and resources that have been developed, within your organisation’s newsletter, and / or any other appropriate channels you communicate through.
There are ready-made social media posts that can be shared on your social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as well as a GP specific resource detailing the research conducted into the barriers and enablers for potential bowel screening participants. It provides guidance on how to talk to the three key groups identified: Intenders, Refusers, and the FOBT Naïve (Faecal Occult Blood Test).
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:
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:
This toolkit helps healthcare providers engage under-screened and never-screened women in cervical screening, and support them if they choose to participate.
New research has found notable knowledge gaps continue to exist among Australian general practitioners regarding live attenuated zoster vaccination of immunocompromised people.
While the vaccine is safe, its use is contraindicated in severely immunocompromised people because the virus from the vaccine can cause serious disseminated infection. There have been three Zostavax-related deaths in immunocompromised people between 2017 and 2020 in Australia.
The research, led by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), used an online survey to assess the knowledge of GPs regarding Zostavax. GPs were asked to respond to five clinical scenarios testing their knowledge of Zostavax contraindications, and the proportion of correct answers ranged from 25% to 82% across all scenarios.
Zostavax was introduced on the National Immunisation Program in November 2016 for people aged 70 years, with a catch-up program for adults aged 71–79 years funded until October 2023.
A non-live recombinant subunit zoster vaccine, Shingrix, is now available in the private market and provides an alternative, especially for immunocompromised patients.
Read more here
Herpes zoster vaccine resources:
New online resource hub, SHAPE (Supporting holistic and person-centred weight education) has launched, supporting health professionals to play a more central role in helping people to manage their weight and improve health and wellbeing outcomes.
SHAPE is a centralised website of tools, resources, and education, designed to support a better understanding of the complexity of factors influencing body shape and size, and how to engage patients and guide them on their journey. Through this we can drive long-term change.
WA Primary Health Alliance General Manager - Primary Care Innovation & Development, Bernadette Kenny, said fostering a workforce who are equipped to have the conversation with their patients and empower behaviour change is integral to supporting people living with overweight and obesity who are seeking guidance to improve their health.
“Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, with about two thirds of adults and a quarter of children in Australia considered overweight or obese. We have an important opportunity to change this through equipping health professionals with the skills and confidence to start the conversation.
“Conversations about weight can be sensitive and are often challenging for both health professionals and patients alike. A reluctance among health professionals to discuss weight, along with stigma, shame and other psychological factors often acting as barriers to people seeking or getting the support they need.”
SHAPE acknowledges the long-term relationships general practitioners have with their patients and encourages GPs and other health professionals to consider the complete picture, while also promoting a person-centred approach to patient weight management and health behaviour change.
SHAPE offers Conversations about Weight, a suite of training modules for health professionals developed by Diabetes WA and are accredited by RACGP. The training focuses on different aspects of weight management, including causes and treatments, from the perspective of both patient and health professional. Each module provides insight into the complexity of this topic, to empower health professionals to support patients and guide these sensitive, yet important conversations.
The project’s Clinical Content Working Group (CCWG) has made a significant contribution throughout development of the hub, providing direction, advice and clinical expertise along the way. Consumer perspectives and the diverse range of stakeholders involved has also helped shape the project and development of resources.
As a key partner in the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan 2019-2024, WA Primary Health Alliance has developed SHAPE to improve weight management in primary care.
The CCWG includes of Dr Jennifer Graham-Taylor, Kate Fleming, Dr Rebecca Hunt-Davies, Clare Mullen, Helen Mitchell, Jennifer Cake, Dr Sue Jackson and Mandy Morgan-Lewis.
View the SHAPE animation - Supporting holistic and person-centred weight education here (or click on image below).
Always have the key information you need to treat veterans and members of their family with DVA’s new Quick Guides for general practices:
The DVA Basics Quick Guide is a useful resource in assisting staff to identify the different types of DVA cards and what they cover, along with quick access to key services and phone numbers.
The DVA Claiming Quick Guide is relevant to this financial year and the current rebate amounts. You may find this resource invaluable to your practice in identifying what item numbers to use for services provided in a clinic such as one-off Veteran Health Check, Annual Health Check and Coordinated Veterans Care Program.
Services Australia has launched the newly redesigned Health Professional Education Resources website.
The new site features a fresh design that makes it easier to access digital education resources.
The website offers education resources across all Services Australia health programs and includes:
Visit the Health Professional Education Resources website here.
Each scholarship recipient will receive an enrolment for one of the following UNE Partnerships courses:
These courses have been developed in conjunction with industry professionals, and are aimed at Practice Principals, Managers and Administrators. All scholarships offer students an accelerated career path within the Practice Management environment, fast-tracking career progress.
All courses are delivered and completed via distance education only and within three years of the granting of the scholarship.
Read more about how to apply
The University of Western Australia and Department of Health WA would like to hear from a wide range of WA healthcare professionals to better understand their views on the links between climate change and health.
This research follows on from the findings of the Sustainable Health Review and the Climate Health WA Inquiry led by the State’s former Chief Health Officer, Professor Tarun Weeramanthri.
The project involves a short, fifteen-minute survey open to 22 August 2022.
The information gathered through this research will be used by WA Health to develop public health messaging and resources for both the community and health professionals.
For more information contact WA Health Lead Sustainable Development Officer, Sarah Joyce on (08) 9222 4017 or email@example.com
Introducing Type 1 Diabetes National Screening Pilot and the Role of Primary Care Providers. A new pilot program to screen children for type 1 diabetes is being rolled out in South Perth and we need Primary Care Providers' invaluable support. 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)
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.
These resources are a compilation of face sheets, user guides, checklists, business plans and posters. They can be found in the Tool Kit pages on our website. In addition to this there are a small number of resources available in our Resource Library.
If you have an idea for a new resource or feedback on our current resources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas and comments.
Practice principals, leaders and managers, don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of Australia’s foremost GP leaders, Dr Wally Jammal, and international expert on health system transformation, Dr Kirsten Meisinger.
To ensure the maximum benefit for participants, places to this event are limited to forty. We can therefore only offer two places per practice. CPD points are available.
Topics covered in this highly informative and interactive session will include:
RSVP: Book your place now
Dr Walid Jammal (MB BS (Syd), Dip Child Health, FRACGP, MHL)
Dr Jammal is a GP in Western Sydney, with a strong commitment to quality and safety in health care, as well as health system policy and reform. He has been involved with testing and developing integrated care models for many years. Dr Jammal continues to be actively involved in primary care innovation and reform with positions on a variety of groups and boards, most recently the Australian Government’s new Strengthening Medicare Taskforce. He is Clinical Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University.
Dr Kirsten Meisinger, MD, MHCDS
Dr. Meisinger is an international expert on Patient Centered Medical Homes and healthcare system transformation, having been involved in an initiative which transformed over 140,000 US practices to value-based, patient centered medical care. She is helping design and implement a national pilot for primary care transformation in Brazil. She is a regional medical director, medical director of sexual and reproductive health, primary care lead and cares for an active family medicine panel at an award-winning Patient Centred Medical Home practice in the US. Dr Meisinger leads the system transformation team at the Harvard Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School.
General Practitioners play a crucial role in improving the health outcomes of people living with COVID-19.
Attend this free 90-minute training to hear key findings from the 2022 Australasian COVID-19 conference, and to improve your knowledge and skills to support patients with COVID-19.
With this year’s conference theme being ‘Taking stock of our COVID toolkit,’ findings will centre on new and existing tools that we have access to in order to comprehensively address the prevention, treatment and management of COVID-19/SARS-COV-2 and the evolving challenges presented.
This webinar is open to all, with a focus on General Practice.
The Immunisation Coalition will be hosting the 6th Annual Adult Immunisation Forum as a virtual event on Monday 22 August 2022. This is a free event and will run from 0800- 1800 AEST.
This one day event continues to build on the aims:
Understanding Financial & Accounting Practices Using Bp Premier
Presented by Best Practice
The Immunisation Coalition’s 2022 Adult Immunisation Forum
Presented by AIF
Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention - Online Workshop
Presented by Black Dog Institute