1 September 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.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) recently sent an email to general practices for expressions of interest to start using Primary Sense, an easy to use population health management, clinical decision support and data extraction tool.
As WAPHA’s data extraction tool of choice, the cost of Primary Sense will be fully subsidised for general practices in Western Australia that share their de-identified, full population health data set.
Designed by GPs, data experts and researchers, Primary Sense extracts de-identified general practice data and uses evidence-based algorithms to provide GPs with real-time medication alerts, reports and patient-care prompts. It also provides general practices and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) with on-demand reporting to help with population health management.
Primary Sense has been tried and tested in general practices since 2018 and it is already being used by more than 700 Gold Coast GPs. To find out more, view the Making the most of Primary Sense webinar with Dr Lisa Beecham, a Gold Coast PHN board member, discussing the benefits for GPs and the practice team.
Primary Sense will be available from October this year for general practices in Western Australia that use Best Practice or Medical Director as a clinical software system. Throughout September, WAPHA will be conducting a series of webinars to demonstrate the benefits of Primary Sense for general practices.
The first round of expressions of interest closes on 9 September 2022. To express your interest to use Primary Sense, contact WAPHA’s Primary Sense team by emailing email@example.com
For further information about Primary Sense and a comprehensive list of FAQs, visit the Primary Sense webpage in the Practice Assist Tool Kit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).
Almost half of all Australian adults will face mental ill-health at some point in their lives. The family GP is often the first contact point when a mental health issue emerge.
Mental illness comes in many forms, from mood disorders to psychosis as well as eating disorders. Greater awareness is needed to break down stigmas around mental health and open the lines of communication to speak openly and share concerns. Mental health is something that cannot be ignored, and the sooner help is sought the better the outcome.
Patients can be offered a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan (GP MHTP) utilising appropriate Medicare item numbers. This is a detailed assessment of the patient’s history, symptoms, treatment options and available support services. Under the plan patients may receive up to a maximum of 10 rebated allied mental health services per calendar year as part of the Better Access Initiative. Since July 2022 mental health and eating disorder MBS items have also become permanent telehealth options.
Considering the additional difficulties presented from the Pandemic, patients experiencing severe or enduring mental health impacts from COVID-19 and restrictions, can access a further 10 Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions each calendar year until 31 December 2022.
Approximately one million Australians are living with an eating disorder in any given year; that is 4% of the population. An eating disorder is about much more than food; it is a mental illness. Unhealthy eating behaviours and relentless thoughts about food are symptoms of more complex issues. An eating disorder can take over a person’s life, but all eating disorders can be treated and full recovery is possible at every age.
In 2019, MBS item numbers were introduced for Eating Disorder Management Plans (EDMP) for people living with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, the EDMP can be used to enable access to comprehensive treatment and management services, including:
Providers are discouraged from using a MHTP and EDMP simultaneously.
Please find below key resources for mental health care plans and eating disorders to assist your practice.
For further assistance contact our Practice QI Team and Primary Care Navigators via Practice Assist, they can help support the business of General Practice and use practice data to help plan Quality Improvement activities.
For patients with an eating disorder, accurate recording by the practice team allows for correct treatment, decreased stigma and increased safety. As with recording a physical health diagnosis, an eating disorder should be a recorded diagnosis. If preferred, it may be marked as confidential, or inactive if no longer a concern. Free text diagnosis in practice management software is not picked up in database searches and this can potentially lead to patients falling through the gaps in follow-up care. Correct clinical coding of free text diagnosis is a great opportunity for Quality Improvement (QI) activities within your practice. The following are guides to assist in this process:
Pen CS- BP users bulk clean-up of free text diagnosis
Pen CS- Med Director users bulk clean-up of free text diagnosis
With clean data, there are several ways to identify patients that have been diagnosed with an eating disorder in the practice:
Best Practice – search under conditions tab
Medical Director -search under conditions tab
Collecting a weight for a patient with or at risk of an eating disorder can be a distressing experience for the patient. The Eating Disorders Toolkit developed by Brisbane South PHN, provides a comprehensive guidance for General Practice to increase the ability to better manage the physical and mental health of patients with an eating disorder.
Collection of weight is an excellent opportunity to meet practice PIP QI measures :
QIM 3. Proportion of patients with a weight classification
Using the CAT4 data extraction tool, you can identify those without these key measurements and put activities in place to collect them. See the Pen CS guide Add Weight, Height, and Waist Measurements to Patient Record
PDSAs are a tool that assists with documenting Quality Improvement activities in your practice. Our Quality Improvement Toolkit can assist you in understanding and developing QI activities within your practice. We also have a dedicated team of experienced, passionate QI coaches to assist you, contact Practice Assist and one of our team will connect you with your coach.
WA Health has prepared a quick guide for primary care that can assist with assessment and testing of monkeypox.
The one page pdf can be printed here to assist with presentations of possible monkeypox.
The quick guide can be found via Monkeypox under testing and guidance.
The ‘Look for signs of monkeypox’ public health campaign aims to encourage people to look out for symptoms of monkeypox and to seek medical advice if they suspect they have the virus.
Follow this link to access WA Health posters and social media tiles.
Join the RACGP WA and the WA Department of Health for an update on Monkeypox. Our panel will provide key updates for GPs and answer any questions you may have.
The Australian Government has extended the supply of PPE, treatments, rapid antigen tests and other supplies from the National Medical Stockpile to 31 December 2022.
The PPE ordering process will remain the same, PPE order form available here for all requests for:
COVID-19 PCR testing through the MBS for tests requested by a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner for the clinical management of patients has also been extended through to 31 December 2022.
Practice managers, GPs and patients are advised that public COVID testing clinics in metropolitan Perth will scale back their weekday opening hours from 5 September. From 1 October, GP referrals will be needed for PCR testing by private pathology providers.
The changes reflect reduced demand for PCR testing and the wide availability and uptake of rapid antigen tests.
The key changes are:
Changes for Perth COVID testing clinics:
Opening hours at regional public COVID clinics in Bunbury, Broome and Kununurra remain unchanged.
Learn more at health.wa.gov.au WA Health: Changes to COVID-19 testing clinics to reflect declining case numbers
GP referral for private pathology providers
In most circumstances, a RAT is suitable to test for COVID-19, however access to PCR testing will remain.
From 1 October, people seeking PCR testing by private pathology providers will need a referral from their GP or medical practitioner. The usual fees for GP clinics will apply.
This new approach to COVID-19 testing aligns with existing testing for other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has made recommendations on the use of Nuvaxovid (Novavax) in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.
The Australian Government has accepted this advice and practices can administer this vaccine to this cohort from 5 September.
All primary care vaccination sites may commence administering Novavax to this population immediately if they have appointments and stock available.
The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has launched its Spikevax (Moderna) six months to under five years vaccine training module.
Vaccine administrators need to complete the core modules as well as the preceding Spikevax (Moderna) 3. and 3.a modules before starting.
The Practice Incentives Program (PIP) COVID-19 In-Reach Vaccination Payment Guidelines have been published.
The revised guidelines reflect the extension of the incentive to 31 December 2022.
The National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) aims to prevent cervical cancer with regular testing. Today most cervical cancers occur in people who have never screened or do not screen regularly.
To support even more people to access regular cervical screening, the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) expanded the screening test options, offering self-collection as a choice to all people participating in cervical screening.
These changes mean that healthcare providers may start to see an increase in the volume of requests from patients to use self-collection as an option for their Cervical Screening Test. For more information, view the latest National Cervical Screening Program update on self-collection eligibility expansion.
In preparation for potential increases in requests for self-collection, practices are encouraged to engage early with their usual pathology provider to order the required swabs and other consumables. For more information about the processing of self-collected vaginal samples for cervical screening visit the Australian Government website.
WA Health has reviewed and updated the resource ‘WA Childhood Vaccination Record Card’. The WA childhood vaccination record card IMM – 1059 has been discontinued. The updated ‘WA Childhood Vaccination Record Card IMM – 148’ is a parent-record that can be inserted into a child’s Purple Book (0-4 years old).
The childhood vaccination record card is available to order from the WA Health online ordering warehouse. This is a free bulk ordering service. Resources may be altered periodically, please place orders on an as-needs-basis to ensure your stock is current and up-to-date.
Cancer Council, in partnership with the Australian Government, recently launched a national campaign to encourage people to Get2it and participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).
As a part of this, content and resources have been developed specifically for GPs and other primary care health professionals to continue to encourage their patients to take part in bowel cancer screening.
This includes a free webinar series titled ‘Getting to the bottom of bowel screening’, which we encourage you and those in your professional network to attend.
This educational series will be presented by an array of experts from across Australia talking to key topics in the bowel screening space, providing valuable insights to GPs and health professionals to help drive participation in screening.
See below for key dates, topics and registration links:
Bowel cancer screening – from the GP perspective
Recording available via registering here
Getting to the bottom of colonoscopy use in bowel screening
Tuesday 6 September (8.00 to 9.00pm AEST)
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) invites you to attend their 25th Anniversary Showcase live stream.
A day of inspiring presentations from Australian and international experts to commemorate the moments that have shaped the immunisation landscape over the past 25 years, with a look towards the future.
Thursday, 15 September, 07:30 - 14:30 (AWST)
This webinar provides viewers with an update regarding pertussis epidemiology and current trends in vaccination rates.
Low pertussis booster rates in Australian adults impact the epidemiology of the disease. This webinar explores what current literature indicates are the barriers and potential enablers to improving pertussis vaccination rates in Australia, and therefore reducing disease burden and complications.
All healthcare provider organisations must transition to NASH SHA-2 by 31 December 2022 to maintain access to important digital health tools such as electronic prescribing, secure messaging and My Health Record.
NASH is a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solution used to access digital health services such as:
To check if you have the required SHA-2 certificate or for further details on how to update your certificate, please click here.
If you would like further information please visit our Digital Health Tool Kit page on our website ,or contact the Practice Assist team on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 22 77 478).
North Metropolitan TAFE is looking for suitable opportunities for its final stage students to complete a Primary Health Care placement. The 40 hour (one week) placements can be completed in a range of settings within clinics or the community. Clinical facilitation of one hour per student per day (or the equivalent by negotiation) will be provided. As an added incentive, funding of $600 per student is currently available through a program funded by the Department of Training and Workforce Development. Placements anywhere within the Perth metropolitan region are suitable.
More information on the Diploma of Nursing at NMTAFE is available here.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has developed an educational resource to assist health practitioners and providers to understand the Medicare rules and requirements around bulk billing and covers charging for consumables, vaccine administration and membership fees.
View the educational resource here.
Asthma Australia has developed a two-part video summarising the new guidelines on performing spirometry safely in primary care settings. It aims to support you in performing spirometry in your practice confidently and safely in this current pandemic context.
The short videos provide practical and guideline based information presented by Dr Kerry Hancock, GP and Richard Parsons, Senior Respiratory Scientist.
Read more 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 primary, community and acute 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.
We’re aware that a small number of HealthPathways users have recently had problems logging into the HealthPathways site, with login attempts redirecting to an error page. The error that was causing this problem has been fixed; however, if there are still access issues:
If you are experiencing issues logging in to HealthPathways WA, email email@example.com for assistance. To gain access, you can send a request via email or use the ‘Request a login’ form on the HealthPathways WA Project Site.
Recently Reviewed Pathways
Narrogin and Northam hospitals have recently opened subacute rehabilitation inpatient units. See the below health professional or patient brochures for more information.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is increasing in Australia, with the age-standardised mortality rate increasing greater than any other cancer over the past four decades. The University of Melbourne and University of Western Australia, together with GPs, hepatologists and consumers, have designed a comprehensive liver screening program to help identify cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma in primary care. Participating general practices will consent for potential patients aged 45-75years old, with at least one risk factor for chronic liver disease to be a part of the Identifying Cirrhosis and liver Cancer in primary Care (IC3) Liver Health Trial.
More information is available here.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved.
The State Government provides two schemes to assist eligible Western Australians with the cost of energy used in the treatment of specified medical conditions under medical advice.
The applicant may be either the patient or the guardian/caregiver if the patient is living in their home.
From 14 September 2022, applications can be made online, making it easier and faster for applicants and medical practitioners to provide the required information and certifications.
Read more here
Please AVOID addressing referrals to specific RPH and Bentley Hospital consultants by name wherever possible. Referring to the speciality without naming a consultant allows the referral to be allocated to any suitable qualified specialist within the speciality so that your patient receives the first available appointment for their clinical triage urgency (Urgent, Semi-Urgent, Routine).
Referrals to named consultants follow these same booking principles however as they are limited to only one consultant’s clinic, patients often end up waiting longer to be seen as some RPBG consultants only provide a fortnightly or monthly clinic.
However, if you have discussed a case with a particular consultant or registrar, please include the name of the doctor you spoke with on the referral.
Dr Jacquie Garton-Smith, Hospital Liaison GP, Royal Perth Bentley Group
These resources are a compilation of fact 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 email@example.com with ideas and comments.
Concussion management in general practice
View the flyer here
WA Primary Health Alliance is partnering with Tonic Media Network to offer GPs an in-depth discussion on the current clinical landscape of Long COVID, what evidence informed care looks like and what it all means for general practice, including a Q&A with the panelists.
Hosted by: Dr Norman Swan, multi-award winning broadcaster and journalist, founder Tonic Media Network
Webinar Registration - Zoom
View the flyer here
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) and Women’s Health Strategy and Programs (WHSP) together with Women and Newborn Health Service (WNHS) King Edward Memorial Hospital are hosting a GP face-to-face education event for GPs working in suburbs with high prevalence of women affected by female circumcision or traditional cutting.
View the flyer here
For more information, contact the Training & Communities of Practice team at WAPHA on Training.CoP@wapha.org.au or 08 6272 4912
An Introduction to Trauma-Informed Care for Patients - September 8
This training helps us understand why we need a trauma-informed approach for our patients to feel safe. From first contact, when they arrive at our doorstep, when they are in our rooms, how we can show them that we care and that we understand. This interactive session is based on research evidence and has been developed in consultation with Dr Ann O’Neill, founder of angelhands Inc. It will include strategies to support your daily interactions with clients who are affected by past/current emotional traumas.
View the flyer here
Webinar on DVA health arrangements for those running, or working in, a general practice
Presented by Department of Veterans Affairs
Complexities in working with co-occurring mental health and alcohol and other drug presentations
Presented by Mental Health Professionals Netowrk (MHPN)
Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention - Online Workshop
Presented by Black Dog Institute