Practice Connect #90

Welcome to Practice Connect, a fortnightly update for practice managers, nurses and practice administration staff on relevant issues, upcoming events and education.

Read all stories


New orders and reorders of surgical masks now distributed by post

To assist busy general practices and to reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19, all mask distribution is now occurring via Australia Post.
We appreciate supplies within some practices are running low and we are doing our utmost to expedite this process.
We can confirm that all outstanding orders will be posted this week, with one box of 50 surgical masks allocated per practice.
We continue to receive supplies of surgical masks from the Australian Government Department of Health so please continue to order and re-order via the links below.
General Practice, Pharmacy & ACCHO (only)
For first time requests, complete this form: Surgical mask registrations form
For a repeat order, complete this form: Surgical mask re-order form

Practices can contact their WA Primary Health Liaison Officer or contact Practice Assist on 1800 227 747 or for further assistance.




Expansion of telehealth services for COVID-19

From 23 March 2020, the Australian Government will enable all vulnerable general practitioners and other vulnerable health professionals who are currently authorised to use telehealth item numbers, to use telehealth for all consultations with all their patients. This change will help protect the most vulnerable members of our health care workforce, while allowing them to continue to provide much needed medical care and advice to their patients.
This includes health care providers who are:
  • Aged at least 70 years old.
  • Indigenous and aged at least 50 years old.
  • Pregnant.
  • A parent of a child under 12 months.
  • Immune compromised.
  • Have a chronic medical condition that results in increased risk from coronavirus infection.

Read the full announcement here.

Refer to Clinical Alert updates for GPs on WA Department of Health website.



COVID-19: Telehealth soon delivering whole of population model of care

The Australian Government has announced the temporary MBS telehealth and phone items for COVID-19 will soon be expanded to enable greater access to telehealth and phone services for people with or without COVID-19.
This will also include mental health and allied health consultations.
Currently, health practitioners at risk of COVID-19 and patients at risk of COVID-19 are eligible for the temporary COVID-19 telehealth and phone MBS items.
It is expected a more comprehensive telehealth whole of population model of care and the detail of telehealth operations via phone and video will be announced by the end of this week, as part of a staged approach to create a more responsive and flexible Medicare system that meets the needs of patients and providers during this crisis.
We will continue to communicate and support general practice through the changes as they come to hand. For further information visit



COVID-19: Telehealth and MBS items update for rural GPs webinar

RACGP WA, Rural Health West and WA Primary Health Alliance invite you to participate in a webinar on Wednesday 25 March, 7:00pm to 8:00pm (AWST).
This webinar will include:

  • an update on the temporary Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for video (telehealth) and phone consultations, recently introduced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • the telehealth consultation – a rural GP perspective
  • an update on the HealthDirect Video Call program

Please click here to register for this webinar.



New COVID clinics open

A new COVID clinic opened in Armadale yesterday and Rockingham on Tuesday 24 March, with further clinics opening in Midland and Joondalup today.
Clinic staff will conduct tests, provide information and refer people for appropriate treatment if required.
Clinics are not intended to replace the medical care available through their GP or at hospital emergency departments.
Read the full announcement (including locations and opening hours) here.



Update: 2020 Influenza Vaccination Program

The Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) has announced that ordering for people aged 65 years and over is now open. Fluad® Quad is the only vaccine that is recommended for people aged ≥65 years.
Ordering for all other age cohorts will be available from early April.
Refer to the updated WA Immunisation schedule for 2020 influenza vaccine information..
Influenza vaccination will be state funded in WA for primary school aged children as per the updated WA schedule.
Optimal protection against influenza occurs within 3 to 4 months following vaccination. Providers should consider vaccinating in May and early June to ensure optimal protection throughout influenza season which typically spans July to October in WA. While the influenza virus remains in circulation, it is never too late to immunise.
Recording in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
AIR is the national whole-of-life Immunisation register and all vaccines administered, including influenza vaccine, should be recorded in AIR, irrespective of the patient’s age.
Ordering Information:
Providers will be informed through the on-line ordering system, and by fax and email, once ordering opens. Refer to information within the Toll on-line ordering system for queries and messaging.



Supporting your patients to access influenza vaccinations

In recognition of the evolving general practice environment, we are working with WA Health and the Communicable Disease Control Directorate to support you to provide your patients with to access to important influenza vaccinations. 
Our practice support staff will soon be in touch to ascertain how your practice will be managing flu vaccinations during the coming season.




Supporting patient mental health during COVID-19 through PORTS

Worrying about diseases is a normal reaction. But, excessive worrying about infectious diseases can affect both physical and mental health.
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, your patients may experience heightened stress, anxiety, or other mental health concerns.
PORTS provide online and telephone psychological services to WA residents, 16+ years, with symptoms of low mood, depression, stress, anxiety, or substance use problems. GPs can refer patients to PORTS to receive expert assessment and treatment. PORTS can be accessed by people who are affected by COVID-19 and are experiencing stress and anxiety.
For further information please visit or the PORTS COVID-19 information page.



The Advance Project: Better primary health care through team-based initiation care planning and palliative care

The Advance Project is a free, evidence-based toolkit and training package specifically designed to support GPs, nurses and practice managers to initiate advance care planning conversations and assess patients’ and carers’ palliative and supportive care needs.

WA Primary Health Alliance is working with HammondCare to support Western Australian general practices to implement a team-based approach to initiating advance care planning and palliative care into everyday clinical practice.

For further information please contact The Advance Project Lead, Roseanne Adamson via mobile on 0418 636 753 or by email Alternatively, please contact you WA Primary Health Alliance facilitator or Primary Health Liaisons.

Please click here to view The Advance Project Toolkit flyer for further information and resources.




St John of God Raphael Services: Improving access to free counselling for new parents in Perth

A safe place to talk

Pregnancy and parenthood can put significant stress on new parents. It isn't uncommon for anxiety and depression to disrupt parent-baby relationships, wellbeing and family life.
Raphael Services is part of the outreach arm of St John of God Health Care and provides services to all patients, and not just privately insured patients. Vital early-intervention counselling is offered free for mums and dads; from conception through to the child being 4 years of age, enabling mums and dads to thrive - emotionally, physically and as a family.
New parents in Perth’s northern suburbs can now access free mental health treatment with the opening of two new St John of God Raphael Services locations.



My Health Record: online training and resources

The My Health Record team from WA Primary Health Alliance can assist your practice with the provision of a virtual visit to provide training on using and navigating the My Health Record system.
A copy of all relevant guides, online training and webinars are provided below to reference whilst assisting you with virtual training to your practice.
To organise a virtual visit or if you have any queries please contact the My Health Record team at


This My Health Record Overview: webinar will outline the types of information that are typically found in a My Health Record, as well as how to view this information and where possible, upload information. It will be useful for healthcare providers who are connected to the system and ready to start engaging with it.
This Navigating My Health Record – Streamlining your clinical assessment webinar runs you through a number of new features for clinicians giving them easier access to clinical information.
This On Demand Training (Training Environment) webinar will overview training environments that provide a simulation of a select number of clinical software such as Best Practice, Medical Director, Communicare, Genie and Zedmed with My Health Record.

Online training

These Online Training Modules provide self-paced training modules with an introductory module followed by specific modules for healthcare providers across a range of healthcare settings. Users will need to create an account to access these modules.


These My Health Record Clinical software summary sheets provide step-by-step instructions for interacting a range of clinical software with My Health Record, such as how to complete uploading and viewing tasks.
This Practice Nurse My Health Record Training Workbook gives an overview of using the My Health Record on software as well as situations and scenarios to upload information.



ePrescribing fast tracked to help protect at risk patients

The Australian Government will fast track the implementation of electronic prescribing to allow GPs to prepare an electronic script, potentially via a telehealth consultation. 
This is then shared with the pharmacy who may then choose to deliver medicines directly where suitable, thereby reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for vulnerable patients. 
The Australian Digital Health Agency is currently working with software providers to implement this function and will provide further updates in the coming weeks. ePrescribing works with eRX and MediSecure.
We will be working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to support practices and pharmacies to implement ePrescribing in clinical practice, when available.



COVID-19: Useful links and resources

  • A3 and A4 Patient Alert posters for your practice

Further information and resources are available on the Practice Assist website.



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.