Practice Connect #56

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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It's our 1st Birthday!

Happy Birthday Practice Assist

Practice Assist, a free practice support service, has responded to more than 300 enquiries for help and support and had more than 19,000 website hits in its first year of operation.

This joint initiative between Rural Health West and the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), provides practices with support via a toll-free help desk number, face to face support and a dedicated website.

WA Primary Health Alliance general practice support manager, Nina Graham said the service had become the first point of contact for many practices seeking help or advice.

“We’ve received some fabulous feedback in our first year,” Ms Graham said.

The website’s Resource Library has proven to be extremely popular, with more than 35 per cent of website traffic accessing the page.

Rural Health West general manager workforce, Kelli Porter said that the aim of the service was to support general practices to do what they do best – care for patients.

“We hope that Practice Assist helps to free up time for busy practice staff – especially smaller practices in rural locations,” Ms Porter said.

“Our aim has always been to offer a one-stop-shop where all practice staff could access information or seek advice quickly and easily.

“I’m very excited that Practice Assist is delivering so well on this goal.”

Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support us!



Practice Managers networking sessions 2019

Are you interested in joining networking sessions in 2019?

WAPHA is looking to find out if you would be interested in joining a networking session for practice managers in 2019. The purpose of the networking sessions will be to provide education and most importantly the opportunity to network and learn from your peers.
Please complete this survey and let us know how these sessions could work for you.
If you know of any practice managers who may be interested in joining this group, please forward the link above.


Share your ideas with primary healthcare nurses across Australia

You are invited to submit an abstract to feature in the APNA National Conference program

Year after year, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association's (APNA) national conference provides a preeminent platform to recognise and celebrate the best examples of primary healthcare nursing, further building on the expertise and collegiality of the formidable nurse workforce. In 2019, the APNA National Conference will be Building on the Best in charming Adelaide from 4 to 6 April, and we welcome anyone who would like to be involved.
Presenting an abstract at the conference is a great opportunity to share knowledge with eager-to-learn primary healthcare nurses.
We are looking for abstracts that:
  • showcase innovative and replicable models of care
  • explore how the profile of nurses' role can be better understood and recognised
  • highlight quality improvement in practice
  • investigate workforce capacity building
  • identify proficient healthcare across the life of a patient.
Join APNA as we strive to build on the best - make a submission by Monday 12 November and give shape to the conference program with your experience, your insight, and your take home message for nurses in primary healthcare.

Nurses APNA needs your ideas! Go in the draw to win one of two $120 Coles Myer gift cards!

We are asking nurses what you have, what you need and what you want from your continuing professional development—in relation to chronic disease management and healthy ageing.
The feedback you provide will be an important tool in assisting APNA to fulfil the education and training needs and expectations of the primary healthcare nursing workforce.  Provide your feedback now.



Accreditation tip - providing home visits

RACGP Standards for general practices 5th ed (GP1.2)

If your staff were asked, by surveyors, whether your practice provides home visits, what would they say?
Following on from last edition’s accreditation tip about care in the after-hours, this topic focuses on meeting home visit needs during your normal practice hours. One of the most common noncompliances found at survey visits is in relation to practices not providing home visits, or staff stating that the practice doesn’t provide them. To ensure continuity of care for all patients, and meet the Standards, your practice must offer home visits.
Over time, the needs of your patients will change, and the ability of some patients to attend your practice in person may be reduced. To ensure you are still able to meet the needs of these patients, home and other visits must be available. A home or other visit includes visits to patients’ homes, aged care or residential care facilities, or hospital accommodation.
Visits may be performed by, or on behalf of, your practice. Usually, a member of the clinical team will perform the home visit (note that the member of staff should be selected based on the clinical need of the patient being visited). If home visits are managed by a third party on behalf of your practice, you must ensure that there are robust processes for the return of consultation information to your practice, following the home visit, to be included in the patient’s health record.
If your own clinical team provides home visits for your patients, you can determine what is considered safe and reasonable in terms of providing these visits. Usually, specific factors would be outlined as part of the practice’s home visit policy. You may consider the length of time that the requesting patient has been attending your practice, a geographical area in which your practitioners are willing (and safely able) to travel, the clinical conditions that necessitate a home visit, and alternative arrangements if a home visit is not deemed appropriate. Alternative sources of care may include a home visiting GP service that operates during the day, or a video consultation (where available).
To meet the indicator, you must provide evidence that home visits are recorded in the patient’s health record (either by the visiting practice clinical team member, or via reports returned to the practice from an external care provider), and your staff must be able to tell patients how they would access care when a home or other visit is not available (and show evidence that these conversations have occurred). Noncompliances are frequently discovered in staff interviews, where members of the team state that the practice simply “doesn’t do” home visits. Ideally, you should establish a policy that guides the provision of home visits, and what conditions would make a home visit appropriate, and provide education to your practice team so that everyone is aware of the policy. You may also wish to include a short version of the practice’s home visit policy in your patient information sheet.

Useful links:

RACGP Standards for general practices 5th ed Criterion GP1.2



Immunisation update

School-based immunisations now on AIR

You can now record and view your patients’ vaccines delivered through school-based programs on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). The AIR records vaccines given to people of all ages in Australia. Please read for more information.

Immunisation Recommendations for infants, children and adolescents

NCIRS have produced a table titled Immunisation recommendations for infants, children and adolescents in AustraliaThis table includes childhood vaccinations funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) as well as other recommendations for children in accordance with The Australian Immunisation Handbook. The table highlights that a second dose of varicella vaccine is recommended to provide increased protection and minimise the chance of breakthrough varicella in children and adolescents <14 years of age. This could potentially be given at 4 years of age, or at any time up to 14 years of age (at least 4 weeks after the 1st dose). This second dose is not funded under NIP but can be purchased privately on script.

Vaccine Update 212 - Reminder to offer additional dose of pneumococcal and Hib vaccines to all age eligible children-1st July NIP change

From 1 July 2018, the Prevenar 13 dosing schedule changed from 2,4 and 6 months to 2,4 and 12 months for children who are not at increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). 
Current AIR records show that more than two thirds of children in WA are not getting their 12-month dose of Prevenar 13.
In the transition period (1 July- 31 December 2018), you are reminded to offer all 12-month olds a booster dose of Prevenar 13, regardless of whether they have already received a third dose at age 6 months.  The 12-month dose is recommended by ATAGI, as it will provide boosted immunity. Parents should be reassured that it is safe. Find out more

Vaccine Update 213 - Reminder to offer 12 month hepatitis B vaccine dose to eligible children

Please be reminded that children who are born pre-term or low-birth weight (<32 weeks gestation or <2000 g birth weight) require an additional hepatitis B vaccine at 12 months. This is because they do not respond as well to hepatitis B–containing vaccines as full-term infants.
Please ensure that you recommend this vaccine to eligible children, even if they present late for their 12 month scheduled vaccines. 

Following vaccination – what to expect and what to do – Resource

The Department of Health have released a new resource titled: Following vaccination - what to expect and what to do.  This resource is an updated version of the previous common reactions pad and provides easy-to-read information on common reactions that may occur after vaccinations. The resource is available to download or order as a tear off pad from the Department of Health website.
However please be mindful regarding the adverse reactions in WA is recommended to be reported to WA Vaccine Surveillance System (WAVSS) by either health professional or parent/patient before consideration to TGA or a pharmacist.
You can also find information on the Healthy WA website.



Expression of Interest

WAPHA has commissioned a chronic disease service for marginalised population groups. A nurse practitioner works with clients of Ruah, Richmond Wellbeing, Silver Chain, St Pat’s and 55 Central to undertake a health assessment, develop an individualised plan, and link the person to a regular GP. Contact Katy Aish on or 0438 699 205 to get involved.


Medicare advice: bulk bill vouchers
The law is very specific when it comes to patient signatures on bulk-bill vouchers.However, many practices are unsure as to their legal requirement concerning this matter. Find out more



Calling regional carers to join new high-tech connection

A high-tech regional network is being rolled out to support carers of people with dementia across three states, thanks to a $1.7 million investment from the Australian Government. Read more


HealthPathways update

The HealthPathways WA team recently published their 441st pathway. The most recently published pathways are: To access HealthPathways please contact your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison or email the HealthPathways team at   



My Health Record update

Expansion of My Health Record

This year, every individual with a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card will get a My Health Record unless they tell us they don’t want one.
Through independent research, individuals have told us their preferred way to receive information about My Health Record is from their practice. It is likely that your patients may come to you for advice about how My Health Record works and how it can be trusted. It will result in safer and more efficient care.
Currently, more than 1 in 5 Australians already have a My Health Record. In July, the program was expanded to an ‘opt-out’ participation model and by the end of 2018 all Australians will have a record unless they choose not to have one.
The opt-out period is being held from 16 July to 15 November 2018. During this period, individuals who do not want to have a My Health Record can opt out by going to
Calling the Helpline on 1800 723 471
In a medical emergency, healthcare providers connected to the My Health Record system can see their patient’s health information such as allergies, medicines and immunisations. This helps them to provide them with the best possible treatment and care.
When a healthcare provider uses a patient’s My Health Record, it means the patient doesn’t need to remember and repeat their medical story, such as their prescriptions or the names of tests they’ve had. My Health Record helps a patient to keep track of their children’s health, immunisations and any medical tests.



Draft National Strategies for Men's and Women's Health

The Commonwealth Department of Health is seeking feedback on the National Men’s Health Strategy for 2020-2030 and the National Women’s Health Strategy for 2020-2030
The consultations close on Monday 5 November 2018
The draft National focuses on improving the mental and physical health of Australian men and boys.  It identifies priority areas of action to drive improvement in the health and wellbeing of all Australian males, particularly those at greatest risk of poor health. It builds on the National Male Health Policy – Building on the Strengths of Australian Males, initiated by the Australian Government in 2010.
The draft aims to drive continuing improvement in the health and wellbeing of all women in Australia, particularly those at greatest risk of poor health. The Strategy builds on the existing National Women’s Health Policy 2010, with a focus on priority areas for action to improve health outcomes for Australian women and girls over the coming decade.


NPS MedicineWise update

Patient-centred, pragmatic prescribing for acute non-specific low back pain

Managing acute non-specific low back pain can be a challenging experience for healthcare professionals.
On one side, acute non-specific low back pain is a self-limiting condition that for most patients resolves after 4–6 weeks with simple non-pharmacological treatments as part of first-line therapy
Guidelines recommend simple treatments for first-line therapy. These include:
  • providing education about the nature of low back pain
  • reassuring patients about the likelihood of a positive prognosis
  • encouraging self-management strategies such as heat packs, and
  • most importantly, advising patients to stay active.
Find out more


MBS Online

The November 2018 Medicare Benefits Schedule

The 1 November 2018 Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) XML file is now available to download. Find out more



Education and training

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

These events are often in high demand, so we recommend registering as soon as possible so you don’t miss out.



Alcohol Screening and Brief Interventions project findings – 24 October

If you are a GP interested in expanding your professional knowledge on alcohol screening and brief interventions, please consider attending the Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) Grand Round to hear presentations on the Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Project, which was carried out with the WAPHA funding in 2017-2018 at Fiona Stanley and Rockingham General Hospitals. The presentation will cover burden of alcohol in Australia and project overview, patient and staff attitudes, research evaluation results, clinical impact and operational feasibility and future directions.
Date:                Wednesday, 24 October 2018   
Time:               12 – 1pm (registration from 11.50am)
Venue:            Fiona Stanley Hospital, Education, Lecture Theatre G.1
Cost:                Free
RSVP:              RSVP by 28 September 2018
Register:       To register, please click here



Psychiatry ALM: scenes, scenerios and pathways – 27 October

Joondalup Health Campus is pleased to announce the first collaborative ALM with the WA Primary Health Alliance on a spectrum of mental health topics ranging from Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to Older Adult Mental Health. Interactive discussions will be based on real case scenarios. For more information, you can view the flyer.
Date:               Saturday, 27 October 2018   
Time:               8.30am – 4.30pm (registration from 8am)
Venue:            Ground Floor, Community Clinical School, Joondalup Private Hospital, Cnr Grand Boulevard and Shenton Avenue, Joondalup
Cost:                Free
RSVP:              RSVP by 22 October 2018
Register:       To register, please click here



The business of general practice – 27 October

RACGP WA presents a comprehensive, one-day workshop focussing on the business of general practice. The program is delivered by subject matter experts who will share their knowledge and personal experiences. Hosted by Dr Sean Stevens, Chair, RACGP WA and Chair, RACGP Specific Interests Business of General Practice Network, the day also includes an in-depth session on My Health Record.
Date:                 Saturday, 27 October, 2018
Time:                9.30am to 3.30pm (registration from 8.30am)
Venue:              Bendat Centre, 36 Dodd St, Wembley
Cost:                  RACGP members early bird (ends 7 October) $66
                            RACGP members $99
                            Non-member $129
Register:        To register, please click here



Paediatrics GP Education Event – 3 November

An opportunity to tour the new hospital and get the most up-to-date information on the latest research, presented by Perth Children's Hospital in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways WA. 

Date:                 Saturday 3 November 2018
Time:                Presentations from 8.30am to 4pm (registration from 8am)
Venue:              Perth Children's Hospital, 15 Hospital Ave, Nedlands
Catering:         Morning tea and lunch will be provided
Register:         To register, please click here
RSVP:                 by 26 October, registrations are essential
For further information, please visit



The Perinatal Anxiety Screening Scale – 7 November

The Women’s Health Strategy & Programs provides training to improve the health and safety of families in WA Health.
Date:                Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Time:               9.00am to 1.30pm
Venue:             Special Dining Room, KEMH, Subiaco WA 6008
For more information, please visit From this page, you can also register by scrolling to the bottom of the page to find Bookings and download a Registration form.



Protecting Brains and Bones: What a GP Needs to Know – 10 November

Presented by Osborne Park Hospital in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways WA
Date:                Saturday 10 November 2018
Time:                Registration from 8am
                            Presentations from 8.30am to 3.30pm
Venue:             University Club, UWA, Crawley WA 6009, free parking available at Entrance 1, Carpark 3
Catering:        Morning tea and lunch will be provided
Register:        To register, please click here
Registrations are essential. RSVP by Friday 2 November 2018.
This event has 40 Category 1 QI&CPD points.

Education sessions include:
  • Early diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s Disease by Dr Barry Vieira
  • Early diagnosis, differential diagnosis and management of dementia by Dr Brendan Foo
  • Acute stroke and TIA, early diagnosis and management by Dr Kien Chan
  • Diagnosis and management of osteoporosis by Professor Charles Inderjeeth
  • Geriatric residential outreach service summary by Dr Charmaine Chua



Telethon Speech and Hearing – 17 November

Talk & Tour morning from leading health experts and a tour of Telethon Speech & Hearing.
Date:               Saturday 17 November 2018
Time:              9am – 11am
Venue:           Telethon Speech & Hearing, 36 Dodd St, Wembley.
Register:       Email Rosemarie Winsor at



Who’s Who in Kwinana and Rockingham – 20 November

General Practitioners, Practice Managers, Nurses, Allied Health and Pharmacists are invited to attend an interactive evening to meet the commissioned WAPHA services in Kwinana and Rockingham. Meet the providers face to face and see what they can offer your patients.

Date:               Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Time:              5.30 - 7.30pm
Venue:            Hotel Clipper, 20 Patterson Rd, Rockingham
Cost:               Free (canapes and drinks provided)
RSVP:             by Tuesday 13 November, click here


Black Dog Institute Perinatal in Practice – 24 November

Learn about the current understanding of perinatal mood disorders and its management, using lecture, case studies and interactive exercises. Thanks to the generosity of CBH Group, Black Dog Institute is offering significantly reduced-cost workshops in regional areas across Western Australia.
Date:                Saturday, 24 November 2018   
Time:                9am – 5pm
Venue:             Masters Builders, 30 Graham St, Albany WA 6330
Cost:                 $50.00
Register:         To register, please click here
These sessions are suitable for Allied Health providers, Nurses, Midwives, Counsellors, GP Registrars, GPs and Psychologists. These sessions have 40 Category 1 RACGP QI&CPD points, 6 hours CPD for Australian Association of Social Workers, and are a CPD Recognised Activity for the Australian College of Midwives.



The Ehlers-Danlos Society Learning Conference Australia – 10 to 11 December

After years of demand and need The Ehlers-Danlos Society is very excited to bring together in Australia leading world experts to discuss the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and related disorders, including the recently-described hypermobility spectrum disorders.
Date:                Monday, 10 December – Tuesday, 11 December 2018    
Time:                8am – 6pm (Day 1), 7.30am – 6.00pm (Day 2)
Venue:             Curtin University Building 410, Kent Street, Bentley Perth WA 6102
Cost:                  $150 (Day 1), $350 (Day 2) 
Register:         To register, please click here



Health promotion events

Are you 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:  

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – October

October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

Two exciting upcoming BreastScreen WA events, as part of Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, are the Pink Ribbon Breakfast at Fraser’s on Monday 24 October, with the guest speaker being Sabrina Hahn, gardener extraordinaire, and Picnic in the Park, a gathering of Aboriginal women in Kings Park on Tuesday 25 October.

You can view BreastScreen WA’s events calendar, and further information for general practices can be found by clicking here.

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week – 12 to 18 November

The WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program (WACCPP) is inviting all practices to register an activity in support of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week (12-18 November 2018).

Activity ideas may include an information display, a presentation about cervical screening, a cervical screening clinic or promotion of cervical screening on stakeholder social media sites.

To support an activity stakeholders can access a range of free resources from the WACCPP, including print resources, promotional tools, activities and display materials.

To register an activity, please download the registration form by clicking here.

For more information please contact the WACCPP on 13 15 56 or, or to view the flyer, please click here.  

PANDA Week (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) – 11-17 November

Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week was established by PANDA in 2005. Since then PANDA has been using the Week to speak out about supporting the mental and emotional wellbeing of expecting and new parents, including raising awareness about the signs to look for and where to go to seek support.

Our theme for PANDA Week 2018 is ‘I Wish I Knew’. We know many expecting and new parents are blind-sided by the realities of becoming parents. We know that many parents, looking back, feel that if they had known more and been better able to prepare for some of the challenges they might have been better able to cope.

This includes recognising the signs and symptoms of mental and emotional distress in themselves and others and knowing where to turn to seek support.   

Our PANDA Week campaign theme aims to start conversations about the things parents ‘wish they knew’ before having a baby and encourage people to seek help early if they are struggling. For information on PANDA week and to find resources please the PANDA website.

World COPD Day – 21 November

World COPD Day is an annual global initiative run by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) to raise awareness about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and improve COPD care throughout the world.

In 2018, Lung Foundation Australia’s World COPD Day campaign ‘don’t let shortness of breath stop you from living your dreams’ is focused on raising awareness of COPD symptoms, and empowering people with COPD to take control of their condition. Whilst there are many medicines available to treat COPD symptoms, there are also a number of lifestyle habits which can dramatically improve symptoms, and even slow disease progression.

To register an event, please click here.

You can also download resources from the Lung Foundation Australia by clicking here

NPS MedicineWise has a Clinical E-Audit available and the Lung Foundation provides a useful and simple infographic on COPD.

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.