Practice Connect #88

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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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mask Distribution Update

Following an initial distribution of surgical masks to general practices as supplied by the Australian Government Department of Health, we are now in a position to reassess the needs of practices which did not receive an initial allocation, or whose needs may have changed.
To ensure the most appropriate allocation, we are applying the same risk factors to determine need as before i.e.: having a relatively high number of foreign nationals including students and tourists; proximity to a port or airport; having a relatively large Aboriginal population; or having a relatively high number of patients with existing respiratory conditions; and having a low number of masks in stock.
Complete the online form.
Given the ongoing national shortage of masks, we ask that you consider your practice’s needs carefully. To apply, please complete the online form.
If you have any queries about mask distribution, please contact our Practice Assist team on 1800 227 747 (Monday – Friday, 8.00am to 5.00pm) or

Up to date clinical information

GPs are reminded that information regarding coronavirus (now called COVID-19) is continually changing. For example, last week, the indications for testing were broadened to include travelers from some countries other than China.
The Department of Health WA has regularly updated information for health professionals.
For up to date clinical information, please access the HealthPathways WA website. If required, email for log on details.


Communities of Practice - Engaged Leadership

Communities of Practice for Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) is designed for professionals to share their practice experiences, development, network and to build a sense of community.
Returning for 2020, the first Communities of Practice (CoP) was held on Wednesday, February 12. Leaders and their teams explored how Engaged Leadership is fundamental to the transformation process.
The “10 building blocks of high-performing health care” is a conceptual model that identifies and describes the essential elements of primary care that facilitates exemplary performance.
“When you read the Building Blocks, Engaged Leadership is not only about having Principals and Practice owners leading but leadership at every level.  In the UK, the King’s Fund refers to this as collective or distributed leadership, recognising that everyone can lead from the position they are in, but we need to create a culture where this can flourish.  And increasingly there is recognition that we need to have patient leaders assisting our processes.” (Dianne Bianchini, Innovation Portfolio Manager WAPHA)
Dr Lyn Wren (Practice Principal) and Heather Drummond (Practice Manager) from Quinns Mindarie Super Clinic shared their journey, how they started as a Medical Practice and how through taking advantage of the services offered through WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) they successfully “stayed ahead of the game.” 
Dr Lyn provided useful tools and explained how she uses the 10 Building Blocks of High Performing Primary Care to create a framework to help her team to effectively drive and sustain transformation within Primary Care.  Dr Lyn’s framework included;

  • Getting the rest of the TEAM engaged by identifying “Engaged to Highly Disengaged” members
  • Start from a place of positivity by identifying “What you do Well”
  • Start speaking a new language by embedding the 10 Building Blocks to achieve the Quadruple Aim of Patient Experience of Care, Population Health, Improved Provider Satisfaction and Sustainable cost
  • Explain “The Why” to your team.  You may know it is important, but do they?
  • Identify your Champions and Change Managers by starting with who you have within your team
  • Go crazy with meetings because meetings build connections and change cultures
  • Start using your data because data gives you the truth, it can establish a baseline from which to measure improvement
  • Use Visual Communication Boards, as the benefits of a visual management board outweighs the cost of change
  • And last but not least, HAVE FUN ALONG THE WAY.



Public consultation sought on recommended use of pneumococcal vaccines

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is consulting with stakeholders on proposed changes to the pneumococcal vaccination recommendations for inclusion in the Australian Immunisation Handbook. The public consultation document can be accessed on the Department of Health website.
All questions and feedback can be made via the online survey until 11.59pm on Sunday 1 March 2020. Email the ATAGI secretariat via if you have any questions regarding this consultation.


APNA 2020 National Conference Program Announced

The year 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the last year of the Nursing Now campaign, and the year to celebrate valued, visible and respected. The APNA 2020 National Conference is going to be an event you won’t want to miss, a once in a lifetime opportunity to huddle with other nurses and celebrate this milestone year for the nursing profession.
With professional development tailored for nurses working in primary health care, this year’s conference will deliver inspiring keynotes from nurses leading the way; interactive workshops that will engage the perennial student within; the latest research; and clinical updates in key areas of practice to ensure delegates go back to their workplaces with the best working knowledge.
You can view the program and register via


My Health Record: Lab Tests Online - Explaining Pathology

Lab Tests OnlineAU is the gateway for all Australians to access the information they need about pathology testing to better understand their healthcare and become partners in shared decision-making with their doctors and others involved in their care.
Australia’s online personal health record, My Health Record, gives people for the first-time access to their pathology results straight from the lab.
In developing the system, the Australian Digital Health Agency recognized that people need help understanding their test results.
Lab Tests OnlineAU is the consumer support resource for My Health Record and there is a direct link to the website embedded in the pathology results pages of every registered person’s online record.
With 90% of all Australians registered for a My Health Record, access can be reached to Lab Tests Online with just one click.
For more information, and to view the flyer please click here.


Rural Health West Conference 2020: Practice Management Workshop

Presented by Practice Assist, a joint initiative of Rural Health West and the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), the Practice Management Workshop will be held at the Rural Health West Conference, on the morning of Sunday 22 March 2020.
This workshop will provide rural based participants with the knowledge, skills and support networks to build viable and sustainable businesses in rural Western Australia. The following topics will be covered:

  • General practice accreditation - Standards for general practices (5th edition), preparing for and achieving accreditation and reaccreditation, available resources
  • My Health Record in general practice
  • Quality improvement; inclusive of a “Plan Do Study Act” activity
  • Human resources
  • Q&A session

To view the flyer for further information and to register, please click here.


AAPM Practice Manager of the Year - Nominate an oustanding Practice Manager

The AAPM 2020 Practice Manager of the Year Awards recognise practice managers who demonstrate outstanding skills in the following areas:

  • Leadership and team building
  • Ongoing education in practice management and in raising the profile of practice management
  • Business Planning
  • Financial Management
  • Implementation of systems to support quality care in a clinical setting
  • Knowledge of relevant legislation
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Verbal and written communication
The Practice Manager of the Year Awards are conducted throughout Australia with a state Practice Manager of the Year awarded, before culminating in the National Practice Manager of the Year award announced at the AAPM National Conference.
For further information, and or to make a nomination for exceptional contributions to the profession of practice management please click here.
The 2020 AAPM Practice Manager of the Year Awards are funded and supported by AGPAL & QIP.


Cancer Council WA: Cancer symptom campaign for regional WA

With only one in four regional West Australians able to recall two or more symptoms of common cancers the Find Cancer Early campaign is being launched to assist with symptom awareness,
From Sunday 9 February 2020, Cancer Council WA’s Find Cancer Early program is airing the ‘Rural Doctors Bathroom’ television commercial across regional Western Australia (WA) for 13 weeks.
The campaign features real rural doctors highlighting early symptoms of the five most common cancers in WA: prostate, breast, skin, bowel and lung. The advertisements urge people in regional WA to visit their local medical clinic early if they notice any unusual changes in their body.
For viewers that do not watch TV, this campaign will also be promoted in regional newspapers, on regional radio and across a range of digital platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Gmail and Google.
For further information, including a range of resources please visit the Find Cancer Early campaign webpage.


HealthPathways: newly localised pathways

The HealthPathways team have now localised 553 pathways. The most recently localised pathway is:

To access HealthPathways please contact your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison or email the HealthPathways team at   


NPS MedicineWise

Asthma and Children: diagnosis and treatment

Asthma is a chronic disease that requires accurate diagnosis, regular treatment and review.
NPS MedicineWise offer free educational visits covering the latest evidence to support GPs in the diagnosis and management of Paediatric Asthma. The content is independent and accredited and can be delivered in a 30-minute session at your practice or by video conference, if more convenient.
The NPS MedicineWise website also offers a suite of resources for consumers, to help them understand their asthma medication and possible side effects.
Please visit the NPS MedicineWise website for more information:


New RACGP Practice Technology and Management resources

The RACGP Expert Committee – Practice Technology and Management is pleased to present two new resource to support general practices.

Drugs of dependence: Responding to requests

Drugs of dependence, defined as prescription medicines that have a recognised therapeutic need but also a higher potential for misuse, abuse and dependence, can make a valuable contribution to patient care. However, problematic or risky use of these medicines, along with harmful outcomes, is now more prevalent, and GP’s are likely to be exposed to increased requests for prescriptions.
To assist GPs and practice teams, the RACGP has developed the fact sheet Drugs of dependence: Responding to requests, which outlines behaviours suggesting problematic or risky use of these medicines, considerations for responding to requests, available prescription monitoring services and resources and practice wide approaches which may assist in managing requests for drugs of dependence.
This fact sheet is available on the RACGP website.

Using email in general practice

Email is one of the most prevalent and convenient forms of communication. GPs and general practices often receive requests from patients, other clinicians and third parties to send health information via email.
As all health information is sensitive by nature, all communication of health information, including via electronic means, must adequately protect the patient’s privacy. GPs, patients, and other healthcare providers may not always appreciate the risks associated with using standard unencrypted emails in the healthcare environment.
The RACGP has developed the fact sheet Using email in general practice to provide information for general practices about using email to communicate health information with patients, health organisations, and third parties, and to support practices to make an informed decision whether to use email at their practice.
This fact sheet is available on the RACGP website.



Telemed specialist services: Goldfields

Telemed Health Services, in conjunction with Boulder-Rotary, is pleased to offer the Goldfields region a telehealth specialist service to support GP’s in the area. Several Perth based specialists have made themselves available for free, no out-of-pocket telehealth consultations.
For more information on these telehealth services available to the Goldfields region please click here to view the flyer.



Department of Human Services: change of name

On 1 February 2020, the Department of Human Services became Services Australia.  Services Australia will deliver Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support payments and services. There is no change to how you can access their payments and services.
For further information about Services Australia and delivery of payments and services please click here to the about us webpage.



Royal Perth Hospital - GP Notify email update

Is your practice receiving GP Notify by fax but would prefer email?
GP Notify is an automated notification system that informs the patient’s nominated GP (where registered) of patient admission, discharge and death at Royal Perth Hospital by email or fax.
A technical issue led to all new GP Notify registrations over an extended period being defaulted to fax instead of email. If you would like GP Notifications to be sent to your practice by email, please advise the RPH GP Notify Coordinator that you wish to change, including your name, practice and practice email by phone on 9224 2810, fax 9224 2860 or email .
Due to the Patient Administration System used across WA Health, only one email address can be registered for GP Notify per practice. For this reason, the email address for your practice is preferred over individual email addresses.
Please note GP Notify is old technology that cannot be sent by secure messaging. Electronic transmission of discharge summaries is by secure messaging and is preferred to fax or mail alone. If you would like to enrol for secure messaging for inpatient discharge summaries, please refer to Discharge Summaries on the Royal Perth Health Professionals Communication webpage.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.



The Advance Project: Information sessions

Advance care planning is an important step in ensuring a person’s preferences and values are known at the end of their life. General practice has an opportunity to start these discussions with patients because trust has already been established.

WA Primary Health Alliance is working with Hammond Care to support Western Australian general practices to implement a team-based approach to initiating advance care planning and palliative care into everyday clinical practice. The Advance Project is a practical, evidence-based toolkit and training package, specifically designed to support general practices to deliver team-based care.
 The Advance Care Project would like to invite you to hold an information session for all practice staff. The event will be held at your location and convenience, where possible. The session will take 1 hour depending on questions you may have. If this is something you would be interested in, please speak to your WA Primary Health Alliance Liaison or Coordinator, or alternatively please contact The Advance Project Lead directly:
Please click here to view The Advance Project flyer on these information sessions.



General Practitioners: Primary Care Reform Opportunities Dinner with Walid Jammal

WA Primary Health Alliance Chair, Dr Richard Choong invites General Practitioners to join him at this unique dinner event featuring keynote speaker Dr Walid Jammal. Dr Jammal is the Co-Chair of the Federal Government’s Primary Care Reform Steering Group and will discuss:

  • Key priorities for the Minister of Health and the 10-year Primary Health Care plan
  • The upcoming voluntary patient enrolment measure for >70-year old’s
  • Team-based care and the opportunities for general practice.

For more information and to register please click here.



Health promotion events


Hearing Awareness Week is March 1 to 7

World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. It coincides with Hearing Awareness Week in Australia.

  • Hearing loss is costing Australia $15 billion a year in health system costs and lost productivity
  • Hearing loss affects 70% of people over the age of 70 and it has a huge impact on the quality of life
  • It is more common than heart disease, cancer and diabetes
  • 500,000 hearing aids are bought every year in Australia
  • 10,000 people whose first language is Auslan cannot be left behind and deserve better access to education, jobs & community life

For further information on Hearing Awareness Week, please visit the RESOURCES page to download brochures, a webpage graphic and an organisers’ toolkit.

Coming up soon…
National Epilepsy Awareness Month Month of March
Hearing Awareness Week March1-7
March into Yellow March 6
World Glaucoma Week March 8-14
World Kidney Day March 12
World’s Greatest Shave March 13
Coeliac Awareness Week March 13-20



Education and training

All events are listed on our Webinars and Workshops page.

RACGP Practice essentials webinar series: My Health Record – an update
Presented by RACGP
Wednesday 26 & Thursday 27 February
Rural Health West Emergency Airway Skills Management (EAM) Carnarvon
Presented by Rural Health West
Friday 28 February
GP Education Project: Breast Cancer Update
Presented by Cancer Council WA
Wednesday 4 March
International Women’s Day event
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 5 March
Customer Service – Rolling out the Red Carpet
Presented by AAPM
Thursday 5 March
Right to Belong LGBTI inclusive aged care workshops 2020
Presented by GLBTI Rights in Ageing Inc
Wednesday 11 March
Rural Health West Neonatal Emergency Care (NEC) Northam
Presented by Rural Health West
Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March
The Child with an Itchy Rash - Diagnosis & Mgmt plus Acne - What's New
Presented by PCH in partnership with WAPHA and HealthPathways WA
Wednesday 18 March
Rural Health West Emergency Assessment Clinical Training (REACT)
Presented by Rural Health West
Thursday 19 & Friday 20 March
Chronic Disease Support Program
Presented by The Benchmarque Group
Friday 20 March
Rural Health West Toxicological Emergencies (TOX)
Presented by Rural Health West
Friday 20 March
WA Rural Health Conference 2020: Beyond 2020 Health Innovations
Presented by Rural Health West
Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 March
Spirometry Training Course - Esperance
Presented by WAPHA and the National Asthma Council
Saturday 9 May
Childhood Allergies – How to Diagnose & Prevent?
Presented by PCH in partnership with WAPHA and HealthPathways WA
Wednesday 13 May
RACGP Practice Owners National Conference
Presented by RACGP
Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 May
The Cutting Edge: Practice Nurse Skills Training Workshop
Presented by Clinical Training & Evaluation Centre (CTEC)
Saturday 6 June
Common Paediatric Surgical Problems
Presented by PCH in partnership with WAPHA and HealthPathways WA
Wednesday 5 August


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.