Practice Connect #158

24 November 2022

Welcome to this edition of Practice Connect, a fortnightly update for practice managers, nurses and practice administration staff on relevant issues, upcoming events and education.

Acknowledgement of Country 

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 wellbeing 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.


Primary Sense


Primary Sense goes live in WA with the first installation at Lagoon Medical Centre

A big congratulations to Lagoon Medical Centre in the southern Perth suburb of Yangebup, which was the first general practice in WA to install the Primary Sense data tool on Friday 18 November.
Thank you to Dr Charles Meribole Lagoon Medical Centre Practice Principal, Bridget Newman Practice Manager and Nigel Onamade Practice IT Provider for their enthusiasm and patience during the installation. After ticking all the boxes, Primary Sense was installed successfully and the key learnings will be used to speed up future installations.
Throughout November and December, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) will be facilitating the Primary Sense installation process with numerous other general practices that have completed the steps in the onboarding process.
If your practice would like to make the switch to Primary Sense, simply follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Complete and submit the online Expression of Interest form.
  • Step 2: When your nominated contact person receives the response email, complete and submit the online Practice Checklist form.
  • Step 3: After receiving, reviewing, signing and returning your new Primary Sense Data Sharing Agreement (DSA), complete and submit the online IT Checklist form.

For further information about Primary Sense, visit the Primary Sense Tool Kit or contact the Practice Assist team by emailing or calling 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).

Nigel from PC Health Desk and Practice Manager Bridget work to install Primary Sense at Lagoon Medical Centre. Dr Charles Meribole (Principal GP), Bridget and Carley Owers (WAPHA Primary Care Navigator) celebrate the successful installation of Primary Sense.



Primary Sense Practice Managers’ Breakfast a huge success – don’t miss the upcoming webinars

Last week on Thursday 17 November, a group of general practice representatives attended the free Primary Sense Practice Managers’ Breakfast at WA Primary Health Alliance’s head office in Subiaco.
After networking over coffee and breakfast, the attendees took part in an interactive presentation where they had the opportunity to learn more about the benefits, application, resources, onboarding and installation of the new Primary Sense data tool.
The presentation included a demonstration of Primary Sense’s key benefits for general practices, including real-time medication alerts, patient-care prompts, patient opt out, one-click reports and embedded continuous quality improvement.
One of the major discussion points during the presentation was about Primary Sense’s high level of data security. The presenters explained that the software de-identifies data before it leaves the practice. The data is then securely transmitted to a central database managed in Australia by the PHN-owned Primary Health Insights (PHI) hosting platform that uses best in class data security, governance and privacy in line with the Data Sharing Agreement (DSA).

To find out more about the benefits of Primary Sense and the onboarding process, register for one of the upcoming Primary Sense webinars on Tuesday 6 December or Thursday 15 December.

For further information, view the flyer or click here to register your attendance.


Feature Topic - Sexual Health, LGBTQIA+ Cultural Safety


Creating welcoming and inclusive clinical environments for trans, gender diverse and non-binary people

The Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway is now live.
This ground-breaking new HealthPathway outlines the assessment, management and referral pathways to specialised services for trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) people of all ages.
Based on national and international guidelines, it provides advice on creating welcoming and inclusive clinical environments for TGDNB people, provides details on available supports for TGDNB people and their families. The HealthPathway outlines how to assess and manage TGDNB people of all ages and includes local referral pathways for specialist services as well as a section on professional support.
Development of the Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway began with a working group of GPs with experience in transgender health, specialists, representatives from the TGDNB community and researchers to discuss local issues relating to TGDNB health.  Further development took place in consultation with a subject matter expert (SME) group including specialists from the Royal Perth Hospital and Perth Children’s Hospital Gender Diversity Services and representatives from the TGDNB community. GPs with experience in transgender health were also involved in pathway development. Final consultation was undertaken with Department of Health WA. 
Visit HealthPathways WA to access the newly launched Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway. For login details to HealthPathways email with your full name, professional role and practice name or complete the online form available here

Register your interest: HealthPathways Gender diversity and transgender health webinar series - 2023

The HealthPathways WA team in collaboration with the WAPHA Training and Communities of Practice team and the Hospital Liaison GPs at Royal Perth Hospital and Perth Children’s Hospital are pleased to announce a 3-part webinar series on trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) health in 2023.

The sessions can be attended individually or as a series.

Details are as follows:
  • Session 1- Tuesday 7th March 2023 6-8pm: Trans, gender diverse and non-binary health- general overview including definition of terms and language, introduction to TGDNB health and creating welcoming clinical environments. Open to all of practice including GPs, practice nurses, Aboriginal health workers, Aboriginal health practitioners and practice managers.
  • Session 2- Tuesday 21st March 2023 6-8pm: Trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) child and adolescent health including supporting TGDNB children, adolescents and their families in general practice, a GP perspective and clinical case studies - targeting GPs.
  • Session 3- Tuesday 4th April 2023 6-8pm: Trans, gender diverse and non-binary adult health including an overview of gender affirmation and clinical case studies- targeting GPs.
Click here to register your interest - you will be contacted by email by the WAPHA Training and Communities of Practice team when registration opens.



LGBTIQ+ support in Primary Care: Quality Improvement Activity Opportunities

Your practice can undertake a number of actions to create a more inclusive environment for gender and sexually diverse people, and these can be documented as part of your practice’s QI journey.

For example:

Collecting and recording information about patient sex, gender, variations of sex characteristics and sexual orientation – does your patient registration form need to be updated?

Considering how you collect and record patient sex and gender will help your practice to be more accurate in its data collection and responsive to the needs of your patients. Share this RACGP 5th Edition Standards Fact sheet with your team for guidance on your practice’s data collection methods.
Ensure all practice GPs and clinical staff have been on-boarded to Health Pathways WA and are familiar with the clinical health pathway Transgender Health and Gender Diversity.
Implement more inclusive practices in your clinic:
  • Access the LGBTI To-Do List  – developed by WA Department of Health as part of the Western Australian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Health Strategy 2019 – 2024
  • Utilise the Creating Welcoming Environments resource page at TransHub

Your local Quality Improvement Coach can guide and support you in undertaking and documenting these suggested QI activities. To be connected with your local QI Coach please contact Practice Assist.



Sexual Health and LGBTIQ+ support in primary care

A visit to a medical health facility can make people uncomfortable for a number of reasons.  Health professionals often need sensitive information to assist with care delivery that people may be uncomfortable with revealing. It is important for the whole health team to create an environment in which these conversations are more comfortable for the patients.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community consists of a cross cultural, broad range of community members, and includes all races, ethnic and religious backgrounds, and range of socioeconomic status.
While the acronym LGBTIQ+ encompasses diverse communities and individuals, LGBTIQ+ people share generally poorer health and wellbeing outcomes than the heterosexual and cisgendered community.
The common goal and health care needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex, queer and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities throughout Australia and the world, should be free from stigma and discrimination.
See below a comprehensive list of LGBTIQ+ Community Services and Support:

There is a wide range of training modules and other resources for primary care and mental health care providers.  Here are some examples below:

The Government of Western Australia, Department of Health have introduced the Western Australian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Health Strategy 2019 – 2024 that strives to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI populations living in WA. Creating and fostering sustainable change requires a collective and holistic approach.
HealthPathways WA has a clinical pathway on Transgender Health and Gender Diversity.  This pathway is for patients of all ages whose gender identity is different to that which was assigned at birth.
Our practice Primary Care Navigators and Quality Improvement Coaches can assist practices to use their practice data to identify patients in target groups as well as assistance with developing quality improvement strategies.

For further information contact us via Practice Assist.



COVID-19 Updates



Support for people at greater risk

Western Australia’s COVID-19 home monitoring program WA COVID Care at Home is closing, with the final patient intake on Wednesday, 30 November 2022.

From 1 December, people who test COVID-19 positive and are at greater risk of severe disease from COVID-19 are advised to contact their GP or specialist for support and care.

It's anticipated that GPs and specialists will continue to discuss eligibility for COVID-19 prescription treatments (antiviral medications) for these patients, and develop a care plan to follow if they get COVID-19.

More information for people at greater risk is available on HealthyWA: COVID-19 cases and contacts (



COVID-19 Pfizer Bivalent vaccine

The Australian Government has accepted advice from ATAGI, and will now incorporate the following vaccines into the COVID-19 Vaccination Program:

  • Pfizer bivalent (Grey) for boosters in people aged 18 years or older, from 12 December 2022
  • Pfizer (Maroon) vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years, from 16 January 2023.

All sites currently participating in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program will be onboarded for Pfizer bivalent (Grey) and Pfizer (Maroon) vaccine for children across two Tranches, with the ordering window for the first of each trance opening:

  • Pfizer bivalent (Grey) on Saturday 19 November 2022
  • Pfizer (Maroon) vaccine for children on Saturday 3 December 2022.

Your practice should have received onboarding information. If you are not able to find this information, please contact Practice Assist.  Call 1800 2 ASSIST or email



Infection prevention and control guidelines

Following the end of WA’s State of Emergency, individual healthcare facilities, including GP clinics, should adopt their own in-house policies and practices to protect against COVID-19.
WA Health’s updated COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control guidelines for Western Australian Healthcare Facilities provides a useful guide that GPs and Practice Managers may wish to adapt for their own clinic needs, as appropriate. Further information is available in the latest Clinician alert.

Practices requiring support with transition to business as usual are encouraged to contact Practice Assist, call 1800 2 ASSIST or email
Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information for health professionals.



Immunisation & Cancer Screening Updates

Immunisation history tables

The immunisation history tables for several vaccine preventable diseases have been updated by NCIRS ( National Centre for Immunisation Research and surveillance).

These tables provide a summary of the significant events in vaccination practice in Australia. Access here



Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care resources

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care have updated the following resources for General Practice to share with patients.

These are downloadable infographics, posters and brochures:



Vaccination before international travel

With international travel resuming, travellers should discuss with their healthcare provider the need to receive any additional vaccines before travel and also discuss other preventative measures to avoid disease.  Below are a number of considerations, general advice, and useful links and resources for healthcare providers to help patients plan for their travel.

For specific travel vaccination advice, patients should be referred to a travel medicine service.


  • Who is travelling and what are their needs?
  • What is the purpose of travel and what areas will they be visiting (rural or urban)?
  • What activities will they be undertaking?
  • Are they up to date with their routine vaccinations?
  • What is the best time to administer additional vaccines before travel?
  • What documentation will they need, for example, Yellow fever card?

Travel information and advice

Provide information about other travel health relevant to their individual circumstances and destination, relating to:
  • prevention of food and water-borne disease (hepatitis A and typhoid)
  • prevention of vector-borne diseases (Japanese encephalitis, malaria, dengue)
  • aerosol-borne infections (COVID-19, influenza, meningococcal)
  • blood-borne infections (hepatitis B and C, and HIV)
  • close physical contact (monkeypox)

Useful links and resources

Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Australian Government




Calling Australian GPs and practice staff– join our focus group discussion!

The Daffodil Centre – a partnership between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney, is inviting general practitioners (GPs) and practice staff to take part in a new study that aims to co-design a general practice led intervention to increase National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) participation.
Eligible participants are GPs and practice staff that work within practices with a minimum of 2 GPs and use electronic patient records. The study involves participating in a 60–90-minute online focus group. Results from this research will aid in understanding GP and practice staff perspectives about optimal intervention components and potential barriers and enablers which may impact intervention components.

To read more about this study please click the link here. You will find the Participant Information Statement and also a consent form to join the focus group if you would like to participate.



Self Collection CST

Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program in July 2022 mean that all eligible screeners – women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 74 – will be able to choose to have a Cervical Screening Test either by:

  • taking your own sample from your vagina, using a simple swab (self-collection)
  • having a healthcare provider collect your sample from the cervix using a speculum.
Both options are:
  • free under Medicare
  • accessed through a healthcare provider
  • accurate and safe ways to collect a sample for a Cervical Screening Test.

These changes mean that you/your practice/your members 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.

Self-collection has the potential to reach under-screened patients, overcoming barriers to cervical screening by providing a more culturally appropriate and sensitive screening option. Self-collection is not appropriate for those who require a co-test, for example because they are symptomatic or are undergoing Test of Cure surveillance.



Monkeypox webinar — Video now available

Australia saw its first case of monkeypox in May 2022, followed by declaration of monkeypox as a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance. Vaccination continues to play an important role in the ongoing public health response.
This webinar was held 2 weeks ago and covered:

  • background on monkeypox virus
  • epidemiology internationally and in Australia, with a closer look at cluster events in Victoria
  • vaccines available, who should get them and where they can get them
  • considerations for affected communities in the vaccine program rollout
  • safety of monkeypox vaccines, including safety of intradermal administration

To keep up to date you can watch the webinar here


Important Practice Updates

Year in Review 2021-22

By targeting $5 million to general practice for individual support, digital integration and enhanced practice support programs, we continued to support practice teams to deliver the highest quality patient care. Additionally, our dedicated COVID-19 team supported 79% of WA practices to participate in the vaccine rollout.

Other highlights of our year include opening WA’s first adult Head to Health service and six new headspace services, supporting COVID-19 vaxathons to reach vulnerable communities, awarding suicide prevention grants to 10 local governments and providing GP innovation grants to 235 practices.

Read more in our Year in Review.



Do you need to update your National Authentication Service for Health (NASH)?


What is NASH?

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:
  • Electronic prescribing
  • My Health Record
  • Secure messaging
  • Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service

How to update your NASH Certificate

To check if you have the required SHA-2 certificate or for further details on how to update your certificate, please click here.


Need further assistance?

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).



Transition of the Australian General Practice Training Program

Reminder to General Practice - It’s time to register for Training Support Payments!

As part of the transition of the AGPT program, training support payments will be paid through a Services Australia payment system. The new support payments will commence from semester 1 2023. The new support payments will be available to accredited training practices, supervisors and registrars. For more information on how to do this and the back ground of the National Consistent Payment please click here.


PIP Indigenous Health Incentive guidelines updated

The Practice Incentives Program – Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI) guidelines have been updated.

Important changes, including those below, will become effective on 1 January 2023.

  • People with mental health conditions are eligible for registration payments, and completing GP Mental Health Treatment Plans and reviews will trigger Tier 1 outcome payments.
  • Children under 15 with chronic disease can be registered and are eligible for outcome payments.

Registering patients from November will mean they are eligible for these new payments in 2023.

You can access the PIP IHI guidelines here.


Launch of the Parenting Education and Support Initiative

The Australian Government is providing $40.6 million to Triple P International to help them deliver free, online parenting education and mental health support to Australian parents and carers of children under 12.

Half of all adult mental health challenges emerge before the age of 14. However, more than half of Australian children with mental ill-health aren’t getting professional help and seven out of ten parents aren’t confident they could recognise the signs of mental ill-health in their child.
The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program will help parents and carers to support the mental health and wellbeing of their children now, and into the future.

Read the full media release here



New Comcare resource for GPs - Facilitating good work for your patient

Participation in ‘good work’ is key to recovery and we know that it often takes a team effort to get it right. There are steps GPs can take to help patients access good work that supports their recovery and doesn’t pose further harm to health. This guide is designed to assist GPs talk with their patients about what good work looks like for them and provide advice on reasonable adjustments that address work issues, preferably in collaboration with the workplace.
The one-page guide is available here



DVA Provider News

The following article has been published in DVA Provider News: DVA webinar and quick guides for general practices – now available. If you’re a general practice manager, work in general practice or simply want to improve your understanding of DVA’s health arrangements, this online webinar and printable quick guides can help you support your veteran patients.


Changes to Group Therapy under the Better Access Initiative

There have been changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to encourage the uptake of group therapy under the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative, announced in the 2021-22 Budget.
Effective 1 November 2022, there is a revised structure for group therapy MBS items under Better Access. The changes include:

  • Introduction of 16 new MBS items for group therapy sessions lasting at least 90 minutes or 120 minutes;
  • Amendments to the eight existing MBS items to reduce the minimum number of patients required to hold a group therapy session from six to four; and
  • Allowing all group therapy MBS items to be claimed with only three patients, if four patients were scheduled to attend but one patient does not attend (for example, due to unforeseen circumstances).

Further information on the new and amended MBS items available to deliver group therapy is available in explanatory note MN.6.7 and MN.7.4 on MBS Online, as well as in the factsheet titled ‘Group Therapy MBS Changes under the Better Access Initiative’ available on the MBS Online webpage.



Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: don’t get caught out using old referral templates!

The updated referral criteria and template for Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy went live on 27 September 2022.

From 1 December 2022, the Central Referral Service (CRS) will no longer accept referrals for public metropolitan Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy submitted on old templates.

Be sure to download and start using the NEW Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy referral template via Referral form templates webpage before the 30 November 2022 cut-off date. Once downloaded, please delete the old public endoscopy referral template from your practice management software.

For the latest information about Referral Access Criteria (RAC), visit the Department of Health’s Referral Access Criteria webpage.




Practice Assist Tool Kit

The Practice Assist website is home to resources developed to support general practice covering a range of topics including Aboriginal Health, Accreditation, Business Management and more. 

Click through to view our resources! 



Education & Events



How General Practice can Save the Health System

14 December 2022 ( 7.00pm AWST)
Presented In association with WA Primary Health Alliance & PHN Cooperative

Ambulance ramping, ED block, waiting lists blowing out – the headlines are all about hospitals when many of the solutions are outside in general practice.

What’s the role of general practice in reducing demand and getting the system to move from low value to high value care?

That’s what this National webinar is all about and includes world authority on low value care.

Hosted by Dr Norman Swan, joined by panelists Professor Adam Elshaug, Professor Euan Wallace, Professor Sarah Larkins & Dr Simon Towler, with Dr Wally Jammal joining for the Q&A.

2 RACGP CPD Activity points are available

Click here to register


Heart-healthy eating simplified: A recipe for effective behaviour change 

Presented by Heart Foundation
22 November 2022 (4:00pm AWST) online webinar

Hosted by the Heart Foundation in partnership with the World Heart Federation, this webinar will seek to explore the latest evidence on heart healthy eating patterns and strategies and tools to make translation and implementation of heart healthy eating patterns easier for your patients.

Our expert panelists' discussion will translate the latest evidence, focus on practical ways to support nutrition intervention for heart health, and strategies to improve the primary prevention of CVD through improved dietary eating patterns.

Discussion will include:

  • Latest evidence on nutrition recommendations and CVD
  • How to translate nutrition recommendations to practical food choices
  • Personalising eating habits; advice and tools to overcome barriers to make heart healthy choices easier.
  • Behaviour change techniques targeting nutrition & lifestyle intervention for heart health.

This webinar has been accredited by the RACGP for 2 CPD points. (Activity no. 377730). Education provider: Scius Healthcare Solutions.

Click to register



Breaking up can be hard to do: What research has taught us about medication withdrawal?

Presented by Royal Perth Bentley Group
30 November 2022 (12:15pm – 1:15pm AWST) 

Royal Perth Bentley Group (RPBG) is delighted to extend a special invitation to GPs to attend their lunchtime Grand Round on Breaking up can be hard to do: What research has taught us about medication withdrawal with International Speaker, Professor Dee Mangin from the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University in Canada on Wednesday 30 November 2022 from 12:15pm - 1:15pm in the Bruce Hunt Lecture Theatre. The presentation and questions will take around 45mins with light refreshments (sponsored by the Royal Perth Hospital Clinical Staff Association) and the opportunity to network with Royal Perth Hospital medical staff immediately afterwards. Please see the attached flyer for more information.

RSVPs essential:

View the flyer here


Youth Mental Health Masterclass

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
25 November 2022 (8am arrival (tea/coffee available) for 8.30am start - 4.00pm (Networking drinks 4.00pm - 5.00pm)
Deloitte Perth, Tower 2, Level 9, Brookfield Place, 123 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000

Calling all youth mental health clinicians and professionals!

Join us for a full day, interactive Youth Mental Health Masterclass and hear from leading clinicians and researchers about the latest evidence, research, and best practice for working with young people with mental health concerns.

Find out more and register here today

Other Webinars, Events & Workshops

GP22 Registrations open
Presented by RACGP
25 to 27 November
South West Health Professionals Network | Brewhouse Sundowner
Presented by South West Health Professionals Network
27 November
HIV s100 Peer Support and Case Discussion
Presented by ASHM
29 November

Ear Wax Removal (Irrigation)
Presented by The Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
29 November

Course in Ear Wax Removal (Microsuction)
Presented by The Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
30 November

Great Southern Health Professionals Network | End of Year Social sundowner
Presented by Great Southern Health Professionals Network
1 December
What’s New in Chronic Kidney Disease:  treatments and initiatives
Presented by Kidney Health Australia
1 December
Hepatitis C in NSP Settings
Presented by ASHM
1 December
Goldfields Health Professionals Network | End of Year Celebration
Presented by Goldfields Health Professionals Network
2 December

WA End of Year Networking Breakfast
Presented by AAPM
2 December

Non-medical supports and programs to improve older Australians’ mental health
Presented by Mental Health Professionals Network
6 December

Beyond the C: National Program Launch and Introduction to Case Finding for General Practice
Presented by ASHM
7 December
Pivoting to the perpetrator: How to engage with patients who use domestic violence
Presented by University of Melbourne
7 December
Obesity prevention in early childhood from preconception to 4 months
Presented by Karitane
8 December
BreastScreen WA visit to Kulin
Presented by BreastScreen WA
22 December to 5 January
Sexual Health Fundamentals for Nurses and Midwives
Presented by ASHM
28 March
Practice Assist 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 wellbeing of the whole community.

While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.