Practice Connect #68

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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MBS explanatory notes: What GPs need to know

Dr Eleanor Chew explains the changes to MBS explanatory notes for diagnostic imaging, including benefits for patients and practitioners.
Changes and their purpose
The changes have been made to explanatory note IN.0.1 in Category 5 of the MBS and includes detail regarding what is required from a requestor in making a diagnostic imaging request:

  • A clear and legible request
  • Identity of the patient
  • Identity of the requestor
  • Clinical detail
  • MBS requirements

These changes have been implemented to support better requesting. Greater clarity of what is expected when making a request for a diagnostic imaging service may serve to increase clinician awareness of high-value tests, minimise radiation exposure, and promote greater recognition of item descriptor inclusions and exclusions.
What GPs need to know 
GPs are frequent requestors of diagnostic imaging services, but may not be aware of the change.
The change makes it clear that the onus is on the requestor (GP) to provide sufficient clinical detail and a clinical justification for each examination, while the onus is on the provider (radiologist) to determine the justification for medical radiation exposure. 
It is important to remember that this responsibility is not optional.
The legislation states that a request must contain sufficient clinical information to assist the service provider to accurately provide the diagnostic imaging service and, where the requested service involves ionising radiation such as X-ray or computerised tomography (CT), make a decision whether to expose the patient to this radiation.

Visit the RACGP website to read the full story


Accreditation tip – emergency response planning

RACGP Standards for general practices 5th ed (C3.3A)

With flu season approaching, driving both an increased demand for healthcare services and the potential for staff absences, it is an appropriate time to highlight the importance of having your practice’s emergency response plan established and tested. Indicator C3.3A describes the need for practices to have “an emergency response plan for unexpected events, such as natural disasters, pandemic diseases, or unplanned absences of clinical team members”.

To enable your practice to continue functioning in the event of an emergency, it is vital that you have in place a meaningful plan that would guide your business functions if normal operations were suddenly disrupted. Your plan should consider the various risks that are relevant to your practice. While broad risk categories, such as natural disasters or pandemics are common to all practices, your practice location or type may place it at a higher risk of certain events. Your emergency response plan should start with the identification of risks for your practice, upon which you can then build the strategies that your practice will implement to anticipate and manage those risks, and continue to function in the event of a disaster.

The model primarily used by Australian emergency management agencies is known as PPRR, which stands for preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery. Use of this model can assist your practice to establish a quality cycle that prepares you to respond to emergencies of all kinds.

In planning for pandemics, remember that pandemics don’t just affect patients, but also affect staff, as the same influenza, for example, that brings more patients to your practice may also increase the likelihood of your staff being absent. The RACGP has a Pandemic Flu Kit that practices can use to help them prepare for influenza. This kit explains the PPRR model in further detail and includes a comprehensive sample implementation guide.

Remember that, to verify the efficacy of your plan, testing and review is as important as planning. As you should have staff assigned to certain roles and responsibilities, you will need to ensure that they know what roles they play (including handover processes), and that new staff are appropriately inducted, particularly if they are expected to play a key role in managing an emergency.

To assist practices, Healthpoint and the RACGP developed the Emergency Response Planning Tool (ERPT), a cloud-based system that guides users through templates where practice-specific information can be added, resulting in a tailored, comprehensive and accessible response plan. Practices can also develop their own plans, and key components are outlined in the explanatory notes of Criterion C3.3. A tried and tested flood action plan from a NSW practice can be reviewed on the ACRRM website should you wish to see a sample of a self-developed emergency response plan. Furthermore, while your emergency response plan may include aspects of IT recovery, practices undergoing accreditation are required to have a separate business continuity plan (C6.4D), which should more specifically deal with IT failure, recovery and testing.

Note: ERPT subscriptions cost $330 annually, however a limited number of licences have been funded by WA Primary Health Alliance for WA general practices. To learn more, please contact Practice Assist

Useful links:
RACGP Standards for general practices 5th ed Indicator C3.3A
RACGP Emergency response planning tool
RACGP Managing pandemic influenza in general practice ‚Äč
ACRRM Natural disaster: readiness and recovery


New national 24-hour movement guidelines for 5-17 year old’s

The Federal Department of Health has updated the 24-hour movement guidelines for 5 to 17 year old’s.  The Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People (5-17 years)provide recommendations on the recommended balance of physical activity, inactivity and sleep. The updated guidelines recommend the following:


  • Younger children (5–13 years) need 9–11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
  • Teens (14–17 years) need 8–10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
  • Consistent bed and wake-up times.

Physical activity

  • Aim for 60 minutes or more per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. The more huff and puff the better.
  • Several hours of a variety of light physical activities (e.g. playing in the sandpit or hide and seek).
  • Activities that are vigorous, as well as those that strengthen muscle and bone should be incorporated at least three days per week.

Sedentary behaviour

  • Move more and sit less in your spare time.
  • Limit sedentary recreational screen time to no more than two hours per day.
  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
  • The guidelines can assist healthcare workers in supporting patients to achieve optimal health.
  • See the Federal Department of Health for more information.


HealthPathways update

Newly localised pathways:

The HealthPathways team have now localised 494 pathways. The most recently localised pathways include:
Sexual Assault Specialist Advice
Sexual Assault Specialist Assessment



Free diabetes workshops for patient education

Diabetes WA are hosting 2-3 hour topic-specific workshops and are recommended to patients after having attended the fundamental full day workshop 'DESMOND' (for people living with type 2 diabetes).

The workshops are not only available in Perth. In May, there will be four sessions in regional areas:

  • Kalgoorlie: FootSmart (type 1 or type 2 diabetes) and Classroom ShopSmart (type 1 or type 2 or gestational diabetes)
  • Narrogin: FootSmart (type 1 or type 2 diabetes) and CarbSmart (type 2 or gestational diabetes)

Find referral forms here:   
You can also book in your patients directly, using the online booking form  


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 four champion practices across WA to participate in this project.
To be a champion practice we are asking practices to:

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

If you would like more information please visit:  or email



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 a time convenient to them.

A one-to-one virtual visit with a GP is free, evidence based, RACGP & ACRRM accredited and takes just 30 minutes.
GPs and Practice Managers who would like to book an NPS virtual visit for the current topic Anxiety: rethinking the options, can book through the NPS MedicineWise website


Royal Perth Hospital Emergency Department (ED) – My Health Record in ED pilot site

The Royal Perth Hospital Emergency Department is one of four pilot sites nationally for the My Health Record in ED project being run by the Australian Commission into Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) in partnership with the Australian Digital Health Agency.

The project, which started on 22 April 2019, will explore what ED clinicians need to support their use of the system and how My Health Record information can be applied to clinical decision making.

As ED clinicians are expected to access the My Health Record more frequently, information uploaded by GPs to the My Health Record for patients living in the RPH catchment is more likely to be viewed, including event summaries and shared health summaries, especially on chronic and/or complex patients.



My Health Record update

Security in Healthcare Roadshow 

A security first culture can protect healthcare organisations - prevention is better than cure.

Security in Healthcare 2019 will focus on the impact of security in the healthcare sector and will provide practical guidance on sound security practices for your workplace.

A highlight of this event will be an address by the Chief Information Security Officer for the Australian Digital Health Agency, Tony Kitzelmann. With extensive experience in the public and private sectors, Tony’s expertise covers strategic leadership and delivery of corporate cyber security functions.

Tony will deliver a topical presentation on security and privacy in the healthcare sector and share insights into the security of the My Health Record system.

To register for the Perth event on Wednesday 12 June please register here  (capacity is limited).

Self-paced modules: My Health Record eLearning for Allied Health

The Australian Digital Health Agency in collaboration with Allied Health Professions Australia have developed a series of five self-paced eLearning modules to support Allied Health professionals to become familiar with and confident in using the My Health Record system.

The modules are now available and can be accessed on the My Health Record website 
Copy of presentation:  My Health Record participation obligations webinar (held in April 2019)
Visit to download presentation slides from this recent webinar which included content on:

  • Governing access to My Health Record system and how this applies to your organisation
  • Ensuring appropriate policies are in place to adhere to legislation requirements
  • Complying with consumer wishes in regard to accessing and uploading information


Education and training

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


Caring for People with Motor Neurone Disease – 8 May 2019

MNDAWA is offering a free one-day workshop with speaker’s Dr Rob Edis, Neurologist, and Professor Samar Aoun, Palliative Care Researcher, on symptom management and psychosocial care. The workshop incorporates practical demonstrations on communication and respiratory assistance.

Target Audience: Health care professionals and care providers who are working with MND patients

Date:              Wednesday 8 May 2019
Time:             8:30am – 5.30pm
Venue:           Frasers Kings Park
Fee:                 AAPM Members $260  /  Non Members $380           
CPD Points:  This event attracts 30 CPD points for AAPM members


Webinar: My Health Record for Physiotherapists, Podiatrists & Occupational Therapists

This interactive webinar about My Health Record will explain how accessing this system can increase your efficiency and help you provide improved patient care and care coordination. An opportunity for Q&A will also be provided.  This webinar is targeted for Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, and Occupational Therapists to attend; however, all other allied health care providers are welcome.

Presenter: Australian Digital Health Agency
Date:    Tuesday 14 May 2019
Time:    4 - 5pm
Registrations close 24 hours prior to the event
Registration link: 


Clinical Skills for Working with People with Personality Disorders – 16 May 2019

An Introduction to Project Air Strategy by Prof Brin Grenyer & Dr Ely Marceau.  This activity has 4 Category 2 QI&CPD points through RACGP.
Date:              Thursday 16 May 2019
Time:              6pm Registration    6.30 – 8.30pm
Venue:           Fiona Stanley Hospital


East Metro Health Service Mental Health GP Workshop – 18 May 2019

Presented by East Metropolitan Health Service in partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways WA.  Education sessions include:

  • What can we do to improve the physical health of patients with mental health conditions?
  • Addictions – what works when dealing with alcohol and methamphetamine users?
  • Suicide – what can we prevent and how?
  • How can we best approach treatment of people with personality disorders?
  • How can HealthPathways help GPs navigate the mental health system?
  • How can we collaborate to better integrate care for mental health patients? (facilitated workshop)

Date:              Saturday 18 May 2019
Time:              8am Registration   8:30am – 12.30pm
Venue:           Royal Perth Hospital

Registrations are essential.
Please note priority will be given to GPs who practice in the East Metro catchment area.
This activity has 8 Category 2 QI&CPD points through RACGP and 4 PDP points has been applied for through ACRRM.



Diabetes upskilling for country WA health professionals

Diabetes Telehealth Service hosts fortnightly interactive webinars about diabetes-related topics, presented by Diabetes WA and external experts.

Diabetes medications update – 13 May 2019

What is the role of sleep in managing diabetes? - 20 May 2019

Food label reading - 27 May 2019

To find out more and to register, please click hereOnline bookings are essential. Places are limited and can fill fast. 

For more information contact Nyaree Lawler on (08) 9436 6278 or 1300 001 880.


Webinar: What you need to know about connecting your practice to My Health Record

This interactive webinar for all healthcare providers will provide you with the necessary tools and knowledge to register your practice and connect to the My Health Record. There will be an opportunity for Q&A.

Please note, this is a live repeat of the previous webinars held in February 2019 
Date:     Tuesday 21 May 2019
Time:     12 – 1pm
Presenter: Australian Digital Health Agency
Registrations close 24 hours prior to the event
Registration link


Webinar: Pathology and My Health Record – 21 May 2019

This webinar will outline what is being introduced in the pathology sector in relation to the My Health Record system, including the uploading of reports, the consent framework and design. Also covered are the benefits for those working in the sector as well as current diagnostic connections. There will be opportunity for Q&A. 

Healthcare professionals working in the pathology sector as well as other healthcare providers with an interest in this area are welcome to attend.

Date:               Tuesday 21st May 2019
Time:              3 – 4pm
Presenter: Australian Digital Health Agency
Registrations close 24 hours prior to the event
Registration link:   


AAPM WA – Practice Management Symposium – 7 June 2019

Date:              Friday 7 June May 2019
Time:              8:30am – 5.30pm
Venue:           Frasers Kings Park
CPD Points:  This event attracts 30 CPD points for AAPM members.  These points will be automatically allocated to member profiles on completion and attendance at the event.  Certificate of attendance will be emailed to all registered attendees.


The cutting edge: Advanced Procedures – 25 July 2019

Procedures are first covered by a didactic presentation followed by a practical cadaveric session with only two participants per station. Each participant will have access to a dedicated cadaveric upper limb and foot and will benefit from practising procedures in a supportive, authentic clinical environment

Date:              25 July 2019
Venue:           CTEC, Crawley
Fee:                 $1400 WA GPs           
Training Grants: The Australian Government is offering training grants of $2000 per day to rural and remote procedural and emergency medicine GPs to maintain their respective skills.


The cutting edge: Peripheral Nerve Block – 3 August 2019

The workshop features rotating demonstration and ultrasound guided practical stations with four participants per group, utilising:

  • Human and Cadaveric Prosection Models Utilising Ultrasound:
  • Faciomaxillary and jaw blocks
  • Femoral/sciatic nerve blocks
  • Forearm/wrist blocks
  • Knee/ankle/foot blocks
  • Thoracic paravertebral/intercostal blocks
  • Brachial plexus blocks
Animal Tissue Model Utilising Ultrasound and Needles:
  • Thoracic paravertebral/intercostal blocks involving needle insertion practice on porcine tissue.
Date:              3 August 2019
Venue:           CTEC, Crawley
Fee:                 $350 WA Nurse Practitioner           
Training Grants: The Australian Government is offering training grants of $2000 per day to rural and remote procedural and emergency medicine GPs to maintain their respective skills.


WA Women’s Health Conference – 2 September 2019

The Women and Newborn Health Network at the Department of Health in partnership with the Women’s Community Health Network, Western Australia (WA), are hosting a WA Women’s Health Conference. We are now calling for professionals, non-government/community organisations, researchers/academics, and interested members of the community who would like to participate in the event to submit an abstract in their area of interest/expertise.
There are two types of presentation opportunities available. Please submit one or more abstracts as:
  • Oral presentation – opportunity for oral presentations of no more than 25 minutes in duration, followed by five minutes for questions and discussion
  • Poster presentation – presented at the Conference for viewing during breaks

Date:                                         Monday 2 September 2019
Venue:                                      Perth Convention Centre
How to submit abstract: 


The cutting edge: Essential Surgical Skills – 27 September 2019

Workshop Content

  • Demonstration and Practical Sessions:
  • Diathermy / Hyfrecator set up (demonstration)
  • Instrumentation - choice, handling and safety
  • Knot tying
  • Sutures, suturing techniques and suture removal
  • Traumatic wounds
  • Planning the excision, including sebaceous cysts and mucous membrane wounds
  • Punch, incision and excision biopsies
Workshop Presentations:
  • Consent procedure
  • Understanding wound healing - revision session
  • Haemostasis
  • Local anaesthesia
  • Complications

Date:              3 August 2019
Venue:           CTEC, Crawley
Fee:                 $800 WA GP, Registrar, Nurse Practitioner           
Training Grants: The Australian Government is offering training grants of $2000 per day to rural and remote procedural and emergency medicine GPs to maintain their respective skills.


4th Biennial Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Conference – 23 November 2019

Target audience: Peritonectomy Surgeons, Colorectal Surgeons, Gynaecologic Oncologists, Medical Onoclogists, General Surgeons, General Practitioners, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals.

This two-day conference features presentations from several world leaders in the treatment of peritoneal surface malignancy and will provide updates on the current and emerging techniques/strategies for the management of these diseases throughout the world.
Date:              23 and 24 November 2019
Venue:           St George Hospital, Kogarah
Fee:                 $53.84 - $212.09           

For details of other education and training still current, visit to view


Health Promotion Events

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



Lung Health Awareness Month – May 2019

Don’t Guess, Know the Symptoms

Lung disease affects almost 1 in 3 Australians and is responsible for 1 in 7 deaths, however many people tend to ignore the signs and symptoms, often not doing anything about it for far too long.

Whilst many people may not think it, breathlessness is not a normal sign of ageing. Likewise, a persistent or changed cough shouldn’t be put down to the flu or a cold. These symptoms may seem mild but they could be a sign of lung disease, such as lung cancer or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

May marks Lung Health Awareness Month and Lung Foundation Australia is urging all Australians to know the symptoms of lung disease, plan a doctor’s visit and act today. It’s time Australians start thinking about their lung health in the same way they would their heart, skin and breast health. Most of us know the signs of a stroke or heart disease and we know the importance of self-checks for our breast and prostate health. When it comes to lung disease, getting an early diagnosis is critical to improving outcomes and saving lives.

Don’t guess, know the symptoms. Take two minutes to check your lung health, and encourage your friends and family to do the same at



International Nurses Day – 12 May 2019

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

As one of the most trusted and respected health professions, nursing has a pivotal role to addressing the multiple health challenges that are being faced all over the world. Nurses are the engine room of the health system and are required to respond to the health needs of individuals, communities and the world.

The ICN Code of Ethics states that “Inherent in nursing is a respect for human rights, including cultural rights, the right to life and choice, to dignity and to be treated with respect. Nursing care is respectful of and unrestricted by considerations of age, colour, creed, culture, disability or illness, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, politics, race or social status. Nurses render health services to the individual, the family and the community and coordinate their services with those of related groups. The need for nursing is universal.” (International Council of Nurses, 2012).



“WEAR WHITE AT WORK” – 29 May 2019

On 29 May ‘Wear white at work’ and donate a gold coin to show support for mental illness sufferers and families of suicide victims. Each year we have to come to terms with the suicide of thousands of fellow Australians (men, women and children). For those left behind by these tragedies the hurt is unimaginable. The White Wreath Association provides 24-hour support for anyone who is in need, by providing advocacy, assistance and support to both families and individuals who have been affected by a mental illness or suicide. Together we can continue to provide families and individuals with the support and care that they need in order to reduce suicide rates in Australia.

To find out how you can get your workplace involved, you can call them on 1300 766 177. 


For details of health promotions still current, visit to view

Upcoming Health Promotions – JUNE 2019

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

LGBT Pride Month

Men's Health Week

Purple Bra Day

Red Nose Day

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.