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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Changes to Cardiac Imaging MBS Schedule

From 1 August 2020 MBS items for Cardiac Imaging services will change. These changes are aimed at providing high value, high quality care, and were recommended by the MBS Review Taskforce.
Changes will occur to both the items that general practitioners can claim for and those that general practitioners can request, with the existing 17 Cardiac Imaging items being replaced by 29 new item numbers.
For more information please visit the MBS Online website which has further resources including a Factsheet, Flowchart, Quick Guide, Webinar link and Webinar Questions & Answers.
Updated information will also be available on the Practice Assist website and distributed in Practice Connect as it becomes available.




Immunisation myths busted

Vaccination is one of the most successful and cost-effective advances in global public health. Vaccines are given to many millions of people in Australia and billions worldwide to prevent disease. Vaccines prevent an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year. 1
Yet, some parents continue to refuse or delay having their child vaccinated, which is a growing concern. These reasons vary widely between parents, but are mainly for religious reasons, personal beliefs or philosophical reasons, safety concerns, and a desire for more information from healthcare providers. 2.
We all know the proliferation of views on the internet and social media makes can make these decisions even harder for parents today.

How does WA compare to the rest of Australia?

Immunisation coverage for one- and five-year old’s has increased since 2009 but we have not reached the aspirational target of 95% yet, but we are close.
At March 2020, the national coverage rates were:

  • 94.37% for all one-year old’s
  • 91.46% for all two-year old’s
  • 94.74% for all five-year old’s

Unfortunately, Western Australia is below the national average for coverage rates in these 3 measured cohorts, with rates of 93.88%, 89.81% and 93.53% respectively.3  The timeliness of the vaccination for the 2 year old’s is important to address, as many of these children are vulnerable with a coverage rate of 89.81%.

How can your practice help to improve these rates?

Use our Quality Improvement Tool

WA Primary Health Alliance has recently launched a quality improvement tool/template that can assist your practice to utilise the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) 10A overdue report to recall the overdue children linked to your practices PIP ID. The template and supportive resources including screenshots can be found here. Contact your WA Primary Health Alliance Practice Support facilitator for assistance with this activity and for the number of overdue children associated with your practice.


Share our Immunisation Myths campaign

To help counteract some of the myths and reassure parents, we have prepared a series of easy to watch videos called Immunisation Myths. These are based on a campaign run by a group of medical mums in Queensland, based on the most common reasons cited by parents of young children they spoke to.

  • Video 1: De-bunk immunisation myths - see your GP
  • Video 2: Myth 1: Vaccines are not safe
  • Video 3: Myth 2: Vaccines cause autism
  • Video 4: Myth 3: Alternative therapies are a better and safer option than vaccines
  • Video 5: Myth 4: The infant immune system can’t handle so many vaccines
  • Video 6: Myth 5: Diseases won’t spread if we just ensure proper hygiene and sanitation.
  • You can download these videos and show them on your in-practice screens and share them on social media. Download the videos and social media messages here

Use these key messages to talk to parents

Here are some key messages from the Australian Government Department of Health that you can use to talk to parents who might be hesitant about having their child vaccinated.
  • All parents want the very best for their child’s health. You’re looking after their best interests if you consider the facts so you can make an informed decision about vaccination.
  • Immunisation saves lives
  • Vaccines strengthen your child’s immune system
  • All childhood diseases we vaccinate against can cause serious illness, including death
  • Nearly 95% of five-year-old children in Australia are vaccinated – this figure needs to be as high as possible (and the rate in WA is lower than in some other parts of Australia)
  • All vaccines available in Australia have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness and are continually monitored
  • Skipping or delaying vaccinations puts your child and those around you at risk of contracting serious diseases
  • Immunisation is a safe and effective way of giving protection against diseases such as whooping cough and measles.
  1.  https://campaigns.health.gov.au/immunisationfacts/top-facts-about-immunisation
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4869767/
  3. https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/childhood-immunisation-coverage/immunisation-coverage-rates-for-all-children


ePrescribing rollout in Western Australia

The roll-out of ePrescriptions in West Australia continues at pace, with several Communities of Interest now issuing electronic scripts. The Australian Digital Health Agency and the WA Department of Health continue to work with software vendors to ensure that their clinical systems meet the required technical and legislative requirements for the use of ePrescribing, and we are pleased to say that both Medical Director and Best Practice now meet these requirements.
If you are interested in becoming part of a Community of Interest, we recommend talking with other providers locally and contacting the WA Primary Health Alliance eHealth Team via  ehealth@wapha.org.au to discuss.
To ensure that your software is capable of sending ePrescriptions, you will need to check that you are running the following versions or above: 
  • Best Practice Jade SP3 -
  • MedicalDirector Clinical –
If you would like any further information on ePrescribing, please visit the Practice Assist website, the ADHA website or contact the WA Primary Health Alliance E-health team at ehealth@wapha.org.au.





An update on the Practice Assist Resource Library

As part of our ongoing review of resources in the Practice Assist Resource Library we are pleased to share  the following updated and new resources:

Business Management

COVID-19 Resources

General Practice Accreditation

Human Resources and Staff Management

Practice Manager Practice Nurse Medical Receptionist Nurse Practitioner General

Medicare Benefits Schedule

Nurses in general practice

Programs and National Schemes

Quality Improvement

Clinical Resources


The Practice Assist team values your feedback, if you have a ‘new idea’ for a resource or ‘feedback ‘please email this through to practiceassist@wapha.org.au.




Changes to Telehealth - stage seven update

To encourage patients to receive continuous care from their regular GP or medical practice, it is now a legislative requirement that GPs and other medical practitioners working in general practice can only use the COVID-19 MBS items for telehealth or telephone services where they are the patient’s ‘usual medical practitioner’.
Patients will be eligible for GP and OMP telehealth services if they have seen their GP or health practitioner within the same practice at least once in the preceding 12 months face to face.
The existing relationship requirement does not apply to:

  • children under the age of 12 months;
  • people who are homeless;
  • patients living in a COVID-19 impacted area;
  • patients receiving an urgent after-hours (unsociable hours) service; or 
  • patients of medical practitioners at an Aboriginal Medical Service or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.
For further information please visit:




Latest Mental Health update on COVID-19 from the Deputy CMO for Mental Health

New information from the Friday 24 July edition includes:

  • Specialist resources available for health care professionals during COVID-19
  • Available mental health and wellbeing support for patients
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Indigenous mental health initiatives

Read the full update here or subscribe here.




COVID-19 public information campaign

The Department of Health WA has commenced a public information campaign reinforcing:

  • Maintaining physical distancing wherever possible
  • Practicing good personal hygiene
  • Staying at home if unwell
  • Downloading the COVIDSafe app.

Practices can download campaign materials to share via social media channels here.



Planning for your future healthcare: Help shape the revised WA Advance Health Directive form

The WA Department of Health End of Life Care Program invites you to have your say on the development of the revised WA Advance Health Directive (AHD) form.
An Advance Health Directive is a legal document that enables an individual to make decisions now about the treatment they would want, or not want, to receive if they became sick or injured and were incapable of communicating their wishes.
The revised AHD template is being developed following recommendations from the My Life My Choice Report and a subsequent Ministerial Expert Panel report on Advance Health Directives. The revised template is aimed at encouraging consumers to engage in advance care planning and to more easily document their health care preferences in writing.
Here is how to have your say:

  • Come along to a consultation workshopregistrations are open now. To register please visit health.wa.gov.au/AHDconsult.
  • The public workshops offer an opportunity for you to have face-to-face discussions and provide feedback into the development of the revised AHD template. There are workshops targeting specific groups:
  • Consumers and carers
  • Health professionals, (including GPs and clinical staff)
  • Aged care sector
  • Open workshop for all individuals.

The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and is open until Friday 4 September 2020.
Please visit health.wa.gov.au/AHDconsult for more information about the consultation workshops and online survey.




The University of Wollongong (UOW) Australia invites GP’s and GP registrars to participate in an interactive educational series that will be conducted by Medcast and evaluated by the University of Wollongong (UOW) on behalf of the funding body, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).
The sessions are designed to support best practice prescribing, pathology and diagnostic imaging ordering utilising My Health Record (MHR).
To enrol in the study and for further information please click here




Exercise is Medicine Australia (EIM)

Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) is a global initiative lead by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). EIM Australia is managed by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA).

EIM is a platform that provides complimentary resources and education to primary healthcare providers about the role of physical activity in the prevention and management of chronic disease. They aim to support healthcare professionals in their assessment, treatment, management and referral of patients with, or at risk of chronic disease. They offer:
  • Factsheets detailing exercise recommendations for the prevention and management of over 35 conditions. There are professional versions (for healthcare providers) and public versions (for patients and general community members) of each factsheet. exercise-is-medicine.png
  • Education for healthcare professionals, offering both online and face-to-face education. This training highlights the importance of exercise as medicine and introduces subsequent behaviour-change strategies that will enable professionals to assist their patients with the adoption of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. EIM education is accredited with the RACGP, ACRRM & APNA and is an opportunity for doctors and nurses to access complimentary CPD points.
Learn more by visiting the Exercise is Medicine website here or contact the EIM Project Officer via info@exerciseismedicine.org.au on 07 3171 9669.




COVID-19 HealthPathway updates

The following content updates have now been published:

COVID-19 Assessment and Management
  • Additional resources have been added and a section on preventive and social support has added to management.
Updated personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations based on the new WA Department of Health guidelines on the following pathways:  
Added information on the new telehealth changes from July 20 to the COVID-19 Telehealth and COVID-19 MBS Items pathways.
To access HealthPathways please email the HealthPathways team at healthpathways@wapha.org.au.




NPS MedicineWise webinar: Working together to enhance transitions of care for people with dementia

Using real-life case scenarios, the panel, consisting of a geriatrician, GP and nurse, will discuss the challenges of optimising transitions of care for people living with dementia.
This webinar has been developed in partnership with Dementia Training Australia.
Date:   Wednesday, 26 August 2020
Time:   7:00 – 8:00 pm AEST
Cost:    Free
For further information and to register please click here.
Learning outcomes
By the end of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Develop a management plan for each person, using a person-centred approach that involves the multidisciplinary team, to find non-pharmacological strategies to help manage behaviours 
  • Identify that antipsychotics or benzodiazepines have only specific and short-term uses in the management of people with dementia who show changed behaviours. 

Review and monitor patients who are taking psychotropic medicines to assess the risk of harm from continued psychotropic use, as well as the potential benefits of deprescribing.




Dementia Australia new and expanded services

To enable Dementia Australian to reach out to more people needing support and continue the work as the national peak body, they have expanded their hours on 1 July for the National Dementia Helpline which is now available nationally from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

They have also expanded their range of services designed to be accessed by and delivered to people via a range of modes, no matter where they live, which include a suite of programs and services:

  • The National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 extended operating hours
  • A new Post Diagnostic Support Program providing people who are newly diagnosed, their families and carers with one-to-one information and support 
  • Education courses for people living with dementia, their families and carers, including ‘Living with Dementia’ and the ‘Recently Diagnosed with Dementia’ program 
  • Counselling and carer support groups  
  • Services and supports to people diagnosed with Younger Onset Dementia
  • Information kits that can be downloaded from www.dementia.org.au
  • The National Dementia Library service, with the extensive collection available at  www.dementia.org.au/library
  • The Dementia Guide, which is useful at any stage but particularly on receiving a diagnosis, available at www.dementia.org.au
  • Ongoing awareness-raising activities and campaigns to tackle discrimination, including Dementia Action Week. 



Allocation of surgical masks from the National Medical Stockpile

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.
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




Updated advice on use of masks

The latest advice from the Infection Control Expert Group on the use of masks in the community is available here. This infographic and video explain how to correctly wear a mask. You can also find information on mask use in aged care facilities here if you have any visits planned.




WAPHA: Free general practice wellness program

WA Primary Health Alliance is offering FREE counselling support for all GPs and their practice staff across WA through the long established and experienced employee assistance program provider, AccessEAP, to support WA general practice teams, navigate the COVID-19 response
Further information is provided in the attached brochure.
When you call to access the service, you must identify as a Member of WA Primary Health Alliance.
To book a phone or video counselling appointment, you can call AccessEAP anytime on 1800 818 728.
GPs and practice staff can also contact Practice Assist on 1800 2 ASSIST with any questions about the program.




Health Promotion Events

Jeans for Genes Day is August 7

Every minute, 12 kids globally are born with a birth defect or incurable genetic disease. Many are at an even greater risk right now from COVID-19.

Jeans for Genes day is a fundraising and awareness campaign by the Children’s Medical Research Institute at Westmead. Their aim is to raise funds to support research into cures for children’s genetic diseases.

How you can get involved

  • Fundraise in your workplace by having a wear your denim day in person or virtually.
  • Hold a morning tea or bake off.
  • Buy merchandise from Jeans for Genes website
  • Make a donation.

Check out the Jeans for Genes website for great ideas!


Coming up soon…
Donate Life Week July 26-August 2
World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7
OCD and Anxiety Disorders Week August 4-10
Crazy Hair Day August 7
Red Nose Day August 14




Webinars and online training

All events are listed on our Webinars and Workshops page.

Healthdirect Video Call Familiarisation Webinars
Presented by Healthdirect
View a recorded session here
Recorded session
Online mental health case discussion and peer support group for GPs
Presented by Black Dog Institute
Multiple dates
The Evolving Relationship between Doctor and Practice Manager during COVID-19 and Beyond
Presented by AAPM
Tuesday 4 August
Hepatitis C in NSP Settings
Presented by ASHM
Tuesday 4 August
Wound Care (Broome)
Presented by Rural Health West in partnership with Australian Gov Department WA Country Health Service
Friday 7 August
GP Urgent Care Workshop 6 Month Evaluation
Presented by WAPHA
Thursday 13 August
GP Education Event - Ageing and Beyond:
Presented by Joondalup Health Campus in partnership with RACGP, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthPathways
Saturday 15 August
Responding to Disclosure of Sexual Assault
Presented by Women’s Health & Family Services
Tuesday 25 August
Understanding teenage boys
Presented by RACGP

Thursday 10 September
Improving Patient Outcomes and Experience
Presented by the Public Sector Network
Thursday 10 September
The Cutting Edge: Proceduralist Obstetrics and Gynaecological Skills
Presented by Rural Health West and CTEC
Friday 2 October
The Cutting Edge: Managing Skin and Soft Tissue Injuries
Presented by Rural Health West and CTEC
Friday 9 October
Environmental health: how climate change affects health and healthcare
Presented by RACGP
Thursday 29 October
Prepare for ePrescribing – free online course
Presented by Australian Digital Health Agency
Online training
COVID-19 Infection Control Training
Presented by Department of Health
Online training
Chronic Disease Management and Healthy Ageing Program
Presented by APNA
Online training


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.