Practice Connect #67

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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Bright Spot – ‘Cuddle Beds’

‘Cuddle beds’ bringing some physical comfort to end of life patients.  The idea for the cuddle beds was inspired by a mother who was in hospital with her 21 year old son, and it came about because the mother stated that she felt a physical barrier.  He was her only child, and she wanted to be there with him at his end of life and was leaning through the bars holding him. 

The ‘Cuddle Beds’ help reconnect loved ones both physically and emotionally, so that they feel like they can let go, but they have got that connection at the end of life.  Nurses from the Queensland hospital who have worked in palliative care for a long time, say that the physical contact the beds allow and the intimacy was critically important for patients and loved ones. 



Measles increase in 2019

2019 has seen an increase in measles cases in Australia.

As at 5 April 2019, there had been 83 measles notifications in 2019, compared with 103 for the whole of 2018 and 81 for the whole of 2017.

93.5 per cent of two-year-old children have received two doses of measles vaccine, which means they are now protected against this highly infectious disease. However, we know we need 95 per cent of our community vaccinated to achieve community immunity, to help prevent the spread of measles.

Immunisation saves lives. The measles vaccine is very effective at protecting lives. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended for full protection.

We urge health professional to talk to their patients about their measles immunisation history. In particular, any patients that are intending to go overseas and those born between 1966 and 1994 (some of whom may have had only one dose of vaccine) as they are at higher risk.


Updated information regarding measles vaccination in the Australian Immunisation Handbook

Information in the Australian Immunisation Handbook regarding measles vaccination has been updated
Key information about this change: 

  • There has recently been an increase in the number of reported cases of measles across Australia
  • The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has considered the evidence, current recommendations and supporting information in the Australian Immunisation Handbook in relation to measles to inform public health management and protection measures
  • ATAGI currently recommends through the Handbook, a measles containing vaccine for the following two groups:         
            children aged ≥ 12 months of age; and
            adolescents and adults born during or since 1966 who have not received two doses of measles containing vaccines.
  • ATAGI maintains this recommendation
  • ATAGI also considers there is evidence to indicate that infants as young as 6 months of age can receive a measles containing vaccine ahead of travel to highly endemic areas and during outbreaks
  • The Australian Immunisation Handbook has recently been updated to reflect this change

These changes can be accessed in the Australian Immunisation Handbook, under the ‘Measles’ heading, as well as the ‘Catch up vaccination’ heading.  


Viral Hepatitis mapping project

 The latest Viral Hepatitis Mapping Project National Report shows uneven progress towards Hepatitis elimination across Australia.  The Viral Hepatitis Mapping Project: National Report 2017 is now available to download or order as a hard copy. Covering data from 2017, the report provides updated estimates broken down by geographic area, including:

  • How your State, Territory, PHN or local area is performing against the National Hepatitis B and C Strategy targets
  • Where people are not receiving the care or treatment they need
  • The relationship between liver cancer incidence, chronic hepatitis B and C prevalence, and other risk factors in your area?
  • Chronic hepatitis B prevalence, immunisation coverage, monitoring and treatment uptake, including newly revised region-specific estimates of prevalence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
  • Chronic hepatitis C prevalence and treatment uptake, with adjustments to account for people in correctional facilities 
  • Liver cancer incidence in relation to chronic hepatitis B and C prevalence and other risk factors. 



$52.2 million to improve women’s health

The Liberal National Government launched the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030 on 9 April 2019 with more than $50 million in funding to improve women’s health in areas such as ovarian cancer and endometriosis.
Australian women overall enjoy long, healthy lives, with a current average life expectancy of 85 for those born in recent years. This relatively long-life expectancy disguises a large element of avoidable ill-health and inequitable outcomes between different groups. The women’s health strategy for 2020-2030 includes recommendations for action by governments, health professionals and women themselves. It recognises that there is no “average” woman and is inclusive of sexuality and gender identities.
The Government also announced it will provide further funding of $52.2 million to improve women’s health in a number of areas including:

  • $20 million for research to help Australian women in their fight against ovarian cancer with a focus on early detection.
  • Over $10 million for endometriosis
  • $9 million for contestable targeted call from the Medical Research Future Fund for endometriosis research to improve the treatment and understanding on an often misunderstood and crippling condition
  • $1.06 million to develop a digital health platform for endometriosis research and support. The platform will enable a ‘one-stop shop’ for endometriosis information and resources. It will also be used as a treatment tool that will refine effective treatments for endometriosis based on patient feedback and be a vehicle for promoting and supporting collaborative research
  • EndoActive will receive $160,000 to disseminate its award winning Shared Perspectives endometriosis videos, free of charge, to medical professionals and women affected by endometriosis. Shared Perspectives is a resource of 25 evidence-based videos that help health professionals and patients to better understand the condition and provide guidance regarding effective methods of management and treatment
  • $5 million to Jean Hailes for Women’s Health for the continuation of its National Women’s Health Initiative, including clinical services, provision of information on women’s health to employers, and the national digital gateway for women’s health and wellbeing for doctors and patients
  • $9 million investment to The Glen to build and run a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program specifically for women.
  • $1.3 million for an intensive support service to support families following stillbirth. The program, delivered through SANDS, will deliver an intensive support service that begins in the hospital and continues once the family have returned home
  • More than $4 million for reproductive and family planning organisations
  • $1.5 million over three years for local women’s health promotion grants

Click here for more information


PenCS, are you PIP QI ready?

For existing customers already using PenCS, please check that you have Scheduler 3 installed to be PIP QI ready. If you are unsure, please contact Support on 1800 762 993 or

If your practice is interested in establishing a data-sharing arrangement with WAPHA, further information is available from WAPHA’s website or contact your Primary Health Liaison.

Further updates will be provided through Practice Connect when information becomes available, or you can register for the Incentives News Updates through the Australian Government Department of Human Services 



NPS MedicineWise update

For practices wanting to qualify for the QPI PIP, there’s still time! 
NPS MedicineWise can deliver their free, accredited program topics direct to your GP, at a time convenient to them, through a 30 minute video call. 
Visit the GP CPD section of the NPS website to see available topics and to book online:


Talk more effectively to families about weight

You can access a free online professional development resource for health professionals designed to encourage sensitive and effective conversations with parents about their children’s weight.
By the end of the training course, health professionals will be able to:

  • Discuss the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity in Australia
  • Describe the causes and consequences of overweight and obesity in childhood
  • Explain how to define and measure overweight and obesity in childhood
  • Identify the rationale for raising the issue of weight with parents
  • Understand how to plot a child’s BMI on a published growth chart and explain change in weight status over time
  • Identify and apply ‘helpful’ and ‘less helpful’ ways of talking about weight
  • Define when and how the issue of weight may be raised with parents
  • Identify the characteristics of a helpful conversation with parents

Click here to learn more 


My Health Record

Upcoming Kimberley visit by the My Health Record team

The team will be visiting the Kimberley from 6 to 24 May 2019 to provide My Health Record support to community and health service providers. The team are travelling to Broome, Halls Creek, Kununurra, Wyndham, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Yakanarra, Noonkanbah and Bidyadanga to deliver information, training and general support. Please contact for further information.

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.  Complete the survey, which will close 14 June 2019.

Start a conversation with your patients about My Health Record today

Many of your patients will benefit from having a digital record with key health information that is accessible to their treating healthcare providers. In particular, this will help people who have complex health conditions, young families, or those who see several healthcare providers. You may wish to discuss with your patient what information should be uploaded to their My Health Record

A shared health summary in a patient’s My Health Record represents their health status at a point in time. It may include information about a patient's medical history, including medical conditions, medicines, allergies and adverse reactions. A patient’s most recent shared health summary is likely to be the first document another healthcare professional views in their patient’s My Health Record.

If you are not the patient's usual provider, you can upload an event summary to share key health information about a significant healthcare event with others involved in the patient’s care .  For more information or support visit  or call 1800 723 471.

Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging reports

General Practitioners do not need to gain consent from patients each and every time a document is uploaded to the My Health Record. Pathology and diagnostic imaging reports will still be sent directly to GPs via the usual process.

If a patient has a My Health Record:

  • The pathology report will be uploaded to their My Health Record and will be immediately available to members of their healthcare team; and
  • The pathology report will be available for the patient to view after seven days. This enables GPs to review the report and contact the patient to discuss the results, if need be, before they can see it in their My Health Record.
However, if the results of a pathology test are believed to be considered sensitive, GPs may wish to discuss whether or not to have a report uploaded with the patient. If it is decided with the patient not to have a pathology report uploaded to the My Health Record, please specify “Do not send to My Health Record” on the request form.  Click to view the factsheet and more information.

Many clinical providers are now connected

Many clinical providers already use the My Health Record system to support them in caring for their patients. More than 80 per cent of general practices and community pharmacies are now registered. Find out more about who is using digital health.
Training and other resource materials are available to support you in using the My Health Record system. For further information, see: My Health Record in General Practice.

My Health Record training and resources for General Practice

Slides from the recent Australian Digital Health Agency Webinar ‘My Health Record participation obligations: Healthcare Provider Organisations’ are available. A recording of the webinar is also available (until 30 April 2019)
Detailed information to support healthcare providers understand when they can view and upload information is available. 
General practice training and resources materials are available from the Australian Digital Health Agency.



2019 Commonwealth influenza vaccination resources

The 2019 Commonwealth influenza vaccination resources are now available on their website.
Resources for vaccination providers:

Resources for consumers:

Please note that hardcopy materials, accompanied by correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer, have been mailed to vaccination providers Australia-wide including GPs, Aboriginal Medical Services, and other providers in each state and territory. Additional copies of the resources can be ordered through the Commonwealth’s website via the links above.

Additionally, throughout May 2019, the Commonwealth will be undertaking a media buy using social and online channels to support the uptake of 2019 seasonal influenza vaccines by eligible people under the NIP.  To support uptake of vaccination, we are keen to ensure eligible individuals are aware of the Program and take the opportunity to receive the free influenza vaccine.


Enhancements to the Australian Immunisation Handbook

 Department of Health are pleased to advise that the most recent enhancements to the handbook include:

  • An improved printing function, including for tables, with the correct ‘date printed’
  • An improved search function
  • The ‘Back to Top’ function is now operational
  • The ‘Summary’ on the disease chapters being renamed as ‘Overview’
  • Links to product information and consumer medicine information sheets now being available on each vaccine page

Handbook users are asked to please continue providing feedback to the Department of Health to enable its continual improvement. 
You can contact the Department of Health in several ways.
Submit an enquiry or provide feedback using the online form visit
If you are unable to use the form send comments to
Call the Switchboard 02 6289 1555  Free call 1800 020 103


Ensure your Vaccine doses are accounted for in AIR

The Department of Health Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) and North Metropolitan Heath Service (NMHS) Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC) team are committed to supporting general practice in best practice standards in reporting of all vaccines they administer onto the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Approval to order and utilise government funded vaccines is based on the requirement that all vaccines administered are reported to the AIR, and, when each vaccine order is placed, the provider acknowledges that vaccine management and reporting may be audited.

All vaccine doses discarded due to a cold chain breach, expiry or any other reason should be reported to the population health unit in your region. Click here  for more information.

CDCD recently conducted an audit of vaccines ordered by general practice immunisation providers to identify recording practices by general practices. This audit found that most practices had over 95 per cent of vaccine doses accounted for in 2018 through the relevant reporting processes which is commendable.

However, the audit did identify some general practices where there were a significant proportion of vaccines ordered but unaccounted for on AIR. To assist these general practices to identify any problems with transmission of vaccinations to the AIR, or other issues, these practices will be contacted for an opportunity to participate in a survey to assess how they report vaccination to AIR and vaccine wastage. The survey will be reviewed by immunisation coordinators who will then contact them to offer to visit and help where required with vaccine reporting and management processes.

General practices are important immunisation providers and their assistance in reporting of vaccines ordered appropriately is vital to ensure the Department of Health can accurately report immunisation coverage from the AIR and monitor vaccine wastage.


Defining Engaged Leadership

“Great leaders don’t create followers, they create leaders”.  Coach your team to develop a vision and mission statement that motivates and empowers them.  Make an impact with storytelling, it can inspire change and spread innovation.  “Great communication changes people.  It changes the way they feel.  It changes what they do.  The secret to inspiring others is connecting an idea or a vision with a hope or a need.  Great communicators leverage their message and story in one way or another to make a connection and compel change.”

  • Support continuous learning and improvement using a system for improvement
  • Improve patient experience
  • Improve clinical outcomes
  • Improve delivery of care
  • Provide continuous healing relationships
  • Implement high-fuctioning multi-disciplinary teams
  • Increase joy a work
  • Review reliable data to drive improvement
  • Provide the right care at the right time in the right way by the right person-


How to deal with difficult patients

Most of us have had that experience with a difficult or angry patient and being able to manage that situation and training our team on how to manage difficult encounters is important.  It can be useful to be aware of our own social awareness, to be able to identify our own triggers, identify situations that make us uncomfortable, identify behaviours in others that may make us become negative and know when to change the situation into a positive.  In difficult situations it is important to engage with our subconscious responses, manage your body language and gain emotional control.  Remain calm, speak slowly in a positive tone effective communication is key to diffusing a situation and turning the focus to actions for solutions. 

Some tips when faced with a difficult patient:

  • Actively listen, empathise and use effective communication.
  • Don’t argue - the patient wants to feel like they are being listened to, engage in active listening and show the patient you are genuinely interested in understanding their frustration
  • Perception - try to understand we do not all see things in the same way.  Cultures influence our own personal values, expectations, preferences and our behaviour.  Try to understand the patient’s perception of what is taking place.
  • Acknowledgement - tell the patient “I can see you are upset/angry/frustrated” Acknowledge to them that you hear what they are saying.
  • Cooperation - let the patient know how you may be able to help them and offer them some options.  Allowing them time to think and consider their options can sometimes help calm the situation.  Allowing the patient some involvement in the decision making of outcome or resolution is important


Education and training

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


Contemporary Anticoagulation in Complex Cardiovascular Disease – 4 May 2019

GP Education Summit provides you with the opportunity to attend:

  • Two lectures from locally based key opinion leaders.
  • Four workshops of your choice, including your case studies

Date:              Saturday 4 May 2019
Time:              8:45am
Venue:            University Club of WA, Crawley
Register: – email name, practice and dietary requirements


Course in Wound Closure – 27 and 28 June 2019

The Course in Wound Closure is designed to develop the knowledge and skills required for
nurses, general practitioners and relevant allied healthcare workers to safely assess the need
for, and to perform, wound closure in a variety of settings.

During the two-day workshop topics and activities will include:

  • Wound assessment
  • Identifying and managing different types of wounds
  • Using local anesthetic
  • Closure methods and selection of appropriate materials
  • Simulated wound closure
  • Simulated assessment tasks
  • Documentation and follow up and referral.

Date:              Thursday and Friday 27 & 28 June 2019
Time:              8:45am – 4.30pm
Venue:            Technology Park Function Center, Bentley

Date:              Thursday and Friday 21 & 22 November 2019
Time:              8:45am – 4.30pm
Venue:           Technology Park Function Center, Bentley


Better Questions Workshop – 8 August 2019

Topic: Learn how to engage your clients/patients for better health & wellbeing outcomes
Information packed and interactive, the Better Questions workshop will allow you to:

  • Understand the impact of Asking vs Telling.
  • Recognise habitual patterns of response in our conversations that have the potential to disempower patients/clients.
  • Listening ‘Traps’ and tips for more effective listening
  • How to use the Better Questions framework to engage clients/patients and increase their motivation for change/self-management.
  • Experiential activity to practice asking Better Questions.

Date:              Thursday and Friday 21 and 22 November 2019
Time:              8:45am – 4.30pm
Venue:            Technology Park Function Center, Bentley



Paediatric Masterclass – 12 October 2019

This is the fifth year of the popular Paediatric Masterclass for General Practice at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, which is fast becoming a key annual event for general practice education in Queensland.

The one-day Masterclass offers informative and interactive sessions on a range of child health topics delivered by QCH paediatricians and subspecialists.

Date:              Saturday 12 October 2019

Venue:           Queensland Children’s Hospital




Health Promotion Events

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






Medication Dependence Prevention Month – May 2019

Medication Dependence Prevention Month is an annual event to raise awareness about preventing medication harms and finding community support.  At the moment in Australia, more people are dying due to the use of some prescription pain and sedative medications than on our roads.

We have the power to prevent this health crisis.  To find out more about the signs of medication dependence and the role of certain pain and sedative medications. 



World Asthma Day – 7 May 2019

Each year Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) chooses a theme and coordinates preparation and distribution of World Asthma Day materials and resources. GINA also maintains the World Asthma Day Internet Headquarters, where materials and resources are posted for downloading and a complete listing of activities around the world is constantly updated.

The first World Asthma Day, in 1998, was celebrated in more than 35 countries in conjunction with the first World Asthma Meeting held in Barcelona, Spain. Participation has increased with each World Asthma Day held since then, and the day has become one of the world’s most important asthma awareness and education events.
Looking for ideas the visit World Asthma Day Activity ideas                             asthma.jpg


National Palliative Care Week- 19 - 25 May 2019

National Palliative Care Week is an annual awareness raising week organised by Palliative Care Australia.
The theme for National Palliative Care Week 2019 is ‘What matters most?’ and it will be held from the 19 - 25 May 2019. 
National Palliative Care Week is a national week supported by the Department of Health to raise awareness and understanding about palliative care in the Australian community.

The theme addresses the need for Australians to plan ahead for their end-of-life care and discuss it with their loved ones and health professionals. 

Dying to Talk Resources
Use these two resources – the online Dying to Talk Discussion Starter and Dying to Talk Card Game to help work out what matters most to you, alternatively visit for more information.


Exercise Right Week – 20 – 26 May 2019

This year’s theme is “Active Ageing” encouraging all Australians to move more and age better!
Everyone should exercise regularly throughout all stages of life. Regular physical activity helps to maintain independence and quality of life, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and improves mood and mental health.

During the campaign, there will be free events, competitions and resources to help every Australian, regardless of age, to Exercise Right.
Click to view the toolkit


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.