Practice Connect #166

23 March 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 


Primary Sense Milestones

Over 200 practices in Western Australia have now installed Primary Sense and completed their first full data extract. They now have access to near real-time reporting, alerts and prompts available in the Primary Sense desktop app.
Another 150 practices are either installing or completing the extract, so be sure to keep an eye on Practice Connect as we move closer to having Primary Sense installed and operational in 400 Western Australian practices.




Transitioning to Primary Sense 

While we transition practices to Primary Sense it is important to keep PenCS installed on your system and wait for advice on next steps before uninstalling PenCS.
Please contact Practice Assist if you have any concerns via phone 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 77478) or emailing

Feature - Kidney Health Week - Chronic Kidney Disease


Chronic Kidney Disease in Primary Care

The Australian Institute of Health Welfare indicates that one of the main goals of primary health care for chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the preservation of kidney health. Noting that the asymptomatic nature of CKD in stages 1–4 make GP and primary health care settings particularly important in detecting and reducing the burden of CKD.

Kidney Health Australia provides guidelines for the clinical management of CKD in primary health care and helpful resources for health professionals.

1 in 3 Australian adults has risk factors for CKD.

Individuals with risk factors for CKD should undergo a Kidney Health Check every 1-2 years.

Quality Improvement opportunities for your practice

Implement a process to ensure all clinical staff are familiar with the clinical guidelines:

Other QI activities to consider with your teams:

  • Increase health literacy regarding chronic kidney disease and awareness of maintaining good kidney health
  • Data cleansing and improvement – Identify patients indicated chronic kidney disease with no Coded Diagnosis
  • Identify patients at risk of chronic kidney disease
  • Identify patients who are eligible for a Kidney Health Check
  • Identify patients with chronic kidney disease who have never had or due for a GP Management plan
  • Ensure patients with chronic kidney disease have all clinical items in their clinical action plan reviewed or completed in as per the recommended guidelines 

If your practice would like further support to explore these quality improvement activities please connect with your Quality Improvement Coach or Primary Care Navigator via Practice Assist.  

To assist with clinical decision making, please refer to the HealthPathways website.


Did you know you can lose 90% of kidney function with no symptoms? Early Detection of Chronic Kidney Disease is Vital!

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is often preventable and disease progression can be slowed or even stopped if detected and treated early. Yet it remains significantly under-recognised with over 2m Australians living with CKD and most are unaware they have the condition. Furthermore, CKD, diabetes and CVD are inextricably linked with shared risk factors. If an individual has CKD, they are more likely to die from CVD than survive to need dialysis.
If CKD is detected early and managed appropriately deterioration in kidney function can be reduced significantly. Groups at increased risk of CKD include those with diabetes, hypertension, CVD, family history of CKD, obesity and smoking. Early detection is easy with a Kidney Health Check comprising of Urine ACR test, eGFR blood test and blood pressure check (see fig. 1). For more information on detecting and managing CKD, download the CKD in Primary Care Management handbook
On World Kidney Day, 9 March, Kidney Health Australia went to Canberra to launch the Deloitte Access Economics report, Changing the chronic kidney disease landscape: the economic benefits of detection and treatment. The report found that for every $1 invested in early detection, $45 can be saved. This is a serious incentive for investing in early detection and treatment of kidney disease.
To access exclusive content, news, webinars, view past recordings and refer your patients directly to the Kidney Helpline, request access to the Kidney Health Professional Hub.



HealthPathways WA – Kidney Health Week  

HealthPathways WA has a suite of Nephrology pathways designed to be used during consultation by GP’s and as a point of reference for other health care professionals and practice staff. These contain specific information on patient assessment, management and referral pathways.   

Clinical pathways localised to WA include:   

For service information see the following request pages:

To gain access, you can request a login via the HealthPathways WA Project Site and complete the ‘Request a login’ form, or email the team at To provide feedback, use the “Send Feedback” button at the bottom of each page on the site.


COVID-19 Updates


AstraZeneca vaccine expiry and offboarding

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care advises the last of the AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID-19 vaccine stock has now been delivered. All AZ vaccine doses will expire on 20 March 2023. Please check your fridges on 21 March (the day after expiry) to report any wastage to the COVID-19 Vaccine Ordering System (CVAS). 

Expired vaccines should then be disposed of as per existing state and territory guidelines for the disposal of clinical waste and Schedule 4 drugs. If there is a wastage event of 10 or more vials a Major Wastage Report will need to be completed in CVAS as soon as possible. If there are less than 10 vials, the reporting should be completed in the minor wastage section in the weekly Vaccine Stock Management Report, by 9pm (AWST) Friday that week.

Once a site’s stock on hand shows zero for AZ and all reporting has been completed in CVAS for this vaccine product, it will be deactivated on your behalf, unless you have already requested deactivation. 

Please note Pfizer 12 years+ (Purple), and Novavax vaccines will continue to be available if you need access to a primary course vaccine for people 12 years and over.



Moderna Bivalent (BA.4-5) Pre-filled Syringe (PFS) booster for individuals 12 years and older:

We would like to advise you that a new module for the Moderna Bivalent (BA4-5) Pre-filled Syringe (PFS) booster vaccine, Additional Module 3d, has now been added to the COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program. Moderna Bivalent (BA.4-5) 12 years+ (PFS) vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently available as a PFS.



Non Medicare reimbursement continuation

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care through WA Primary Health Alliance 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 has been extended into 2023.

WAPHA can reimburse general practices to the value of the relevant MBS item number to support non-Medicare patients being vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Reimbursement can be backdated to January 2023. For further information contact Practice Assist or to make a claim please complete the survey and submit invoices to 

Note: To claim, practices will be required to declare reimbursement (i.e. private fee charge) has not already been received for the services claimed. 



Grass roots approach supports culturally and linguistically diverse communities to get vaccinated   

As part of the Australian Government’s drive to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in culturally and linguistically diverse populations, from October 2021 to December 2022 WA Primary Health Alliance implemented a grass roots approach to increase vaccine uptake in these hard-to-reach communities, with great results.
Rates of vaccination among culturally and linguistically diverse communities increased significantly across the state from December 2021 to December 2022, with first dose coverage increasing from 80% to over 95% and second dose coverage increasing from 74% to over 95%.
Read the full story here

Immunisation & Cancer Screening Updates


Australian Immunisation Handbook tip

Is serology testing needed for older adolescents and adults for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and varicella?

Serological testing for immunity to MMR and varicella is not routinely recommended when there is evidence of vaccination. Some situations require serological testing, as detailed in the Australian Immunisation Handbook. Alternatively, most people can receive MMR or varicella vaccine without serological testing, and there is no known increase in adverse events from vaccinating people with pre-existing immunity to one or more of the vaccine antigens.
Further detailed information is available in the measles and varicella chapters of the Australian Immunisation Handbook.



New resources to support conversations about influenza vaccination with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

In Australia, seasonal influenza is the second most common vaccine-preventable disease contributing to hospitalisation, after COVID-19. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to experience severe influenza disease that could be prevented with annual vaccination.
Immunisation providers have an important role to play by opportunistically offering and strongly recommending the influenza vaccine, which is available under the National Immunisation Programme to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 6 months of age.
To support immunisation providers, NCIRS has developed new resources to help providers have culturally appropriate and supportive vaccination conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. While the focus of the new resources is on influenza vaccination, the conversation principles can also be applied to other vaccinations. The new resources have been developed as part of the Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation (SKAI) expansion to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The resources include:

These resources, as well as other helpful links, can be accessed via the following webpage: Supporting conversations about vaccinations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait people.

If you wish to share information directly with Aboriginal and Torres’s Strait Islander patients, please use the following link: Influenza vaccination information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.



Increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coverage in Aboriginal adolescents

Coverage for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among Aboriginal adolescents in WA declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the HPV dose 1 coverage in Perth was 73% for all adolescents and 51% for Aboriginal adolescents (data provided by WA Department of Health). HPV vaccination is provided in Year 7 through the school-based immunisation program. However, some students have been unable to receive their vaccine at school. Only one dose of HPV vaccine is now required.

Public health and immunisation teams are working to support Aboriginal adolescents who have missed their HPV vaccination. At Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC), the public health unit for Perth, an Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer supports families by booking appointments and assisting with transport. While adolescents are sometimes able to attend a school vaccination clinic to catch-up on their HPV vaccination, they may decide to attend a General Practice or Aboriginal Medical Service. It is important to follow-up if these adolescents do not attend a booked vaccination appointment.

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) should always be checked before vaccines are administered. Vaccines given in General Practice should be entered into AIR so that school immunisation teams following up missed vaccines are aware that the adolescent has been vaccinated. Adolescents may also be overdue for other NIP vaccines. If practices need assistance with catch-up schedules, contact your local public health unit.

Information on HPV vaccine is available from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and the Australian Immunisation Handbook.



BreastScreen Mobile Van

The BreastScreen Mobile van is unable to access Derby at this point in time.

As an alternative they will be basing themselves in Broome for an extra month – from 3 April until 30 June 2023.
Please contact BreastScreen WA if you are have people needing a mammogram, living in Derby without access to transport between the towns
They will be offering limited services to assist.
BOOKINGS: w: |  p: 13 20 50



2023 Influenza Webinar

The Immunisation Coalition’s annual update on Influenza Vaccination is for GPs, Immunisation Nurses, Pharmacists, and other immunisation professionals.

Healthcare Professionals have an important role in prompting patients to consider the benefits of influenza vaccination and addressing concerns about efficacy and safety.
Join Dr Andrew Minton and Angela Newbound for an update on this year’s influenza vaccine.

Dr Andrew Minton is the CPD Project Manager at Immunisation Coalition. He has over 25 years experience in the Pharmaceutical and medical education sector.

Angela Newbound is the SA PHN's Immunisation Hub Coordinator and an Immunisation Education Consultant, with 20 plus years of experience in the immunisation field.

Date Wednesday 29 March 2023
Time: 3.00pm (AWST)

Register 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.



Adult Immunisation Forum

The Adult Immunisation Forum (AIF) will take place in Perth on June 22, immediately following the PHAA's Communicable Diseases and Immunisation Conference.
It is a 1 day event, presented as a hybrid meeting. 

Date: Thursday 22 June 2023
Time: 8am – 4:30pm (AWST)
Venue: Pan Pacific Perth 207 Adelaide Tce, Perth WA

The meeting is ideal for GPs, practice nurses, and other immunisation specialists.

The vaccines to be covered will include pneumococcal disease (PCV 15,20,21), RSV in adults, pertussis in older people, herpes zoster, influenza, Covid-19, Strep A, travel vaccines, as well as paediatric vaccines.

Chaired by Prof Robert Booy, confirmed speakers include Professors Tony Cunningham, Peter Richmond, Chris Blyth, and Paul Van Buynder. Information is being updated regularly on the Immunisation Coalition website here

It is free to attend, with refreshments and lunch provided.

For more information, visit the website, or contact


Practice Updates


Using interpreters for your patients who do not have English as their first language can be immensely helpful for them

This week is Harmony Week, which celebrates our diversity and promotes inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for people of all cultural backgrounds. Australia is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) countries in the world, and has grown to be even more multicultural in recent years. There is broad recognition that people from CALD backgrounds face greater challenges in accessing the health system and services due to a range of factors such as language barriers, low health literacy, difficulty navigating the health system, cost of care and a shortage of appropriate services.

The importance of professional translation services was highlighted by multicultural community members during recent community consultations to inform development of WA Primary Health Alliance's multicultural cultural competency framework. Community members indicated when doctors ‘use simple language, encourage an interpreter to be arranged and show patience with the language barrier’ they feel a lot safer, comfortable and included in their own health care.

Community members also highlighted that professional translators have an important role to play in helping consumers to engage with health services.  One community member stated “having someone to talk to and ask questions in my own language helps me to talk about my concerns and understand what the doctor is telling me. This makes me feel comfortable and listened to”.

Patient Interpreter Services & Information

We have included some resources for your practice to reacquaint yourselves with during Harmony Week, and in assisting your patients with interpreter services.

If you would like more information about the WAPHA’s multicultural cultural competency framework please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277478) or



WA endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics confirmed

Two WA-based general practices, Garden Family Medical Clinic, Murdoch and Pioneer Health Albany, have been selected by the Australian Government to run endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics.

They are among 20 clinics nationally that will provide expert, multidisciplinary services and care for any woman living with one or both conditions. The woman does not need to be an existing patient of the general practice concerned.

Funding was awarded with consideration of clinics being able to demonstrate existing expertise in women’s health, improving provision of diagnosis, treatment and management of endometriosis and pelvic pain, including capability of the health care team, a strong understanding of and links to their local community, and the ability to link to relevant primary and tertiary care services.

While it was not possible to fund all suitable clinics through this process, the Australian Government has set aside funding to evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative from 2024-25.

Lessons learnt will provide a blueprint for success for enhancing capability and capacity of other high performing general practices specialising in women’s health, endometriosis and pelvic pain services around Australia into the future.

You can read the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care’s media statement here.




Changes to the Standards for general practices (5th edition)

The RACGP has made important updates to the Standards for general practices (5th edition), reflecting the expectation that practices must be prepared for potential clinical emergencies.

All changes are outlined in this factsheet with more information here



Japanese encephalitis virus now detected in the Kimberley

The Department of Health WA is urging residents and travellers in the Kimberley region to avoid mosquito bites following evidence of recent Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) activity in the area. Current livestock surveillance programs indicate ongoing risk of JEV infection.
Find out more here
Patients can be directed to  Fight the Bite (HealthyWA) for advice.



My Health App

The Australian Digital Health Agency released the new my healthapp. Available for Apple and Android devices, my health provides a simple and secure way for everyone to access the information available on their personal My Health Record. 
There’s now a huge range of clinical information being added to My Health Record by providers in Western Australia and across the country including:

  • Pathology results from all major WA providers
  • Discharge letters from public and private hospitals
  • Emergency department summaries from public hospitals
  • Medication and dispense records
  • Immunisation records
  • MBS and PBS items
The my health app can support your patients with access to this information and more, enabling them to better manage their own health. The Australian Digital Health Agency has a wealth of information and support available via my health app | Australian Digital Health Agency or their 24/7 public support line at 1800 723 471 (Option 1).

Watch the video: my health app - How to set up my health app



Migraine Australia releases patient factsheets

Migraine Australia, with the assistance of the Australia New Zealand Headache Society, have produced a series of 18 factsheets on migraines.

They are designed for patients, especially those who have recently been diagnosed with migraine. The factsheets can be used by doctors and other health professionals in general practice, hospitals, specialist care, allied care and pharmacy in their care for people with migraine. 

Access migraine factsheets



New hepatitis C program

A new national program aiming to help eliminate hepatitis C in Australia is calling GPs and other health professionals working in primary care to sign up and help locate the estimated 50,000 Australians who may be unaware they have the virus. Read more here


Better health care for people with intellectual disability

People with intellectual disability experience higher mortality rates, lack of health prevention, discrimination and inappropriate psychotropic prescribing.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care  has developed three new resources offering strategies to address safety and quality risks in health care for people with intellectual disability.

These are based on Four Steps to Inclusive Health Care and include: 

  • Intellectual Disability Actions for Clinicians - fact sheet
  • With Me: Intellectual Disability Actions for Clinicians - infographic poster
  • About Me: Questions to Ask About Reasonable Adjustments - Easy Read fact sheet

View the resources here



Solar retinopathy clinical guidance

WA Department of Health has published clinical guidance about solar retinopathy ahead of the 20 April solar eclipse.
A partial eclipse will be visible across most of Western Australia on 20 April. Exmouth and the North West Cape will experience a total solar eclipse lasting just over one minute, which will see the moon cover the entire sun.
Key clinical guidance includes:

  • The sun or an eclipse should never be viewed with the naked eye. Children are especially vulnerable and must always be supervised during a solar eclipse.
  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) advises that the only way to guarantee the prevention of solar retinopathy is to avoid all forms of direct sun viewing.
  • The use of solar eclipse glasses carries certain risks. Patients who use these glasses must be counselled regarding safety and precautions, including the ISO 12312-2 standard

Learn more about solar retinopathy, including information about prevention, patient education and referral to ophthalmology.



New Ophthalmology Referral Access Criteria mandatory from 24 April 2023

Referral Access Criteria are now available for public adult ophthalmology outpatient services in WA on:
Referrers are encouraged to commence using the Referral Access Criteria immediately.

From Monday 24 April 2023, referrals not meeting the Referral Access Criteria (RAC), or are missing mandatory information, will be returned to the referrer with advice and what information is required for successful submission. Patients will not be provided with an appointment or placed on a waitlist until a completed referral consistent with the RAC is received. 
Patients who require immediate review (within 7 days) are not to be referred via CRS and should be discussed directly with the appropriate hospital. 
All other adult ophthalmology outpatient service referrals from GPs to metropolitan public hospitals should continue to be submitted via CRS. Referrals from Optometrists and referrals to WA Country Health Service should continue to be sent directly to the specific hospital site.   
The CRS will ensure all mandatory information has been provided, as per the RAC, prior to the referral being allocated to the appropriate hospital. Clinical triage is then the responsibility of the receiving hospital.
Specialties with RAC implemented include: 

  • Urology 
  • Neurology 
  • ENT (Adult & Paediatric) 
  • Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 
  • Ophthalmology (Mandatory from 24 April 2023) 

For queries please email  
Bookmark the WA Department of Health RAC webpage available here 


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


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
Please note this event is now at capacity and a subsequent event is to be held - stay tuned!


Healthy weight masterclass series  

Following the recent launch of WA Primary Health Alliance’s SHAPE (Supporting Holistic and Person centred weight Education) website and Conversations About Weight online training, WA Primary Health Alliance, in partnership with local WA healthcare professionals and lived experience voices, is pleased to present a six-part masterclass series on supporting patients with weight concerns to improve their health and wellbeing. 

These sessions are open to all healthcare professionals, including GPs, practice nurses, allied health practitioners, and hospital based medical practitioners. 

Session 1: The science of obesity and weight stigma 
Wednesday 17 May 2023 (6.00-7.30pm AWST) Via Zoom 

The first session will provide attendees with an understanding of: 

  • Weight bias and weight stigma, including: 

- The impact of weight stigma in the healthcare setting 
- Patient experiences of weight stigma, including lived experience perspectives 
- How to practice using an approach free from weight stigma 

  • The interplay of the multiple, complex factors contributing to weight and overall health. 

Register now  

Session 2: The role of general practice in supporting people with weight concerns

Wednesday 14 June 2023 (6.00-7.30pm AWST) Via Zoom

The second session will provide attendees with an understanding of:

  • The role of general practice in supporting patients with weight concerns.
  • How GPs, practice nurses (and other healthcare professionals) can overcome the risk of providing unsolicited advice when initiating conversations about weight.
  • How to incorporate a behaviour change and motivational approach to chronic disease care planning.

Register now


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.

Session 3: Adult Trans, gender diverse and non-binary health
Tuesday 4 April 2023 6-8pm

The third session will include:

  • A discussion about gender identity, gender affirming hormone therapy, contraception, screening, gender affirming surgery and the role of allied health.
  • Information on prescribing, local referral pathways, care plan templates, supporting gender marker change and service information.
  • A clinical case study discussion.
  • An overview of the Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway.
Find out more and 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
Clinical Assessment: Managing Emergencies in Primary Healthcare (Joondalup)
Presented by Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
27 March
Clinical Assessment: Managing Emergencies in Primary Healthcare (Bentley)
Presented by Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
28 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
Chronic Kidney Disease:  benefits of early detection and treatment interventions
Presented by Kidney Health Australia
29 March
Clinical Assessment: Managing Emergencies in Primary Healthcare (Rockingham)
Presented by Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
30 March
BreastScreen WA mobile visit Broome
Presented by BreastScreen WA
5 to 28 April
BreastScreen WA mobile visit Augusta
Presented by BreastScreen WA
5 to 28 April

Alcohol & Other Drug Network: A Project ECHO Initiative Session 12Cannabis
Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
28 April 

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.