Practice Connect #39

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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Immunisation update

Zostavax® vaccine available now nationally for people 70-79 years

From November 2016, the Australian Government National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides a free shingles vaccine program for 70 year olds, with a time-limited catch-up program for people 71 to 79 years old available until October 2021.

At the commencement of the program, the interest in the vaccine was unprecedented. Early shortages have been addressed and there is now ample stock available to meet ongoing demand under the program.


Zostavax® is available nationally and the vaccine is readily accessible to immunisation providers

To assist in promoting the program and to ensure people 70 to 79 years old are protected against shingles, it is now timely that providers:

  • Follow up with patients or other eligible people 70 to 79 years old who whould benefit from the vaccine and who may have missed out earlier in the program
  • Promote the vaccine to eligible people 70 to 79 years old through displaying the program posters and brochures in your clinic or health care facility; and 
  • Report vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

Zostavax® supplies can be ordered through the same process currently used to order vaccines for the NIP through your state or territory Health Department.

For further information, clinical advice and promotional materials for the National Shingles Vaccination Program are available for download online at the Department of Health’s immunisation website

Immunisation Coalition 2018 Webinar: The 2018 update on Meningococcal Disease Vaccination

Invasive Meningococcal Disease is increasing. MenW emerged as an increasing cause of Meningococcal Disease, making up of almost half of the Australian cases in 2016. In 2017, MenB strains increased to levels similar to MenW. With the latest facts about Meningococcal Disease and vaccination, this webinar covers everything you need to know about the disease and available vaccines.

Learn about:

  • Meningococal Disease and possible progression pathway of disease
  • Meningococcal Disease in Australia
  • Risk Factors
  • Vaccination recommendations and the different vaccines 
  • Vaccine effectiveness and safety
  • Management of Meningococcal Disease 
Date: Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Time: 4.00pm 
Venue: Online - join via your computer
Cost: Complimentary 

To register, click here

All you need to participate is a computer and internet connection. Login with instructions will be sent to you via email on registration. 


Restrictions to after-hours providers advertising

Changes to the rebates and item descriptors for urgent after-hours MBS items 567-600 are effective from 1 March 2018. In addition, the Australian Government has committed to clarifying the advertising of deputising services and reaffirm alignment with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) requirements and standards.

The restrictions to the advertising of after-hour services only apply to Approved Medical Deputising Services (AMDSs) who are participating in the AMDS Program. These updates were made through the ADMS Program Guidelines, which were published on the Department’s website and can be found here (page 13 of the Guidelines contains the relevant text).

Under the Guidelines, AMDSs must not engage in direct marketing of services to patients. Direct marketing is considered to include text and SMS messaging, emails, online advertising, social media advertising, database marketing, fliers, catalogue distribution, promotional letters of event, newspaper and magazine advertisements, targeted television and outdoor advertising. These criteria recognise that AMDSs’ provide after-hours primary health care to patients at their home, or in aged care facility, on behalf of their regular general practitioner and should not be marketed as a convenient and/or cost effective alternative to general practice.

The updated Guidelines do not impact on AMDSs’ advertising their services to general practices, and general practices may continue to advertise the after-hours extension of their practice to patients. It is also considered appropriate for Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to continue to provide information to consumers about after-hours services in their respective regions.

If you have queries, please contact 


HealthPathways update

The HealthPathways Team has recently reviewed and updated two mental health pathways, Better Access and Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP). HealthPathways GP Clinical Editor, Dr Irene Dolan reviewed the pathways. Items of note include:

Better Access:
  • Now includes telehealth options for country regions. Where patients are more than 15km by road from their treating professional at the time of consultation, they can access up to seven of 10 individual consultations through video conferencing. One of the first four sessions must be face-to-face. 
Mental Health Treatment Plan:
  • Clarification of correct MBS claim item numbers including continuing care
  • Option to include a note to Medicare that a new plan is "clinically necessary" if an existing plan cannot be obtained for a new patient 
  • Additional training resources for general practitioners 


NPS MedicineWise update 

MedicineInsight is a program developed and managed by NPS MedicineWise that supports general practices with their quality improvement initiatives.

The MedicineInsight portal is very user friendly. It can be navigated simply by clicking on tabs and graphs to drill down to more detail in your practice data. Searches and views can be customised to your own preferences and priorities, which can be saved to a dashboard, allowing you to easily monitor your practice progress over time.

The MedicineInsight portal can help practices identify patient groups who may be undertreated, potentially at risk, or would benefit from recall and review. MedicineInsight also supports your chornic disease management and medication management activities and can help you achieve accreditation standards by highlighting gaps in your clinical data.

Practices who have signed up to MedicineInsight now also have access to a new billiing report which enables you to explore your practice’s MBS item claims.

For further information about MedicineInsight, visit the NPS MedicineWise website, or contact Nicole Humphry at or (08) 6272 4921. 


Notifiable Data Breaches scheme 

General practitioners should be aware of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme that takes effect from February 22 this year under the Privacy Act. The scheme requires entities (including health service providers) to notify individuals involved, and the Australian Information Commissioner, about any ‘eligible data breaches’. A data breach is eligible if it is ‘likely to result in serious harm to any of the individuals to whom the information relates’. ‘Serious harm’ is not defined but should be considered holistically as including potential physical, psychological or emotional harm.

Examples of potentially eligible data breaches in general practice could include incidents like emailing or sending patient information to an incorrect address or fax number, access by an unauthorised person to the patient medical record, or the unauthorised disclosure of medical information.

More information, including how to identify an eligible data breach and how to make a report, can be found here.

Advice may also be available from your medical indemnity provider.


Rural placements medical students 2018 

The Final Year Rural GP Placements Program is seeking rural doctors throughout Western Australia who are willing to:

  • Provide placements for final year medical students
  • Share knowledge and expertise;
  • Mentor students as they prepare for internship and future medical practice; and 
  • Educate students about the diversity, logistics and scope of rural practice.
The Rural GP Program is organised into four to five week rotations running from February to November. The students are final year medical students from the University of Western Australia and the University of Notre Dame. The students are expected to immerse themselves in the general practice environment and to assist the doctors with seeing patients throughout their placement.

Accredited Rural GP practices are eligible for practice Incentive Payments (PIP) for sessions attended by medical students. For more information on Teaching Payment click here.

General Practitioners can also earn continuing professional development points through RACGP and ACRRM for their involvement in supervising students.

If you would like further information about the program, please contact the Final Year Rural GP Placements Administrative Officer, Ms Hayley Newberry via or (08) 9457 3876.



Find cancer early for general practitioners 

In Australia, over 75% of cancers first present in general practice as a result of symptoms. General practitioners play a key role in the early detection of cancer. General practitioners can experience challenges in early diagnosis as most general practitioners may only see between five to 10 new cases of cancer among thousands of consultations per year. Additionally, cancers in general practice often present with subtle non-specific symptoms and most symptoms of cancer can also have more common benign causes.

To assist general practitioners, Cancer Council Western Australia presents the Find Cancer Early GP Education Project with a new resource guide for general practitioners on colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer. The ‘Find Cancer Early: A Guide for General Practitioners’ resource provides evidence-based approaches to assess cancer symptoms to aid decision-making around further investigation or referral. The guide comes with a short video explaining how to use the guide in clinical practice and a WA Cancer Referral Directory. These resources are also accompanied with a Find Cancer Early Webinar Series.

To access the resources and view the webinar recordings, visit here


Cultural Awareness Training 

The Cultural Wealth Community Health booklet was developed by Rural Health West as an intoduction to cultural awareness for health professionals working with and caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Western Australia. In the hope of achieving better health outcomes, the resource raises awareness about mutual respect and cultural understanding which underpins all aspects of the development of strong relationships with Indigenous patients and communities. 

The resource is available online, or if you prefer a hard copy of the publication please contact Rural Health West or download an order form.



Are you a GP who provides health care at any time in the last 12 months of a patient's life? 

We are seeking the involvement of general practitioners in small group sessions in Perth to discuss the provision of end of life care in general practice. This refers to any care provided by general practitioners in the last 12 months of a patient’s life.

These sessions are part of the study Evaluation of community-based end of life care in Australia, which is being run within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Western Australia.

The focus of our project is on any issues or challenges experienced by general practitioners in providing care for patients in their last 12 months of life.

These small group sessions would be conducted within your practice at a convenient time (such as breakfast meetings, lunch-time or after work) or any other specified location that you prefer. The duration of the meetings is usually around 25-35 minutes. This study will be undertaken in March, April and May of 2018.

All responses will be considered completely anonymous, and no feedback will be linked back to specific practices or general practitioners.

We will provide reimbursement of $85 to each general practitioner for their attendance to acknowledge the time taken in being involved in this part of our project.

If you would like to join us or are interested in finding out more about the study, please contact or (08) 6488 7805.


Financial incentives for rural and remote GPs

The General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) is designed to attract and retain medical practitioners in regional and remote areas of Australia.

GPRIP provides financial incentives to doctors providing eligible non-Medicare services in rural and remote locations. Incentives are tiered based on remoteness, and increase the longer a medical practitioner works in rural and remote locations. The table below outlines the maximum level of incentives that can be claimed under GPRIP. Visit the Rural Health West website for more information about GPRIP, including determining your eligibility.

Modified Monash (MM)
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4  Year 5 plus
MM3 $0 $4,500 $7,500 $7,500 $12,000
MM4 $0 $8,000 $13,000 $13,000 $18,000
MM5 $0 $12,000 $17,000 $17,000 $23,000
MM6 $16,000 $16,000 $25,000 $25,000 $35,000
MM7 $25,000 $25,000 $35,000 $35,000 $60,000

GPRIP uses the Modified Monash (MM) Model geographical classification system.


Education and training


Exercise is Medicine Workshop –  7 March to 5 April   

Presented by a local accredited exercise physiologist, the interactive two-hour workshop details the role of physical activity in the prevention and management of chronic disease by treating physical activity as a vital sign. The suite of resources made available to participants will support them in their assessment, management and referral of patients with and at risk of chronic disease.

This activity has 4 Category Two QI&CPD points attached.

Cost:                 Free
Register:        To register, please visit the following website.       
Date Time Venue
Wednesday, 7 March 2018 6.00pm – 8.00pm Fyre Park Pavilion, Kelmscott
Thursday, 8 March 2018 6.00pm – 8.00pm Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre, Winthrop
Wednesday, 4 April 2018 6.00pm – 8.00pm Cockburn Youth Centre, Success
Thursday, 5 April 2018 6.00pm – 8.00pm Herb Graham Recreation Centre, Mirrabooka


Speed Date Your WAPHA Service Providers – 14 March

General practitioners, practice managers, nurse managers and nurses are invited to attend an interactive evening to meet the commissioned WAPHA services in Mandurah and Rockingham.

This is an opportunity to meet providers face to face and see what they can offer your patients. 

Date:                Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Time:                6.00pm – 8.30pm (5.30pm – Arrival)
Venue:             Mandurah Quay Resort, 40 Marina Quay Drive, Erskine 6210
Cost:                 Free
Register:        To register, please visit the following website.       


Implementing the National Cervical Screening Program Renewal: Getting it right – 17 March

Delivered by the Cancer Screening Unit, Preventive Health Branch of Queensland Health, and in collaboration with Iris Education this free session will provide a detailed review of the rationale and evidence driving the changes, consideration of issues, challenges and lessons learned already in applying the changes in practice. It will also use interactive case studies and role plays to consider specific management issues with a facilitated panel discussion providing the opportunity to ask questions and assist participants to build knowledge and confidence to discuss the changes with their patients.

This activity has 12 Category Two QI&CPD points attached.

Date:               Saturday, 17 March 2018
Time:               8.30am – 4.00pm    
Venue:            Live via webcast
Cost:                 Free
Register:        To register, please visit the following website.       


Living and Leading the Change Process – 19 March

Roz Lindsay from Engaging Potential is presenting Living and Leading the Change Process. This session aims to introduce key concepts associated with overcoming people’s resistance to change. Through a mix of concepts, practical methods and discussions this workshop will explore the brain’s role in change, the barriers to implementing change and ways to address these barriers. This activity has 8 Category Two QI&CPD points attached.

Date:               Monday, 19 March 2018
Time:               4.00pm – 8.00pm   
Venue:            WAPHA Offices: 2-5, 7 Tanunda Drive, Rivervale 6103
Cost:                Free
Register:       To register, please visit the following website.       


Lung Cancer Update – 20 March

This is a free education session that will provide an informative and relevant update for general practitioners on lung cancer, with presentations from specialists on a range of topics. Presenters include Dr Annette McWilliams (Head of Service, Respiratory Medicine, Fiona Stanley Hospital), Dr Fraser Brims (Consultant Physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital), and Dr Tim Clay (Medical Oncologist). This activity has 4 Category Two QI&CPD points attached.

Date:              Tuesday, 20 March 2018
Time:              6.00pm – 8.30pm   
Venue:           The Bendat Parent & Community Centre, 36 Dodd Street, Wembley WA 6014
Cost:                Free
Register:       To register, please visit the following website.


Rural Health West Annual Conference - 24 to 25 March 

Breaking down the barriers in the bush - mental healthcare for our rural communities is an opportunity for rural medical and health practitioners to hear from mental health leaders and advocates about the latest services and treatments, share their personal insights, and enhance their skills and abilities to succesfully care for patients with mental health issues. 

Date:               Saturday, 24 March – Sunday, 25 March 2018
Venue:            Hyatt Regency, 99 Adelaide Terrace, Perth WA 6000
Cost:                Early bird for GPs and specialists $600, discounted prices for students and registrars
Register:       To register, please visit the following website.                                                                                              



A Closer Look at Advance Care Planning: Your Role – 11 April    

This workshop by Cancer Council WA will examine the elements of Advance Care Planning and the implications for the health system, professionals, patient and families.

Date:               Wednesday, 11 April 2018
Time:               8.30am – 4.00pm (8.15am – Registration)
Venue:            Seminar Room, Cancer Council WA, 15 Bedbrook Place, Shenton Park 6008
Cost:                $95
Register:        To register, please visit the following website.     


Dementia in General Practice – 21 April

This active learning module (ALM) provides you with the opportunity to gain insight into how you can be assisted with best practice identification and management of dementia in general practice.

Date:               Saturday, 21 April 2018
Time:               9.00am – 5.00pm (8:30am – Registration) 
Venue:            Pan Pacific Perth, 207 Adelaide Terrace, Perth WA 6000
Cost:                Free
Register:       To register, please visit the following website.           


Foundations of General Practice Nursing Workshops – 8 June to 9 June

Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) is thrilled to deliver the highly regarded Foundations of General Practice Nursing Workshops Australia wide. General practice nursing is a different and unfamiliar environment to other areas of nursing practice. Developed and facilitated by local nurse leaders, this highly engaging two-day workshop will provide an overview of the knowledge and key skills required by nurses new and transitioning into general practice, and those looking for an update.

Date:                     Friday, 8 June – Saturday, 9 June 2018
Time:                    8.45am – 5.00pm (8:30am – Registration)
Venue:                 Cliftons Perth – Parmelia House, 191 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
Cost:                      $350 (APNA member), $450 (Non-member)
Register:             To register, please visit the following website.                                                                                                                                                                                        



Health promotion events in March

Is your practice looking for a health promotion activity for your practice?  Each edition we provide a list of upcoming health promotion activities for the coming months along with resources and contact details. You can also view all health promotion activities for the year by visiting Practice Assist’s health calendar.       

Epilepsy Awareness Month – March

Throughout March, Epilepsy Australia is urging people around the country to end the stigma and discrimination of epilepsy and ‘GO PURPLE’, the international colour for epilepsy. Epilepsy is a common brain disorder which takes the form of recurring seizures. In Australia alone approximately 250, 000 people live with epilepsy and one in 25 people will have epilepsy at some point in their life. This year Purple Day falls on Easter Saturday so we are encouraging the community to pick any day during March and ‘GO PURPLE’ to support and increase awareness and understanding of epilepsy. Australians can show their support by hosting a Purple Day fundraising event at school, with friends or at work, buying merchandise or making a donation to raise epilepsy awareness.

For more information visit here:


World’s Greatest Shave – 14 March to 18 March

This iconic event is one of Australia’s biggest fundraisers. It’s an annual event where family, friends, businesses and individuals come together to raise money by getting sponsored to be brave and shave their head. You can also show your support by colouring your hair, waxing and more. The money collected from sponsors will go towards research, which is needed to find better treatments and cures for leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders.

Take part and sign up today:                  

Breast Cancer Exercise Program – 16 Feb to 13 April

Youth Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) will be running an 8-week Encore program designed for women who have experienced breast cancer. Encore incorporates gentle exercise (such as hydrotherapy) to help restore mobility, flexibility and confidence.

Date:                    Friday, 16 February – Friday, 13 April 2018
Time:                    11.00 – 1.00pm
Venue:                 St John of God Hospital, 700 Robertson Drive, Bunbury 6230
Cost:                     Free
Register:            To register, please call 9440 3501 or email        

For more information, visit


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.