Practice Connect #187


25 January 2024

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

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.



Practice Updates


MyMedicare patient registration

Manually accepting patient initiated registrations through the Medicare Online App

When practices register for MyMedicare they have an option to set a preference on how registrations initiated by patients through the Medicare Online App (MOA) are accepted.
If a patient completes a registration in MOA with a practice who has elected to manually accept registrations, it will show in the MyMedicare system as pending (or not complete), until the practice has accepted or declined the registration. 
Services Australia advises there are a significant number of pending registrations which have not been accepted by practices. If a pending registration is dormant awaiting acceptance from the practice for more than 30 days, it will expire, and the patient will need to re-register in MyMedicare.
More information on preference settings in MyMedicare can be found on page 27 of the Services Australia MYMEDM02 Managing Patient Registrations module.

Supporting patients with MyMedicare Registration

To complete registration for your patients in the MyMedicare system, practices are required to enter the patient information collected on hard copy MyMedicare registration form into the  Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) website.  The practice must keep a copy of the signed form with the patient’s clinical records. For further information on how to work the patient registration forms see the Services Australia eLearning Module.
Services Australia is unable to process hardcopy registration forms and are unable to register patients in the system if they receive hardcopy forms.
If your practice has questions regarding the registration process, you can access education materials via the Services Australia Health Professional Education website or contact a Medicare Engagement Officer at Services Australia on 132 150.

Clarified eligibility criteria for Residential Aged Care Homes residents

A minor change has been made to the patient registration form to clarify eligibility for residential Aged Care Home residents. 
RACH residents are eligible for MyMedicare if they have a Medicare or DVA card and received two in person appointments with their regular practice in the preceding 24 months, or one appointment in rural and remote areas. These in person appointments can be provided at the practice, in the patient’s home or at a residential aged care home.
Under eligibility criteria the updated form now reads “You’ve had 2 or more face-to-face appointments with your regular general practice or health service in the past two years.”
The updated patient registration form can be found on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

MyMedicare Terms and Conditions now on Medicare App

MyMedicare Terms and Conditions are now available via the  Australian Government Department of Health website and have been integrated into the Medicare Online App (MOA).


Summer Preparedness for Primary Care Providers

As the temperature rises and the days become hotter, primary care providers can be prepared to address the unique healthcare needs that arise during the summer season. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed a comprehensive Summer Preparedness Module to guide healthcare professionals in providing optimal care during this time. The RACGP modules can be found here.

Key pieces of information from the RACGP module have been outlined below:

Heat Related Illness

  • Primary healthcare professionals should be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, as well as the appropriate management strategies.
  • Educate patients on the importance of staying hydrated, wearing appropriate clothing, and seeking shade during peak sun hours.
By staying vigilant and educating patients, primary care providers can help prevent and manage heat-related illnesses effectively.

Sun Protection

  • Primary care providers should be knowledgeable about skin cancer screening and referral pathways, ensuring that patients receive timely and appropriate care.
  • Educate patients about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and the increased risk of skin cancer.
Encouraging patients to use sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and to engage in sun smart behaviour can help reduce the impacts of sun exposure this summer.

Insect-borne diseases

  • Primary care providers can also be prepared to diagnose and manage these diseases, including appropriate testing and treatment options.

By remaining aware of local prevalence of diseases such as mosquito-borne viruses and tick-borne illnesses, primary care providers can support their practice and patients this summer.

Summer preparedness is important for primary care providers to support the well-being of their patients, staff and their own wellbeing during the warmer months. The RACGP Summer Preparedness Modules provide a valuable resource for healthcare professionals, offering guidance on heat-related illnesses, sun protection, insect-borne diseases, and mental health challenges. By staying informed and implementing the recommendations outlined in the modules, primary care providers can effectively address the unique healthcare needs that arise during the summer season.



Clear the Air campaign unmasks the rotten truth behind vaping

Young people have their whole lives ahead of them but vapes are threatening their chance to live life to the fullest. To help protect young people (14-24 years) from the many harms of vaping, Cancer Council WA created a vaping prevention campaign, ‘Clear the Air’. Clear the Air’s first campaign, Rotten Fruit, unveils the rotten truth about vapes that are hidden behind deceptively innocent flavours. Get the truth. Visit to reveal the truth about vapes.

For support to quit vaping:

  • Contact the Quitline online, call 13 7848 or text ‘call back’ to 0482 090 634
  • Book an appointment with your doctor
  • Visit for tips to kick start your quit journey

For campaign resources, please contact



Feed Safe app re-launches

Did you know that 67% of women who breastfeed feel they do not fully understand the risks of alcohol use while breastfeeding?

In December the Foundation for Alcohol, Research and Education (FARE) in partnership with the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) have relaunched the Feed Safe app. The app now reflects the updated National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol.

The Guidelines advise when breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for the health of your baby. Feed Safe, first launched a decade ago, is a tool that uses a woman’s height and weight to calculate when breastmilk is alcohol-free.

The app is free, easy to use and available in both apple and android app stores.

Visit to find out more and download the app.


Immunisation & Cancer Screening


Cold Chain Audits

Each year, Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control (MCDC), the public health unit for the Metropolitan area, conducts an electronic vaccine storage self-audit for immunisation providers. The audit assists providers to fulfill the requirement for annual self-audit as per the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines 'Strive for 5' and may also be useful for other quality and risk assurance processes.

Through completing the audit, immunisation providers will have direct access to a clinical nurse specialist who can provide advice and support as required.

From 2023, this annual audit became mandatory in order to receive government-funded vaccines.
The audit is rolled out in a phased approach. Providers with a vaccine ordering account for government-funded vaccines (e.g. National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines including influenza vaccines) and who are located in South Metropolitan Perth will have received an audit link commencing the week of 15 January. Providers in North Metropolitan will receive theirs in May ( East was completed in September 2023)

This approach will allow the team to provide more focussed attention to those providers who need it.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact MCDC on 9222 8547 or via

For upcoming training on Cold Chain management click here


Starting School - Immunisations

Upon enrolling children in school, parents would have been required to show a copy of the child’s immunisation status.

Western Australia has a “No jab, No Play” legislation.
A child’s current Australian Immunisation Record (AIR) immunisation history statement can be accessed at any time by the parent/guardian through:

  • MyGov, by logging in to their Medicare online account
  • Medicare Express Plus App, by logging into their Medicare account
  • Visiting a Medicare or Centrelink office
  • Calling the AIR General Enquiries Line on 1800 653 809 to request a copy to be posted, or
  • Practice Nurse or GP can download and print directly from AIR using their PRODA account.
Individuals that are not registered with Medicare can and should  still have an AIR record.

An immunisation provider is able to register a child on AIR, as well as commence a child on a catch-up schedule for any missing vaccinations.

If parents/guardians have had their child fully vaccinated but the child’s AIR immunisation history statement is not up-to-date, they are advised to contact their immunisation provider and ask them to update the information on the AIR.
The Western Australian Immunisation Requirements guide is here

What is due at 4 years old?

Many parents will also have forgotten that there are vaccinations due under the National Immunisation Program when a child turns 4 years of age.

These vaccines include: 
  • Dtpa-IPV (currently Quadracel or Infanrix IPV)
  • For Aboriginal children there is a 2nd dose of Hepatitis A due (Vaqta Paed/Adolescent) and also a Pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23)
  • The Pneumococcal vaccine is also advised for medically at risk children

For an up to date immunisation schedule click here


Look out for your immunisation data postcard!

Practices will soon start receiving postcards in the mail showing the latest immunisation rates among two year old children in their practice area and surrounds.

These postcards, produced by the Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD), will be mailed out to practices annually.
We appreciate the crucial role that general practices play in helping WA reach our 95% coverage target required to prevent transmission of highly infectious vaccine preventable diseases in our state.
At every opportunity, we encourage your staff to review the immunisation history of all young children in your practice and to reinforce the importance of being up to date with immunisations among parents and care givers.


Meningococcal B (Bexsero) vaccines Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) due/overdue rule for Aboriginal children

Clarification for providers and parents that Meningococcal B vaccinations, if not received, have no impact on payments for Family Tax Benefits or Child Care Benefits.

Childhood vaccinations required for the purposes of Family Tax Benefits and Child Care Benefits can be found listed on the Australian Government website: Vaccination schedules (FTB, CCS) | Family Assistance Guide (
If the individual identifies as Aboriginal and is only overdue for Meningococcal B, the vaccination status on the Immunisation History Statement should display as ‘Up to Date’.

This meets the WA Department of Health immunisation requirements that childcare centres are obligated to follow.

More information can be found on Immunisation requirements for child care services, kindergarten and schools.
Once a child reaches 2 years of age, the Meningococcal B vaccines will no longer display as due/overdue on the AIR.

Aboriginal children are recommended to receive additional Meningococcal B vaccinations at ages 2, 4, 6 (specified medical risk conditions) and 12 months of age.
Resources, such as Conversation Guides, are available to support conversations between healthcare professionals and patients about vaccination who are declining or have questions about vaccination.

Learn more at the Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation website.



25th Annual Scientific Meeting

The Immunisation Coalition is again hosting the 25th Annual Scientific Meeting, taking place on Sunday 4 and Monday 5 February 2024 at the PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine.

As with previous years, this is a hybrid event allowing delegates to attend onsite or online.

This event holds significant importance for the scientific and medical community, government health officials, academics, and various health related non-government organisations.

The meeting will be chaired by Associated Professor Louis Irving from the Royal Melbourne Hospital, who is also a long standing member of the Immunisation Coalition.
To view the program, click here.

To register for the event follow this link.

Sunday and Monday registration at the ParkRoyal are now closed. There are no restrictions to registering online for either day.


Shield yourself from Shingles

The Department of Health and Aged Care has released a targeted campaign to  Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over informing them of the free Shingles vaccination.
The campaign discusses Shingles, side effects of having shingles and the benefits of vaccination.
Information and resources are available at the Shield yourself from shingles webpage.



Is it time for a bowel cancer screening test?

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australia. People can get bowel cancer without any family history or symptoms.
The good news is there is a simple test that can be done at home to find early signs of bowel cancer. If found early, almost all bowel cancers can be treated.

If your patient is between  50 to 74 years old, it’s important that they do the free bowel cancer screening test to stay healthy and strong.
Advise them to do the test as soon as it arrives in the mail or talk to your health professional about getting the test via the in clinic bulk testing distribution.

You can learn more about the test by visiting the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program website.



Have your say about breast cancer screening

The Breast Screen Australia (BSA) Program is under review to make sure Australian women get the highest quality breast cancer screening and information. 

For review information click here
How you can get involved:  

  • Your thoughts and responses to the program are being requested via an online survey – on the Consultation Hub by 20 February 2024. Click here
  • Join the Partner Reference Group – to get regular updates and learn how you can get involved in future public consultations, please email
  •  Expert Advisory Group is seeking an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander for an Expert Advisory Group to support the BSA review. If you are interested please email

COVID Updates


Where to find COVID-19 information

The Department of Health and Ageing advise General Practices to let their patients know the best places to find advice and information about COVID-19.

Healthdirect is the best place to find out about symptoms, testing, recovery and long COVID.

Service Finder can help you find a COVID-19 vaccine provider in Australia and book an appointment. You can also filter by telehealth and accessibility needs.

Healthdirect's Symptom Checker can be used by people with COVID-19 symptoms to determine if medical help is needed. 
If you feel unwell or need COVID-19 advice for someone in your care, speak to a nurse by calling Healthdirect on 1800 022 222. It’s available 24/7.
If you develop symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) straight away.


Digital Health Updates


Telehealth carts reach 100 aged care homes across WA

We’re excited to announce that telehealth carts have now been assigned to 150 residential aged care homes (RACHs) across the state with 105 already set up and the rest in transit expected to reach RACHs within the next 3 months.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) commissioned telehealth technology provider Visionflex to deploy the telehealth carts. The carts are expected to improve the quality and accessibility of primary care services for residents, reduce the need for travel and hospital visits, and allow for early detection and treatment of chronic conditions.
Last year our dedicated digital health team travelled across Kalgoorlie to engage with general practices and RACHs in the region to find out first-hand how the telehealth carts will make a positive impact. The team have also been visiting other RACHs that have received the equipment.
During these visits, ongoing networking opportunities were established and reignited, relationships with services strengthened and gaps in digital health tools and technologies were identified with the team providing education and assistance.
Many topics were discussed, with RACHs expressing their enthusiasm to utilise the equipment. Victoria Park Nursing Homes Facility Manager, Cheryl Hahn, was passionate about the opportunities that come with it, commenting that the equipment “would play a vital role in reducing hospital admissions and connecting with services to streamline current processes.”
General practices have also expressed an interest in engaging with telehealth to improve residents experiences and access to care. The equipment captures health information, such as blood pressure and pictures of wounds to assist with assessment and treatment.

General practices who would like to know more about how they can engage with RACH residents using telehealth can contact WAPHA via
Following the success of the rollout, additional funding is available for a limited time to offer the technology to RACHs who may have missed out. RACHs that have not received the equipment and are interested they should contact

Read more about how we are taking on an enhanced role in supporting the health and wellbeing of older Australians through our Aged Care Program.
The equipment has been made available through funding under the Australian Government Aged Care Reform Package.


WA Primary Health Alliance Digital Health Team pictured left to right with : Boulder Medical Centre, Victoria Park Nursing Home and Hostel and St John Kambalda


ACRRM's Telehealth Clinical Skills Program 2024

ACRRM is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Telehealth Clinical Skills Program 2024. This comprehensive online educational course is designed to equip doctors with the essential skills for best practice telehealth consultations.

Key Program Highlights:

  1. CPD Hours: Earn 6 CPD hours.
  2. Expert Instructors: Learn from experienced FACRRMs specialising in telehealth consultations across various clinical settings.
  3. Focus Areas: Clinical skills for assessment and physical examination, covering consultation setup, physical assessments, legal aspects, note-taking, and the use of adjunctive devices for previously challenging body parts in virtual care.

Learn more and register here


Research & Surveys


Health Professional user research: Understanding the experience for GPs navigating and referring mental health services

Seeking engagement from GPs and practice staff

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care wants to hear from GPs and practice staff (including practice managers, office staff, nurses, and allied health professionals) about their experiences in supporting mental health patients. They aim to engage a diverse range of GPs and practice staff operating across Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) of Australia,

How you can help

Health professionals interested in participating in the research can nominate via this online expression of interest form or through the link included in the fact sheet. The expression of interest form will be open until 26 January 2024.


Invitation to participate in consultation on informing primary care participation in weight management of Aboriginal patients

As a stakeholder in the WA Obesity Collaborative, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has committed to delivering on actions to address weight management, as determined by the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan. In 2022, WAPHA launched the SHAPE website and ‘‘Conversations about Weight" modules to support health care professionals to play a more central role in supporting patients with weight concerns. In 2024, we plan to provide general practices with additional tools and resources that assist the delivery of accessible, patient-centred weight management care to support our Aboriginal First Nations people.
WAPHA are seeking general practitioners and members of their clinical teams to participate in face-to-face, semi-structured interviews to provide us with insight into attitudes, barriers, and enablers to weight management of Frist Nations patients.

This consultation will inform current gaps in resources to support Aboriginal First Nations people with weight related health concerns. WAPHA are looking to interview general practice staff from the following fields:

  • General Practitioners
  • Practice Nurses
  • Dietitians
  • Exercise Physiologists
  • Psychologists
  • Non-dispensing Pharmacists

Interviews will be conducted face-to-face (virtual for regional and remote practices) in your practice and will take a maximum of one hour. A participation payment as per WAPHA’s Paid Participation Policy is offered to GPs, Nurses and Allied Health providers for this time.
Register your interest to participate in this research by contacting Andrea Vermeersch, Project Officer, WA Primary Health Alliance on


Sector consultation now open - Hepatitis B medication s85 advocacy

The treatments for hepatitis B (entecavir and tenofovir) are currently scheduled as Highly Specialised Drugs (s100). This allows only community-based practitioners supported by a comprehensive prescriber program to prescribe hepatitis B medication without hospital affiliation.
ASHM is currently in the early stages of progressing advocacy to potentially move hepatitis B medications from s100 to Section 85 (s85) to improve and increase access to treatment, as increasing access to primary care for hepatitis B management is a priority to reducing barriers to care.  Currently, 74% of people living with hepatitis B in Australia are not engaged in care and are at risk of poorer health outcomes related to hepatitis B and expected benefits of this potential change include improved treatment access, adherence and health outcomes.
ASHM is undertaking sector consultation to ensure all implications of this potential change are understood to avoid any unintended consequences. The views and experiences of key stakeholders, including general practitioners and clinicians working in primary care will support ASHM in making informed recommendations and to advocate effectively for all individuals affected by a potential change. 

You are invited to complete the consultation survey here – it is open until 29/02/2024. If you would prefer to provide feedback via phone call or a meeting, please contact Isabelle Purcell ( to organise this.  It is encouraged to share this survey with your colleagues and networks.  If your practice is involved with Hepatitis B patients please bring this survey to the attention of your GPs and clinicans. 

Please see here a letter of support from ASHM and Hepatitis Australia which details further information and outlines the expected benefits of this change.


Health Promotion Event


Ovarian Cancer Month

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, please urge your patients to remain ever vigilant, as ovarian cancer symptoms are vague and women often think they are caused by other conditions and may ignore them.

Because it’s difficult to detect in its early stages, there are more deaths from ovarian cancer in Australia than any other gynaecological cancer.
Improving early detection of this disease by being aware of the symptoms is a good way to help improve ovarian cancer outcomes.

More information about Ovarian Cancer can be found on the Cancer Council WA website.

Further practice resources

Ovarian Cancer Australia has a website full of resources and a helpline with a dedicated ovarian cancer nurse available.

Visit the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation for further resources and information.


Education & Events


Cold Chain Management Webinar

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
15 February 2024 (5pm to 6pm AWST)

The Immunisation team at WA Primary Health Alliance are pleased to announce the next webinar in the Immunisation Series.

This webinar on cold chain management will give you up to date and practical information needed for vaccine storage and management.
The following topics will be covered: 

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the strive for five guidelines.
  • Better understanding of cold chain management processes and requirements.
  • Correct procedures of vaccination storage.

View the flyer here

Click here to register

Watch our other webinars in the series:

More information on Cold Chain Management available here.


Syphilis and Other Infectious Diseases of Public Health Significance

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
19 February 2024 (6pm to 7pm AWST)

The current syphilis outbreak in WA has resulted in changes to recommendations for clinical practice. The resumption of international travel coupled with post pandemic reductions in vaccination rates make the community more vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases such as measles, mumps and pertussis.

Post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies is urgent, therefore clinicians should be aware of processes toward initiating management.

This webinar will address these diseases, covering clinical presentation, up to date testing protocols, management and contact tracing.

View the flyer here

Click here to register


New training dates announced: Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST)

Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
Multiple Dates & Times

We’re providing GPs in WA with paid online Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) training, designed to help practitioners and clinicians recommend the most appropriate level of care for a person seeking mental health support.
GPs and GP registrars who attend the two workshops in the one online session will be remunerated $300 for their time with CPD hours available. 

Find out more and register today:


Primary Health Care Nurses Day

Presented by APNA
7 February 2024

In 2024, APNA is launching Primary Health Care Nurses Day (7 February) to celebrate the important work of the 96,000 nurses working outside a hospital setting. People are invited to ‘wear primary colours on Primary Health Care Nurses Day’ to say thank you to these vital health care workers.

Learn more here



Other Webinars, Events & Workshops

BreastScreen WA visit to Exmouth
Presented by BreastScreen WA
24 January to 8 February

The 25th Annual Scientific Meeting
Presented by Immunisation Coalition
4 February to 5 February

BreastScreen WA visit to Butler
Presented by BreastScreen WA
12 February to 15 March

BreastScreen WA visit to Denham
Presented by BreastScreen WA
12 February to 15 March

WA Hepatitis B Prescriber Update
Presented by ASHM
13 February

WA HIV s100 Prescriber Course
Presented by ASHM
17 February & 18 February

BreastScreen WA visit to Pinjarra
Presented by BreastScreen WA
18 January to 16 February

BreastScreen WA visit to Onslow
Presented by BreastScreen WA
19 January to 22 January

National HIV s100 Peer Support and Case Discussion Session
Presented by ASHM
6 March

WA Rural Health Excellence Awards - Save the date!
Presented by Rural Health West
16 March

WA Rural Health Conference 2024
Presented by Rural Health West
16 March & 17 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.