Practice Connect #32

Welcome to Practice Connect, a fortnightly update for practice managers, nurses and practice administration staff on relevant issues, upcoming events and education.

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RACGP Standards for General Practices (5th edition) released

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General Practices (5th edition), have been released with the announcement stating they have been "developed with purpose of protecting patients from harm by improving the quality and safety of health services. The Standards also support general practices in identifying and addressing any gaps in their systems and processes."

The new Standards, Patient Feedback Guide and Resource Guide are now available at the RACGP website.

From the launch date of 31 October 2018, practices can choose whether to seek accreditation under the 4th edition or the 5th edition of the Standards. From 1 November 2018, all practices seeking accreditation, will be assessed against the Standards (5th edition). 


Immunisation update

Two-month-old childhood vaccines can be administered at six weeks

Due to the high morbidity and occasional mortality associated with pertussis in the first few months of life, the National Immunisation Program (NIP) now recommends providing the standard two month old vaccines as early as six weeks (effective July 2014).

Giving a first dose at six weeks of age rather than two months of age is estimated to prevent an additional eight per cent of infant pertussis cases. The next scheduled doses should still be given at four months and six months of age.

The WA Immunisation schedule aligns with this recommendation and can be viewed on the WA Health website.

Is it ok to vaccinate if child is slightly unwell?

Please be reminded that it is safe to administer vaccines in the case of a mild illness without fever (T <38.5oC).
There are only two absolute contraindications applicable to all vaccines:

  • anaphylaxis following a previous dose of the relevant vaccine and,
  • anaphylaxis following any component of the relevant vaccine.
For more information on false contraindications to vaccination, please visit the Australian Immunisation Handbook website.

Good news for Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers living in WA are now able to apply for a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV). People who have arrived in Australia without valid travel documents can apply for this visa which will enable them to live in Australia for five years. People on SHEVs are eligible for Medicare services and trauma counselling services. SHEV recipients may present to their local GP requesting a health assessment or catch-up vaccination. They may have had a health check when they first entered Australia several years ago and may have some health records with them. It is recommended that all members of the family have their immunisations reviewed and are provided with catch-up vaccinations if required.
Since July 2017, all refugees and humanitarian entrants can have free catch up vaccines under the NIP. GPs and practice nurses are encouraged to assess the immunisation status of patients from refugee backgrounds, enter information into the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) if it has not been recorded, and provide catch-up vaccines if required.
It is also recommended that all people under 35 years of age be considered for Latent Tuberculosis infection (LTBI) screening. SHEV recipients, who can easily travel to Perth, can have their LTBI screening and catch-up vaccines at the Humanitarian Entrant Health Service.
To make a referral or enquire about LTBI screening for patients in regional and rural areas, contact David Lam on 9222 8500 or emailing
For further information please visit the following webpages:

Report all Year 8 vaccinations via government procured vaccines form

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) has recently expanded to be a whole of life register, which will include the reporting of immunisations given to high school students from 2018. Until then, practitioners are reminded to ensure all vaccines administered to Year 8 students continue to be reported using the government procured vaccine form and submit this to the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) for recording on the WA Health school-based immunisation program (SBIP).

Access the form

Then, click on the tab titled “Reporting of school program vaccines administered in general practice"

Please fax the completed forms to CDCD on 9388 4877 as per instructions at the bottom of the form.


HealthPathways update

Cervical Screening

HealthPathways WA has now reach 332 live pathways, with Cervical Screening the most recently published pathway. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, with nearly all cases of cervical cancer caused by persistent infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV).
There are approximately a dozen high-risk HPV types identified of which two (HPV 16 & 18) have been found to cause 70 - 80% of invasive cervical cancer.
Since the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) there have been significant reductions in the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality. A further reduction is expected with the implementation of the renewed NCSP scheduled for 1 December 2017.
The pathway is available on the live HealthPathways WA site, and will also be utilised by other HealthPathways regions in Australia. It includes information and recommendations about the Cervical Screening Test; the management of women with special circumstances; women who are transitioning to the new program; self-collection criteria; and contains links to resources and information sheets for both healthcare professionals and patients.
Access the Cervical Screening pathway.

Feedback on HealthPathways services

For practices that offer travel medicine services, IV iron infusions, and/or ear microsuction, we would appreciate if you would take the time to review our live request pages and contact us with any service updates.
If you would like us to change or add a service please use the ‘send feedback’ button in the top right-hand corner of the relevant page. To visit these pages, please see the webpages below.


Digital Health update

My Health Record privacy resources

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has published new resources to assist healthcare providers understand their privacy obligations under the My Health Record system. 
As the independent regulator for the privacy aspects of the My Health Record system, the OAIC is working with the health sector as it prepares for the system to become opt-out by the end of 2018. The resources available are:  
The following videos are also available on the video and audio section of the OAIC website.
  • Privacy and the My Health Record system
  • Handling sensitive information in the My Health Record system
  • Data breach requirements in the My Health Record system

Further information can be found be visiting the OAIC website.


NPS MedicineWise update

Australian Prescriber is a free, national, independent, peer-reviewed journal providing critical commentary on drugs and therapeutics for health professionals. The journal is published by NPS MedicineWise, every two months. The journal includes short didactic reviews and facilitated debate about complex, controversial or uncertain therapeutic areas.
Australian Prescriber aims to support health professionals to make informed choices when prescribing, by providing independent, reliable and accessible information.
Readers can access the full text for free, online at the NPS MedicineWise website.
NPS Medicinewise has now launched the Australian Prescriber Podcast. Each episode includes a chat with an author from a recent issue of Australian Prescriber.The latest podcast focuses on the treatment of fibromyalgia, with Dr Richard Kwiatek.  Dr David Liew interviews Dr Kwiatek, a rheumatologist from Adelaide, about fibromyalgia and how GPs can help these patients in the community.
To subscribe to the Australian Prescriber Podcast, or listen to individual episodes, visit the NPS MedicineWise website


Expert Health Panel for PFAS

The Department of Health has established an Expert Health Panel for Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) to advise the Australian Government on the potential health impacts associated with PFAS exposure and to identify priority areas for further research. To achieve its objective, the Expert Health Panel will consider the evidence available from both Australian and international scientific research into the potential human health effects of PFAS exposure, and consider the views of the public and other stakeholders through an invitation for public written submissions.
The Expert Health Panel is now inviting submissions to better understand the range of public views on the potential health impacts of PFAS contamination and what the focus of future research should be. Allen + Clarke has been engaged by the Department of Health to conduct the public consultation and report the findings back to the Expert Health Panel.
For more information on the work of the Panel including its Terms of Reference and how to contribute to the public consultation process click here.
The public consultation period will be open from Wednesday, 1 November 2017 to Sunday 19, November 2017. Members of the public and other interested parties are encouraged to visit the Allen + Clarke website to make a submission. Make a submission here.

Education and Training


RACGP General Practice Owners Group – 14 November

The RACGP (WA Faculty) GP Practice Owners Group meets exclusively to discuss issues affecting practice owners and principals. The upcoming meeting will discuss contemporary issues affecting general practices and will provide a networking opportunity over a light dinner and refreshments.
Date:                            Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Venue:                        RACGP College House, 34 Harrogate St, West Leederville
Time:                           6.15 pm for a 6.30 pm start
Registration:           For more information and to register, please contact Sean Stevens on


TADPole (Treating Alcohol and other Drugs in Primary Care) - November

The TADPole education project offers a series of education activities covering general and specific alcohol and drug topics and skill-based techniques. This event attracts QI&CPD points. 
Date:                            Saturday, 18 November or Tuesday, 28 November         
Time:                           12:00pm – 4:30pm or 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Venue:                        Quality Hotel Lighthouse or Esplanade Hotel Fremantle
Cost:                           Free
Registration:           For more information and to register please view the following webpages:


WA Regional Health Leaders Forum – 22 November

Presented by the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM) WA Branch, this forum will explore a variety of topics, including leading strategy in health care, value in health care, managing stakeholder engagement, the future of rural/remote health care leadership and a leadership workshop.
Date:                            Wednesday, 22 November
Time:                           10:00am – 4:00pm
Venue:                        Kalgoorlie Boulder Race Club, Blue Spec Room, 14 Meldrum Avenue, Kalgoorlie 6430
Cost:                            ACHSM Member: $60; Non- ACHSM member: $80
Registration:           For more information and to register, please contact Erica Jones at or on 02 8753 5124.


Patient Outcomes & Holding Your Nerve When Times are Tough – 29 November

Presented by ACHSM, this breakfast forum will explore a global perspective to address workforce issues, access, value and quality in contemporary healthcare as well as discuss patient outcomes and how we can ensure access, value and quality.
Date:                            Wednesday, 29 November
Time:                           7:15am – 9:30am
Venue:                        Frasers Function Centre, Fraser Avenue, Kings Park, West Perth 6005
Cost:                            ACHSM Member: $45; Non- ACHSM member: $55
Registration:           For more information and to register please contact Erica Jones at or on 02 8753 5124.


Identifying & Treating Patients with Moderate to High Risk Level of Alcohol Intake CPD Event – 5 December

WAPHA and the South Metropolitan Health Service invite you to attend this event to contribute to improving the integration of treatment between primary and tertiary care. Topics covered include alcohol misuse in Australia, the evidence underpinning early identification and brief intervention, identifying barriers to early alcohol interventions and treatment and accessing and referring to local alcohol treatment services.
Date:                            Tuesday, 5 December
Time:                           6:00pm – 8:30pm
Venue:                        Fiona Stanley Hospital, Education Building Seminar Room 1.6, 11 Robin Warren Dr, Murdoch 6150
Cost:                            Free
Registration:           For more information and to register please HealthPathways WA.


2017 Practice Nurse: Update in Public Health – 6 December

Hosted by the Department of Health, this 1.5-hour professional development opportunity will cover a variety of topics including top notifiable infections, the pertussis epidemic, migrant and refugee health, ordering vaccines for high risk clients, STI’s, and BBV’s.
Date:                            Wednesday, 6 December
Time:                            6:00pm – 8:00pm
Venue:                         Brecken Health, 12 -16 Vasse Street, Bunbury
Registration:            For more information and to register please contact Amanda Whittle at or on 9781 2359.


Dementia Training Australia – Caring for LGBTI People with Dementia Online Training

This course assists health and aged care workers and organisations provide culturally competent and inclusive care and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people with dementia. This course consists of four modules which explore sexual diversity within the Australian population, lived experiences of LGBTI people, considerations of care for older LGBTI people with dementia and, identifying how organisations can become more LGBTI inclusive. Registrations for this course open 26 September 2017 and close 31 January 2018.
To register for this course please visit the following webpage:
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.