Practice Connect #164

23 February 2023

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 Update 


Get prepared for voluntary patient registration with Primary Sense

The Primary Sense data extraction and clinical decision support tool can help your practice to prepare for the upcoming implementation of voluntary patient registration (VPR) with general practice.
Voluntary patient registration reinforces continuity of care between accredited general practices and their patients, provides a framework of quality and safety for the continuation of MBS telehealth for general practice and lays the foundations for future general practice funding reform.
By using the Johns Hopkins University ACG® System, Primary Sense can help you to identify which of your patients would benefit the most from VPR through: 

  • Identifying patients at risk of poor health outcomes or chronic diseases 
  • Identifying high risk groups requiring interventions e.g. vaccinations 

With Primary Sense replacing the Pen CS CAT4 and Topbar system in May, we encourage practices who are still to make the switch to submit an EOI to WA Primary Health Alliance by 1 March 2023 to ensure continuity of your PIP QI payments. 
Over 80% of WA general practices that share data with WA Primary Health Alliance have already adopted the Primary population health management, clinical decision support and data extraction tool.
In our next Practice Connect edition we will hear from Dr Lyn Wren, Quinns Mindarie Super Clinic, on the application of Primary Sense in her practice and benefits realised for her whole team.

To get Primary Sense in your practice, please email


COVID-19 Updates


Final closure of remaining GP-led Respiratory Clinics

In a continuing scale down of the GP Respiratory Clinic (GPRC) program, the operational extensions for remaining WA GPRCs will come to an end on 28 February 2023.

This will be the final operational extension of GP Respiratory Clinics under the current operational model.

From March 2023, a new GPRC Panel model will be implemented for activation during health emergencies. Please note, the GPRC Panel Expression of Interest process has now closed.

Practices requiring resources and support with providing assessment and testing and treatment for people with mild to moderate respiratory symptoms can contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277478) or



COVID-19 vaccine allocation

Vaccination providers are reminded their allocation for Pfizer Bivalent BA.1 has been increased to 600 doses per fortnight. Allocations for the Moderna Bivalent vaccine have been reduced to 100 doses per fortnight to account for the increase in demand for vaccines following the ATAGI 2023 booster announcement. 

There are more than sufficient doses of bivalent vaccines to ensure everyone in Australia eligible for a 2023 booster dose can receive it. Sites are still able to order the Pfizer Bivalent BA.1, Pfizer 12+ (purple cap), Moderna Bivalent vaccine and Pfizer Bivalent BA.4-5 once they are onboarded. 


Skin Cancer - Feature Topic


Skin Cancer - Resources & Quality Improvement for your Practice

Skin cancer accounts for the highest number of cancers diagnosed in Australia each year.  According to Cancer Council Australia, skin cancers account for 80% of ALL new diagnosed cancers in this country every year. 
Many factors contribute to this, including our climate, High UV levels and love for the outdoors, but other factors exist, including:

  • fair complexion including skin that burns or freckles easily, green or blue eyes, and blonde or red hair
  • use of tanning beds/solariums
  • history of sunburns, especially in childhood
  • family history or personal history of skin cancer
  • a compromised immune system or are on immunosuppression medication
  • exposure to certain environmental factors, including radiation and chemicals
  • occupation with increased sun exposure
  • sex of the patient – males have a higher diagnosis rate

The most common areas for skin cancers are the head, face, and neck, as they are exposed year-round.  Even on overcast days UVA rays can penetrate cloud cover and fog, and UVB rays can burn and damage skin year-round.

The cooler months of the year are a great opportunity for a skin examination.  Issues are more obvious due to the pigmentation changes of the skin, and people are usually outside less which makes it easier to spot issues during a skin exam. 
Regular skin checks are essential, as it can take months and years for sun damage to appear.
While skin cancer is a cancer, it is not one that leaps to people’s minds and may be missed.  Changing the way we question to specifically include skin cancer, and knowledge of other risk factors, will ensure a more accurate picture of a patient’s risk. When taking a patient’s history, ask if they have a personal or family history of any type of cancer.
To assist in raising patient awareness of skin cancer, SunSmart and the Cancer Council have many useful resources available to practices:

For assistance with MBS billing of Skin excisions and biopsies please see this Practice Assist Fact Sheet or Services Australia information here

Your local Quality Improvement Coach and Primary Care Navigator can guide and support you in identifying activities for improving skin cancer awareness and detection. To connected with your QI Coach or PCN please contact Practice Assist

Some suggested activities to document as part of your practice’s QI journey:

Implement a process to ensure all practice GPs and clinical staff are familiar with clinical guidelines: Implement a process to ensure that any familial history of skin cancer is captured in patient medical records
Interrogate your patient data base (using either a data extraction tool or practice software) to create a list of those people at higher risk of skin cancer and recall them for a skin check.

This can include:
  • People aged 60 and over, particularly males
  • Those who experience high levels of work-related sun exposure e.g., Agriculture workers, mining workers
  • People who have a compromised immune system or are taking immunosuppression medication



Detecting skin cancer

Cancer Council WA and the Western Australian Kirkbride Melanoma Advisory Service have released the newly updated edition of the Melanoma and other skin cancers: A guide for medical practitioners, supporting up to date best practice skin cancer investigation, diagnosis, and treatment. This resource is designed to be used alongside clinical judgement and professional experience.

Online and hard-copies of the resource are freely available:

As well as looking out for your patients, it’s also important to become familiar with your own skin. Even if you receive annual skin checks, getting to know what is normal for you means you can pick up any changes quickly. Look out for any new or changing spots, or anything that looks different to other spots around it. If you see anything of concern, have it seen to as soon as possible.

Getting into a routine can make checking your skin easier and means you are less likely to miss anything. You may need to ask for assistance in checking areas you can’t see, such as your back.

Cancer Council WA has a simple online guide showing the steps to checking your skin. As melanoma may develop in areas not exposed to the sun, it’s important to check your whole body.  View the guide here


Immunisation & Cancer Screening Updates


Preliminary information: 2023 influenza vaccine ordering (and pre-allocation of Fluad® Quad)

Pre-allocation of Fluad® Quad survey

Your first delivery of Fluad® Quad, influenza vaccine for persons aged 65 years and older will be pre-allocated to ensure equitable distribution, based on the survey process outcome.

A survey will be sent to your account email address on Monday 27 February:

  • ensure your account email is monitored
  • each premises will be sent a unique survey link. NOTE: Organisations using the same email address for different premises will be sent multiple surveys
  • please review and confirm doses required based on the specific need of each premises
  • instructions on how to complete the survey will be included in the email
  • if you do not receive this unique survey link by Wednesday 1 March, contact
  • the survey will close at 12 noon, on Friday 3 March

Distribution of the pre-allocation orders will occur between Monday 27 March and Tuesday 4 April.

Whilst this process activity is carefully planned, distribution is subject to vaccine supply. 


Routine (non-influenza) scheduled vaccine ordering

Routine schedule vaccine ordering (ordering of non-flu vaccines) will temporarily cease from Thursday 23 March to Wednesday 5 April. NOTE: Regional delivery may not occur until after the Easter public holidays

A 2023 Influenza vaccine ordering and distribution schedule is included below.

Influenza vaccine ordering

Influenza vaccine ordering for other aged cohorts, and further orders for over 65 year vaccine, is planned to open from Tuesday 11 April (after the Easter public holidays).

Weekly distribution of influenza vaccine orders will occur for the first six-week period, until Friday 19 May to help manage your business needs.

For a full copy of the schedule, please refer to your emailed copy from the Department of Health.


More information


AIR Update: Addition of New Influenza Vaccine Names

To improve the reporting and monitoring of the 2023 influenza vaccines funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), several new vaccine names have been added.

The new names will allow the provider to choose between a vaccine supplied free under the NIP or a privately funded vaccine.

Vaccine brand name Vaccine code
Alfluria Quad (NIP) AFLQUA
Alfluria Quad (Non-NIP) QUADAF
Fluarix Tetra (NIP) FLXTET
Fluarix Tetra (Non-NIP) ARXFLU
AIR has also updated the register to avoid providers registering influenza vaccines that are no longer available in Australia.
For further information about vaccine codes please read here



COVID-19 and influenza vaccination update 2023

Join NCIRS for the annual influenza webinar to learn more about the updated recommendations for COVID-19 and influenza vaccination in 2023.

Leading experts in the field will present on:

  • learnings from the recent Northern Hemisphere winter experience managing COVID-19 and influenza
  • the latest Australian COVID-19 vaccination booster recommendations 
  • 2023 Australian influenza vaccination recommendations across the lifespan, including important changes for 0–5 year olds.

Date: Thursday 16 March
Time: 12.00 pm - 1.30 pm AEDT

A recording of this webinar will be made available to registrants following the session

Register now here



Immunisation Program 2023 – Influenza Update Registrations

Registration to attend the Immunisation Program 2023 Influenza Update is now open.
Please see the event details below: 

Date: Thursday 6 April 2023
Time: 10.30am – 1.00pm (AWST)
Venue: Department of Health Theatrette, or online via MS Teams.

Please click here to register to attend either in-person, or via MS Teams. Please note, Microsoft Edge is the preferred browser to access Eventbrite.
If you register for attendance via MS Teams, you will be emailed the Microsoft Teams link 2 days prior to the event.



NCIRS Updated resources

In response to the recent changes to the immunisation schedule, the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has
updated several of their resource sheets.
Human Papillomavirus fact sheet
Human Papillomavirus - FAQ
Meningococcal Vaccines fact sheet
Meningococcal Vaccine - FAQ



National Immunisation Program schedule card

The Department of Health and Aged Care has updated and released the Immunisation schedule, current from the 6 February 2023.
Click here for the coloured version of the schedule.



Practice Updates


Using continuous quality improvement to administer up to 500 COVID-19 vaccines a day

During the height of the pandemic, the practice team at Dianella Family Medical Centre used the principles of continuous quality improvement to successfully set up and run its COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, which was able to administer up to 500 vaccines a day.
Practice Manager, Julie Stojcevski, explained that the team created a PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) Plan for their COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic and used PDSA cycles to improve their processes, create clear guidelines and communication, and evaluate what was working well in the practice.
“With a capacity of 500 vaccines a day, we needed a lot of staff and a well-structured plan to execute this. Creating PDSAs helped us bring the team together and work towards a common goal through a very stressful time. Once the vision was created, we were able to set out the tasks at hand, identify challenges, implement strategies, observe and evaluate as a team, whilst adjusting and making changes as required, which contributed to the team’s success,” she said.
To guide the practice team through this busy period, Dianella Family Medical Centre worked closely with WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) and their local Primary Care Navigator, Jenay Larson.
“WAPHA and Jenay supported us by providing all the necessary information, resources, government updates and tools to navigate through Living with COVID-19. It was important that we ensure that we operate within the medical scope of practice,” Ms Stojcevski said.
While running its successful COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, the Dianella Family Medical Centre team took the time to enjoy the journey and engage with the community by:

  • celebrating a long-term patient’s 100th birthday
  • being interviewed by Tracy Vo for a story on the Channel 9 News
  • liaising with their local ambulance service in case there were any adverse reactions
  • working with student volunteers from the Edith Cowan University Paramedic faculty
  • receiving the occasional lunch from local restaurants as a token of their appreciation

“It was so lovely and such a community effort. We also had some of our elderly patients sewing masks for us and local businesses providing fruit and vegies for all the staff,” Ms Stojcevski said.
WAPHA Primary Care Navigator, Jenay Larson, explained that despite the challenging times and the effects that COVID-19 had on general practices, Julie and the Dianella Family Medical Centre team understood that continuous quality improvement plays an essential part in maintaining a well-functioning practice and improving patient health outcomes.

Would you like to share your practice story? Speak to your Primary Care Navigator or contact Practice Assist.


Practice Manager, Julie Stojcevski (pictured left with WAPHA Primary Care Navigator, Jenay Larson) and the team from Dianella Family Medical Centre



HealthPathways WA – Oncology

HealthPathways WA have several oncology pathways available that contain region specific information on patient assessment, management, and referral pathways to assist clinicians in navigating patients through health care in WA.

Clinical pathways localised to WA include:


HealthPathways WA have recently reviewed the following pathways: 

To gain access to the site email the HealthPathways team at, or to provide feedback use the “Send Feedback” button at the bottom of each page on the site.



‘Sounds Like’ it’s time to quit smoking

Tobacco use is still the largest cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. In a bid to prompt people who smoke to quit, Cancer Council WA’s Make Smoking History Program will launch a brand-new campaign, Sounds Like, across Western Australia from Sunday 12 February 2023. 

The campaign will appear on various media channels including television, radio, audio streaming services, out-of-home, and digital platforms until Saturday 6 May 2023. 

Tips to kick the habit:

For more information about the Make Smoking History Campaign or resources to quit smoking, email the team at

The Make Smoking History Campaign is an initiative of Cancer Council WA and is funded by the Department of Health WA, Healthway and Cancer Council WA.


Enhancing Team Based Primary Care with Nurse Practitioners in WA

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, and WA Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson, say the Australian and Western Australian Governments are working together to make it easier for people to receive high quality primary care from nurse practitioners across the state. Through the Albanese Government's $100 million commitment to pilot new ways to improve primary care, WA will receive $11.7 million to encourage local practices to offer more comprehensive, team-based services with nurse practitioners. This funding is part of the Australian Government's commitment in the 2022-23 October Budget to work collaboratively with states and territories to co-develop and pilot innovative primary care models that aim to improve care pathways and reduce pressure on emergency departments.

​​Read the media release here



DVA’s Non-Liability Health Care (mental health) arrangements for eligible veterans

The following article has been published in DVA Provider News: DVA’s Non-Liability Health Care (mental health) arrangements for eligible veterans | Department of Veterans' Affairs.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) may cover the cost of veteran mental health treatment, even if their condition hasn’t been accepted by DVA as relating to their service. This article explains what providers need to know about Non-Liability Health Care (mental health) arrangements, including who’s eligible, what’s covered and what you need to do.


Peel GP Education and training support  

The Peel GP Education and Training Support project can assist with training and education expenses to enhance your career and employment opportunities while working in private practice in the Peel region. Grants are available from January 2023 to June 2023.

To find out more about eligibility, guidelines or to apply, email

View the flyer here

What is NurseTalk?

On a regular basis, APNA runs a series of in-person short education/networking events across the country.

These events are also ‘hybrid’ events allowing people to watch the presentation and participate online (via Zoom). In addition, there are also various live sites and replay sites across the country where nurses can gather with a group of other nurses to watch the presentation and then through a facilitator/member, have their own discussions once the formal presentation has finished.

With these different formats, nurses can meet other nurses, listen to a quality educational presentation and openly discuss the topic and share their experience and expertise.

Keep up to date with these events that are either listed as in-persononlinelive site or replay site on the APNA Events Calendar.

GP recruitment for the Pathways to Safety program

Are you a GP or primary care nurse interested in improving the capacity of primary care to respond to domestic and family violence (DFV)?

The Safer Families Centre (The University of Melbourne) is offering casual employment for GPs and primary care nurses to become GP Facilitators to deliver (virtually) DFV education to primary care staff across Australia.

The role will be to co-deliver group training (with a trained Family Violence Facilitator) to a limited number of primary care staff. You will receive support from the Safer Families team, all materials are included, and your time will be remunerated including attendance at a Facilitator orientation training program (6-hours across 2 sessions).

We are looking for people with:

  • Prior training, experience or an interest in addressing domestic and family violence or trauma informed care
  • Skills and experience in training small groups on sensitive issues
  • Experience engaging with services such as DFV, mental health, AOD, or sexual assault services
  • Strong communication skills and experience in public speaking

To register your interest in becoming a GP Facilitator, please complete an Expression of Interest at or contact our Safer Families Project Officer, Kitty Novy, for more information at

Request for GP to participate in a focus group looking at antenatal psychosocial screening tools

The University of Melbourne are currently looking for GPs to participate in a focus group to help evaluate a digital antenatal psychosocial screening tool

The digital screening and clinical decision support tool aims to help GPs identify and respond to psychosocial risk factors in pregnancy, such as alcohol and substance use, exposure to domestic and family violence, and experiences of poor mental health.  Your assistance in the project will help ensure it will work well in the busy general practice context.
GPs are required to participate in a 45-60 min focus group evaluation, where you will be shown a demonstration of a prototype antenatal psychosocial screening tool, and then be asked to provide feedback on what works and what wouldn’t work in your general practice context.
If you would like to participate in this project, or would like more information, please email

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


WA Rural Health Conference 2023 – register now!

The WA Rural Health Conference is taking place 11-12 March at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The WA Rural Health Conference 2023 is open to: 

  • General / Medical practitioners and medical officers
  • Medical registrars
  • Allied health professionals
  • Nurses and Midwives
  • Health and medical students
  • Aboriginal health workers
  • Aboriginal health practitioners
  • Health leaders / administrators and industry stakeholders

Travel support
Rural Health West will provide the travel support for currently practising health professionals who work and live in rural and remote Western Australia, and one immediate family member. Find out if you are eligible here
Children’s program
Our children's program will help keep your little ones busy with fun-filled activities throughout the weekend. Find out more here 
Register here now! 


Dementia Care in General Practice

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
29 March (5.30-7.30pm AWST)

This education event will support GPs in providing care to patients with dementia by:

  • Outlining best practice principles related to diagnosis and subsequent care
  • Demonstrating the use of HealthPathways to guide assessment and management
  • Identifying locally based self-referral services for patients and their carers
Register here now

View the flyer here


Upskill to support trans, gender diverse and non-binary people to access appropriate and inclusive healthcare

Our HealthPathways WA team is proud to partner with the Child and Adolescent Health Service, East Metropolitan Health Service and TransFolk of WA to present GPs with a unique opportunity to broaden their knowledge and understanding of trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) health.
Recognising the need for TGDNB people to access appropriate and inclusive healthcare, this three- part series follows the recent launch of the Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway.
Trans, gender diverse and non-binary health is everyone’s business on Tuesday March 7 will feature an expert panel of local GPs and service providing a overview of TGDNB health, including an the aligned HealthPathway, terms and language relating to gender diversity and information on creating welcoming clinical environments for TGDNB patients.
This first event in the series will be followed by bespoke sessions in March and April for child and adolescent and adult TGDNB patients. 

Find our more and register here


WAPHA – Alcohol & Other Drug Network A Project ECHO Initiative

Returning in the new year, we kick off 2023 with continued sessions of the Alcohol & Other Drug Network- A Project ECHO Initiative. WAPHA, along with our AOD subject matter experts, invite GPs and other allied health professionals across WA to virtually join in the sessions listed below.  Attendance to previous sessions is not a requirement.

Register here for the Alcohol & Other Drug Network - A Project ECHO Initiative  
For more information, please contact Project ECHO Officer Isobel Storey at

Session 10 – Supporting patients stick to New Years’ Resolutions
Speaker Joyce Wong - Counsellor/Educator North Metro Community Alcohol & Drug Service
Thursday 23 February 2023 (6.00pm to 7:30pm AWST)
Register here
Session 11AOD and Pregnancy
With special guest speakers Dr Shani  Mccaulay – RACGP AOD
GP Education Program; and Lauren Traniaou – Clinical Nurse Midwife Consultant, NMHS
Thursday 23 March 2023  (6.00pm to 7:30pm AWST)
Register here
Session 12Cannabis
Thursday 28 April 2023  (6.00pm to 7:30pm AWST)
Register here


Other Webinars, Events & Workshops

ADHA Webinar Training
Presented by Australian Digital Health Agency
Multiple dates & topics ranging from My Health Record to Quality Improvement for health conditions
Hepatitis B s100 Prescriber Forum
Presented by ASHM
24 February
BreastScreen WA mobile visit to Mount Magnet
Presented by BreastScreen WA
24 to 28 February
Mental health and wellbeing in autistic youth and young adults during transitions
Presented by Mental Health Professionals Network
27 February
Short Mental Health Interventions: Suicide Safety Planning (30 mins)
Presented by Black Dog Institute
28 February
Practical Updates in Hepatitis C Management and Treatment
Presented by ASHM
28 February
WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Approved Training (FSH Education Building)
Presented by South Metropolitan Health Service
1 March
Chronic Conditions of the Foot
Presented by Benchmarque Group & WA Primary Health Alliance
3 March
Chronic Disease Care Planning
Presented by Benchmarque Group & WA Primary Health Alliance
8 March
WA Rural Health Conference 2023 - VAD practitioner training workshop
Presented by WA VAD Statewide Care Navigator Service
10 March
WA Rural Health Conference 2023
Presented by Rural Health West
11 & 12 March
Detection and management of early melanoma in 2023
Presented by Melanoma Institute Australia
14 March
WA Syphilis Outbreak update for clinicians
Presented by WA Department of Health
16 March
Chronic Disease Care Planning
The Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
17 March
WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Approved Training (QEII Medical Centre)
Presented by North Metro Health Service
17 March
WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Approved Training (Peel Health Campus)
Presented by WA VAD Statewide Care Navigator Service
18 March
Chronic Conditions and Nutrition
Presented by Benchmarque Group & WA Primary Health Alliance
20 March
Immunotherapy: supporting patients in their cancer treatment
Presented by Cancer Council WA
23 March
Sexual Health Fundamentals for Nurses and Midwives
Presented by ASHM
28 March
Mental Health Professionals’ Network’s 2023 National Online Conference
Presented by MHPN
28 to 30 March
Talking About Suicide in General Practice (Online Interactive Webinar)
Presented by Black Dog Institute
5 May & 8 June
The Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
26 June
The Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
29 June
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.