Practice Connect #159

8 December 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.


WA Primary Health Alliance: Year in Review 2021-22

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.


Primary Sense


The number and speed of Primary Sense installations continue to increase

Over the past two weeks, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has been busy streamlining installations of the Primary Sense data tool with general practices that have completed the steps in the onboarding process.
The installation of Primary Sense currently often takes between 15 and 60 minutes with no impact on the capacity of the practice’s server. After installation, it takes a few days for the first extraction run to complete (depending on the size of the practice) and for data to be accessible on workstations within the practice.
Congratulations to the following practices that are having Primary Sense installed this week:

  • Helena Estate Medical Centre
  • 360 Street Doctor
  • Mundijong/Serpentine Medical Centre
  • Bayside Medical Centre
  • Bicton Medical Centre
  • Serpentine Medical Centre
  • Quinns Mindarie Super Clinic

Practice Managers have provided feedback that their staff are looking forward to taking advantage of the many benefits of using Primary Sense. “This tool will increase productivity of our nurses by quickly running reports and working with patients,” one Practice Manager said.
Due to the upcoming Christmas break, WAPHA’s Primary Sense team will not be sending out Data Sharing Agreements (DSAs) for practices to complete after Thursday 15 December. If your practice has not submitted the Primary Sense online expression of interest form, you will receive an opt in/opt out letter to assist with WAPHA’s forward planning for next year’s Primary Sense installations.

To find out more about the benefits of Primary Sense and the onboarding process, register for the upcoming Primary Sense webinar on Thursday 15 December. For further information, view the flyer or click here to register your attendance.


Primary Sense Successful Installation Highlights


  • 360 Street Doctor: Manager Lisa, Richard, IT support and Team Leader Tania celebrate the successful installation (photo left of screen)
  • Rose, Practice Manager at Serpentine Medical Centre, after a successful installation and demonstration (photo middle of screen)
  • Quinns Mindarie Super Clinic, Heather Drummond, Dr Lyn Wren and Simon Benge (WAPHA) following another successful installation (photo right of screen)



COVID-19 Updates


Funding for non-Medicare patient COVID-19 vaccinations ending 31 December 2022

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has been providing funding to WA general practices for the provision of COVID-19 vaccinations for patients who do not hold a Medicare card or are ineligible for Medicare.

This funding is due to cease on Saturday 31 December 2022.

For all practices who are planning to submit a claim for this funding, please ensure your claims are submitted by this date to ensure your claims can be accepted.

Due to WA Primary Health Alliance’s shut down period, claims submitted during the final two weeks of December will be processed and paid in January 2023.

If your practice hasn’t submitted a claim before, but would like further information about how to do so, please contact Practice Assist, who will put you in touch with our COVID-19 Vaccination Team.

Note: WAPHA can only reimburse general practices to the value of the relevant MBS item number to support non-Medicare patients being vaccinated against COVID-19.  To claim, practices will be required to declare reimbursement (ie. private fee charge) has not already been received for the services claimed. 



VOC Closure and Opening Hours

The Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) will be closed from 3pm Friday 23 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023 inclusive

From Tuesday 3 January 2023 VOC regular operating hours will resume:

VOC Operating Hours from Tuesday 3 January 2023

Monday - Friday 8.30am - 7.00pm AEDT
Saturday 9.00am - 3.00pm AEDT


Orders and deliveries over the holiday period

In preparation for the upcoming holiday period, please be aware the last COVID-19 vaccine and consumables deliveries for 2022 will be delivered by Friday 16 December 2022.

Last orders for delivery before the end-of-year shutdown must have been placed by Friday 2 December 2022. This includes any requests for additional orders.

For deliveries from January 2023:

  • Orders placed between Saturday 3 December 2022 and Friday 16 December 2022 will be delivered by Requested Delivery Date (RDD) Friday 13 January 2023.
  • Orders placed between Saturday 17 December 2022 and Friday 6 January 2023 will be delivered by Requested Delivery Date (RDD) Friday 20 January 2023.

Orders placed from 7 January 2023 onwards will be delivered in normal delivery timeframes.

If your practice finds itself with a surplus of vaccines or in search of additional vaccines, we encourage you to reach out to your local networks to work together to complete a practice-to-practice stock transfer.



Immunisation & Cancer Screening Updates

Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) update - December 2022

The December 2022 AIR update is now available and includes information about:

  • Availability of the AIR042A report
  • Increased matching rules
  • Recent vaccine codes added to the AIR
  • Changes to the Individual Healthcare Identifier appearing on Immunisation History Statements and COVID-19 digital certificate
  • Reminders to support improved data quality

View the full update here


Cancer Screening and Data collected

Cancer is a major cause of illness and death in Australia – there are 1.2 million people alive in Australia who are either living with or have lived with cancer (AIHW 2022b). Latest data shows that 7 in 10 people diagnosed with cancer survive at least 5 years after diagnosis, up from 5 in 10 around 30 years ago (AIHW 2022b).

Understanding and avoiding the risk factors associated with cancer can help to reduce the chance of getting the disease. Improvements in treatments and care are also important contributors to improvements in survival. Some cancers can be detected through screening. Cancer screening programs aim to reduce illness and death from certain cancers by allowing for early detection, intervention, and treatment. 

For more information on screening click the link here
See all the latest data here



World Health Organisation recommends using 'mpox' as the new term for monkeypox

The World Health Organisation says it will start referring to monkeypox as "mpox" simultaneously, before phasing out the original name within a year. This has been prompted by concerns over racist and stigmatising language online during outbreaks earlier this year. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year, as the transition takes place.

More information can be found here.



NCIRS (National Centre for Immunisation and Surveillance) resources

Japanese Encephalitis vaccines — Resources and frequently asked questions

This new page, published by NCIRS, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Japanese encephalitis vaccines.
Additional resources have been updated with the latest information and data, where available. Access here

Monkeypox vaccines: Frequently asked questions

This page provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions from clinicians and patients about monkeypox disease and vaccines.
NCIRS will update this page as new information becomes available.  Access here


Survey participants wanted! We want to know about your views and experiences of offering self-collection for cervical screening

This is a short survey about your views and experiences of offering self-collection for cervical screening as part of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP).

Researchers from the University of Melbourne and The Daffodil Centre are seeking responses from clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers involved in the provision of cervical screening. Complete the survey here before 31 December 2022.
University of Melbourne HREC: 2022-24454-33001-1



Important Practice Updates



Strengthening Medicare GP grants

The October 2022-23 Federal Budget announced $229.7 million for a new Strengthening Medicare GP Grants Program.

One-off grants of up to $50,000 will be available to general practices for a range of innovation, training and equipment purchases and to improve patient access. 

Please sign up to our fortnightly Practice Connect newsletter to keep up to date on the grants program, about which more information will be shared as it becomes available.

Read Minister Butler’s Strengthening Medicare update.


Expression of Interest: Non-Dispensing Pharmacists in General Practice Program - applications close Monday 19 December

WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) invites practices to consider expressing an interest (EOI) in having a non-dispensing pharmacist for two days a week from January to December 2023.

In partnership with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), WAPHA have run several successful iterations of introducing non-dispensing pharmacists into practice. Each program has led to improvements in outcomes for patients and new sustainable service models in the practices who have continued the model.

This new program is to enhance multidisciplinary work within practices and to improve the quality use of medicines focusing on vulnerable populations. 

The EOI contains information on both the program and its background which may help in your practice’s decision making. The EOI will result in a total of 12 practices receiving a non-dispensing pharmacist.  Given the limited workforce available and subject to consideration of our Needs Assessment, we seek EOI’s from practices in the following areas: 

  • PNH Perth South (Metro) 
  • PHN Perth North (Metro) 
  • Country PHN Midwest (Geraldton) 
  • Country PHN Southwest (Bunbury and Busselton) 
The program is open to practices that have or will submit an EOI for installation of Primary Sense and will use Primary Sense as the data sharing tool with WAPHA.

Practices that are using software currently not supported by Primary Sense are encouraged to apply if they hold a current data sharing agreement with WAPHA.

Click here to access the EOI form and information.

As this is a competitive process, please submit your response by email to by COB 5 pm Monday 19 December 2022.

For further information contact Practice Assist via email or phone 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478). ​

WAPHA Report Cards to the Australian Government

WAPHA's primary care support team is committed to supporting practices to deliver the highest quality patient care. The Health Workforce and General Practice and Digital Health Report Cards showcase just some of the ways we have been delivering against the Health Priority areas set out for PHNs by the Australian Government during 2021-22.
You can read more about how we delivered against the seven Health Priority areas set out for PHNs by the Australian Government here.



CareSearch: Palliative Care Resources for GPs and Nurses

The CareSearch Information Portal plays a vital role in providing evidence-based online palliative care knowledge for health professionals.  CareSearch has recently produced a series of Guides for General Practitioners which highlight key CareSearch resources to deliver better palliative care within the community.

These guides provide you with access to practical information and resources that align with a GPs’ scope of practice. There are also specific Guides to help when caring for older people, people living within rural and remote areas, and to support families and carers.
CareSearch has also recently updated and expanded their Nurses Hub to reflect current practice and provide access to more practical information.

Visit the CareSearch Health Professionals Webpages to find further trustworthy and practical resources.


Healthy lifestyle programs for children and families free throughout WA until 2027!

Do you see a child or family that would benefit from a fun, interactive program that focuses on healthy habits and lifestyle changes?

In partnership with the Department of Health Western Australia, Better Health Company are delivering free, healthy lifestyle programs to eligible families in Western Australia focusing on physical activity, nutrition and behavioural change.
Better Health Company are delivering two evidence-based programs: 

Both programs are designed to provide families with weekly support from qualified health professionals, practical resources to support healthy behaviour change at home, and interactive weekly sessions. The programs are free-of-charge for participating families.  


Programs are face-to-face or online

To provide flexibility and accessibility for families, both Active8 and the Better Health Program are offered in two formats: 
  • Group-based programs delivered in local communities for families to attend face-to-face 
  • Online programs providing home e-learning modules and weekly personalised health coaching 

Making referrals to the program 

Eligible participants can be referred with the support of a health professional or self-refer, independently. You can refer by:

If you would like physical referral forms, flyers or posters please email



GP Trauma Training Survey

The Western Australian Trauma Training and Education Unit (WATTEU) are inviting rural and remote General Practitioners working in WA to participate in a Training Needs Survey, which seeks to assess trauma education programs across the WA Health Service.
A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) has recently been carried out by the WATTEU. The TNA was designed to identify any gaps in the delivery of trauma education across WA Health. This involves understanding what trauma education is being accessed, how it is valued, and any barriers or facilitators that occur in accessing trauma education.
The survey will take between 2 and 9 minutes to complete.  All responses are anonymous and unidentifiable:
Further information regarding this project can be accessed by emailing



Community CAMHS Update for Referrers 

Community CAMHS have made changes to their on-line referral form and public website information to establish more clearly defined referral criteria for referrers and families.

These changes better describe Community CAMHS entry criteria and clearly outline what Community CAMHS is able to provide children and young people who meet referral criteria.

Please take the time to read these changes here and appropriately disseminate amongst your peer networks.



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).



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


RACGP End of year cocktail celebration and awards evening

Presented by RACGP
15 December 2022 (6.00pm to 10.00pm AWST)

RACGP members are invited to a celebratory evening of fine wine, canapés and catching up with colleagues as the sun sets over the Swan River.

We’ll also recognise the wonderful achievements of the 2022 WA RACGP Award recipients and take a moment to unwind after another unprecedented year in general practice.
Register now


Mental Health Professionals’ Network’s 2023 National Online Conference

Presented by Mental Health Professionals' Network (MHPN)
28-30 March 2023

ALL TOGETHER BETTER – Collaborative Mental Health Care in a Changing World

This fully online, interactive conference will explore how both our collective and individual experiences over recent years have affected mental health service providers and their clients, and provide a space for practitioners to reflect, learn and network in a structured and supportive environment.

The conference is free to attend for all Australian mental health professionals, however places are limited.

Register now to secure your spot

Other Webinars, Events & Workshops

BreastScreen WA visit to Kulin
Presented by BreastScreen WA
22 December to 5 January
BreastScreen WA visit to Pemberton
Presented by BreastScreen WA
4  to 17 January
BreastScreen WA visit to Hyden
Presented by BreastScreen WA
6 to 10 January
BreastScreen WA visit to Margaret River
Presented by BreastScreen WA
11 January to 30 March
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.