A new guide for general practices explains how to make the most of the nurse role during COVID-19.
It also shows how nurses attract revenue streams that will sustain practices today and into the future.
It has been endorsed the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) and the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA).
Please visit the ‘Why general practice needs nurses more than ever’ for more information.
May 2020 was a great month for the GP Urgent Care participating practices with 250 bookings achieved compared to the decrease experienced in April due to COVID-19. This was the strongest performance this year to date and a great sign that patients have the confidence to visit practices again.
Practices are starting to publish appointment availability again and there has been significant growth in profile views with online bookings. This suggests that if there were more convenient appointments available, practices could see further booking growth.
MEDrefer is now installed in all participating GP Urgent Care Network practices. A monthly email reminder for submissions to be uploaded, will be sent out on a monthly basis. The benefits have been great for the handover of patients as the General Practitioner and Practice Manager can track the status of referrals online.
Upcoming Events: RACGP Training: Urgent Care Webinar Telehealth Triage
This online workshop scheduled for Monday 29 June 2020 (7-8.30pm AWST) is designed to upskill GPs in the implementation of telehealth within the Urgent Care Clinic.
This workshop is complimentary for Urgent Care Clinic General Practitioners. Please click here to register or for further information please email email@example.com or contact via telephone 08 9489 9555.
During the course of COVID-19 general practices rapidly responded to a number of operational changes through quality improvement initiatives. Quality improvement can be achieved in a number of ways and each practice will have an individual approach to achieving desired outcomes.
The WA Primary Health Alliance - Primary Care Support Team have created the ‘COVID-19 Quality Improvement Prompt’ document to assist your practice to capture the whole range of quality improvement initiatives you have implemented in response to COVID-19. This Practice Support Tool has been designed as a prompt to help you think through all of the changes that you may have implemented but may not have had a chance to record as Quality Improvement Activities as per RACGP 5th Edition Standards on Quality Improvement (QI Standard 1).
The Practice Support Tool has also been aligned to the principles of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Model. This model includes the Quadruple Aim and 10 Building Blocks of high-performing primary health care. Each section has been aligned to each different building block.
Each practice will have its own way of recording Quality Improvement activities. The PCMH model encourages using PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) of which you can find the template on the Practice Assist Website here.
For further information or support please contact your Practice Support Staff regarding utilisation of this tool.
Electronic prescribing ‘ePrescribing’ will allow for fully digital scripts to be sent to a patient, removing the requirement for paper scripts for those practices who choose to use the system. The WA Primary Health Alliance Practice Support team will be contacting all practices with a checklist of requirements to help ensure that they are prepared to start using ePrescribing when it is released, including:
Australia has a world class health system, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how important technology is to allow healthcare providers to communicate with each other securely and immediately.
Out of date contact details that healthcare providers have about healthcare services and other practitioners can mean that patients' medical documents and information is not able to be sent from one healthcare provider to another. In a world where consumers can no longer be a conduit for delivering a referral letter or test result to another provider, and where our postal services are over capacity, an up to date electronic registry is more important than ever.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has built a Service Registration Assistant (SRA) to solve this problem. The SRA keeps healthcare service and practitioner information up to date with changes to contact details available immediately to authorised users… [read more].
For further information on ePrescribing, please visit the Digital Health site or the Practice Assist ‘Electronic Prescriptions’ page for further information and frequently asked questions.
Alternatively for further assistance please contact the My Health Record Team by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 1 July 2020, there are a number of changes to the National Immunisation Program coming into effect.
These changes are:
The changes are being implemented following recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and other clinical experts and are designed to improve protection against meningococcal and pneumococcal disease.
To support awareness and implementation of the changes, the Australian Government has developed a suite of educational and promotional communication resources hosted via a news item on the Department of Health’s immunisation website. The NIP program clinical advice factsheets for providers, accompanied by correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer will be mailed to GPs and Aboriginal Medical Services Australia-wide. The information notes the availability of supporting consumer resources available to download or order through the Department of Health’s immunisation website.
More information is available on the NCIRS website.
At this time, it is important to continue to offer and encourage routine screening and follow-up. It has been recognised that patients may be feeling uncomfortable or worried about attending for screening and we are receiving a number of enquiries from healthcare providers about how best to support their patients during this time. In addition, we recognise that under the current circumstance’s healthcare providers/clinics have different capacities and arrangements for managing their patients. In the event that it is not possible to offer usual healthcare for cervical screening, the below overarching guidance has been developed to assist clinician decision-making on screening appointments including deferral and rescheduling, depending on individual patient circumstances.
More detailed guidance for managing cervical screening and follow-up during COVID-19 is available on the NCSP website.
WA now has nine Commonwealth endorsed GP-led Respiratory Clinics, with the opening of two clinics operated by Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service in Maddington and Mirrabooka.
The clinics will offer their local communities, including Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, access to rapid assessment and testing for acute respiratory conditions, including COVID-19.
Even with the current low case numbers and no confirmed community spread, GPs are encouraged to refer all patients with respiratory symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 for testing at any of the designated testing centres listed on Health Pathways.
Following their 25 March recommendation to suspend all lung function testing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand has advised that all Pulmonary Function Testing including cardiopulmonary exercise testing and bronchoprovocation testing can now be performed in patients who are afebrile, and who have no symptoms of a viral illness.
See the full recommendations here, noting these recommendations are subject to ongoing review.
Further information is available from the National Asthma Council website, on the Australian Asthma Handbook during the COVID-19 pandemic page.
The July 2020 Medicare Benefits Schedule MBS XML file has been released and is available on MBS online.
The MBS indexation factor for 1 July 2020 is 1.5 per cent. Indexation was applied to most of the general medical services items, all diagnostic imaging services, except nuclear medicine imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and two pathology items (74990 and 74991).
For more information please view the MBS July 2020 News page.
In the 2019-20 Budget, the Government announced a VPE initiative for patients aged 70 years and over. The Government subsequently announced the extension of this measure to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over. This due to start on 1 July 2020 with the introduction of new MBS items to support VPE.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and response activities, the Government is currently working with health and system experts to review implementation details and consider options for refinement. As such, VPE will no longer commence on 1 July 2020.
Further information will be made available as soon as possible.
NPS MedicineWise update
NPS MedicineWise are offering a free webinar titled: Chronic abdominal pain: could it be irritable bowel syndrome?
Join our GP facilitator and a multidisciplinary panel of experts as they discuss how to assess and investigate non-specific chronic abdominal pain.
Details and the link to the webinar: https://www.nps.org.au/cpd/activities/chronic-abdominal-pain-could-it-be-irritable-bowel-syndrome.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings for opioid medicines have changed as of 1 June 2020. Changes include reduced pack sizes of immediate-release opioids for short-term acute severe pain. In addition, patients that need long-term opioids (more than 12 months) must also be reviewed by an alternative prescriber with the name of the practitioner and date of the consultation provided to the PBS with every authority application. Visit the PBS website for more information.
The World Health Organisation has released new advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19.
If your patients have questions, the WA Department of Health has a community advice fact sheet on when and how to use a face mask, which can be found here.
WA Primary Health Alliance continues to operate a significant logistical strategy to distribute masks during the COVID-19 pandemic to general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, pharmacies and allied health practices that meet the criteria of the Department of Health Tranche 4 guidelines.
To date we have distributed 162,550 surgical masks to GPs and ACCHOs, 2,502 N95 masks to GPs and ACCHOs and 53,800 surgical masks to pharmacies and allied health.
For mask requests, visit the Practice Assist website.
Please note, re-orders will not be accepted within five business days (Mon-Fri) of the previous request, except in exceptional circumstances.
Please send all general queries in relation to the National Medical Stockpile to
Let's Prevent provides your patients with the information and support they need to make positive, sustainable lifestyle changes that will ultimately help them delay or avoid a chronic condition.
Already established in the South West for over two years, the program will soon be available to residents of the Midwest. It can help participants lose weight, reduce their blood pressure and cholesterol and work towards their health goals.
Let’s Prevent is funded by the Department of Health WA free for people who are at risk of heart disease, stroke or type 2 diabetes.
It is currently available online and through face to face workshops in the near future. To find out more call 1800 001 880 or email email@example.com .
All events are listed on our Webinars and Workshops page.