Practice Connect #66

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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Workforce Incentive Program (WIP)

The Department of Health has stated the WIP will now commence on 1 January 2020. WIP Program Guidelines will be published prior to the transition.

Under the WIP, the GPRIP will transition to the WIP - Doctor Stream and the PNIP will transition to the WIP - Practice Stream. Medical practitioners and general practices participating in the PNIP and GPRIP on 31 December 2019 will automatically transition to the WIP. 

WIP Factsheet visit                                          WIP Questions and Answers


Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI)

The Department of Health is currently undertaking a review of the Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP IHI). This review aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the PIP IHI to support general practices to provide culturally appropriate health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic disease.

The PIP IHI was introduced in 2010 to promote best practice, culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic disease in mainstream GP practices, while also supporting the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector.

The Department is seeking submissions from organisations and individuals to understand how the PIP IHI works for clinics, clinicians and consumers. The feedback from these submissions will help the Department to identify potential gaps and barriers in the current PIP IHI and consider options to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the PIP IHI.

Visit to see how to give your views


Changes to PBS Online payments over Easter

Medicare have advised that payment of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Online will be processed in advance over Easter. If the payment is due Friday 19 April 2019, they will process payments early to be received on Thursday 18 April.

No payments will be made on Good Friday, 19 April 2019. Processing of claims lodged from Thursday 18 to Wednesday 24 April will be as normal on Friday 26 April 2019.

To view further information visit

Are you using up-to-date forms to order PBS and RPBS prescription stationery? 

To check you have the current order forms click here


Improve your team’s practice in treating older Australians

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, the ELDAC project supports primary care practitioners and teams to provide care for older people towards the end of life.

Help your patients to both live and die well by providing high-quality, appropriate palliative care and advance care planning. With free information and tools on quality improvement, MBS reimbursement for delivery of palliative care services, PIP payments, My Health Record and more.

To view the Team Action section of the ELDAC Primary Care toolkit click here or visit the ELDAC website for more information about the project    



The Advance Project – Get involved     

WAPHA is working with Hammond Care to provide advance care planning training for GPs, practice nurses and practice managers. The Advance Project is a practical, evidence-based toolkit and a training package, specifically designed to support general practices to implement a team-based approach to initiating advance care planning and palliative care into everyday clinical practice.

WAPHA are seeking expressions of interest from practices across WA to participate in a half-day workshop and evaluation. We will be seeking to engage 4 champion practices across WA to participate in this project.

To be a champion practice we are asking:  

  1. Complete the online training
  2. Become familiar with the Advance Project resources
  3. Use the Advance Project resources in Practice
  4. Attend our workshop with your practice team
  5. Become involved with the evaluation of the project.

If you would like some more information please visit: or email


Professional development grants for the rural health workforce

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Department of Health, administered in Western Australia by Rural Health West.

The Program provides scholarships and bursaries to help health professionals in remote and rural Australia retain and enhance their skills, capacity and scope of practice.

Rural medical, nursing, midwifery, dentistry and allied health professionals, including Aboriginal health practitioners can apply for funding towards:

  • Undertaking further postgraduate study.
  • Development and upskilling courses.
  • One-off payments to cover the cost of training or course fees and/or to cover or partially cover some training-related expenses such as travel, where appropriate.

Please read the full Program Guidelines before applying visit


Upcoming changes to accessing cervical screening histories

From Friday 12 April 2019 the WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program will no longer provide cervical screening histories for women living in WA.

After this date health professionals can contact the National Cancer Screening Register on 1800 627 701 for all cervical screening histories.


Post-assessment survey of general practice seeking accreditation

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has established a number of quality assurance processes designed to align and improve the assessment of general practices choosing to seek accreditation.

Recently, the Commission introduced a post-assessment survey for practices that have recently undergone their onsite accreditation visit. The purpose of the survey is to provide practices with the opportunity to confidentially submit feedback about the accreditation process, including the accreditation agency and the assessors (surveyors), without fearing that the feedback may affect the outcome of the assessment. The information provided will be received and collated by the Commission, and de-identified responses will be utilised to improve the quality of the Scheme.

This survey will be sent following an onsite accreditation visit.

Practices can ask questions regarding this scheme with their accreditation agency, or contact the Commission on 1800 304 056 or email

The Commission’s website has further information:


Accreditation tip – new policies for email and social media

RACGP Standards for general practices 5th ed (C6.4F and C6.4G)

New policies required under the 5th edition of the Standards for general practices include policies for the use of email and of social media. As practices become more technologically-enabled, and astute about utilising digital marketing, these policies are increasingly important in order to protect your online presence and your practice’s and patients’ privacy and confidentiality.
Practices who use email should ensure that, if email is used to transmit patient information, systems are established to secure the information during transmission. These systems should then be documented in your email policy: it may include the email addresses or devices that are approved for use for communicating with patients, the use of password-protected methods, encryption methods, and the process for obtaining and documenting consent from the patient to use email to transmit sensitive information. Your policy should outline for what purposes email may be used: is it just for activities such as reminders, or are your practitioners happy to communicate with patients via electronic methods? Your policy may also outline the practice’s position on the use of personal emails for work purposes, and any guidance around the consequences of misuse of email by the practice team.
In terms of a social media policy, your practice should develop a policy that defines its use (if any) of social media: this might include what sites or tools the practice uses, who is authorised to act on behalf of the practice when using these sites or tools, what content is deemed appropriate (or what the purpose of engagement is), and perhaps guidance about consumer engagement via these sites (for example, what happens if a patient uses a social media channel to make an appointment).
Another inclusion to consider for your social media policy is expectations of your practice team members who themselves may use social media. It is common practice for individuals to identify with their employer on social media channels, and you therefore may wish to outline expectations in terms of employees’ use of social media, particularly regarding the posting of content that may have, by association, a reputational impact on your practice. This can be a difficult area to navigate, but it is worth considering if you have a practice team (and patient cohort) who are highly engaged with social media.
Practices often ask whether these policies are required if they do not use email and / or social media. The answer is yes: even if your practice does not use email and / or social media for its own purposes, your policy should outline this and, ideally, explain the rationale for this decision. Your policy may still include expectations around employees’ personal use of email or social media that may intersect with the practice.
The RACGP provides a template for an internet and email policy, as well as a guide to the use of social media in general practice, and practitioners who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) must comply with AHPRA’s social media policy. If you are unsure about your obligations in relation to the handling of health information, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) provides an extensive suite of resources to which you can refer, and your medical defence organisation will provide you with specific advice if you are concerned that patient or practice confidentiality or security has been, or may be, compromised through the use of email or social media.

Useful links:
RACGP Standards for general practices 5th ed Indicator C6.4F and C6.4G 
RACGP Secure use of email communications (guidance documents)
RACGP Guide for the use of social media in general practice
AHPRA Social media policy
OAIC Health service providers page


Influenza and pertussis vaccination in pregnancy

The influenza and whooping cough vaccines are provided free to pregnant women through the National Immunisation Program.
The most important factor associated with uptake of influenza and pertussis vaccination during pregnancy is a healthcare provider recommendation.  Healthcare professionals are encouraged to speak to pregnant patients and their partners about the importance of getting vaccinated against influenza and pertussis during pregnancy.
Please note that the evidence around the timing of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy has recently been reviewed and the pertussis-containing vaccine is now recommended as a single dose between 20 and 32 weeks in each pregnancy, including pregnancies that are closely spaced to provide maximal protection to each infant.  This advice is reflected in the Australian Immunisation Handbook at
Key messages

  • Antenatal vaccination is recommended to protect both pregnant women and their babies from influenza and pertussis and their complications.
  • Maternal antibodies against pertussis provide protection to babies until they have received at least two doses of pertussis containing vaccines (at six weeks and four months of age).
  • Maternal antibodies against influenza provide protection to babies for the first few months of life until they are able to be vaccinated themselves at six months of age.
  • Babies less than six months of age are at greatest risk of severe disease and death from influenza and pertussis.
  • Pregnant women are also at increased risk of morbidity and mortality from influenza compared with non-pregnant women. Pregnant women are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as other people with influenza.

 Information for health care providers, including a clinical advice fact sheet and promotional materials are available at

Health care providers:


New Cancer Symptom Website for Regional People

On Sunday 24 March, Cancer Council WA launched the new Find Cancer Early website. The site aims to improve regional cancer survival outcomes as research shows regional Western Australians are 20 – 30 per cent more likely to die within five years of a cancer diagnosis than people living in Perth.

The new website has been designed to improve regional Western Australian's understanding of the early symptoms of prostate, breast, skin, bowel and lung cancer and encourage them to report any unusual changes in their body to their doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker.

Learn more about early cancer symptoms click here


My Health Record

Influenza season and My Health Record

The current influenza (flu) vaccination season offers an opportunity for GP practices to engage with their patient’s My Health Record.

It’s a great opportunity to initiate a conversation with the patient about their My Health Record. Providers can upload a Shared Health Summary or an Event Summary for the immunisation record to the patient’s My Health Record. Further information on the difference between an Event Summary and Shared Health Summary can be found by visiting: 9 out of 10 Australians have a My Health Record!

Better Connections: Your health, your say survey

The Australian Digital Health Agency has opened an online consultation for all Australians, including frontline clinicians, consumers, healthcare organisations and the technology sector to have their say on a more modern, digitally connected health system.

The online consultation is part of a nationwide series of discussions used to co-design the National Health Interoperability Roadmap, which will agree the standards and priorities required to achieve a more modern digitally connected health system in Australia.

Visit to complete the survey, which is open until 14 June 2019.

Understanding My Health Record consumer control settings from a healthcare provider perspective webinar

Details of this recent webinar providing an overview for healthcare providers of consumer control settings and how this applied in clinical work flows are now available: Visit to download

New Genie My Health Record software summary sheets

New Genie software summary sheets are now available.

  • Stop prescribing records being sent to My Health Record
  • Request for pathology report not to be sent to My Health Record
  • Request for diagnostic imaging report not to be sent to My Health Record

These sheets are available to download on the My Health Record website:

Australian Immunisation Register

Updating AIR for DVA patients and patients with no Medicare card

MedicalDirector Clinical and PracSoft requires all patients to have a Medicare Card number listed in their patient record to allow for immunisation encounters to be transferred to the Australian Immunisation Register via the practice software.  This includes DVA card holders (gold, white and orange cards).  All DVA card holders do have a Medicare card number and this information can be accessed from the Department of Human Services or via PRODA if the PRODA account holder has the right access levels.

For those people who do not have a Medicare card number, the individual immunisation encounter needs to be detached from Pracsoft and recorded on AIR via the AIR site.  Practices should contact MedicalDirector for further information regarding failed AIR submissions.


HealthPathways Update

Newly localised pathways

The HealthPathways team are pleased to announce that they have now localised several Older Adults Health Pathways. This is a significant milestone for the team as these pathways have been in development for nearly three years, with Dementia consistently presentation as one of the most searched for conditions.

The most recently localised pathways include:

To send feedback or access HealthPathways, email the team at or contact your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison for further information.



Emergency Department Specialists, Supporting General Practitioners

ED4GP provides real-time support to GPs consulting patients with acute and sub-acute clinical presentations.  This service is founded by a dual trained Specialist Emergency Physician and GP

Click here for more information


NPS MedicineWise Update – try a Virtual Visit

GPs who find it difficult to schedule an in-practice NPS MedicineWise educational visit can still benefit from the educational visiting program through the NPS MedicineWise Virtual Visiting service.

An NPS MedicineWise Virtual Visit is an accredited clinical education discussion for GPs, covering the latest prescribing evidence and delivered by video conference. 

Doctors can nominate their preferred videoconferencing technology and can book a session at time convenient to them.

A one-to-one Virtual Visit with a GP is free, RACGP accredited and takes 30mins.

GPs and Practice Managers who would like to book an NPS Virtual Visit can book through the NPS MedicineWise website,


WA Influenza Immunisation Program and Information session

 WA Influenza Immunisation Program

Government funded influenza vaccine will be available for order in mid-April.
The WA Immunisation schedule has been updated with the 2019 influenza vaccine information.  Click Here 

Optimal protection against influenza occurs within 3 - 4 months following vaccination; providers should consider vaccinating in May and early June to ensure optimal protection during influenza season which typically spans July to October in WA.

2019 Influenza Immunisation Session for Healthcare Professionals

This session will be held on the 10th April at the Department of Health Theatrette
in 189 Royal St, East Perth.

Visit to read more about the 2019 WA Influenza Program and to register for the information session.


Treating Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum

Scholarships are available for a one-day forum in Sydney this August will bring together general practitioners (GPs) from all over Australia to discuss the treatment of people living with hepatitis C in primary care and priority settings.

Direct-acting antiviral treatments for hepatitis C, which have very high cure rates and few or no side-effects, became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in March 2016. In the following two years, more than a quarter of all people living with hepatitis C in Australia were treated, and the proportion of treatment prescribed by GPs increased dramatically from 8% to 38%. However as of July 2018 there were still more than 170,000 people living with the virus, and treatment rates have declined after the initial high uptake.

For people living with hepatitis C, receiving treatment in familiar environments with their trusted, accessible, long-term doctors removes an important barrier to treatment. If hepatitis C is to be eliminated in Australia by 2030, more primary care practitioners will need to engage in hepatitis C testing and treatment as part of their core general practice work.
The Treating Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum is a rare opportunity for GPs to come together to share experiences and discuss innovative models of care. The theme simple strategies, local solutions will ensure GPs leave the forum with practical ideas they can implement and adapt to the needs of their local area.

ASHM and the Kirby Institute welcome abstracts from GPs with experience in treating patients with hepatitis C in primary care and priority settings.  Encouraging scholarship applications from GPs who wish to become more active in treating hepatitis C in their practice. Abstract submissions and scholarship applications close 26 April 2019.   Find out more at


Education and training

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


Get ready for the RACGP OSCE Examination

Attention GP Registrars

Commencing 8 April 2019, running on Tuesday nights and online, the 6-week OSCE preparation program enables you to practice clinical cases in OSCE format on a weekly webinar.

For more information and to register please click here


Chronic Disease GP Education Event - 4 May 2019

Presented by South Metropolitan Health Service and Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways WA.  40 Category 1 QI&CPD points has been applied for through RACGP and 30 PRDP points has been applied for through ACRRM.

Education sessions include:

  • Fatty Liver
  • Heart Failure
  • COPD and Asthma
  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • Immunisation Recommendations for People with Chronic Disease
  • Advanced Life Planning

Date:               Saturday 4 May 2019

Time:              Registration from 8.00am, Presentations from 8.30am to 3.30pm

Venue:            Fiona Stanley Hospital Education Building, 11 Robin Warren Dr, Murdoch 6150

Catering:        Morning tea and lunch is provided

Registration and more information:


An Introduction to Project Air Strategy

Clinical Skills for Working with People with Personality Disorders.  This session introduces the Project Air Strategy which supports personality disorder friendly health services and creates a streamlined brief intervention and referral services to meet the needs of those who are crisis prone, self-harming, emotionally deregulated and have prominent disorder symptoms.

Date:              Thursday, 16 May 2019

Time:              6:30pm to 8:30pm (Registration from 6pm)

Venue:            Fiona Stanley Hospital

Catering:        A light meal will be provided

Registration and more information:


Curing Hepatitis C in Primary Care

This update will focus on case finding, testing, patient assessment and treatment of hepatitis C infection in primary care settings.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify priority populations for hepatitis C testing
  • Interpret test results and diagnose hepatitis C appropriately
  • Assess for liver fibrosis and other co-morbidities
  • Communicate information confidently to actively engage individuals in decisions about their treatment and care
  • Initiate treatment, monitor and follow-up according to the recommended guidelines

Date:              Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Time:              6:30pm to 9pm (Registration from 6:15pm)

Venue:            Fraser Suites Perth

Catering:        Dinner will be provided

Registration and more information:  


Rural and Remote Retrieval Weekend – 16 to 19 May 2019

The Rural and Remote Retrieval Weekend provides participants with the opportunity to learn about the management of medical emergencies in a remote environment with limitation in equipment, personnel and resources.

  • Learn in a supportive environment that encourages relevant, practical and self-directed approach to learning.
  • Develop your practical skills and professional abilities such as teaching, teamwork, leadership and dealing with stress and uncertainty.
  • Network with colleagues in a unique setting.

Date:               16 to 19 May 2019
Venue:            Karijini National Park
Register:        Visit 

Event inclusions for participants

  • Registration fee (includes CPD program - facilitation and upskilling)
  • Accommodation
  • All meals - three buffet breakfasts, three lunches and three two-course dinners
  • All refreshments and snacks
  • On-site transport and airport transfers (if required)
  • Event materials


GPs hold the burden of mental health care in WA

WA Primary Health Alliance has engaged Western Australia University Consultants (WAUC) to identify the barriers that GPs are encountering in managing mental health presentations.  

A survey has been developed for GPs to gather the relevant data and feedback, to complete please visit


Mental Health Clinical Governance Review

Together with Consumers of Mental Health Western Australia, Mental Health Matters 2, Carers WA, Helping Minds, and Health Consumers Council WA, the WA Association for Mental Health invites health professionals to a lived experience forum for the Review of the Clinical Governance of Public Mental Health Services.

The forum is open to all people with lived experience, including individuals, families and carers, who would like to share their ideas for improving safety and quality.
Join mental health advocacy organisations and panel members from the Mental Health Clinical Governance Review to share views on key actions to improve the mental health system.

They will be exploring key actions to address priority concerns in safety and quality, to improve oversight of services and to prevent and resolve issues earlier.  They will also look at the role of lived experience partnerships in achieving these key actions.

Date:     Monday, 29 April 2019
Time:     10am - 1pm
Venue: Level 1, 1 Nash Street, Perth WA - Djilba Room
Cost:     Free with light refreshments and lunch provided.


ACRRM’s Rural Emergency Obstetrics Training course – 14 July 2019

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) runs a full day Rural Emergency Obstetrics Training (REOT) course, led by experienced GP Obstetricians and midwives, to help prepare you with the necessary skills for dealing with third trimester emergencies, and it’s coming to coming to Perth, WA on 14 July 2019.

To attend this course and for more information, register on the ACRRM website.
Contact the ACRRM courses team on 1800 223 226 or email

Date:           Sunday, 14 July 2019
Venue         Mercure Hotel, Perth 

Learning objective

  • Normal vaginal delivery
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Neonatal resuscitation
  • Cervical assessment
  • Post-partum haemorrhage
  • Precipitate birthCord prolapse


ACRRM’s Advanced Life Support course – 13 July 2019

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) run a full day accredited Advanced Life Support (ALS) course to meet the needs of general practitioners in the management of common emergencies in rural practice, and it’s coming to Perth, WA on 13 July 2019.

To attend this course and for more information, register on the ACRRM website.
Contact the ACRRM courses team on 1800 223 226 or email

Date:           Saturday, 13 July 2019
Venue         Mercure Hotel, Perth 

Learning objective
  • Have a firm understanding of, and practical competence in, both basic life support (including CPR, etc) and advanced life support with a focus on the issues that a rural practitioner might encounter
  • Develop competence in airway management techniques that include basic airway manoeuvres such as Guedel airway, bag and mask, oxygen therapy, and more advanced airway manoeuvres such as the use of laryngeal mask or intubation
  • Learn to efficiently use a manual defibrillator and an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Learn to identify and manage basic life-threatening arrhythmias such as VF and VT
  • Develop competence in intravenous and intraosseous access and have understanding of the administration of drugs in resuscitation, in particular the dose and frequency
  • Improve skills in advanced life support techniques
  • Increase understanding of ARC guidelines


Health Promotion Events

You can also view all health promotion activities for the year by visiting Practice Assist’s health calendar:


Heart Week – 28 April to 4 May 2019

Heart Week is an opportunity for health professionals and the Australian public to start a conversation about heart health and the steps needed to reduce the risk of heart disease.
This Heart Week the Heart Foundation want to focus on:
  • Heart health checks and what they involve
  • Which patients should have a heart health check and why
  • What steps patients can take to manage their risk of heart disease and stroke.
Visit the Heart Foundation Website for resources for patients, flyers, posters for the practice and resources for Health Professionals


Scott steps up for dad with diabetes

Congratulations to Scott Drysdale who completed 200 laps of Jacobs Ladder, in Perth, WA, in less than 24 hours! Scott raised over $6000 for Diabetes WA.
Scott’s life has been indirectly affected by diabetes as both his father and step father are living with type 2 diabetes. In the last 12 months, Scott’s father has had serious health complications from diabetes, including kidney and heart failure.
“The hardest part is seeing how much his condition has impacted on his life, he is no longer able to do many of the things he loved, such as playing golf, or surfing “, says Scott. “It’s definitely difficult to see someone you spent your childhood and younger adult years viewing as someone who was strong, independent and capable of so much, be so limited by his body.”


Aboriginal Health Conference 6 & 7 July 2019

This education is proudly delivered by Rural Health West in partnership with WA Country Health Service, through the Better Medical Care Initiative.

The 2019 Aboriginal Health Conference Kids on Country, will emphasise the importance of children and youth in Aboriginal communities and provide a forum to exchange ideas on the key issues relating to the health of Aboriginal children.

To continue to aim for health equity for Aboriginal children and communities, health professionals need an enhanced understanding of culturally competent care and the links between the environment and the health of Aboriginal children.

The presentations and workshops at this conference will cover aspects of clinical care, research, community programs, emerging health issues and social determinants of health. The conference will also identify strategies to support the role of traditional interactions in Aboriginal communities.

Who should attend?
The Aboriginal Health Conference is open to:
  • Medical practitioners and medical officers
  • Medical registrars
  • Aboriginal health practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Allied health workers
  • Students

Further information available at



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.