29 June 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.
General Practice GP Grants
More than $8 million has now been paid to 340 Western Australian (WA) general practices following their applications for a Strengthening Medicare General Practice Grant, allowing them to start working towards achieving their selected practice development goals in a timely manner.
With more than 600 applications lodged with WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), the Grants are set to support these WA practices to expand patient access and support safe, and accessible, quality primary care.
Most practices have opted to invest their grant across three different (or combined) streams, being enhancing digital capability, upgrading infection control, and maintaining or achieving practice accreditation.
This sends a strong signal that WA general practices understand and value the importance of accreditation and digital health, with the latter not only helping to achieve or maintain accreditation, but also enabling continuous quality improvement.
While we appreciate the GP Grant application process involved additional steps compared to other initiatives practices may have applied for, most WA general practices are now set up as a WAPHA supplier. The benefit of this to practices is that applications for future funding opportunities, such as those flagged in the May 2023 Federal Budget, will be streamlined. You can keep up to date with current and future grants and programs here.
A reminder that practices with extenuating circumstances (part way through the application process in the WAPHA system and those identified for review with the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care) are still being considered for grant approval. Any practice that has not yet begun their application process will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Please continue to send any queries to the Practice Assist team on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) or GPgrants@wapha.org.au
WA Primary Health Alliance’s Digital Health team is happy to talk to your practice about implementing digital health solutions. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Primary Sense Update
The way your practice needs to make its PIP QI submission is changing. Some practices will be using Primary Sense for the first time and yet others will be using a JSON file submitted through the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) portal.
For the 84% of eligible practices who have made the change to Primary Sense, from the 1 July 2023 your PIP QI submissions will be completed using data extractions from your practice’s Primary Sense program. Your practice may therefore choose to uninstall your previous data extraction software.
WAPHA appreciates your time and effort in transitioning to Primary Sense. Your feedback will continuously improve the system for clinical use for GPs and for future expanded clinical use in the practice across professions.
We invite you to join one of our education sessions to make the most of Primary Sense in your practice.
For the practices who are unable to use, or have opted out of using, Primary Sense for PIP QI data extraction, you will need to make your PIP QI submissions via a JSON file submitted through the WAPHA portal. You will also need to sign a new data sharing agreement to enable this.
If you are yet to begin the process for JSON file submission, please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) as soon as possible.
Find more information on Primary Sense on the Practice Assist Website, on the national Primary Sense website, or by contacting Practice Assist.
We would like to welcome you to attend our education sessions on Primary Sense, WAPHA’s new data extraction, clinical decision support and population health management tool.
Primary Sense is installed at more than 84% of eligible practices and we look forward to an opportunity to educate, collaborate and network with Practice Managers and Nurses.
A series of in person sessions in our Subiaco office and virtual sessions for regionally located practices are planned. These follow on from virtual education sessions held in the Perth metropolitan areas.
These sessions have been designed to introduce Primary Sense to Practice Managers and Nurses whilst also extending on current knowledge and experience using the tool in general practice.
A series of Primary Sense education sessions across July and August 2023 will be run at our Subiaco office. Attendance is limited to 20 people per session so please register at your earliest convenience.
To view the education session flyer click here
Register here - various dates available
Two virtual Primary Sense education sessions will be run for WA regional practices. Both sessions will have the same content, providing a demonstration of Primary Sense and giving practice staff with an opportunity to ask questions and learn how to get the most out of the tool.
Tuesday 11 July (11am - 12 noon) Friday 14 July (1pm - 2pm)
More than 1200 general practices across Australia are now using Primary Sense’s comprehensive range of features and benefits, not previously available to general practice in a single software application, to assist with clinical decision making and continuous quality improvement.
As a GP and Chair of the Primary Sense Clinical Advisory Board, Dr Lisa Beecham has experienced firsthand how it can significantly enhance the management of care, particularly for patients with complex, chronic conditions, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of practice management.
She uses a case study to illustrate how Primary Sense helped to reduce the risk of hospitalisation in a target group of Gold Coast patients by identifying that 75% of the most high-risk among them were not vaccinated against influenza. Using in consult alerts, the general practices concerned succeeded in vaccinating 45% of these patients.
Feature - Preparing for NAIDOC week in your practice
National NAIDOC Week is 2-9 July 2023. NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC Week is celebrated by all Australians and is a great opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal communities.
NAIDOC Week is a great way for practices to participate in a range of activities and build relationships with their local Aboriginal community.
The National NAIDOC Theme for 2023 is For Our Elders.
Cultural awareness and safety training aims to improve the experience and quality of service delivered by health care providers to Aboriginal people. Ultimately cultural safety training leads to better health outcomes for Aboriginal people.
Cultural safety involves actions that recognise, respect, and nurture the unique cultural identity of a person and safely meet their needs, expectations, and rights. It means working from the cultural perspective of the other person, not from your own perspective.
It is recommended that health professionals undertake cultural awareness and safety training by a local provider on a regular basis, and prior to commencing work in Western Australia.
The resources provided below are designed to develop further understanding of Aboriginal culture, and how to deliver culturally appropriate healthcare.
To learn more on WA Primary Health Alliance’s commitment to Aboriginal Health, please refer to our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.
For further information on incorporating culturally safe activities into your practice, contact Practice Assist by emailing email@example.com or calling 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) to connect with your Primary Care Navigator or Quality Improvement Coach.
Lockridge Medical Centre has started the process of developing its own reconciliation action plan (RAP), which is already delivering tangible and substantive benefits for the practice’s Aboriginal* patients and the local community.
Director Natalie Watts explained that the practice began its RAP journey in July 2022 with team members attending free webinars and information sessions through Reconciliation Australia.
“We identified that the framework surrounding the RAP is extensive and it has involved the practice reaching out to the local shires, the City of Swan and the City of Belmont. The meetings have been an excellent source of information and put us in touch with First Nations service providers who have in turn highlighted the benefits and challenges of the RAP journey,” Ms Watts said.
Developing a RAP is a lengthy process and Lockridge Medical Centre anticipates that it will take a minimum of two years to complete. As part of the practice’s RAP journey, the team has been engaging and collaborating with local service providers to improve health services within the community for Aboriginal people.
“The past year has been rewarding, we have gained knowledge of grant pathways to support our First Nations initiatives and continued our engagement with Marr Mooditj Training. Our nursing team works alongside Aboriginal health worker students and we have sourced cultural training for our staff which will be completed this year. All our patients are able to access a safe cultural health service within their local area and we have completed an increased number of health assessments over the past 12 months,” Ms Watts said.
As an example of activities that practices can undertake to celebrate NAIDOC and support Aboriginal patients, Lockridge Medical Centre is hosting a NAIDOC kick-off event on Monday 3 July and providing free walk-in Indigenous health assessments between 10am and 4pm during the week.
For further information about how your practice can contribute towards improving health services for Aboriginal people, contact Practice Assist by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900).
1. WA Primary Health Alliance uses the term Aboriginal in preference to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, in recognition that Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of Western Australia.
The vaccine suitability assessment MBS items were recently streamlined and simplified to reflect integration of these services into routine care (1 February 2023). These fees will increase on 1 July 2023 in-line with MBS indexation.
For more information, visit MBS Online
The last of the Pfizer 12 years+(purple) stock has now been delivered. All Pfizer 12 years+(purple) vaccine doses will expire on 30 June 2023.
Please check your fridges on 1 July (the day after expiry) to report any wastage in CVAS.
The vaccines should then be disposed of as per existing state and territory guidelines for the disposal of clinical waste and schedule 4 medication. 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 due no later than 9pm Friday that week. Once a site’s stock on hand in CVAS shows zero for Pfizer 12 years+(purple) 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.
From Saturday 1 July 2023, the Vaccine Operation Centre (VOC) operating hours will operate Monday to Friday.9:00am – 5:00pm. VOC can still be contacted at COVID19VaccineOperationsCentre@Health.gov.au 24 hours a day and on 1800 318 208 during the above operating hours.
If you need to report a cold chain breach (CCB) outside of operating hours, use the CCB reporting form found on the ‘Get Help’ page of your CVAS account or here.
Please email the CCB reporting form to COVID19VaccineOperationsCentre@Health.gov.au and it will be actioned as a priority the next business day.
It is mandatory under the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015, for vaccination providers to report all vaccinations administered in Australia to the AIR.
Vaccination providers should use the latest version of their Practice Management Software to make sure they meet reporting requirements.
Every COVID-19 vaccine should be reported to the AIR within 24 hours. If you are providing vaccinations to residents of aged care or disability homes, it is your responsibility as the vaccinator to upload the information to the AIR
Reporting timely, high quality and accurate vaccination information ensures that the AIR maintains a complete and reliable dataset to enable the monitoring of immunisation coverage and administration. It also ensures that individuals have a complete record of their vaccinations that can be provided as evidence for education, employment, and/or travel purposes.
With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care have updated the oral antiviral treatments fact sheet (updated 8 May 2023).
This fact sheet provides information on new oral treatments, including who may be eligible for the treatments and the process for taking them.
As respiratory illnesses are more common in winter, a COVID-19 booster dose is recommended to address waning of protection against severe COVID-19 and provide an increase in protection against severe illness in targeted groups.
To view the 2023 booster eligibility and recommendations in full, refer to the ATAGI 2023 Booster Advice or the ATAGI Clinical Guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers.
Following several years of annual growth, the numbers of Indigenous-specific health checks fell in 2020 and 2021 from the pre-pandemic peak in 2019 and were comparable to the numbers in 2017 and 2018. Telehealth health checks, an option introduced at the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, were initially used commonly but saw a gradual decline over time.
Read more here
Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC) provides assistance to general practice staff by providing suggested immunisation catch-up plans for children and adolescents up to 20 years of age, and persons of all ages with asplenia or pre/post-splenectomy.
MCDC is implementing a new process for requesting assistance with catch-up immunisation plans.
From 3 July 2023 providers will be required to submit requests electronically via this online form: Immunisation Catch Up Plan Request Form.
Using this electronic request form will enable MCDC to gather all the relevant information so that your patient’s suggested catch-up plan can be completed accurately and in the shortest possible time frame. Overseas records or practice catch-up attempts can be uploaded into the online form if required.
Please contact the MCDC Immunisation Team on 9222 8588 or NM.MCDCImmunisationTeam@health.wa.gov.au for any questions.
The Vaccination for Our Mob report website provides immunisation and vaccine preventable disease insights for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.
Vaccination for Our Mob summarises the findings of the NCIRS report on vaccine preventable diseases and vaccination coverage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2016–2019, which was published recently in the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal.
Access the report and the website here
WA Primary Health Alliance is hosting the Immunisation "Back to Basics" Webinar with guest speaker Michele Cusack from Services Australia.
This webinar is aimed at practice nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners to assist with navigating the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
During the webinar, Michelle will use real-time examples to discuss:
To register for the webinar, visit the registration webpage.