Practice Connect #188


8 February 2024

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.


Practice Updates


General practices collaborate and educate vulnerable and CALD patients

Health Workshop with Councilor Anbumoly at Willetton Family Practice

Over three months from October to December 2023, Willetton Family Practice and Pramana Medical Centre in Gosnells collaborated with WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) to support and educate vulnerable and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients regarding vaccinations and a variety of other health concerns.
Thurka Sitparan, Practice Manager at Willetton Family Practice, explained that the two clinics worked together to provide vulnerable and CALD patients with home visits from a nurse and multilingual counsellor, plus the clinics also weekly in-house education sessions that were conducted in various languages with culturally appropriate catering.
“The patients were more comfortable and accepting to receive a vaccination in their own home after some conversation with the counsellor. The conversation also included other general health and wellbeing concerns, such as cervical screens, mammograms and bowel screening. Four patients who had never done a cervical screen were willing to visit their GP or receive a self-test kit. Two patients who had never done a mammogram have decided to do an ultrasound in the first instance and eventually do a mammogram,” Ms Sitparan said.
Kate Fulford, Associate Director at Pramana Medical Centre, said that 77 of their patients received home visits and in addition to being vaccinated for COVID-19 and other diseases, they also received concurrent health checks that resulted in referrals to allied health or specialists on the spot through telehealth consultations with the patient’s primary GP.
“Feedback from the patients was extremely positive. We have also had an increase in family and community members coming to the clinic or contacting the clinic for information about getting vaccinated for communicable diseases, after their family member who we saw at home spoke to them about their vaccine history. The GPs thought the service was very valuable in developing bonds with patients who were reluctant to attend the clinic. The GPs also found having a counsellor a useful dynamic to support health navigation and education in a culturally appropriate way, which we are hopeful to continue into 2024,” Ms Fulford said.
For further information about how WAPHA can assist your practice with supporting and educating vulnerable and CALD patients with COVID-19, email Practice Assist via or call 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).


New-look Medicare cards

To celebrate Medicare turning 40, Services Australia is issuing commemorative Medicare cards. If your patients get a new or replacement card in 2024, it will be a 40-year anniversary card.  

Updates to the card will show on their: 

  • Medicare online account 
  • Express Plus Medicare mobile app 
  • myGov app.



Hepatitis C Quality Improvement Program - Incentive payment to practices increase

Beyond the C Program are increasing the incentive payment to practices from $750 at each timepoint to $2,000 at each timepoint. That is a total of $4,000 (plus GST) for participation in Beyond the C. Beyond the C Program want to ensure that participating practices are compensated adequately for their time, and are recognised for the great work they are doing by being a part of Beyond the C.

Find out more about the Beyond the C Program here


Oncology inpatients return to Royal Perth Hospital

Patients with breast, colorectal, lung and metastatic prostate cancer who require specialist inpatient care can now be admitted at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) under the governance of a Medical Oncologist.

The WA Department of Health has approved a restricted Level 5 Medical Oncology Service in the next phase of the East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) Cancer Services Plan. An inpatient oncology unit at RPH will provide continuity of care and support EMHS catchment patients accessing urgent chemotherapy, tumour specific multidisciplinary case conferences, palliative care and pain management services. In addition, 24-hour access to dedicated Medical Oncology Consultants will facilitate the management of emergency presentations and oncological emergencies.

The RPH Medical Oncology Inpatient Service will build upon a well-established Outpatient Service supported by a multidisciplinary team (MDT). Members of the MDT include: nursing, physiotherapy, social work, Aboriginal health liaison, clinical psychology, GP survivorship physician, pharmacy, dietetics, speech pathology and occupational therapy.

Referrals to the RPH Medical Oncology Service can be made by via the Central Referral Service provided patients have tissue diagnosis to confirm primary site of malignant disease.

Immediate outpatient referrals (requiring review within 7 days) must be discussed with a RPH Medical Oncologist on (08) 9224 2244 followed by a referral sent to the RPH Referral Office (


Immunisation & Cancer Screening


"Play Catch Up" with overdue immunisations

WA Primary Health Alliance, together with the Immunisation Foundation of Australia and the Metropolitan Centre for Disease Control have joined forces to encourage parents and guardians of children starting out at school to ensure their vaccination status is up to date.
The “Play Catch Up” promotion will include distribution of flyers in schools, kindy’s and playgroups as well as social media publications.

The flyer directs parents who are unsure of their child’s immunisation to their local GP, Child Health Care Unit or to contact Public Health.

GP clinics are encouraged to use the social media tile and add their practice details and booking links to promote immunisation catch up in their practices in these early weeks of the school year.



New Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Update

A new AIR Update has been published on the NCIRS website. It gives a detailed rundown on recent updates to the AIR, including:

  • the addition of two new reporting fields: 'Vaccine Type' and 'Route of Administration'. 
  • the release of the new AIR043A – Vaccine Details report.

To read the full update regarding the changes click here.


Cancer screening Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) activities

Cancer Council WA has created three PDSA activities aimed to help general practices identify and encourage eligible patients to participate in the practice-chosen national cancer screening program.

RACGP accredited CPD activity 

These activities have been approved under the measuring outcomes CPD activity type with RACGP (activity IDs: 401342, 410755, 411740). Cancer Council WA can apply the CPD hours with RACGP once the activity has been completed.

You can select either Bowel, Breast or Cervical Screening as the chosen program.
The activities consist of two cycles, illustrated by the example of the bowel cancer screening PDSA below: 

  • Cycle 1: Audit eligible patients with no recorded iFOBT or those overdue for an iFOBT.
  • Cycle 2: Randomly divide eligible patients (without recorded iFOBT or overdue) into two groups. One group receives a supplementary reminder (letter, SMS, phone call) chosen by the practice, while the other gets standard care.

Compare the effectiveness of these approaches by assessing iFOBT results in the randomly identified patients.
If you are interested in completing the PDSA activities, register using the link and you will receive an email with the chosen PDSA activity and the required steps to implement the planned changes. 

This is an easy way to feel confident you are making a difference with cancer screening programs for your patients. For further support with  Cancer Screening please Practice Assist.

Register here


Australia continues push to eliminate cervical cancer

The National Strategy for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, launched in late 2023, reflects Australia’s commitment to eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem.

The strategy sets targets specific to Australia and aligns with the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy for cervical cancer elimination, where the agreed-upon elimination threshold is less than four cases per 100,000 women.
By 2030, Australia aims to achieve the following targets:

  • Extending the 90% HPV vaccination target to include boys as well as girls.
  • Extending the 70% cervical screening target to 5-yearly participation for eligible 25- to 74-year-olds
  • Lifting the target for treatment to 95%

Through the implementation of this strategy, Australian women will have equitable and inclusive access to vaccination, screening, pre-cancer treatment and cancer care management. The overarching aim of the strategy being the elimination of cervical cancer by 2035.
General practice plays a crucial role in achieving these targets by opportunistically encouraging individuals who have missed the HPV vaccine to receive a 'catch-up' dose.

Additionally, it involves promoting and supporting patients to participate in cervical screening, whether through a clinician or a self-collected sample.


NCIRS webinar on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Presented by NCIRS
27 February 2024 (9am to 10am AWST)

A panel of leading infectious diseases and immunology paediatricians and physicians will present on:

  • RSV symptoms and disease burden in infants
  • new RSV vaccines and treatments, including monoclonal antibodies 
  • next steps for RSV vaccines and treatments in Australia.

Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions during the webinar, which will be answered by NCIRS experts either online or during the live question-and-answer panel.  
Register here


Chemotherapy: Supporting patients in their cancer treatment

Presented by Cancer Council WA
7 March 2024 (7pm to 8pm AWST)

At this webinar, Dr Andrew Fantoni, Medical Oncologist will discuss strategies to support patients receiving chemotherapy including how to recognise and manage both acute and late side effects in general practice and how to determine when a specialised approach is required. He will also cover the decision-making process guiding the treating team in selecting appropriate chemotherapy (not specific regimens), providing valuable insights to help GPs address patient queries.
Register here

COVID Updates


SCGH Post-COVID-19 Clinic closing 15 February 2024

The Post COVID-19 Clinic at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) is no longer accepting referrals and will close 15 February 2024.

SCGH will continue providing care to all patients via the specialties that care for the patient’s primary symptom of concern.  Thorough information must be included in these referrals to guide allocation, and SCGH may ask for more information when required.

Resources that may be useful on the management of long COVID include:


Digital Health Updates


Discover the Game-Changing Benefits of Telehealth

Telehealth has seen a notable increase in Australia, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many practices are now incorporating it into routine consultations.


So… what is Telehealth and why should you use it?

Telehealth has revolutionised healthcare delivery by employing various technologies as alternatives to traditional face-to-face consultations. This dynamic approach encompasses videoconferencing, internet-based platforms, and telephone services, offering flexible and innovative solutions to enhance patient care.

For patients, Telehealth has and continues to prove invaluable, providing a convenient and infection-control alternative. It is especially beneficial for individuals residing in rural or remote areas.

The advantages for healthcare providers, include the ability to work from home, reduce travel and time expenses, increased patient reach, and decreased 'no-shows'.

Practice managers experience growth opportunities, streamlined workflows, increased efficiency, and improved service delivery. Notably, ongoing Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) arrangements support patient access to telehealth services since January 1, 2022, and have been most recently updated on January 1 2024.

Information on MBS Telehealth Services

Since 1 January 2024 the MBS Telehealth Services remain in place for health care providers to  provide a wide range of telephone and video services.
See below resources and information to learn more about the benefits of offering Telehealth services in your practice:

For further information on MBS Telehealth Services please go to MBS Online and Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Toolkit.

Guidance on how to use Telehealth

Telehealth aligns with standard guidelines for face-to-face consultations, emphasising confidentiality, patient consent, and information security. APHRA have released updated guidance for providing telehealth appointments.

Telehealth is an auxiliary tool to enhance patient outcomes and healthcare delivery, serving as a complement to traditional face-to-face care.

Need further assistance?

If you would like further information on Telehealth and how it could work in your Practice, please contact the Practice Assist team on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 22 77 478).


My Health Record: An opportunity for sustainable continuity of care across health settings

My Health Record (MHR) use is on an upward trend across health settings. The volume of records with data on them has grown by over five hundred and ten thousand records in the last year. At least 95% of public hospitals are registered and using MHR, and there is growth in the Specialist health-sector with just under 50% of specialist practitioners accessing the record. 99% of pharmacies use MHR, and there is a collaborative effort between The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) to support residential aged care homes (RACHs) with their MHR uptake which has grown to 33% across the country.

MHR’s growth presents even more opportunities for enhanced continuity of care for General Practices. My Health Record:            

  • houses millions of clinical documents uploaded by active GP’s.
  • includes Shared health summaries, pathology and diagnostics, medicines and prescription information, vaccinations and much more.
  • increasing numbers of specialists are uploading their letters which GP’s can immediately access.
  • medication dispensing data is automatically uploaded by most pharmacies.
  • more public hospitals and RACHs are onboarding to the record.
  • general practices can expect to see more event and transfer summaries available for GPs and their nurse practitioners to view.

General Practices that are not actively using MHR may start to consider the opportunity cost of not doing so as it becomes more universally adopted into the everyday practice of their competitors.


If your practice requires support and education about My Health Record and how it can benefit your practice, and your patients; please visit the Australian Digital Health Agency, or reach out to us via our free support service Practice Assist.


Provider Connect Australia (PCA) - Keeping your practice connected

Registering and updating your business information on Provider Connect Australia (PCA) means less time on administration and more time with your patients.

PCA is a national platform that is designed to provide you and your practice with the simplicity of recording and updating your business information in one place. After this, updates are automatically sent to your nominated hospitals, pathology and radiology services, public service directories, secure messaging providers, business partners and more.

CEO of the Australian Digital Health Agency, Amanda Cattermole, has remarked:

“By providing this national service, the Agency can improve the quality and reliability of healthcare service details in directories and other services, including Medicare, and significantly reduce the administrative burden on healthcare organisations.”

Adding “The objective is to improve the efficiency of administrative processes for publishers and subscribers managing their data and help provide prompt, safe and seamless patient care across settings and providers.”

To use PCA, you will have to register to use this service. Prior to registering, please read the pre-registration checklist.

Further information on PCA can be found here.


Research & Surveys


Share your insights on the impact of Strengthening Medicare reforms

Following the 2023 introduction of the MyMedicare voluntary patient registration system, the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is inviting general practices to contribute expert opinion to the ongoing evaluation of the Strengthening Medicare reforms.
This will allow the impact of the reforms to be measured over time, building in new policy measures as they come online.
The brief survey comprises multiple choice questions, mainly focused on whether the tripling of the bulk billing incentive on 1 November 2023 has supported your practice to provide bulk billed services to your patients.
Following this initial distribution by the RACGP, WA Primary Health Alliance and other Primary Health Networks, the Department will continue to distribute the survey to general practices quarterly.
Take the survey here by 29 February 2024.
You can find out more on what the Strengthening Medicare changes mean for practices and patients in the attached Fact Sheet and in the MyMedicare Tool Kit on the Practice Assist website .
Contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478 or 08 6278 7900) or via email for more information or guidance.


Nominations now open for our Aboriginal Stakeholder Reference Group

Given our vision of better health, together, WAPHA is committed to commissioning and advocating for safe, inclusive and culturally appropriate practices and services for Aboriginal people and communities, and all our staff and stakeholders.
As part of our maturing inclusive practice, WAPHA is establishing an Aboriginal Stakeholder Reference Group to inform, guide and support our work.
We are calling for expression of interests from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and experts in the field of Aboriginal health service delivery to provide insight, feedback and guidance for consideration in the development, implementation and delivery of a range of activities and initiatives that improve and strengthen WAPHA’s inclusive practices and influence the practice of our stakeholders.
Find out more and submit your nomination here


Updating the National Guidelines for On-Screen Presentation of Discharge Summaries - feedback survey

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (The Commission) published the National Guidelines for On-Screen Presentation of Discharge Summaries (the National Guidelines) in 2017. Following feedback from the state and territory health departments, and findings of a literature review and environmental scan, the national guidelines are being updated.

The National Guidelines provide recommendations to ensure that necessary information regarding a patient’s hospital encounter, immediate next steps, and follow-up instructions are provided in a clear and unambiguous manner.

To assist the transfer of information from hospital to primary care please consider providing feedback by completing the survey here by Tuesday 20 February 11:59PM (AEDT).

View the flyer here for more information.


Health Promotion Event


WA Sexual Health Week

WA Sexual Health Week (SHW) runs from Monday 12 February to Sunday 18 February in 2024. The theme of SHW this year is ‘Absolutely Everybody’, aiming to celebrate the right to sexual health for all people. This theme asks us to think creatively about how we can promote positive and respectful approaches to sexuality and sexual relationships while also creating supportive, inclusive, and safe spaces for everyone to achieve positive and enjoyable sexual health.

Resources & Available Information

You can find resources here to use in your practice including posters , social media images, and brochures, or visit the SHW website for more information.



Education & Events


Cold Chain Management Webinar

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
15 February 2024 (5pm to 6pm AWST)

The Immunisation Team at WA Primary Health Alliance are pleased to announce the next webinar in the Immunisation Series.

This webinar on cold chain management will give you up to date and practical information needed for vaccine storage and management.
The following topics will be covered: 

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the strive for five guidelines.
  • Better understanding of cold chain management processes and requirements.
  • Correct procedures of vaccination storage.

View the flyer here

Click here to register

Watch our other webinars in the series:

More information on Cold Chain Management available here.


Syphilis and Other Infectious Diseases of Public Health Significance

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
19 February 2024 (6pm to 7pm AWST)

The current syphilis outbreak in WA has resulted in changes to recommendations for clinical practice.

The resumption of international travel coupled with post pandemic reductions in vaccination rates make the community more vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases such as measles, mumps and pertussis.

Post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies is urgent, therefore clinicians should be aware of processes toward initiating management.

This webinar will address these diseases, covering clinical presentation, up to date testing protocols, management and contact tracing.

View the flyer here

Click here to register


New training dates announced: Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST)

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
Multiple Dates & Times

We’re providing GPs in WA with paid online Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) training, designed to help practitioners and clinicians recommend the most appropriate level of care for a person seeking mental health support.
GPs and GP registrars who attend the two workshops in the one online session will be remunerated $300 for their time with CPD hours available. 

View the flyer here

Find out more and register today:


WA Rural Health Conference 2024

Presented by Rural Health West
16 & 17 March 2024 (Hyatt Regency Perth)

Connect with health professionals from a variety of disciplines who all play a part in delivering vital healthcare services across rural WA. By bringing together all rural health professionals under one roof, we seek to promote connection between these different perspectives, sharing insights and innovations in order to strengthen and enhance healthcare in rural WA.

Find out more and register here


Other Webinars, Events & Workshops

Presented by Rural Health West
Various dates & locations

BreastScreen WA visit to Butler
Presented by BreastScreen WA
12 February to 15 March

BreastScreen WA visit to Denham
Presented by BreastScreen WA
12 February to 15 March

WA Hepatitis B Prescriber Update
Presented by ASHM
13 February

Goldfields Health Professionals Network – GP Forum
Presented by Rural Health West
17 February 

WA HIV s100 Prescriber Course
Presented by ASHM
17 February & 18 February

WA Sexual Health Update: Syphilis Contact Tracing and Partner Notification: Utilising Digital Technology
Presented by ASHM
26 February

National HIV s100 Peer Support and Case Discussion Session
Presented by ASHM
6 March

Chronic Conditions of the Foot (Bentley Location)
Presented by Benchmarque Group Pty Limited
8 March
BreastScreen WA visit to Fremantle
Presented by BreastScreen WA
8 March to 12 April

WA Rural Health Excellence Awards - Save the date!
Presented by Rural Health West
16 March

WA Rural Health Conference 2024
Presented by Rural Health West
16 March & 17 March

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.