Practice Connect #43

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

Read all stories



Practice Assist update 

Practice Assist now has more than 133 fact sheets and resources available. New and revised resources available this month at include:

Coming into ‘flu’ season, don’t forget to be prepared:  


Immunisation update 

2018 Influenza Program vaccines available to order now

The 2018 government funded influenza vaccines are now available to order. The following important program information was recently communicated to immunisation service providers via the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

  • This year there are two new higher-immunogenicity trivalent vaccines (TIVs), Fluad ® and Fluzone ® high dose, that are only registered and government funded for use in adults 65 years and older. They are preferentially recommended for use in this age group over quadrivalent influenza vaccines (QIVs) as they potentially offer greater protection, in particular from influenza A/H3N2 which affects the elderly more commonly and severely.

  • For those aged 6 months to <65 years of age, only QIVs are available as either government funded or private vaccines (standard dose TIVs are now unavailable in Australia).
  • Age restrictions apply to all vaccine brands.

Recent evidence - available here - suggests that protection against influenza may decrease from 3 to 4 months after vaccination.

The WA Department of Health advises optimal time to vaccinate against influenza in WA is from May to early June. This is to optimise protection when influenza transmission is expected to be highest between July to October based on WA surveillance data.

Vaccinations should be offered throughout the influenza season, as it is never too late to vaccinate while influenza is circulating. For more information on available vaccines in WA, please click here.

Eligibility for Government funded influenza vaccines in WA in 2018 is unchanged from 2017, and all influenza vaccines should be recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register.

Measles alert for general practitioners and emergency departments

The following important information has been circulated by the Communicable Disease Control Directorate via vaccine orders.

Key points
  • There have been nine cases of measles confirmed in Perth residents since mid-March, including 4 adults, 4 infants and one teenager. Seven were infected while travelling overseas, including two infants while on international flights. Of the two WA-acquired cases, one was infected in a hospital ED, and one infant from the Kalamunda area has no identifiable source.
  • Imported cases have been infected in Bali, Thailand, India and Malaysia.
  • Susceptible people could have been exposed to infectious cases in several Perth hospital EDs, several GP clinics and in other locations around Perth, or on Malindo Air flights from India to Perth via Kuala Lumpur on 29/30 March.
  • Consider this information in patients with fever/rash illnesses over coming weeks.
  • Immediately isolate suspected cases and adopt airborne precautions.
  • Suspected and confirmed cases must by promptly notified to CDCD.
  • GPs should recommend MMR vaccination to prospective overseas travellers, including to Bali, born since 1965 and who do not have clear documentation of previously receiving two doses of measles vaccine.

Notification (urgent)

Please notify all suspected or confirmed cases immediately to the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (ph 9388 4852 or A/H 9328 0553) or to the local Public Health Unit in regional areas –  


My Health Record update

Practice online education for My Health Record

To learn more about how you can integrate My Health Record into your practice flow and work processes, the Australian Digital Health Agency continually offers educational webinars around different topics such as diagnostics reports, pathology, security, privacy and health summaries.

Dates for upcoming webinars can be found on the WAPHA website on the dedicated My Health Record page.



HealthPathways update

HealthPathways have now published 377 pathways. The most recently published pathways are:


The National HealthPathways Survey

An expert research group from across WA, Australia and New Zealand has developed an online survey to gauge the uptake of HealthPathways (HPW), and the barriers and enablers to its use within Australia and New Zealand.

The study is the first national investigation into the update of HPW and could be vital in determining future policy development and implementation strategies pertaining to HPW.

If you are, or know of, a practicing health professional and would be interested in being a part of the study, please follow the link below to have your say.

The Curtin University Human Resource Ethics Office has approved the study. HREC approval number SPH-09-2014-05. For further information please contact Richard Varhol at 


ORS Psychology Service and Referral Form update

As part of WAPHA’s Integrated Primary Mental Health Care Initiative, the ORS Psychology service has now been incorporated into a broader service offering called the Practitioner Online Referral and Treatment Service (PORTS), which provides a range of treatment options; online, by telephone or face to face depending on patients’ needs.

As of April 2018, ORS Psychology will no longer accept direct referrals. You will be required to use the PORTS referral form. The referral form is available as a template in Best Practice or can be downloaded from HealthPathways here

Representatives from PORTS are available to visit your practice to explain this service in more detail. To request a visit, please email or telephone WAPHA on (08) 6272 4900.

For further information please visit


Choosing Wisely: 5 Questions to ask your doctor or health professionals

Patients receiving new outpatient appointment letters in doctor led Outpatient Clinics at Royal Perth Hospital and Armadale Health Service will be receiving additional support to help them make the right decisions about their health care.

The Questions to Ask Your Medical Appointment leaflet has been developed and is being distributed from early April until the end of June 2018 as part of Ensuring Essential Health Care, an East Metropolitan Health Service initiative focused on promoting high value healthcare.

The questions are provided to guide patients on what to ask their doctor, supporting patients and doctors to make the right healthcare decisions. The questions are based on the Choosing Wisely Australia campaign that promotes understanding and information that some tests, treatments and procedures provide little benefit.

WAPHA is supporting this initiative as part of our shared aim to ensure people have access to the right care, in the right place at the right time. Posters to display the Choosing Wisely 5 Questions to ask your doctor or health professional are being made available to general practice in the East Metro region during the period that the leaflets are being distributed through RPH and AHS outpatients. Soft copies of the 5 Questions poster are available through Choosing Wisely here


National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) have jointly produced the third edition of the National Guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (The National Guide).

The National Guide is a practical resource intended for all health professionals delivering primary healthcare to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Its purpose is to provide health professionals with an accessible, user friendly guide to best practice in preventive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

This edition:

  • equips primary healthcare providers and their teams with a comprehensive and concise set of recommendations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, with additional information about tailoring advice depending on risk and need;
  • advises on activities that can help prevent disease, detect early and unrecognised disease, and promote health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, while allowing for local and regional variations;
  • encourages clinicians to consider the social determinants of health when providing preventative healthcare; and
It also includes the following new topics and features:
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Preventing child maltreatment - supporting families to optimise child safety and wellbeing
  • Family abuse and violence
  • Prevention of lung cancer
  • Young person lifecycle summary wall chart 

For further information, to download the National Guide or other supporting documentation, please visit here


Education and training

Visit our Webinars & Workshops page at for more events in your area.


Emergency Response Planning Tool

The Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT) is a cloud-based tool which assists general practices to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from, the impacts of emergencies and pandemics.  The RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) require practices to have a contingency plan for adverse and unexpected events such as natural disasters, pandemic diseases or the sudden, unexpected absence of clinical staff (Criterion C3.3). The ERPT is one way that general practices can meet this Criterion.

The ERPT guides practices through a series of planning templates where critical information about the practice is entered and saved. The critical information entered in the ERPT is used to create an emergency response plan which is individually tailored to the practice, providing a roadmap to recovering from emergencies.

The ERPT is managed by Healthpoint ANZ and was developed in collaboration with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). 

How much does it cost?

The WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is funding a limited number of licenses for the first-year subscription of the ERPT. Licenses will be available on a first come, first served basis.

This offer will save general practices in WA $300 plus GST.

How do I access the tool?

Register your practice by accessing the following link and complete the registration details.

For more information, see our fact sheet on the ERPT, contact your Primary Health Liaison or Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478) or email


Exercise is Medicine Workshop – 1 May

Presented by a local accredited exercise physiologist, this 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 participant s will support them in their assessment, management and referral of patients with and at risk of chronic disease. For more information, see flyer here.

Date:              Tuesday, 1 May 2018
Time:              6.00pm – 8.00pm
Venue:           Conference Room 2, Department of Primary Industries & Regional Development, 75 York Road, Northam
Cost:               Free 
Register:      To register, please visit the following website


Hepatitis C Nursing: Advanced Nursing Management & Treatment – 11 to 12 May 

The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) is hosting this free 2-day workshop. Nurses play a crucial role in ensuring improved health outcomes for people with Hepatitis C, through informed clinical management and support of individuals and families. This 2-day face-to-face course is designed to provide nurses with advanced practical skills and knowledge in hepatitis C nursing. For more information, see flyer here.         

Date:               Friday, 11 May – Saturday, 12 May 2018
Time:               Day 1, 8.30am – 5.00pm / Day 2, 8.30am – 3.00pm      
Venue:            Fraser Suites, 10 Adelaide Terrace, East Perth 6004
Cost:                Free 
Register:       To register, please visit the following website



CPD Face to face: Wound Management Update – 21 to 22 May

This course is designed for registered and enrolled nurses from all health sectors, who are engaged in providing wound care to patients or residents. This is an in-depth review of pathophysiology, pharmacology, assessment strategies, clinical aetiologies, and interventions. This face-to-face course is conducted over two days and is equivalent to 14 CPD hours.

Date:               Monday, 21 May – Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Time:               8.45am – 5.00pm       
Venue:            Bethesda Health Care, 25 Queenslea Drive, Claremont 6010  
Cost:                $387 for CAN members; $430 for non-members
Register:       To register, please visit the following website


Rockingham General Hospital GP Education Event: Chronic Disease – 26 May

Presented by Rockingham Peel Group and Rockingham General Hospital in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways WA. Topics include Older Adult Liaison Nurse Service, Managing Chronic Psychosis in the Community, Gynaecology and more. This activity has 40 Category One QI&CPD points. For more information, see flyer here.

Date:                Saturday, 26 May 2018
Time:                8.30am – 3.30pm (8.00am – Registrations)
Venue:             Rockingham General Hospital, Education Centre Lecture Theatre, Elanora Drive, Coolangup WA 6168
Cost:                 Free 
Register:        To register, please visit the following website   



Foundations of General Practice Nursing workshop in Perth – 8 to 9 June

Are you in the first few months of first few years of working in general practice, or looking for a refresher on best practice in that setting? The ever-popular Foundations of General Practice Nursing Workshop is for you. With an engaging program that covers seven essential topics (such as Immunisation, Infection prevention and control, Wound management and more), our speakers are eager to educate you, and answer all your questions.

Date:               Friday, 8 June – Saturday, 9 June 2018
Time:               8.45am – 5.00pm (8.30am – Registrations)
Venue:            Cliftons Perth, Parmelia House – 191 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000
Cost:                $350 for APNA members; $450 for non-members
Register:       To register, please visit the following website 



Driving Change – pregnancy, parenting, alcohol and other drugs conference – 13 June

St John of God Raphael Services WA is hosting a free one-day conference for health providers working in alcohol and other drugs (AoD) and perinatal infant mental health (PIMH). The comprehensive program will explore how to talk to pregnant women about alcohol use, a father’s role in alcohol exposure during pregnancy, supporting parents challenged by alcohol and substance use, the impact of domestic violence on parenting and attachment and an Australian fetal alcohol spectrum disorder hub.

Date:               Wednesday, 13 June 2018
Time:               9.00am – approx. 4.30pm (8.30am – Registrations)
Venue:           The Auditorium, Bendat Parent and Community Centre, 36 Dodd Street, Wembley 6014
Cost:                Free
Register:       To register, please visit the following website



Short Course in Sexual Health Nursing – 22 to 23 June

This course by the Australian College of Nursing is designed for registered and enrolled nurses whose patients have, or are at risk of, blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmissible infections (STIs). It will provide nurses with the introductory practice skills and knowledge to incorporate sexual health screening and management into their current area of specialty.

Date:               Friday, 22 June – Saturday, 23 June 2018
Time:              8.50am – 4.30pm (8.30am – Registrations)
Venue:           Fraser Suites Perth, 10 Adelaide Terrace, Perth 6000
Cost:               Free for WA nurses; $400 for ASHM members; $440 for non-ASHM members
Register:       To register, please visit the following website  



Health promotion events in May 

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

Heart Week – 29 April to 6 May

Heart Week 2018 Sunday, 29 April to Sunday, 6 May is an opportunity to engage with the community and health professionals in a new way about physical activity.

This year, the Heart Foundation’s campaign ‘Don’t get the sits’ shines a light on our inactive nation to empower Australians to get moving.

FACTS: We know that more than half of Australians (52 per cent) are not active enough, that almost two in three Australian adults are overweight or obese, and shockingly, one in four children are overweight or obese.

It is our responsibility to encourage Australians to consider their physical activity levels and the impact it has on their hearts.

Physical activity provides medicine for both the mind and the body. Being active everyday can:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease by 35%
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Help maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Prevent and manage diabetes
  • Prevent and improve symptoms of depression
  • Boost brain health by reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Downloadable resources include a GP exercise prescription pad and posters available at: or contact us on 9388 3343. We also have Heart Foundation walking groups and a phone application:

Patient group education programs for Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes WA provide a range of group education sessions for patients living with Type Two diabetes, throughout regional Western Australia and metropolitan Perth.

The SMART programs are a range of short group education sessions designed to help better manage patient’s Type 2 diabetes.  Bookings are essential, and attendance at all of the SMART programs is free for NDSS Registrants and Diabetes WA members.

The group education calendar can be found at

Bookings can be made on line into programs using the interactive calendar, or by contacting Diabetes WA on telephone 1300 001 880.                                             

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.