23 February 2023
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.
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:
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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:
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
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
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:
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 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 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.
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.
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:
A recording of this webinar will be made available to registrants following the session
Register now here
Registration to attend the Immunisation Program 2023 Influenza Update is now open.
Please see the event details below:
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.
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
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.
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:
“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 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.
To gain access to the site email the HealthPathways team at email@example.com, or to provide feedback use the “Send Feedback” button at the bottom of each page on the site.
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
View the flyer here
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-person, online, live site or replay site on the APNA Events Calendar.
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:
To register your interest in becoming a GP Facilitator, please complete an Expression of Interest at www.saferfamilies.org.au/gp-facilitator or contact our Safer Families Project Officer, Kitty Novy, for more information at email@example.com
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!
The WA Rural Health Conference 2023 is open to:
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
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!
This education event will support GPs in providing care to patients with dementia by:
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
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 Isobel.firstname.lastname@example.org