Practice Connect #35

Practice Assist will be closed from Friday 22 December and will reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

We wish all our readers a very safe and happy festive season.

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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Accreditation tips

CPR training

In a recent report provided by accreditation agency, Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL), one of the most common non-compliances by Western Australian general practices being surveyed against the RACGP Standards for General Practices (4th edition) was Criterion 3.2.3B (non-clinical staff), Criterion 3.2.1D (GPs) and Criterion 3.2.2.C (clinical team) which relate to all staff requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training at least every three years.

The reasons for being issued with a non-compliance were:

  • Evidence that CPR training had been undertaken by staff within the last three years was not available for review; and
  • CPR training had not been undertaken by all staff members.

This Criterion is also addressed in the recently released 5th edition Standards. Both editions of the Standards adhere to the same principles, however, in the 5th edition, the word ‘must’ is now utilised to demonstrate that the indicators are mandatory.

  • Criterion C8.1B states that non-clinical staff must complete CPR training at least every three years, and evidence must be supplied.
  • Criterion GP3.1A states that clinical staff must have CPR in accordance with the recommendations of their professional organisation’s requirements, or at least every three years.

CPR training for administrative staff can be conducted by an accredited training provider, or by member of the clinical team, if appropriate. These clinical team members must have a current CPR instructor’s certificate that complies with Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines on instructor’s competencies.


New fact sheets now available

We now have more than 120 templates, fact sheets and other tools available in our online Resource Library. Visit the website to see what is new.


Practice Incentives Program

Cervical Screening Incentive

Practice Assist have created a factsheet that outlines payment procedures and MBS item numbers for the Cervical Screening Test as well as how to apply for the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Cervical Screening Incentive.

The consultation fees for the new Cervical Screening Test remain the same, however the age criteria and descriptions on the MBS items numbers have been amended. Please see the table below for more information.

Component Payment Activity required for payment
Sign-on payment $0.25 per SWPE* One-off payment to practices that apply for the PIP Cervical Screening Incentive.
Outcomes payment $3.00 per eligible WPE** Payment to practices where at least 70 per cent of eligible patients are screened in a 30-month reference period.
Service incentive payment $35.00 per patient Payment to GPs for each Cervical Screening Test on an under-screened woman aged at least 24 years and 9 months but less than 75 years of age.

Download the
Cervical Screening Incentive factsheet.
For further information on how to request the new Cervical Screening Test please visit the NPS MedicineWise website.


Digital Health update

CAT4 and Topbar support changes

Operating hours for technical support for CAT4 and Topbar have changed.

Live tech support is available by phone or live chat from the PenCS support team Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm ADST or 6.00am – 2.00pm AWST.

For our WA practices, this unfortunately means that support calls and live chat will not be answered after 2.00pm AWST due to daylight savings on the east coast.

We are currently taking feedback on this matter and are keen to hear of any instances where your requests for support have not been responded to promptly or sufficiently.

Please inform your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison (in as much detail as possible including screenshots, communication or time logs) of any concerns (or compliments) you may have regarding support for CAT4 and Topbar or via our online form.


Spotlight on the Alcohol Screening and Brief Interventions project

WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has provided funding to the South Metropolitan Health Service and the National Drug and Research Institute for an Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention project to develop, provide and evaluate the impact of alcohol screening and brief interventions in the emergency setting.  Screening began in September 2017 and will continue until the end of June 2018.

The project is unique in its approach as it involves the referral of some patients, identified as moderate or high risk to their nominated GP. GPs can expect to receive the screen result and risk rating, any interventions provided and any relevant referrals completed from Fiona Stanley Hospital or Rockingham General Hospital in the mail. This may give GPs the opportunity to discuss alcohol use with a patient who is better prepared to make changes as a result of the earlier brief intervention in ED.

The project is led  by Dr Simon Hazeldine, a Consultant Gastroenterologist /Hepatologist at the Fiona Stanley Hospital and will be evaluated by Dr Robert Tait from the National Drug Research Institute.

To watch a short video about the project, visit


HealthPathways update

HealthPathways has published a new pathway for Refugee Health Assessment. This pathway details the requirements and processes for Medicare refugee health assessments (MBS item numbers 701, 703, 705 or 707).

It covers details such as:

  • Eligible visa classes
  • Recommended investigations, including:
             - routine tests;
             - risk-based tests e.g. Vitamin D (if person has dark skin or lack of sun exposure), Vitamin B12 (food insecurity, vegan); and
             - country-based.
  • When further tuberculosis (TB) assessment is required.

This pathway also links to the newly reviewed Migrant and Refugee Services pages, which include both health and support services to patients of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds across Western Australia.

Please consider booking an interpreter for patients from a non-English speaking background. Interpreter services available in Western Australia are listed on HealthPathways.

The Refugee Health Assessment pathway has been edited by Dr Richa Tayal with subject matter expert Dr Aesan Thambiran, in conjunction with the GP tip sheet ‘Seeing a patient of refugee background for the first time’.

Access the following pathways:

Download the ‘Seeing a patient of refugee background for the first time’ GP tip sheet


NPS Medicinewise update

2018 National Medicine Symposium

NPS MedicineWise will be hosting the 10th National Medicines Symposium (NMS) 2018 from 30 May to 1 June 2018 at the National Convention Centre in Canberra, Australia. NMS is the pre-eminent symposium on quality use of medicines, diagnostics and health data in Australia. Held every two years, the conference is designed to present the latest content in the medicines and health environment, delivered by international and nationally acclaimed experts. 

For further information, to register or submit abstracts please visit the NPS MedicineWise website.

Abstract submissions close on Monday, 26 February 2018.

Choosing Wisely Australia - national meeting

Choosing Wisely Australia is an initiative of NPS MedicineWise that facilitates discussion between healthcare providers and consumers. The Choosing Wisely 2018 National Meeting will be held in Canberra on Wednesday, 30 May as a satellite meeting to the main NMS event. The meeting will bring together members, key stakeholders and influencers of the Choosing Wisely initiative, now in its third year. This is an opportunity for health professionals, consumers, researchers, funders and policy makers to come together to discuss, engage and network on topics related to reducing unnecessary care.  

For further information, to register or submit abstracts please visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

Abstract submissions close Wednesday, 28 February 2018.


Optimal Cancer Care pathways

In a significant development in cancer care in Australia, national Optimal Cancer Care Pathways have been developed to promote consistent, quality cancer care. They aim to improve patient outcomes by ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care regardless of where they live or receive cancer treatment.

The Optimal Cancer Care pathways have been developed through the National Cancer Expert Reference Group and have achieved national endorsement of a variety of peak body cancer organisations. The Optimal Cancer Care Pathways also have a national agreement to pilot the adoption of some of these pathways in state and territory health services during 2016-17.

This is the most comprehensive set of guidelines for cancer care in Australia. The Optimal Cancer Care Pathways describe the key steps in a patient’s cancer journey and expected standards of care at each stage. The pathways also ensure that those providing care understand how to coordinate the patient care between each stage.

Optimal Cancer Care Pathways can be used by health services and professionals as a tool to identify gaps in current cancer services and inform quality improvement initiatives across all aspects of the care pathway. They can also be used by clinicians and health professionals as an information resource to promote discussion and collaboration with patients and people affected by cancer.

Optimal Cancer Care Pathways have been developed for fifteen tumour streams: lung, colorectal, hepatocellular carcinoma, prostate, lymphoma, melanoma, pancreatic, ovarian, malignant glioma, head and neck, breast, oesophagogastric, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, endometrial, and acute myeloid leukaemia.

There are three versions for each Optimal Cancer Care Pathway – detailed clinical pathways for cancer specialists, quick reference guides for GPs and other primary health professionals, and guides for patients themselves.

The links to the Optimal Cancer Care Pathways are below:

For further information please contact


2016 Notifiable Disease Snapshot released by Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control

The Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC) has recently released the 2016 report of Notifiable Diseases in Metropolitan Perth. Below is a snapshot of the findings from the report.


To receive a copy of the report or if you have any questions about the information please contact the Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC) team on 08 9222 8588 or email


WA Nurse Ambassador program

The Heart Foundation is seeking WA nurses working in primary care and acute care settings who are passionate about improving the cardiovascular health of their patients, to participate in the free 2018 WA Nurse Ambassador program.

This program is free to participate in and is also available for WA nurses working in rural and remote areas. As part of this program you will be required to attend three workshops in 2018 in Subiaco on 2 March, 13 April and 15 June and deliver a workplace activity.

For more information and to apply, please visit the Heart Foundation website.

Applications close on Wednesday, 31 January 2018.


Asthma Handbook update

The National Asthma Council has released version 1.3 of the Australian Asthma Handbook (The Handbook), published December 2017. This revision has been developed by an interdisciplinary team of medical experts, incorporates feedback from primary care providers, and includes new evidence-based guidance for asthma best practice.

The Handbook includes updates on the prevention and management of thunderstorm asthma for different risk groups, advice on managing allergic rhinitis in people with asthma, and interim advice for treatment for asthma-COPD overlap.

To read more about The Handbook updates, please visit the National Asthma Council’s website.


Education and training


Rockingham GP Event

Are you a GP in Rockingham? Rockingham General Hospital (RGH) and WAPHA invite you to attend a RACGP workshop that focuses on supporting frail older people as they transition between hospital services and primary care. The workshop aims to involve GPs who refer older persons to RGH who could potentially benefit from the newly introduced Aged Care Transition and Liaison Service (ACTaLN).

Date:          Thursday, 22 February 2018

Venue:       Main Lecture Theatre, Education Centre, Rockingham General Hospital, Elanora Drive Cooloongup WA 6168

Time:         5:30pm arrival for a start at 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Register:   For more information and to register please complete the event registration form or RSVP to Bethany Goodall, Regional Coordinator - Perth South PHN by Monday, 19 February 2018 at or on 0459 883 533.


Nurses in Western Australia - Be part of our 2018 workshop series

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) is inviting experienced nurses with energy and passion to be part of our 2018 workshop series as speakers. In particular we would like to hear from people experienced in general practice accreditation, to contribute to our accreditation components. By participating you will be able to contribute to the learning of nurses in primary health care and have the opportunity to network with fellow nurses, forging new partnerships and sharing knowledge.

To register your interest in presenting at an APNA 2018 workshop, please visit the APNA website.


Nurseforce for the Future: APNA National Conference

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) conference is the premier event for nurses working in primary health care, including general practice. Nurseforce for the Future is the 10th Annual National Conference and provides a platform to recognise and celebrate achievements by primary health care nurses.

Date:               Thursday, 10 May – Saturday, 12 May 2018

Venue:            Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre

Register:       For more information, to register or submit an abstract, please visit the APNA website

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