7 September 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.
R U OK? Day 2023 is Thursday 14 September and is our national day of action when we remind Australians that every day is the day to ask, ‘are you OK?’ and start a meaningful conversation whenever they spot the signs that someone they care about might be struggling with life.
As part of this years campaign information is available on how to start a conversation, and deciding if individuals are ready to start meaningful conversations.
Ideas on how to support R U OK Day, how to get involved, host an event, merchandise or for resources to display in your practice visit the website.
R U OK? has a wide variety of tailored resources to help you share and champion our message and encourage your school, workplace and community to stay connected and have regular meaningful conversations. These include resources in many languages and resources for Aboriginal communities.
General practice is a rewarding and fulfilling career contributing to improving the lives of all Australians. However, by its very nature, this work can be challenging and stressful.
Healthcare professionals, including doctors, are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems compared to the general population. The high levels of stress, long working hours, and emotional strain associated with their work, can take a toll on their mental wellbeing.
There are various resources available to support the mental health of healthcare professionals in Australia. Some of these include:
o Beyond Blue
o SRSA – Support for Rural Specialists
o Lifeline Australia
o Health and wellbeing support for rural generalists
o TEN: The Essential Network for Health Professionals
o RACGP GP Support Program
For further information about Practice Staff Mental Health Support, to contact your local Quality Improvement Coach or Primary Care Navigator, contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Australians are finding it harder to receive expert mental health care. Access to a psychiatrist can take many months and some find private care prohibitively expensive. This has placed a high burden on our primary care providers to manage a growing number of cases.
The GP Psychiatry Support Line enables GPs to pick up a phone and speak directly with a qualified psychiatrist. Access to expert advice is making a dramatic difference in the quality and efficiency of care being provided to patients.
Learn more here
To help support the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal patients, health professionals can access culturally relevant online resources on the WellMob website that was developed by eMHPrac (e-mental health in practice) in collaboration with the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.
In addition to mental health and wellbeing resources, the website also provides a range of training and workforce resources to enhance the skills and understanding of people who work with Aboriginal patients.
For further information, visit wellmob.org.au
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.
Head to Health is an Australian Government service that helps people to access the mental health and wellbeing services that are right for them. It comprises the Head to Health digital platform, the Head to Health Phone Service and a network of Head to Health centres.
The services make it easier to navigate and choose the most suitable care options, whether that’s face-to-face, via phone or online.
Head to Health also makes it easier for GPs and other health professionals to support the mental health of the people they look after, and those who support them, through improving access to, and coordination of, mental health services in their local community.
The Head to Health website includes over 750 evidence based digital mental health resources, apps and online programs. This includes dedicated online forums, peer support services, chat and email services.
This state-wide phone service offers free confidential assessment and referral for anyone seeking help for their mental and emotional wellbeing and/or wanting to support a patient, or someone they care about. The Head to Health Phone Service uses the Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST). All Head to Health mental health clinicians are trained in, and use the IAR-DST to determine the most appropriate level of care for individuals seeking mental health support. This is helping to create a common language across the mental health sector about patients’ treatment needs. If consumers call the phone service number directly, a qualified clinician will use the IAR-DST to guide them to suitable treatment options to support their level of need.
Training is also available for GPs in the use of this tool. Designed to complement the GP or clinician’s clinical judgement, IAR-DST is best used as part of a comprehensive mental health assessment.
One referral is all the GP needs to make as, once the patient is accepted into the Head to Health system, they are connected to the most appropriate services and supports.
GPs can find out more here
Head to Health Centres offer a walk-in service providing advice, support and, if needed, assessment and treatment for people 18 years and over experiencing emotional and psychological distress. Services include support for family, carers and friends. They aim to improve access to mental health services for people whose condition is too complex for primary care but doesn’t meet the criteria for an emergency department visit. There are currently sites in Midland, Gosnells and Mirrabooka.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has commissioned Nous Group to review the use and uptake of the Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) for mental health care across Australia. This includes the IAR Guidance and Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST).
Nous Group are seeking the views and experiences of clinicians in relation to the IAR. This includes general practitioners, nurses, social workers and other clinicians that conduct mental health assessments. Nous Group are looking to speak to clinicians who are trained in and currently use the IAR and those with less knowledge and/or practical experience of the tool.
This email is an initial EOI for clinicians interested in participating in a 30-minute online interview. All interviewees will be gifted a $50 online Visa card in appreciation for your time and contribution.
If you would be interested in participating in an interview, please complete the EOI by following this link.
The IAR tools were introduced in 2019 and include the IAR Mental Healthcare Guidance (IAR Guidance) and IAR Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST). Together, these tools establish a national, standardised approach to conducting an initial assessment and support clinicians and other users to determine the most suitable level of care for people presenting seeking mental health support.
Presented by Doctors' Health Alliance
Saturday 23 Sept (10am to 2pm AEST)
Participate on-line or join a local doctors' health service 'workshop hub' hosted nationally.
Program topics include:
View the flyer here to register
WAPHA’s Primary Care Quality Improvement (QI) Team is currently working behind the scenes to develop a range of targeted QI activities (including PDSAs) that may support your practice with the implementation of MyMedicare.
The key areas that the team are focusing on include patient registration, telehealth and chronic disease management. As more information becomes available, we will continue to expand our list of QI activities.
In the meantime, you may also want to start thinking about:
Keep an eye out for more details in future editions of Practice Connect. For further information, contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) or via email email@example.com to be connected with a Practice QI Coach in your area.
The MyMedicare voluntary patient registration model aims to strengthen the relationship between patients, their general practice, GP and primary care teams. Practices are encouraged to register before patient registration commences 1 October 2023.
If you would like to catch up on current information regarding MyMedicare, the following recorded webinars are available:
Access the MyMedicare Toolkit on the Practice Assist website for more information and support.
Immunisation & Cancer Screening
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.
NCIRS has developed a new resource to answer common questions about DTPa-HB-IPV-Hib vaccine (Vaxelis and Infanrix hexa).
Vaxelis is a combination vaccine that was added to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) on 1 July 2023 as an alternative vaccine for use in children at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.
It is available as an NIP-funded alternative to Infanrix hexa and is not a replacement for Infanrix hexa.
A non-live vaccine, it provides protection against six vaccine-preventable diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
Access the resource here
Rotavirus is the most common cause of acute severe gastroenteritis in children aged <5 years. Rotavirus vaccines are recommended under the NIP, and the Rotarix vaccine is funded at 2 months and 4 months of age.
Rotavirus vaccines are administered orally; the dose should be squeezed onto the inside of the infant’s cheek, preferably prior to a feed and before other vaccinations are administered at the same visit.
If an infant spits out or vomits most of a vaccine dose within minutes of receiving it, give 1 repeat dose during the same visit. If an infant spits out or vomits only a small part of a vaccine dose, the dose is still considered valid and does not need to be repeated. It is safe for the infant to have the entire volume of a repeat dose even if some of the first dose had been swallowed.
Upper recommended age limits apply to rotavirus vaccines.
For Rotarix vaccine, dose 1 needs to be administered before 15 weeks of age and dose 2 before 25 weeks of age. If the RotaTeq vaccine is being administered, refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook for upper age limit advice.
If the upper recommended age limit is missed, or if the dose has been given after the upper recommended age limit, refer to the Handbook for further advice.
Rotavirus vaccines can be co-administered with other vaccines on the NIP, including other live vaccines. Evidence from clinical trials indicates that co-administration of oral rotavirus vaccine is safe and does not interfere with the immune response to the other vaccine antigens on the NIP.
Further information is given in the Australian Immunisation Handbook and in the NCIRS Rotavirus vaccines for Australian children fact sheet.
Immunisation Coalition invite you to attend this event for GPs and nurses that immunise/vaccinate against specific infectious diseases.
In this webinar, leading researchers and clinicians will present on:
WA Primary Health Alliance are supporting practice nurses to complete the Understanding Vaccines and the National Immunisation Program (HESA Accredited). This Expression of Interest (EOI) is for Practice nurses who require training on immunisation. Please take the time to read the information below and in the link before completing the survey.
This Program aims to equip health professionals with knowledge and skills to competently deliver a high quality and safe immunisation service. It is self-paced but must be completed within a period of 20 weeks from the date of registration. The course requires access to the internet. The system requirements are listed and should be checked prior to purchase. Animation, interactivity and audio may not be supported on some devices such as iPads or iPhones.
Health Professionals must be registered with AHPRA to apply and those who successfully complete and meet all Program requirements will be awarded a Certificate of Completion. The course costs $350 inclusive of GST. Payment is made online through a secure PayPal system. On completion of the program, WA Primary Health Alliance will reimburse the cost of the course. All claims must be submitted to WAPHA prior to 31st December 2023.
For further information on the course please click here
The EOI will take approximately 3 minutes to complete. Please fill out the questions and submit in one session by COB Friday 10th of November 2023.
ATAGI Update on the COVID-19 Vaccination Program
ATAGI have released a new statement in relation to additional COVID-19 vaccination doses.
The advice provides guidance on who should consider receiving an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in 2023, recognising that older age remains the strongest risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease.
ATAGI recommends that all adults aged ≥ 75 years should receive an additional 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose if 6 months have passed since their last dose.
ATAGI advises the following groups should consider an additional 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose if 6 months have passed since their last dose, after discussion with their healthcare provider:
For more information and view the full statement here.
From 1 October 2023, the Department of Health and Aged Care will no longer be producing new COVID-19 Vaccine Training Modules and the COVID-19 learning platform will close.
COVID-19 reference resources, including the COVID-19 Vaccines in Australia and ATAGI Recommended COVID-19 Vaccines Doses posters, will continue to be updated and available. For continued access to learning resources for COVID-19 vaccines, please visit COVID-19 vaccination training program | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.
All primary care sites participating in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program must continue to either:
FAQ’s are available here
If you have any clinical questions regarding COVID-19 Vaccine administrations, please contact the Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) on 1800 318 208 or COVID19VaccineOperationsCentre@Health.gov.au
The recent transition to Primary Sense as WA Primary Health Alliance's data extraction and population health tool of choice, gives us the ability to improve your general practice data summary reports and how we deliver these to your practice.
We are developing a new secure online portal, the Primary Care Reporting Portal (the Portal), to house your general practice data summary reports. These will be available to all practices sharing data for PIP QI via the Primary Sense tool.
We anticipate that the Portal and your data summary reports will be available in October 2023.
The Portal will have a staged release.
If you are a practice sharing data with WAPHA via Primary Sense we recently asked you to respond to our survey to ensure we have the correct information for your practice for Stage 1 of the Portal release.
Please ensure your practice has completed the survey here as soon as possible.
For any further information on the coming Primary Care Reporting Portal or Primary Sense tool, please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has been awarded two grants to support an effective primary health care response to family, domestic and sexual violence.
Two pilot programs will be conducted over three years in locations selected by the Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care. Working with local stakeholders, WAPHA will adapt a national model for integrating general practice care with the broader service response.
In Perth South PHN, the program will focus on supporting the primary care sector response, and in Country WA PHN, the pilot will focus on supporting recovery using a new model of trauma informed care. Work in the Country WA PHN will focus on implementing a new model of trauma-informed, recovery care for victim-survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence.
Interested practices are encouraged to stay up to date via FDSV project page or contact project lead Rosanne Logie. Email Rosanne.Logie@wapha.org.au or phone 08 6272 4927.
HealthPathways WA is planning two working groups (Metro and Country) to inform the development of two obstetric pathways. Focus of the working groups are the First Antenatal Consult pathway (for consultations <10 weeks gestation) and the Prenatal Screening and Diagnosis of Fetal Anomalies pathway. The aims of the working groups is to explore gaps, existing knowledge, and current practice, and will provide an opportunity to give feedback on the drafted pathways. The working groups will consist of GPs, midwives, and hospital specialists (obstetrics, genetics, and maternal fetal medicine).
HealthPathways WA is seeking expressions of interest from GPs and community midwives for this event.
To express interest in attending complete the EOI form. For more information or queries around this event contact the HealthPathways WA team via email, email@example.com
The Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD reminds GPs, nurse practitioners or other medical practitioners of their legal obligation to report diagnosis of a suspected notifiable infectious disease or a related condition. Notifiable infectious diseases and related conditions are notifiable under the Public Health Act 2016 and the Public Health Regulations 2017.
Visit the WA Department of Health website for more information including a list of notifiable infections diseases and how to notify.
Interested practitioners can also access the WA Health Notifiable infectious disease report here
Funded by the Department of Health Western Australia, the provision of Non-Emergency Planned Patient Transport Services (NEPPTS) contract is for the transport of low to medium acuity patients within the Perth Metropolitan boundary.
The three NEPPTS transport categories are:
The following communication materials have been developed to raise awareness of the Planned Community Patient Transport Service and to ensure those who interact with the service are aware of the panel of five approved NEPPTS transport providers.
The below documents are available for your information and distribution:
Patients can find more info in relation to transport options through the following links:
Are you looking for qualified and dedicated General Practitioners (GPs) or practice nurses to join your healthcare team? Look no further than Rural Health West's (RHW) exceptional recruitment service! RHW specialise in connecting health professionals with rural and remote communities, ensuring that you find the perfect fit for your practice. And all at no cost to you!
Our dedicated recruitment team is here to support every step of the way. Here's some of the ways we can assist:
1. Supervision Support for IMGs:
If your practice is considering hiring an International Medical Graduate (IMG), the RHW team are ready to provide expert advice on the supervision requirements. They understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with hiring IMGs and can guide your practice in creating a supportive environment for them to thrive.
2. Access to the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program (MDRAP):
In some cases, your doctor may need access to the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program (MDRAP) to practise in certain locations. Rural Health West is responsible for administering this program and our recruitment team is across the program's requirements. They can provide the necessary support to ensure a smooth application process.
3. Sponsorship Assistance:
For off-shore health professionals who require sponsorship to work in Australia, the RHW recruitment team can facilitate an introduction to their experienced migration agent. They have a proven track record of successfully supporting healthcare professionals through the sponsorship process, making it a hassle-free experience.
4. Vacancy Writing Support:
Writing an enticing job vacancy that attracts the right candidates is crucial for successful recruitment. If you find yourself struggling with writing an effective job posting, let RHW take away the stress! The team can provide expert guidance and support to help you create a compelling and informative vacancy that showcases the unique opportunities your practice has to offer.
5. GP Locum Placement Program:
Is your practice facing a temporary gap in GP coverage due to leave or other short-term absences? Look no further than our GP Locum Placement Program. The locum placement program is designed to provide flexible and reliable solutions tailored to your practice's specific needs. Whether you require a GP for a few days, weeks, or even months, we have a network of locum professionals ready to step in and provide exceptional care.
Rural Health West is passionate about bridging the gap between rural communities and health professionals. The recruitment services go beyond just matching candidates with positions; they strive to build lasting relationships that lead to better health outcomes for everyone involved.
Get in touch with the recruitment team today, and let RHW help you find your ideal GP or practice nurse!
Visit the RHW website: www.ruralhealthwest.com.au. Email RHW at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 08 6389 4500 to learn more about our comprehensive recruitment services.
Do you know an outstanding rural health professional who deserves recognition for their hard work and commitment to the community?
Nominate a peer, colleague or health team to help shine a spotlight on the health professionals making a difference.
The WA Rural Health Excellence Awards celebrate health professionals who have dedicated their careers to caring for rural communities, and showcase the achievements of health professionals who have enhanced healthcare across country WA.
Additional information on award categories and criteria can be found on the 2024 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards website.
Looking for cost-effective musculoskeletal physiotherapy for your patients?
The Curtin Health and Wellness Centre provides affordable physiotherapy assessment and care for musculoskeletal conditions and is for everyone. Care is provided by physiotherapy students in their final years of study, and intermittently, post-graduate physiotherapy students. All consultations are closely supervised by experienced physiotherapists in our professional treatment areas.
The treatments offered are patient centred and evidence-guided.
The Clinic offers treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including:
Patients can self-refer by calling 9266 1717. Medical practitioners or health professionals can also refer to the clinic using the referral form.
To find out more about the Curtin Physiotherapy Clinic, including opening hours, visit the Physiotherapy Clinic website.
Research & Surveys
Are you a GP/GP registrar or Paediatricians/Paediatric registrar working with children at your practice?
This is an opportunity for you to participate in an online survey investigating Australian GPs’ and Paediatricians’ views and support for helping adolescents to quit vaping.
This study is being conducted by Federation University Australia
Supporting Choice for Cervical Screening is a national project which aims to generate evidence about how the choice for self-collection can be implemented in different services and settings, to ensure equitable access and increased participation for people who currently experience barriers to cervical screening.
The project is co-led by the University of Melbourne and the Daffodil Centre, a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney.
Heathcare worker participants can take part in an interview as an individual (up to 60 minutes) or as part of a group with colleagues (up to 1.5 hours). The interview will be held online via Zoom or Teams. More information about what is involved in the project and the interviews is attached in the Plain Language Statement.
To indicate your interest in an interview please click here
For enquiries, please contact the Supporting Choice team: email@example.com
University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) reference: 2023-26114-38488-1
Education & Events
Join this upcoming webinar hosted by Dr Norman Swan, with Prof Leon Flicker, Prof Amy Brodtmann and Dr Simon Torvaldsen, as they discuss the latest advances in Alzheimer’s treatment. This webinar will explore what else is on the horizon, what other interventions should still be used, and how the focus on intervention has shifted to early dementia.
View the flyer here
An interactive Virtual Roadshow bringing a tailored approach of Cardiovascular Risk Reduction from the Heart Foundation in collaboration with WAPHA.
This interactive, live Virtual Workshop will bring together a specialist presentation followed by breakout groups and completed with live audience Panel Q & A with the following objectives:
In a world of ever-evolving challenges, it's crucial to embrace innovative solutions and prioritise the well-being of individuals and communities. Our conference theme, "Looking Beyond," will delve into the realms of People, Resilience, and Innovation, exploring new pathways to enhance mental health services and support in rural and remote areas.
To register and secure your spot, visit our conference website
For any inquiries or assistance, please contact us at RRMHC@ruralhealthwest.com.au or 08 6389 4500.
We are excited to welcome health professionals from across rural WA to Walyalup, Fremantle on the 18 and 19 November for the 2023 Aboriginal Health Conference. The 2023 conference theme is Dedication: The Story of our Elders and will provide opportunity to learn from those who came before us, hear their stories, reflect on how we can move through the challenges faced by so many, and find a way forward together.
More information, including details on the travel support available for delegates and their families, can be found on the Aboriginal Health Conference website