Winter Strategy 2022

Winter Strategy 2022

Support with getting your practice prepared for the winter season. 

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Government Funded influenza vaccines still free for all West Australians

Free Jab June and July has now ended, and while vaccines administered from August onwards are not eligible for reimbursement, providers are encouraged to continue to administer government-funded vaccines to all West Australians including those who are not usually eligible to receive a free vaccination via the National Immunisation Program (NIP) or ongoing state-funded programs.
 
The Department of Health encourages participating GPs, community pharmacies and AMSs to continue providing the WA community with opportunistic influenza vaccinations as influenza cases remain high. You are encouraged to use your remaining government-funded influenza vaccine stocks and order more if required


NEW MBS Items - Assessment for COVID-19 oral anti-viral medications by telephone consultation

Effective 19 July 2022, new MBS items will be available for telephone consultations
for the purposes of assessing patients’ suitability for oral anti-viral medications. 

These items are available if the patient has confirmed a positive COVID-19 result through
RAT or PCR test and will be available temporarily until 31 October 2022.

 

See your GP – Keep your health on track campaign: communication tools for practices

See your GP – Keep your health on track campaign: communication tools for practices

See your GP – Keep your health on track campaign: communication tools for practices

WA Primary Health Alliance has prepared a new See Your GP campaign to help patients keep their health on track.
 
In a rapidly changing and challenging environment, general practices are busier than ever. Many practices are involved in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations, facing staff shortages, and all have had to put new procedures in place to manage infection risk.
 
Simultaneously, some patients are putting off routine checks for chronic conditions. Others may be confused about how to access their GP, if they should be making routine appointments, and have concerns over their exposure to COVID-19 when visiting the practice.
 
Patients need to understand and navigate changes to the way primary health care is being delivered. They need to feel comfortable that their heath care needs can still be met in a safe and effective way. Additionally, as we move into our first winter where we are living with COVID in the community, it is more important than ever to remind patients of the importance of having their influenza vaccination.
 
This campaign is designed to support practice staff with tools and resources to educate and reassure patients to keep their health on track.
 
It was informed by feedback from members of a GP Advisory Panel WA Primary Health Alliance runs in partnership with RACGP WA and Rural Health West.
 
This campaign is designed for your practice to use on your own communication channels such as website, social media, in practice and voicemail. Many of the resources can be customised to meet your practice’s needs.

It includes;
  • Content for your website
  • Social media imagery
  • Explainer videos on the way care may be different, telehealth, e-prescribing, and the importance of continuing regular care.
  • A script for your on-hold phone recording and voicemail
  • Links to useful websites, and more.


We will be adding new resources from time to time so please check back over the next few weeks. 

Access our See your GP Campaign Resources here
 

Videos to share with your patients

Find a range of videos and images below to share on social media with suggested messages, wording for your Practice website, a patient guide, an on-hold recording script, and more.

VIEW CAMPAIGN VIDEOS HERE


The 2022 Influenza Immunisation Season

Influenza Planning

The 2022 Influenza Immunisation Season 

Vaccination against influenza is important this year with the Australian community potentially more vulnerable to the virus.

With the easing of international and domestic public health measures arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic, a resurgence of influenza is expected in 2022, with the Australian community potentially more vulnerable to the virus this Winter.

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Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all people aged 6 months and over (unless contraindicated). The National Immunisation Program (NIP) funds influenza vaccines for people most at risk.

The public are encouraged to start to book their appointments from mid-April to ensure the best protection at the peak of the season which is usually between June and September.

Influenza Immunisation – available clinical resources for providers

Influenza immunisation – available promotional resources for practices

Influenza Immunisation – available promotional resources for practices

An extensive range of resources has been provided below which provide information about getting vaccinated against influenza in 2022, including information on:

  • why and when you should get vaccinated against influenza
  • who is eligible for a free influenza vaccine under the National Immunisation Program
  • influenza vaccine safety
 

Resources

 

Influenza reimbursement scheme June and July 2022

Influenza reimbursement scheme June and July 2022

During June and July 2022, all persons in Western Australia had the opportunity to receive a free flu vaccination during June and July (external site). This initiative was developed to provide greater access to influenza vaccines in 2022 for the WA community, to protect them against influenza.

Free Jab June and July has now ended, and while vaccines administered from August onwards are not eligible for reimbursement, providers are encouraged to continue to administer government-funded vaccines to all West Australians.

More information click here  
 

Have a chat to parents of under-fives about influenza

Have a chat to parents of under-fives about influenza

In WA, more than 60 per cent of people aged 65 years and over have received an influenza vaccine, while only 12 per cent of children aged six months to four-years-old have received a vaccine.
 
This age group is at high risk of complications from influenza and for some, this year will be the first time they are exposed to the virus, as COVID-19 measures offered them greater protection over the past two years.
 
Children in this age group cannot receive an influenza vaccine at pharmacies or State vaccination clinics and rely on GPs to administer them.
 
It is hoped that GPs can have a chat to parents of children in this age group about influenza, vaccines, and administer opportunistic vaccines as needed.
 
This age group would also benefit from being included when practices prioritise influenza vaccine appointments.

Further information can be found here 


 

2022 Winter Planning for COVID -19

Winter booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Winter booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines

ATAGI updated recommendations for the Winter Dose includes over 30s in winter dose rollout



The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated its recommendations for who can receive a winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine as Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant infections surge in Australia.
 
The updated recommendations are: 
  • Adults aged 50 to 64 years are recommended to receive a winter booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Adults aged 30 to 49 years can receive a winter booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, however the benefit for people in this age group is less certain.
  • The interval recommended between a recent SARS-CoV-2 infection or the first booster dose and a winter booster dose is now 3 months.
Practices can begin vaccinating those newly eligible from Monday, 11 July.
 
ATAGI emphasises that people previously eligible for a winter booster dose remain at higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 and should receive a winter booster dose as soon as possible.
 
Read more about the new updated ATAGI recommendations for the winter dose.
 
Please find all the  latest updates to clinical guidance for COVID-19 vaccine  from the Department of Health here
 

Co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines

Co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines

Please be reminded that a COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with other vaccines, including an influenza vaccine and routine childhood and adolescent vaccines, if required. There have been reports of families being advised to book separate appointments for COVID-19 and other vaccines.

ATAGI advises that there are no minimum intervals between COVID-19 vaccination and other routine vaccination (i.e. HPV, dTpa, or meningococcal ACWY vaccines) on the basis that the benefits of ensuring timely vaccination to protect from vaccine-preventable diseases outweigh any potential risks associated with immunogenicity, local adverse reactions, or fever. 

When co-administering a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine, it is recommended to administer the vaccine in different limbs. 

For more information on the clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

See useful patient resources here

Winter specific COVID-19 vaccine promotional campaign

Department of Health  Resources

COVID-19 Vaccination – Video – Dr Aleeta explains why you should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose

COVID-19 vaccination – Video – Dr Aleeta explains why you should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose

Dr Aleeta explains why you should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.

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Click on image to view the video or click here

MBS Item for the assessment of COVID-19 oral anti-viral medications by telephone consultation

MBS Item for the assessment of COVID-19 oral anti-viral medications by telephone consultation

Commencing 19 July 2022, and available until 31 October 2022, two new temporary MBS item have been made available to support medical practitioners with treating COVID-19 positive patients.

The two new items 93716 (for General Practitioners) and 93717 (for Other Medical Practitioners) will be available for medical practitioners working in a general practice setting to assess a patients suitability to receive a prescription for a COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment via a telehealth phone consultation lasting at least 20 minutes (25 minutes for OMPs). The new items are specific to services for eligible Medicare patients nationally who have confirmed their COVID-19 infection via a laboratory test (PCR) or by a Rapid Antigen Test.

The Medicare benefits for the new temporary items will be paid at 85% of the schedule fee and are equivalent to the benefit paid for other time-tiered consultation items of equivalent duration

Further information is available in the following fact sheet

Health organisation access to funding  for vaccinating vulnerable populations

Vulnerable Populations Vaccination Program

We are looking to support organisations by providing funding to vaccinate:
  • Homeless / street present
  • Those who do not have a Medicare card or who are ineligible for Medicare
  • Culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse populations
  • Asylum seekers & refugees
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

For example, an activity we can fund may include staffing support including administration, clinical staff and other staff involved in engagement activities focused on vaccination (noting that we are unable to fund activities not related to vaccination and there must be no duplication of activities already provided or funded in line with WA DoH and DoH guidelines)

For more information, please  view the Vulnerable Populations Vaccination Program flyer

Non-Medicare COVID-19 Vaccination GP Reimbursement Information

Non-Medicare COVID-19 Vaccination GP Reimbursement Information

We can provide general practices reimbursement to the value of the relevant MBS item number to support non-Medicare patients being vaccinated against COVID-19.  Historical vaccination claims will be accepted post 1 September 2021, however initially we would welcome a discussion with any general practice looking to submit a historical reimbursement claim to ensure the remaining applicable doses are administered.

The invoicing process and requirements for reports from practices will be minimal (reports would include: numbers vaccinated, dose interval and any good news stories).

Please contact the Practice Assist team for further information.

Practice Resources for Winter Planning

Winter Strategy Practice Essentials – Getting your practice ready

Winter Strategy Practice Essentials – Getting your practice ready

This year, with the potential for a high number of influenza and other respiratory pathogen cases, it is all the more important to review aspects of your practice which could be impacted by COVID and the Flu. The Winter Strategy Practice Essentials Checklist includes important considerations for your practice for the coming winter season.

View the checklist here

RACGP - Winter Planning Toolkit

RACGP - Winter Planning Toolkit

The RACGP has a new Winter Planning Toolkit to assist GP practices to safely manage COVID and influenza patients in their practices. 

The Winter Planning Toolkit highlights key priorities and principles of:

  • infection prevention and control
  • workforce protection and planning
  • processes for patient management
  • managing the risk of cross infection
  • health and wellbeing of staff

View the Winter Planning Toolkit here

See your GP – Keep your health on track campaign: communication tools for practices

See your GP – Keep your health on track campaign: communication tools for practices

WA Primary Health Alliance has prepared a new See Your GP campaign to help patients keep their health on track.
 
In a rapidly changing and challenging environment, general practices are busier than ever. Many practices are involved in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations, facing staff shortages, and all have had to put new procedures in place to manage infection risk.
 
Simultaneously, some patients are putting off routine checks for chronic conditions. Others may be confused about how to access their GP, if they should be making routine appointments, and have concerns over their exposure to COVID-19 when visiting the practice.
 
Patients need to understand and navigate changes to the way primary health care is being delivered. They need to feel comfortable that their heath care needs can still be met in a safe and effective way. Additionally, as we move into our first winter where we are living with COVID in the community, it is more important than ever to remind patients of the importance of having their influenza vaccination.
 
This campaign is designed to support practice staff with tools and resources to educate and reassure patients to keep their health on track.
 
It was informed by feedback from members of a GP Advisory Panel WA Primary Health Alliance runs in partnership with RACGP WA and Rural Health West.
 
This campaign is designed for your practice to use on your own communication channels such as website, social media, in practice and voicemail. Many of the resources can be customised to meet your practice’s needs.

It includes;
  • Content for your website
  • Social media imagery
  • Explainer videos on the way care may be different, telehealth, e-prescribing, and the importance of continuing regular care.
  • A script for your on-hold phone recording and voicemail
  • Links to useful websites, and more.


We will be adding new resources from time to time so please check back over the next few weeks. 

Access our See your GP Campaign Resources here
 

Videos to share with your patients

Find a range of videos and images below to share on social media with suggested messages, wording for your Practice website, a patient guide, an on-hold recording script, and more.

VIEW CAMPAIGN VIDEOS HERE


Using My Health Record to access immunisation information

Using My Health Record to access immunisation information

Talking COVID and Flu – Professor Chris Blyth Short Videos for Practice staff

Talking COVID and Flu – Professor Chris Blyth Short Videos for Practice staff

The Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS), in conjunction with Professor Chris Blyth (Infectious Disease Physician), have developed a series of short informational videos for healthcare providers, to facilitate discussions surrounding influenza and COVID-19.

'Talking COVID and Flu' with Professor Chris Blyth covers a range of topics, including: These videos were not developed for public viewing so have an internal focus but we hope providers find these videos beneficial.
 

Quality Improvement (QI)

Identifying patients at risk from influenza

Using Quality Improvement (QI) to target at risk patients in your practice

As the public health measures are eased in WA, it has been highlighted that we may see a steady rise in the Influenza rates this year. Some of the most vulnerable patients in our communities will be at high risk of contracting the flu. This year it is even more important to get the flu vaccine and practices may consider looking at how they will deliver their flu vaccine program in 2022 and ensure they are not missing any of their patients that fall into the high-risk category.  

The PIP QI Incentive rewards practices for participating in continuous Quality Improvement activities in partnership and with the support of their local Primary Health Network.  There are ten specified Quality Improvement measures (QIM) to assist practices meeting their requirements for PIP QI, three of which are listed below and directly related to immunisation against flu.

4. Proportion of patients aged 65 and over who were immunised against influenza.
5. Proportion of patients with diabetes who were immunised against influenza.
6. Proportion of patients with COPD who were immunised against influenza.


General practices sharing unidentified patient data with WA Primary Health Alliance or their local PHN, have been provided access to the Pen CS suite of tools. Using Pen CS practices can access recipes to identify various cohorts of patients and patient groups to assist with their Quality Improvement activities.

You can view our Demonstrating Quality Improvement and Influenza Vaccine Promotion webinar recording that was held in supporting Practices in the June and July Vaccination Program.

Should you require any further assistance, please contact Practice Assist 1800 2 ASSIST (277 478) or practiceassist@wapha.org.au and our friendly team will put you in touch with your QI coach and Navigator who will be more than happy to support your practice.

 

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GP Respiratory Clinics & COVID Care at Home

GP Respiratory Clinics available to see your symptomatic patients face-to-face

GP Respiratory Clinics available to see your symptomatic patients face-to-face

As the WA health sector responds to the increase of COVID-19 infections in the community, GP Respiratory Clinics (GPRCs) are available to see your symptomatic or COVID positive patients (both adults and children) face-to-face and via telehealth. GPRCs provide assessment and management for COVID-19, and are not just testing centres. They can follow up with COVID-19 positive patients who require clinical support.

This may be a good option if your practice cannot see them safely, reducing the risk of infection to staff and other patients. It also provides an option for COVID-19 positive telehealth patients that you think may need a face-to-face examination that cannot be done at your practice


Read more and book an appointment here

COVID Care at Home

COVID Care at Home

On 31 January, the WA Department of Health launched COVID Care at Home  

The free service delivers home monitoring care for COVID-positive people who require it due to having risk factors which put them at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation.

WA COVID Care at Home will enrol patients based on risk factors such as age, vaccination status, medical history and social factors.

COVID Care at Home patients will receive calls from the health care team to check their vital health signs and welfare. 

COVID Care at Home patients may be provided with a pulse oximeter.

Patients can find COVID care at home via the Managing COVID-19 at home and in the community webpage which has advice on symptoms, infection prevention, testing and self-care. 
 

HealthPathways

HealthPathways WA Immunisation pathways

HealthPathways WA Influenza Immunisation pathways


Influenza HealthPathways

In preparation for flu season the HealthPathways WA team is currently undertaking a review of the following pathways within the immunisation suite:


COVID-19 HealthPathways

Antiviral Information

Antiviral information can be found on the COVID-19 Assessment and Management pathway under the heading ‘Antiviral and Monoclonal Antibody Reference Guide’. Information listed of particular interest includes how to access treatment and the WA Department of Health (WA Health) COVID-19 Emergency Treatment Approval Forms which enables access to WA Health’s supply from the National Medical Stockpile. Please note these forms can only be completed by registered medical practitioners and the form links cannot be shared, bookmarked, or saved.


To gain access to the HealthPathways website email the HealthPathways team at healthpathways@wapha.org.au
 

2022 Influenza immunisation – education & training for immunisation providers

2022 WA Health Influenza Online Education Module – now LIVE

There are several webinars and online modules available to update providers on the 2022 influenza immunisation program.
 

2022 WA Health Influenza Online Education Module – now LIVE

The WA Department of Heath 2022 influenza online education module is now LIVE. The influenza module has been developed to support immunisation providers to undertake an annual refresher on this topic and provides the user with up-to-date information for the upcoming 2022 influenza season.

In order to access the influenza module, as well as the full library of Immunisation Update modules, users are required to complete a registration form. Your request will be responded to within 3 working days. Please note: please look out for an email from Rise Education with a link to complete the modules.

Once access is provided, users will have two weeks to complete the module and obtain a copy of their certificate. Please note: user access to the platform will be automatically removed at the end of the two-week period. WA Health does not keep a record of any assessments or certificates, and it is up to the user to save a copy for their records

2022 Influenza immunisation – education & training (past webinar recordings)

Immunisation Update for Nurses – webinar recording available

Immunisation Update for Nurses – webinar recording available

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance and Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC)
 
Topics covered in this webinar included:

  • Promoting immunisation uptake
  • National Immunisation Program (NIP) – changes and updates
  • Pneumococcal and Meningococcal programs
  • AIR and PRODA (HPOS)
  • Immunisation education – online modules
  • Cold chain
  • Adverse event reporting processes
  • Formulating catch-up immunisation plans
  • 2022 Influenza Vaccination Program update
Presenters:
  • Susie Ridderhof, Clinical Nurse Specialist-Immunisation, Metro CDC
  • Jennifer Cake, WAPHA Program Coordinator – Immunisation & Cancer Screening
  • Sam McMillan, Primary Care QI Manager, WAPHA
View the recording here
 

Winter Preparedness Webinar for GPs – Recording now available

Winter Preparedness Webinar for GPs – Recording now available

This webinar, held on 2nd May, is for general practitioners/primary care providers. The panel provide key updates and answer the questions of participants on COVID-19 and influenza preventions and treatments.

The webinar recording can be viewed here

Winter Preparedness:  Update on Covid and influenza antiviral prescribing – Recording now available

Winter Preparedness:  Update on Covid and influenza antiviral prescribing

With flu season just around the corner and COVID cases continuing to climb, we're pleased to present the next antiviral update for GPs. We cover all the important updates on COVID antivirals, pre-exposure prevention for COVID and updates on Tamiflu.

Using the latest advice and evidence, this webinar covers:
  • A brief refresher on molnopuravir and paxlovid, including practical advice on efficacy, indications and contraindications
  • the use of pre-prophylaxis medication (Evusheld), indications and access via NMS
  • Tamiflu indications and use (Including RACFS - when to use and the implications in the pandemic)
  • access to these medications
  • the use of sotrovimab
  • HealthPathways update
View the recording here

Managing seasonal respiratory viruses: Flu and SARS-CoV-2 Winter 2022 - Recording now available

Managing seasonal respiratory viruses: Flu and SARS-CoV-2 Winter 2022

This webinar hosted by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) was recorded on Tuesday 05 April 2022, and chaired by Professor Kristine Macartney. Watch the recording to find out what you need to know to be prepared for influenza and COVID-19 vaccination in 2022.

View the webinar here

WA Immunisation Program 2022 Influenza Update - Recording now available

WA Immunisation Program 2022 Influenza Update - Recording now available

On Wednesday 23 March 2022, the Immunisation Program, Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Department of Health hosted the ‘2022 WA Influenza Update’ for all immunisation providers in WA.

The full recording of the Influenza Update, as well as the presentation PDFs are now available to access on the Immunisation Education webpage, under the ‘Immunisation Education Update sessions’ heading.

View the Immunisation Education webpage here

The Immunisation Coalition’s 2022 Influenza Vaccination Webinar - Recording now available

The Immunisation Coalition’s 2022 Influenza Vaccination Webinar

The Immunisation Coalition’s annual update on Influenza Vaccination for GPs, Immunisation Nurses, Pharmacists, and other immunisation professionals.
This webinar provides the latest information on influenza vaccines for 2022, as well as everything you need to know about influenza vaccination during the pandemic.

View webinar here

Winter preparedness - Preparing your aged care service for Winter Response - Recording now available

Webinar recording available: Winter preparedness - Response

The Department is hosting a series of free webinars to help aged care providers to be ready for, respond to and recover from winter viruses such as influenza, as well as continuing to respond to the threat of COVID-19.

The second Winter Preparedness webinar was held on Thursday 2 June 2022 and is now available to watch on demand: Preparing your aged care service for winter – Response. The session included a moderated Q&A session with Departmental officials.
 
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.

Disclaimer
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.