15 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.
Expressions of interests are still open to start using Primary Sense – an easy to use population health management, clinical decision support and data extraction tool – in your general practice.
The PHN-owned tool has been scaled up to assist with patients’ risk assessments, reporting and care planning and can assist practice managers and nurses to:
Designed by GPs, data experts and researchers, Primary Sense extracts de-identified practice data and uses evidence-based algorithms to provide general practice staff with real-time medication alerts, reports and patient-care prompts. It also provides practices and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) with on-demand reporting to help with population health management.
For a quick snapshot of how Primary Sense works in practices, view the short introductory video. To find out more about the benefits for GPs and the practice team, view the Making the most of Primary Sense webinar with Dr Lisa Beecham, a Gold Coast PHN board member.
As WAPHA’s data extraction tool of choice, the cost of Primary Sense will be fully subsidised for practices in Western Australia that share their de-identified, full population health data set.
More than 100 general practices have already expressed interest in using Primary Sense. You can easily make the switch too, by emailing email@example.com
For further information about Primary Sense, 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).
Many practices are being inundated with patients in need of mental health support. MindSpot GP provides the community with free online and telephone-based assessment and treatment for anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, substance use, and coping with chronic pain and chronic health conditions. If online or telephone treatment is not suitable, we can refer patients to ORS Psychology for up to six free face-to-face sessions.
MindSpot GP supports people who are referred by GPs and health professionals from across Western Australia. No mental health treatment plan is required for patients to access our services. Our team comprises psychologists, mental-health workers and researchers, and to date, we have supported more than 200,000 Australians.
By delivering care virtually, MindSpot GP works to ensure that every adult can access the support they need, when they need it. Our service is used by a broad demographic in the community, including those who prefer to receive support in the comfort of their own home.
Over 95% of people who have completed one of our clinically-validated courses have said they would recommend us to a friend. Most people see a 50% reduction in their symptoms following treatment.
GPs in Country WA can refer patients to MindSpot GP via their Integrated Mental Health Care Provider (Mental Health portal). Please refer to HealthPathwaysWA for your local Mental Health Portal provider or for more information, please contact us.
To find out more about MindSpot GP and how practices can use this service, visit www.mindspot.org.au/mindspot-gp/ or call 1800 61 44 34.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is responsible for planning, guiding and directing investment towards primary health services, including mental health services. WAPHA’s role is to simplify and increase access to primary healthcare.
Approximately 50% of WAPHA's program expenditure is on primary care mental health services. To discover how WAPHA is working with general practice to support people experiencing mental health issues, please see our factsheet for GPs or listen to the factsheet in audio format. We are working with our partners to achieve an integrated mental health service system, ensuring people can access excellent care closer to home that best meets their mental health needs
Below you will find links to a series of resources including factsheets, webinars and audio content related to WAPHA’s Mental Health Framework and Mental Health Strategy. These materials have been developed to describe where we fit within the broader mental health system, how WAPHA fits in the broader mental health system, and how we work with key partners and our strategic priorities for mental health. The materials also outline the scope of our mental health activities and provide context to our approach and initiatives.
To assist GPs in providing care and support for their patients that may experience, or be at risk of mental ill health, WAPHA commissions mental health funding on behalf of the Australian Government. We invest in community-based services that are aligned to local needs.
Services focus on providing people living with mild to moderate mental health issues, who have limited access to the Medicare Benefit Scheme Better Access program, alternative accessible services. This may include people in rural and remote areas with limited service providers.
A full listing of WAPHA's mental health service providers can be seen here: https://services.wapha.org.au/ where you can filter by region and service type.
HealthPathways WA provides clinicians with online guidance for referring patients to local services (including those with mental health issues) across Western Australia. For more information, please refer to the HealthPathways article below.
HealthPathways WA has many pathways and request pages (service information) on mental health specific to child and youth, adults, and older adults. These pages can assist GPs in consultation with patients and act as a reference for other health care professionals, if needed. There are also pathways to increase awareness of:
The site also has request pages designed to make it easier to find relevant mental health services available in the patient’s area – these are broken down into acute, non-acute, advice and support types:
There is also a General Practitioners’ Health page which contains services designed to support General Practitioners and other health professionals.
To gain access, you can request a login via the HealthPathways WA Project Site and complete the ‘Request a login’ form, or email the team at email@example.com. You can use the search bar, located at the top of the webpage, or the left-hand navigation panel to search for information. 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.
To meet these needs, there are several mental health and wellbeing options available that are tailored to meet the needs of health workers.
General Practices in the Peel Region can now benefit from the release of the Peel Mental Health Service Directory. The resource provides an easy way to see all the available mental health, alcohol and other drug, and psychosocial support services in the Peel region. The directory contains over 150 listings of services delivered primarily in the Mandurah, Waroona and Murray areas.
The directory can be used alongside Health Pathways WA to navigate people through services and guide referrals. To access the Peel Mental Health Service Directory please download the latest version here. Information is updated nightly, so it is important to download the latest version of the PDF via the online link regularly.
The service directory has been created with members of the services sub-group of the Peel Mental Health Taskforce. It has been has been initially launched to service providers and clinicians. A public launch will coincide with a model of care at a later date.
The Peel Mental Health Program is jointly funded by South Metropolitan Health Service, WA Primary Health Alliance and Mental Health Commission.
For further information please contact Simone Kerrigan email@example.com
The Child & Adolescent Health Service is seeking General Practice feedback on revisions that they are making to the referral criteria for their 10 metropolitan Community Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) teams. They have found that their public information for families and referrers does not match the cohort of children and young people that they are able to see, and have tried to clarify this in order to reduce confusion for the community. They are proposing that the following statement will appear on CAMHS websites, brochures and referral form:
CAMHS would like to hear your responses to this and any questions or concerns you have. Please email feedback to Max.Armstrong@health.wa.gov.au by COB Friday 23 September.
ATAGI has released recommendations on the use of the Moderna bivalent Original/Omicron vaccine following its provisional registration by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for use as a booster dose in people aged 18 years and older.
Read the statement here
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.
As we continue to navigate life with COVID-19, we are seeing a rapid return of international movements of people and pathogens.
In this National Centre for Immunisation and Research Surveillance (NCIRS) webinar, there is discussion and updates on the prevention and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the context of this increase in international travel.
Watch the video recording of the webinar for updates on travel vaccination recommendations and pre-travel consultations with a healthcare provider.
As the Australian influenza (flu) season winds down, AusVaxSafety has concluded its yearly active safety surveillance of 2022 seasonal flu vaccines used in Australia. Over 5 months of surveillance, AusVaxSafety received more than 160,000 completed day 3 safety surveys from individuals who received a flu vaccine and participated in the AusVaxSafety surveillance program.
Data analysed over the surveillance period were reassuring, with no safety issues identified. The rate of reported vaccine side effects was comparable with previous years’, and medical attendance rates in the days following vaccination were low across all age groups.
Read the report here
The chapter has been updated to include revised recommendations for skin testing before BCG vaccination.
A tuberculin skin test before BCG vaccination is now only recommended in limited circumstances, based on a risk assessment.
All other sections of the chapter have also been updated.
Practices will soon start receiving postcards in the mail showing the latest immunisation rates among two year old children in their practice area and surrounds. These postcards, produced by the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD), will be mailed out to practices annually.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the lives of Western Australian’s (WA), but particularly on those working in our health services, including general practices. Thanks to your hard work and dedication through these unprecedented times, the overall immunisation rate for two-year old children is 91.7%. This figure is slightly below immunisation uptake in one-year old (93.8%) and five-year old children (93.4%) in WA in 2021.
We appreciate the crucial role that general practices play in helping WA reach our 95% coverage target required to prevent transmission of highly infectious vaccine preventable diseases in our state.
At every opportunity, we encourage your staff to review the immunisation history of all young children in your practice and to reinforce the importance of being up to date with immunisations among parents and care givers.
WAPHA will provide advice on the priority locations for GP training placements to meet current and future GP workforce needs, through the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) Program GP Workforce Planning and Prioritisation grant.
This work will make a vital contribution to the future of GP training that will be delivered by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) from February 2023.
Read the full media release here.
Visit the WAPHA Focus on WA’s future GP workforce page for more information.
There have been changes to the Planned Community Transport Services model in Western Australia (previously known as Priority 4 patient transports).
Planned Community Patient Transports commenced on 15 August 2022 and includes the transport of eligible community patients to/from a community-based location.
This includes transports from:
A patient must be eligible for NEPPTS. Eligibility requires a written referral from a medical practitioner specifying that it is Clinically Necessary to be transported to and from a Medical Facility using Community Patient Transport Services. They also must be over the age of 65, or over the age of 55 if they identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. A patient may be partially or fully funded for this program and full details can be found in the Fact Sheet.
Please see also refer to the Planned Community Transport Health WA Page for additional information and promotion.
If you have any queries about the Planned Community Transports, contact the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
This guide was funded by the Western Australian Department of Health Research Translation Project, and developed by the University of Notre Dame Australia.
People with intellectual disability (ID) often experience poorer health than people without disability. They are more likely to have common health conditions undermanaged, and have more than one physical and/or mental health condition simultaneously.
This comprehensive health care guide was developed with the aim of supporting the health of people with cognitive impairment, for ease of reading it makes reference to people with ID throughout. Whether the person with ID lives independently, with family, or in supported accommodation, they may need additional help to access health services, and engage with clinicians.
The guide may also be used by health professionals who are supporting the health of a person with ID, and includes a section on 'Primary Care in the Community'.
Access the full guide here
Pride in Health + Wellbeing is excited to offer general practices the opportunity to apply for one of 12 memberships in Pride in Health + Wellbeing, intended to help smaller organisations and general practices provide more LGBTQ inclusive care. These memberships will allow organisations to not only review and upskill on their care for gender and sexuality diverse patients/service users, but also to measure this change through the free annual Health + Wellbeing Equality Index (HWEI) benchmark and surveys.
For further information and application form please click here. Closing date for applications is 1 October 2022.
From 27 September 2022, the NEW Adult Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Referral Access Criteria (RAC) and Referral form applies to all referrals, submitted via the Central Referral Service, for public Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy services in WA.
The updated criteria are available via the WA Department of Health RAC webpage.
The NEW Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Referral form is available via the WA Department of Health CRS Referral form templates webpage
Referrals to regional (WACHS) sites are to be sent directly to the relevant site as per current process.
Specialist RAC are standardised referral criteria that provide guidance around:
The Adult Ophthalmology RAC and Adult Plastic Surgery RAC are in development and will be implemented over the coming months.
Further information, including a series of FAQs, is available on the WA Department of Health Referral Access Criteria webpage or for specific questions email the project team at DOHSpecialistRAC@health.wa.gov.au.
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.
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
This live discussion will provide insights into the challenges facing General Practice today, Medicare reform, and the strategic priorities facing one of Australia’s most influential ministers. It will also allow you to ask questions of the minister.
View the flyer here
Register now to attend a free webinar on ‘Interpreting Spirometry’ presented by Charlene Butler, Senior Respiratory Scientist and Max Jenkins-Cooney, Respiratory Health Nurse, Asthma WA.
This webinar will include:
Please note, this session has been pre-recorded. If you are unable to attend on the day/time please still register if you wish to receive a link to the recording. If you have any specific questions please email to me so I can forward to the presenter.
For more information, contact Shelley Harwood: firstname.lastname@example.org, (08) 9289 3680 or 0412 415 379.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is hosting a number of free webinars throughout September and October 2022. These webinars are part of the Improving the sustainability of your practice series, which is proudly supported by CommBank Health.
The following webinars are being held as part of the series:
Registrations for all webinars are now open and CPD points are available.
Smart Referrals WA is a project being run by the WA Department of Health which aims to digitise and streamline the external outpatient referral management process into WA Health facilities. Smart Referrals WA focuses on the front end of external referral management from referral generation, Central Referral Service (CRS) receipt and allocation through to site acceptance/rejection and communication throughout the process with both the referring GP and patient. The project is a recommendation from the 2019 CRS Review and is being delivered as part of DoH’s Outpatient Reform Program.
We are currently completing an open tender process to procure the Smart Referrals solution and at the same time are meeting with key users of this new platform to understand the benefits and impacts on referrers.
The aim of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for GP’s to help WA Health understand the challenges, enablers and benefits for GP’s in Smart Referrals. We want to understand the benefits, impacts and barriers of Smart Referrals from GP’s perspectives. We also want to understand how, from your perspective, we can best engage and support GPs to adopt the solution.
Register your interest
To register your interest to attend this workshop complete the eform in the following link by the 16 September 22: Register your interest here
The workshop is strictly limited to 20 GPs and attendees will be reimbursed $240 in lieu of session fees. Confirmation of your successful registration will be provided on the 21 September 2022.
Should you wish for further information on the Smart Referrals WA project please contact the project team at DOHSmartReferralsWA@health.wa.gov.au
Imagined Futures Alliance Against Depression (IFAAD) is preparing to host their second GP Dinner Workshop for 2022. Building upon the success of the first event, this one will be held in a larger venue, to accommodate the increased number of GP’s anticipated to attend.
Guest speaker Dr Mat Coleman (Psychiatrist) will aim to improve GP’s knowledge of recommended approaches to treating depression in young people. The event will also provide an opportunity for GPs to connect with local mental health service providers and learn about referral options.
The event is limited to GPs and mental health professionals servicing the Local Government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville. This event is just one of IFAAD’s community-based activities that align to the Alliance Against Depression framework, informed by the evidence-based European Alliance Against Depression.
To reserve a place at this workshop, please contact Imagined Futures Alliance Against Depression by email at Ifaad@stpats.com.au
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