This update comes to you from WA Department of Health, the Australian Medical Association (WA), Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA and WA Primary Health Alliance.
Going forward, we will be sending you regular updates to keep you informed with the situation regarding COVID-19 changes, to ensure your GPs and practice staff are well informed and prepared.
This information is based on an alert issued by the WA Department of Health on 10 March 2020. More information regarding testing specific to regional Western Australia is to come.
Patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19:
Acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath or cough) with or without fever
Refer to Clinical Alert updates for GPs on WA Department of Health website.
Any patient without fever or acute respiratory infection should not be tested for COVID-19.
Patients who are not symptomatic but have:
GPs should advise any patient tested to remain in isolation until results are available. Doctors who order the test are responsible for providing negative results to patients.
Positive results for COVID-19 will be communicated to patients by the Department of Health (DoH).
Patients who test positive for COVID-19 will be advised by the DoH to stay in home isolation unless they require hospitalisation. Contact tracing will be undertaken by the WA DoH.
GPs who have tested patients will also be advised of positive results by the DoH.
Negative results for COVID-19 for tests conducted in COVID Clinics will be communicated by the DoH.
GPs who have tested patients for COVID-19 will be advised of negative results in the same way as they normally receive them.
On 29 January 2020, ‘Human coronavirus with pandemic potential’ was declared an urgently notifiable disease under Part 9 of the Public Health Act 2016. This includes notification of confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV).
Any medical practitioner or nurse practitioner attending a patient whom he/she knows, or suspects has a notifiable infectious disease, or a related condition has a legal obligation to report the diagnosis to the Department of Health WA. Please find the full information here.
As part of the ongoing response to preparing for and managing coronavirus (COVID-19), three COVID Clinics, at Royal Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner and Fiona Stanley Hospitals, will be operational from Tuesday 10 March 2020.
The clinics will provide support to people who have symptoms consistent with a potential diagnosis of COVID-19, such as fever or respiratory symptoms.
The WA Health fact sheet below includes guidelines for testing for COVID-19 and what to do if you are unable to test a patient, including referring for testing to a COVID Clinic.
For further information on the COVID-19 Clinics please click here for the attached flyer.
Below are some practical considerations to help you prepare your practice:
If a patient has any questions about COVID-19, please refer them to the COVID-19 hotline 1800 020 080 or https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus
Practices can contact their WA Primary Health Alliance, Primary Health Liaison, or Practice Assist on 1800 227 747 or email@example.com for further assistance.
Department of Health WA has regularly updated information for health professionals which is available here https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus
Results for Coronavirus tests completed in Western Australia can now be found in the My Health Record once the report has been finalised. These results can be found in the Pathology Overview Screen within an individual’s My Health Record and may be accessed by any healthcare professional with a duty of care, regardless of where the specimen was originally collected.
Currently, unless the individual has requested otherwise, all results will be available for Health Professionals to view. The result will be viewable by the individual within their own My Health Record 7 days after this date.
Please contact the My Health Record Team via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries or requests for support.
The HealthPathways team have now localised 558 pathways. The most recently localised pathways are:
To access HealthPathways please contact your WAPHA Primary Health Liaison or email the HealthPathways team at email@example.com.
Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications and is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated).
To meet the anticipated demand for seasonal influenza vaccines in 2020, the Australian Government will be securing the largest supply of seasonal influenza vaccines ever through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for people most at risk. NIP vaccines will be available in April, subject to local supply arrangements.
In 2020, influenza vaccines funded through the NIP are available to the following groups due to their increased risk of complications from influenza:
Optimal protection against influenza occurs within the first three to four months following vaccination. Timing of vaccination should aim to achieve the highest level of protection during peak influenza season. This usually occurs from June to September in most parts of Australia. Vaccinating from April provides protection before the peak season.
Further information and resources about 2020 seasonal influenza vaccines will be made available shortly.
The Australian Government Department of Health have launched the next phase of the Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign — ‘Get the Facts’ — to encourage Australian parents and carers to get their kids vaccinated.
The campaign focuses on:
National and state childhood immunisation coverage rates are close to our target of 95% for children at 5 years of age. However, there are still areas with lower coverage and some children are receiving their vaccinations later than recommended.
Skipping or delaying vaccinations puts children and those around them at risk of catching serious diseases. It’s important that children receive their vaccine on time, every time, for the best protection.
The 8-week campaign will run nationally on television for the first time, supported by a range of online channels.
Practices can download posters, brochures and videos from the Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign website.
To find out more, please visit the ‘Get the Facts” campaign website.
It's time to get serious about coeliac disease diagnosis!
Over 355,000 Australians have coeliac disease. That's approximately 1 in 70 Australians, HOWEVER 80% don't know they have it. Some people may have many symptoms and others have few.
Coeliac Awareness Week (CAW) 2020 aims to raise awareness about coeliac disease and the need for it to be treated seriously.
While awareness of coeliac disease in the general community is growing, there is little understanding of the varied symptoms people can experience before seeking a diagnosis.
The new campaign highlights the range of possible symptoms beyond the typical ‘gut’ issues and encourages all undiagnosed people - particularly those at risk of coeliac disease - to take our online self-assessment at www.coeliac.org.au/assess.
Coeliac Australia is working to raise the profile of coeliac disease with medical professionals and the broader community.
We have a huge job ahead to improve Australia’s low diagnosis rate and encourage a staggering 284,000 people to seek a diagnosis and ultimately - feel better!
How you can help:
All events are listed on our Webinars and Workshops page.