Practice Connect #160



22 December 2022

A special thank you to our primary care heroes

As 2022 comes to a close, WA Primary Health Alliance would like to thank all of WA’s incredible general practice teams, who have worked tirelessly throughout the past 12 months to ensure our community can continue to access high quality primary health care. Your ability to keep your doors open in the face of constant change and critical workforce issues is truly remarkable.   Primary care has been instrumental in supporting the shift away from pandemic management to living with COVID and your contribution is greatly valued.

We wish you and your families a safe and happy festive season and look forward to continuing to work with you in 2023.


Practice Assist offices will be closed from 5pm on Friday 23 December 2022 and reopen on Tuesday 3 January 2023

Acknowledgement of Country 

WA Primary Health Alliance 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.

Throughout this newsletter, the term 'Aboriginal' is used to refer to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, unless stated otherwise.


Primary Sense


Primary Sense installations continue to increase in metro and country practices

The number of general practices that have successfully installed the Primary Sense data tool continues to increase in both metro and country locations.

The team at WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has been working hard to streamline the installation process, which currently takes less than an hour to complete with no impact on the capacity of the practice’s server.

After the installation of Primary Sense, depending on the size of the practice, it can take a few days to a few weeks to start extracting data and accessing it on workstations within the practice.

General practitioners have been providing positive reviews about Primary Sense’s clinical decision support, real-time medication alerts and patient-care prompts.

To find out more about the benefits of Primary Sense for clinicians, register for the upcoming webinars on Thursday 12 January or Tuesday 24 January next year.

View the meeting recording and Primary Sense - Benefits to General Practice slide information pack here from our previous webinars.

For further information about Primary Sense, visit the Primary Sense Tool Kit, email the Practice Assist team via or call 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).



COVID-19 Updates


VOC Xmas Closure and Opening Hours

The Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) will be closed from 3pm AEDT Friday 23 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023 inclusive

From Tuesday 3 January 2023 VOC regular operating hours will resume:

VOC Operating Hours from Tuesday 3 January 2023

Monday - Friday 8.30am - 7.00pm AEDT
Saturday 9.00am - 3.00pm AEDT


COVID-19 vaccine and consumables delivery dates 2023:

  • Orders that were placed between Saturday 3 December 2022 and Friday 16 December 2022 will be delivered by requested delivery date (RDD) Friday 13 January 2023.
  • Orders placed between Saturday 17 December 2022 and Friday 6 January 2023 will be delivered by RDD Friday 20 January 2023.
  • Orders placed from 7 January 2023 onwards will be delivered in normal delivery timeframes.


FREE RATs from WA Government

To ensure the community continues to have access to COVID-19 testing, the WA Government Health is providing RATs for your patients and staff at no cost, via single drop off or arranged collection by tomorrow, 23 December 2022.

Requestors can complete sections 1, 3, 4 and 5 only (not Section 2: Invoicing details) of the RAT Request Form and email it direct to  Eligible recipients will not be invoiced for RATs.

For requests of one pallet (5,000 RATs) or more, the WA Department of Health may be able to deliver the RATs to your organisation via a single drop or you may arrange to collect the RATs from their warehouse. 

For amounts of less than 5,000 RATs, organisations may collect the RATs from a WA Government drive-through in metropolitan or regional locations listed here.

Requestors will need to confirm the RATs can be stored appropriately (between 4 and 30 degrees, in a secure location).



COVID-19 Bulletin #3: 16 December  

WA Health has released its latest COVID-19 Bulletin.
Key updates:

  • COVID-safe holiday period gatherings
  • Evidence of being a confirmed case
  • SCGH post-COVID syndrome referrals
  • EMHS post-COVID syndrome referrals
  • Holiday period COVID Clinic hours

​​Read the full COVID-19 Bulletin here

PPE program has ceased

The Australian Government has confirmed that the distribution of PPE through the Living with COVID measure will cease on 31 December 2022 and no deliveries will be made after this date.

Due to the Christmas holidays and lead time for processing of orders, the last day for submission of orders to the department from PHNs was COB 14 December 2022.

Some PPE distribution measures will continue, including support for residential aged care facilities (RACFs) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) with more information about these measures to come.


GP Respiratory Clinics

Some GP Respiratory Clinics will remain open over the holiday period, with an operational extension to help with the current COVID-19 wave across Australia.

Find a WA GP Respiratory Clinic and check availability here.



Immunisation & Cancer Screening Updates

New National Cancer Screening Register Website

The NCSR have launched a new National Cancer Screening Register website. 
They have: 

  • Changed the way it looks and works so it's easier to use, including improved navigation through an expanded homepage and main menu 
  • Reorganised our content so it's easier to find 
  • Rewritten our content so it's easier to understand 
  • Improved navigation and search 

What do you need to do? 

All URLs from the old website will automatically re-direct to relevant pages on the new website. However, it’s advisable that you update any links on your website to pages, webforms or PDF assets from the old National Screening  website at your earliest convenience. 


ATAGI clinical guidance on vaccination against mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) 

ATAGI has updated their clinical guidance on the use of smallpox vaccine for protection against mpox virus infection. 

Read the update here



Leukaemia Foundation – Regional, Rural and Remote outreach

Support is available to people diagnosed with blood cancer from diagnosis.

The Leukaemia foundation have blood cancer support coordinators in all metro locations and some rural areas.

Health care professionals are encouraged to complete the referral form to assist your patient with the following care: 



NCIRS Immunisation Education

NCIRS provided free webinars in 2022 covering the following topics: 

  • Living with COVID-19: Getting back to immunisation business as usual
  • Preventing shingles (herpes zoster) and its complications using zoster vaccines
  • Managing seasonal respiratory viruses: Flu and SARS-CoV-2 Winter 2022
  • Emerging vaccine preventable diseases and vaccination for travel and Monkeypox vaccines

These webinar are all available for viewing now here


Important Practice Updates

Release of updated RACGP Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines

The RACGP has released its updated Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines, to provide general practices and other office-based and community-based practices with practical guidance on managing infection risks. Topics include advice on:

  • IPC principles, hand hygiene and PPE;
  • managing risks to staff;
  • managing the practice environment and equipment;
  • managing outbreaks; and
  • practice setup.

The update includes changing the name and intent of the document from “standards” to “guidelines” - recognising that practices will not be accredited against the ICP guidelines, but may refer to them in meeting criteria for the broader Standards for General Practices. In particular the Guidelines aim to assist practices with planning and implementing high standards of infection prevention and control in their workplaces.
The RACGP intends to manage the Guidelines as a living document, with updates as new evidence and review outcomes become available.
The Guidelines will support GPs to provide care to patients with COVID, as well as other infectious diseases.


Adopt a Non-Judgemental Approach to Alcohol & Other Dugs Over the Festive Season

The Guidelines of the management of comorbidity state patients who have experienced discrimination and stigma, will hesitate to share their desired need of help, in relation to their AOD use.  Adopting an equitable, judgement-free, culturally safe approach, will calm distressed patients, turning a confrontational situation to a soothing one.

With the holiday season approaching, it is an opportune time to ensure patients with Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) challenges are safe to share their concerns, whether related to their AOD use or other health concerns. It is fundamental patients feel safe, respected, and protected; to feel their condition does not define them.

A local WA Addiction Medicine Specialist shared tools and tips during an early session of the Alcohol & Other Drug Network:

  • Do not hesitate to reach out to a person who shows signs of needing help.
  • Address the factors that impact health, including financial, social, and mental, as the opportunities arise. Engaging with the person over time will impact a better health outcome.
  • Demonstrate unconditional positive regard, empathy, and care.

A tool to support the significant others of patients with AOD substance use disorders:​​


D Dump – at the beginning of the consult, let the patient ‘dump’ or unload their concerns about the significant other.
A Address – as the person unloads their story, take a mental note of the things you may like to address. Provide information about treatment services, short- and long-term impact of drugs, or answer questions that arise.
R Response Consider with the person how they are choosing to respond the situation. Explore the different choices of responses, including what worked, what did not work, and the concerns they still may have. Explain that every person deals with the situation differently depending on the boundaries accepted and important to them.
T Talk – Explore with the patient the best time to have a difficult conversation and encourage to not have difficult conversation whilst the significant other is drug affected or when people are angry. Use ‘I’ language to reflect on how the significant other is impacting you.
S Sustain – Give patients permission to refocus on themselves, by asking the patient, ‘how are you going through this?’, ‘how are you coping?’, allowing them to have their own life.

If you wish to engage with AOD services supports for GPs over the holiday season, please refer to the list below:

  • Drug and alcohol clinical advisory service – 6553 0520 8am-8pm access to AOD specialist advice.
  • Next Step –  on call doctor after hours (clinicians only) - 9442 5042 Specialist AOD advice after 8pm, weekdays, weekends and public holidays.
  • Medicare prescription shopper service – 800 631 181, yes/ no answer
  • Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch 9222 6883
  • HealthPathways WA website For login details- contact HealthPathways or email                                                            


New proposed laws for a fairer workplace relations system: a guide for employers

On Thursday 27 October, the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 (Bill) was introduced to Federal Parliament in what’s being called the most significant proposed change to Australian industrial relations legislation for many years. This Bill will have direct implications for all workers and seeks to create job stability, fair pay and gender equality, and new protections for employees with the long-term aim of boosting productivity gains and economic output. Read more here.


New RACGP resource: Summer Planning Toolkit

The RACGP’s recently launched Summer Planning Toolkit gives practices information on emergency preparedness, epidemics and chronic disease, along with advice on keeping you and your patients safe and healthy during summer. It also identifies the accreditation alignment and requirements within the Standards for general practices (5th edition).

Access the Summer Planning Toolkit



Sepsis Digital Pocket Book - Pre-Launch Weekly Lecture

The Pocketbook of Sepsis is a digital library of high-impact, evidence-based lectures from peer-reviewed international experts aiming to put world-expert knowledge in the pockets of health professionals, and in particular those working in lower resource settings.
In the lead up to the January 2023 launch of the Pocketbook of Sepsis we bring you a free weekly presentation from an international speaker.
This week Professor Tom van der Poll presents a 'Sepsis Immunology Overview'.

Watch the video here


My Aged Care

The My Aged Care contact centre (1800 200 422) and provider and assessor helpline (1800 836 799) will be closed on the following national public holidays over Christmas and New Year:

  • Sunday 25 December 2022
  • Monday 26 December 2022
  • Tuesday 27 December 2022
  • Sunday 1 January 2023
  • Monday 2 January 2023
Otherwise, normal contact centre hours will apply:
  • 8am to 8pm weekdays
  • 10am to 2pm Saturdays
Star Ratings
  • Providers having any concerns about IT or technical errors should contact the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline on 1800 836 799 and select '4 Technical Help desk'.
  • For general Star Ratings enquiries, contact the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422.



Medication issue in some WA Health Discharge Summaries
28 September 2022 – 23 October 2022

An intermittent issue may have affected the medication section of the PDF of WA Health discharge summaries generated between 28 September 2022 to 23 October 2022. These may have been sent to practices via secure messaging, fax and/or as a printed letter.

It has been identified that, where a page break interrupts the patient medication list, the name of the last medication on the previous page may have been repeated immediately above the name of the first medication on the next page.

WA Health is going to resend all potentially affected summaries that were generated during this period that were sent via secure messaging or fax (where they have not already been replaced by a newer version).

You will be notified in advance of the data of this resend. Please check any summaries received on that data and replace your existing versions as required.

If you receive a summary that appears identical to one you’ve already received before, please check the medication section for errors at the tops of pages and delete the previous summary from your system if the medication error above has occurred.

If you find any other discharge summary affected by the above issue that requires correction and a resend, please contact These will be manually updated and re-sent to you.



Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument for oral amoxicillin

The TGA has made a Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument (SSSI) to assist with timely access to oral amoxicillin medicines currently in shortage.
There is a shortage of oral amoxicillin medicines in Australia. All strengths and presentations of oral amoxicillin medicines are impacted by the shortage and there are likely to be periods of unavailability of each presentation until May 2023.

More information about the SSSI can be found on the TGA website: Serious Scarcity Substitution Instruments (SSSIs).

The TGA will publish updates about the supply of amoxicillin medicines on the Medicine Shortage Reports Database.
Visit the TGA medicine shortages page for more information about shortages.



Do you need to update your National Authentication Service for Health (NASH)?


What is NASH?

All healthcare provider organisations must transition to NASH SHA-2 by 31 December 2022 to maintain access to important digital health tools such as electronic prescribing, secure messaging and My Health Record.

NASH is a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solution used to access digital health services such as:
  • Electronic prescribing
  • My Health Record
  • Secure messaging
  • Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service

How to update your NASH Certificate

To check if you have the required SHA-2 certificate or for further details on how to update your certificate, please click here.

Need further assistance?

If you would like further information please visit our Digital Health Tool Kit page on our website, or contact the Practice Assist team on 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 22 77 478).



Practice Assist Tool Kit

The Practice Assist website is home to resources developed to support general practice covering a range of topics including Aboriginal Health, Accreditation, Business Management and more. 

Click through to view our resources! 



Education & Events



Webinars - Primary Sense for Clinicians

​Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
12 January 2023 ( 8.00am to 8.30am AWST)
24 January 2023 (6.00pm to 6.30pm AWST)

Primary Sense is an easy-to-use clinical decision support, population health management and data extraction tool that helps GPs deliver the right care to patients at the right time. It is easy to use with little or no training to get started, and includes the world’s leading population health analytic software, real-time medication safety alerts and patient care prompts. Primary Sense was designed by GP’s for GP's in conjunction with data experts and researchers. WAPHA invites Practice Principals, Practice Managers and Practice decision makers to this interactive webinar for the opportunity to learn more about Primary Sense and how it could benefit the clinicians at your practice.

View the flyer here 
Register 12 January
Register 24 January


Mental Health Professionals’ Network’s 2023 National Online Conference

Presented by Mental Health Professionals' Network (MHPN)
28-30 March 2023

ALL TOGETHER BETTER – Collaborative Mental Health Care in a Changing World

This fully online, interactive conference will explore how both our collective and individual experiences over recent years have affected mental health service providers and their clients, and provide a space for practitioners to reflect, learn and network in a structured and supportive environment.

The conference is free to attend for all Australian mental health professionals, however places are limited.

Register now to secure your spot

Other Webinars, Events & Workshops

BreastScreen WA visit to Pemberton
Presented by BreastScreen WA
4  to 17 January
BreastScreen WA visit to Hyden
Presented by BreastScreen WA
6 to 10 January
BreastScreen WA visit to Margaret River
Presented by BreastScreen WA
11 January to 30 March
BreastScreen WA visit to Corrigin
Presented by BreastScreen WA
10 to 17 January 
BreastScreen WA visit to Gingin
Presented by BreastScreen WA
13 to 31 January 
MIA Nurse Webinar: Managing Immunotherapy Side Effects
Presented by Melanoma Institute Australia
14 February
Sexual Health Fundamentals for Nurses and Midwives
Presented by ASHM
28 March
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.