19 October 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.
As a proud sponsor of the annual WA Mental Health Month WAPHA is committed to promoting awareness, reducing stigma and encouraging people to get the support they need to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Every year, WA Primary Health Alliance invests approximately half of our program expenditure into the delivery of primary mental health services. Mental Health Month is great time to look at WAPHA’s Mental Health Strategy and aligned Mental Health Framework to get a better understanding of our approach and priorities for primary mental health. You can also view the range of services we commission at services.wapha.org.au/.
Mental Health Month is a chance to promote activities and ideas that can have a positive impact on our daily lives and the lives of others. These events and messages are tied together with a specific theme, and this year’s is “We all have a role to play”.
There are lots of ways your practice can get involved in 2023 Mental Health Month. Access resources for support, strategies and self-care and downloads to promote Mental Health Month 2023. And if you are looking for strategies to look after your own mental health you can find a list of Support help lines and websites here.
General Practice plays a vital role in the provision of mental health care in Australia. It offers accessible and comprehensive care including mental health treatment plans for individuals in distress, ensures equitable access to mental health services and coordinates care for patients with complex needs. By integrating mental health care into routine consultations, general practice helps to reduce stigma, promote early intervention, and improve overall mental well-being in the community.
You can refer to our HealthPathways WA page General Practitioners' Health for a summary of services to which GPs and practice staff can reach out.
Head to Health is a free, Australian Government service making 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 services make it easier to navigate and choose the most suitable care options, whether that’s face-to-face, via phone or online. It comprises the Head to Health digital platform, the Head to Health Phone Service and a network of Head to Health centres.
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 phone service can also help to navigate the mental health system and provide information and onwards referral to services.
The phone service uses the Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool to direct the caller to the most appropriate service, based on their needs.
No appointment is needed, and referrals are not required. Operates Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm (including public holidays).
All Head to Health mental health clinicians are trained in and use the Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (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, and book a remunerated training session which is eligible for CPD hours, at wapha.org.au/iar-dst/
Funded by the Australian Government, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has commissioned centres in Midland, Gosnells and Mirrabooka. Visit the WAPHA website for more information.
The online Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) is designed to be used alongside a comprehensive, holistic mental health assessment to gather information and guide referrals.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is providing GPs in Western Australia with paid IAR-DST training covering two workshops in one online session. GPs and GP registrars who attend the two workshops in the one online session will be remunerated $300* and CPD hours are available. CPD hours and payment apply only upon successful completion of both workshops and the follow-up training outcome surveys.
To register to complete the two workshops in one online session, select a link below:
A virtual psychology clinic, MindSpot GP offers GPs and their patients access to high quality care that would otherwise be unavailable by any other means.
MindSpot GP provides free, online and telephone-based assessment and treatment for anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, substance use, and coping with chronic pain and chronic health conditions. If online or telephone treatment is not suitable, patients can also be referred to ORS psychology for up to ten free face-to-face or video call sessions.
MindSpot GP supports people who are referred by GPs and health professionals from across Western Australia. No mental health treatment plan is required for patients to access services.
GPs in Country WA can refer patients to MindSpot GP via their Integrated Mental Health Care Provider (Mental Health portal). Please refer to HealthPathwaysWA for your local Mental Health Portal provider or for more information, visit www.mindspot.org.au/mindspot-gp/ or call 1800 61 44 34.
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.
MyMedicare is a new voluntary patient registration model. It aims to formalise the relationship between patients, their general practice, general practitioner, and primary care teams. You can find out more about MyMedicare here.
Find out the benefits of being a MyMedicare general practice and a linked healthcare provider and learn how you can register here.
Find out the benefits of MyMedicare and how patients can register here.
Find fact sheets, frequently asked questions, brochures, and the patient registration form for MyMedicare general practices and healthcare providers here.
Practice Assist has information available on MyMedicare, aimed to support general practice. WAPHA’s Primary Care Navigators and QI Coaches are available and can be contacted through Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478) or 08 6278 7900 and via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To coincide with the commencement of patient registration for MyMedicare, practices can utilise a new Primary Sense report titled ‘Voluntary Patient Registration’ to assist in identifying patients who may benefit from enrolment.
The Voluntary Patient Registration report Quick Reference Guide is available for information on this report.
WAPHA’s team of Primary Care Navigators and Quality Improvement Coaches are available to support practices with Primary Sense reports and can be contacted through Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478) or 08 6278 7900 and via email email@example.com.
Immunisation & Cancer Screening
WA Primary Health Alliance is pleased to host and present this third webinar in the series with Michele Cusack from Services Australia.
Following on from our successful Back to Basics and Encounters and Reports webinars, this webinar is aimed at Nurses and Aboriginal Health Practitioners, and will highlight the following:
View the flyer here
This years Cold Chain Audit has begun – with East Metropolitan areas receiving the audits first (North and South will follow soon).
It is Mandatory to complete the audit this year, so here are some tips to make sure you will pass with flying colours!
See the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines for more information and contact MCDC for advice and education!
Shingrix® is a non-live vaccine. It’s highly effective in the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and its complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised people.
From 1 November 2023, there are changes to the shingles vaccination schedule under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) with the shingles vaccine Shingrix to replace Zostavax on the NIP schedule,
The groups eligible to receive the free vaccine will also change, and this includes everyone aged 65 years and over, First Nations people 50 years and over, and immunocompromised people 18 years and over at high risk of herpes zoster infection.
The NIP will fund a 2-dose course for eligible people.
More information here.
This webinar provides viewers with an update on shingles epidemiology, changes to the National Immunisation Program schedule, and current trends in Australian vaccination rates.
Low shingles vaccination rates in Australian adults impacts the epidemiology of the disease.
This webinar explores what current guidelines advise regarding vaccination to reduce disease burden and complications associated from contracting Shingles.
Register here for the free Immunisation Coalition webinar.
Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration is a rare condition that can occur when a vaccine is given too high into the upper arm, injuring the shoulder joint.
This condition can cause inflammation of the shoulder joint, which may lead to pain and restricted range of movement.
Symptoms often start from the time of injection and can persist from weeks to years.
To reduce the risk of shoulder injury, it is recommended to:
A printable infographic, Avoiding shoulder injury related to vaccine administration, is available in the Handbook, and a recording of an NCIRS training presentation on this topic can be found here.
The Koorlongka Kids Immunisation resources are designed to support you in conversations with parents and carers about immunising Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 years of age.
The brochure with the logo, ‘LOVE them, CARE for them, IMMUNISE them’ contains artwork by a local Aboriginal artist embedded with educational messaging, and personal story courtesy of Immunisation Foundation of Australia. The flyer includes a magnet which providers can fill in to remind parents of their child’s vaccination due dates between birth to 4 years of age.
To order now, providers can visit the WA Department of Health Immunisation Program publications ordering system.
For more information on how to place an order, go to Immunisation provider information and resources (health.wa.gov.au).
Encouraging your patients aged 50 to 74 to screen for bowel cancer just got easier, with the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program now enabling healthcare providers to bulk order program kits and issue them to eligible patients.
Healthcare providers can help people who have never screened or are overdue for screening to take that positive next step, with patients more likely to do the test after discussion with a trusted healthcare professional.
All kits handed to patients must be issued via the National Cancer Screening Register to ensure patients get their results.
Learn how to get started with the alternative access to kits model.
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.
Participating COVID-19 vaccinating general practices have been contacted with an invitation to participate in the COVID-19 Immunisation Recall and Reminder Grant.
This one-off funding opportunity supports practices to enhance and optimise practice processes and procedures related to vaccination recalls and reminders.
The purpose of the grant is to assist immunisation providers to promote vaccine awareness and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose, as well as other recommended vaccinations. This in turn can increase vaccine uptake resulting in decreasing the transmission of vaccine preventable illnesses.
This is an opportunity for general practices to enhance processes and procedures and increase vaccine uptake in their clinic.
If you are a COVID-19 vaccinating general practice and have not received the application email, or if you would like to become a COVID-19 Vaccinating practice, please contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The latest information and recommendations about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination have now been added to the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
The new COVID-19 chapter will serve as a primary reference for accurate information on COVID-19 vaccines and will be kept up to date to remain aligned with Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommendations.
The chapter will replace the ‘ATAGI clinical guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers’ webpage.
As with all new Handbook chapters, this chapter will undergo a public consultation, and National Health and Medical Research Council approval will be sought.
Access the Covid 19 Chapter here.
The Goldfields Multicultural Market Day was held on Saturday 2 September at Centennial Park in Kalgoorlie, bringing together 40 market stalls from a wide variety of local suppliers, exhibitors, food vendors, entertainment, and information stalls.
WA Primary Health Alliance and Centrecare hosted an information stall providing community members with resources related to COVID-19 vaccination, population, and mental health, including a list of local COVID-19 vaccination providers.
The information provided by exhibitors was well received, with many discussions held about health experiences.
The event concluded with people from all cultures dancing on the stage in their traditional costumes and was a very exciting and joyous occasion.
It is estimated that 2,000 people attended the event, including many travellers and visitors to the Goldfields region, far exceeding expectations of event organisers.
With a range of stalls and visitors to the market day, the information on COVID-19 vaccinations and messaging to improve health outcomes has reached a wide variety of communities across the Goldfields, making the market day a very successful event for all.
To find out more information on COVID-19 vaccination events and how to participate, please contact the COVID-19 Vaccination team via email GPvaccination@wapha.org.au.
A fourth Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) for Western Australia has been confirmed at Lagoon Medical Centre in Yangebup, that will support Beeliar and surrounding areas.
Expected to open from 15 November 2023, the clinic will provide treatment for urgent, but not life-threatening, illnesses and injuries requiring same day assessment for people who may otherwise have visited an emergency department.
Like all Medicare UCCs, the clinic will bulk bill, be open seven days a week and accept walk in patients.
Seven clinics will be located in Western Australia, with the following opening earlier this year:
Learn more here
On Saturday 14 October, Australians were given a once in a generation opportunity to make history and vote for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
While a yes outcome was not achieved, one thing will not change for us at WA Primary Health Alliance. We remain committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people across Western Australia.
We know that improved health outcomes are inexorably linked to the right to self-determination, to being treated with respect, and to being protected from discrimination. To effect long lasting and systemic change, there must be consultation, partnership and representation from Aboriginal people and communities.
Guided by our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan and Aboriginal Cultural Competency and Capability Framework, we aim to be bold and aspirational in our commitment to reconciliation and further build our relationships with the people from the Aboriginal communities with, and for whom, we work and commission services.
Our thoughts are with those individuals and communities who have been affected in the lead up to, and after, the referendum result. If you or anyone you know needs support, call 13YARN on 13 92 76.
HealthPathways WA have released a new Urgent Care Services HealthPathway, with information for clinicians to help patients access care at a location convenient to them and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments.
The pathway features services that provide treatment for urgent, but not life-threatening, illnesses and injuries requiring same-day assessment outside of an emergency department setting, including WA Primary Health Alliance’s newly commissioned Medicare Urgent Care Clinics.
Find out more here.
To access the pathway, request a login here.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has been re-accredited against Rainbow Tick Standards, strengthening the value we place on supporting, respecting and celebrating the individual differences of our staff and the broader WA community.
The re-accreditation process involved submission of over 80 pieces of evidence and a highly successful assessment week in May 2023, where over 45 staff and stakeholders were consulted by the assessment team.
WAPHA CEO, Learne Durrington, said re-accreditation against the standards reaffirms WAPHA’s organisational culture is LGBTIQA+ inclusive and affirmative for our staff and stakeholders.
Learn more here
East Metropolitan Health Services (EMHS) is establishing the future Byford Health Hub (the ‘Hub’) and developing an integrated service model for all services (WA Health & non-WA Health) to collectively work towards integrated care for the consumer. An opportunity is open to express your interest in potentially operating out of the new Hub via a Request for Information (RFI) process. The RFI is an information gathering exercise and is risk-free with no future commitment to operate services out of the Hub. Future opportunities will be presented to progress engagement in 2024.
View the flyer here for more information.
Research & Surveys
The 2023 APNA Workforce Survey gives primary health care nurses the chance to let decision makers how they really feel.
With the Scope of Practice review and primary health care reform to support multidisciplinary care on the horizon, there has never been a more critical time for primary health care nurses to have a voice.
Never has there been a greater need for your voice to count in influencing government primary health care reform in key issues such as nurses’ Scope of Practice. Politicians are listening—make sure you are heard by those in power.
The more primary health care nurses who complete the Survey and finish every question, the louder your voice will be!
Plus, by completing the survey you can go into the draw to win a $1000 Red Balloon voucher.
Start the survey here
Curtin University would like to bring this research project to the attention of GPs, practice nurses, practice staff and other primary health care professionals who may wish to refer their patients living with obesity. The project, led by Professor Deborah Kerr from Curtin University is partnering with East Metropolitan Health Service.
The “Connecting Health and Technology” (Chat2) randomised controlled trial led by dietitians, is offering people living with obesity a free, one year, world class weight management study aimed at supporting behaviour change, building healthy habits, and improving diet. The study design provides benefits to both the control and intervention groups so both groups will learn how to improve their dietary intake prior to considering other interventions such as medication or surgery.
View the flyer here for more information or visit the Chat2Study webpage here.
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) is seeking to improve communication between our outpatient clinics and GPs. In particular, we wish to improve the writing and structure of clinic letters to most effectively capture the information GPs require. They would appreciate your feedback on 3 proposed clinic letter templates through this survey here.
The survey will take 5-10 minutes and require you to read and evaluate 3 letters for the same fictional patient. Please spend as much time reading the letter templates as you would in your usual practice; you do not need to read each letter word-for-word if this is not your usual practice. The survey will be open until Monday 6 November.
The survey results will be used for education and to inform updates to clinic letter templates at SCGH. This project has been approved by the SCGH Quality Improvement committee. Responses are anonymous.
Are you a general practitioner, practice nurse, or community pharmacist?
The AusCAPPS Network is inviting you to take part in a national survey to understand your knowledge, attitudes, and current practices in providing long-acting reversible contraception and early medical abortion in primary care.
Take the survey for a chance to WIN one of 10 iPad Pros!
Education & Events
WA Primary Health Alliance invites organisations supporting people impacted by family, domestic and sexual violence (FDSV) to attend an online briefing on new funding for services responding to FDSV.
Funding is now available to support an effective primary health care response in priority areas.
The purpose of this session is to:
For further information, visit WAPHA’s IAR-DST webpage.
*With the exception of GPs who are already being paid for their time by a Commonwealth funded service (for example, Adult Mental Health Centre or Aboriginal Medical Centre) or they attend Workshop Two out of hours.
The Talking About Suicide in General Practice online workshops will help increase skills and confidence for general practitioners in:
This event is supported by WA Primary Health Alliance under the Australia Government’s Primary Health Networks Program.
Open to all currently practicing General Practice staff; GPs, Practice Managers, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners, Allied Health Practitioners and Medical Practice Assistants. Priority will be given to those practicing in the Peel region.
Delivered by CDMPLUS, the one day Introduction to Chronic Disease Management workshop is suitable for General Practice staff looking to improve Chronic Disease Management service delivery. With no pre-workshop requirements, the workshop will provide practical tips and step by step on everything Chronic Disease Management including:
Rural Health West and WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) are offering this collaborative education at heavily subsidised rates through the Peel GP Incentive Fund Initiative – Education and Training Support Project. Financial support is also available to eligible Peel health professionals to attend this workshop via the CPD Support Subsidy (CPDSS) Program.
Limited places are available! Register here
The RACGP WA is delighted to invite you and your guest to join us as we celebrate general practice and toast to the end of another year. We'll relax and unwind with peers and celebrate the wonderful achievements of the 2023 WA Award recipients. Set at The Maali at the Perth Zoo, this will be an evening of celebrations, fine wine, canapés and catching up with colleagues and friends in the lush surrounds of the Perth Zoo.