GP Connect Clinical Updates

New support for talking to parents about immunisation

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has partnered with the University of Sydney to develop a new evidence-based communication package to support healthcare providers in communicating confidently and effectively with parents about immunisation.

Funded by the Australian Government, the Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation (SKAI), the package includes:

The SKAI eLearning module has been designed to help providers adapt their clinical communication skills to meet the needs of all parents, whether they are ready to vaccinate, have questions, or intend to decline vaccination altogether. The eLearning module also provides an introduction to the SKAI website that has been developed specifically for providers.

The SKAI website for parents and carers provides independently assessed information about vaccines included on the National Immunisation Program. It also answers common questions in an accessible and easily interpreted format.


Workforce Incentive Program for rural and remote areas

The Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) provides targeted financial incentives to support general practices to engage the services of nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners and health workers, and eligible allied health professionals in rural and remote areas

From February 2020, general practices and doctors participating in the Practice Nurse Incentive Program  and the General Practice Rural Incentives Program will automatically transition to the WIP.

For further information, visit

Changes to allied health service referrals for DVA clients

To improve the quality of care for The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) clients, changes to  the DVA treatment cycle for allied health referrals have now commenced.  GP referrals to allied health providers will be valid for up to 12 sessions or a year (whichever ends first), and patients may have as many treatment cycles as the GP determines are needed.

At the end of the treatment cycle, the allied health provider will send a report back to the GP for review of the treatment progress and assess if further treatment is clinically required.

The new referral arrangements apply to Gold Card and White Card holders, excluding exercise physiology and physiotherapy services for Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Gold Card holders. There is no change to referral arrangements between GPs and medical specialists (including surgeons and psychiatrists). More information about the changes is available on the DVA website.

Financial support for partners of rural doctors

Partners of rural Western Australian GPs, hospital doctors and medical specialists can apply for a Rural Health West Partner Education Grant to assist with their own training and education expenses that will enhance their employment opportunities whilst living in a rural location. Grants of up to $1000 are available. Partner Education Grants may reimburse costs associated with study or training, including but not limited to, course fees, purchase of resources or directly associated travel. For guidelines and an application form please visit

NDIS toolkit

Brightwater has developed a new NDIS toolkit to help guide GPs and their patients with a disability to effectively plan for the NDIS.  Funded by the Department of Communities Disability Services, the toolkit can help patients register for the NDIS and provide GPs with resources explaining the process for NDIS eligible patients, the role of health professionals and available supports.  There is also some information in the “Disability and Sickness – Payments and Support” HealthPathway

New Telehealth MBS items

From 1 November 2019, there will be 12 new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for telehealth video consultations with patients living in rural and remote areas. The new items will be available to GPs and non-specialist medical practitioners, and can be used for patients who:

  • Are living in a Modified Monash Model (MMM) 6 or 7 area (use the online Health Workforce Locator to search the MMM map);
  • Have had three face-to-face professional attendances in the preceding 12 months from the practitioner who will provide the telehealth service; and
  • At the time of the consultation, are at least 15 kilometres by road from the practitioner.

The new items have been made available to help address inequities in the provision of health care services and have the potential to deliver improved health outcomes to people living in rural and remote locations. To find out more, read the factsheets available from MBS Online.  More information about Telehealth consulting can be found on the ‘Telehealth’ HealthPathway.

Viewing diagnostic testing now easier through My Health Record

To better support clinical decision making, My Health Record has recently upgraded the viewing of pathology and diagnostic imaging. The upgrade’s enhanced clinical workflow capabilities will better enable GPs to easily identify and group together relevant tests and results, keep track of tests from multiple providers, and allow patient test results to be monitored over time.  Visit the Australian Digital Health website for more information.

Silver Book – new aged care guide

The RACGP has recently published a new edition of the RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book). The fifth edition provides GPs with up-to-date information on the complex care of older people, with the first section now accessible online.  It is designed to assist in clinical decision-making by presenting a snapshot view of the diagnosis and management of a range of clinical conditions. Practitioners in this area may also wish to view the suite of “Older Adults’ Health” HealthPathways.

Coping with self-harm resource for GPs and patients

A new youth mental health resource, Coping with self-harm: A guide for parents and carers, has been developed by the Orygen National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health with funding support from the Perth South Suicide Prevention Trial led by WA Primary Health Alliance. The guide provides practical information for parents and carers but is also a useful resource for GPs to reference and provide should they see presentation in their practice.
There is also a ‘Deliberate Self Harm‘ HealthPathway.

Mental Health Week 2019

Mental Health Week (October 6 to 12) is a good opportunity for GPs to undertake self-directed learning to support their key role in identifying and treating depression in primary care. WA Primary Health Alliance has developed a suite of resources to assist GPs in identifying and treating depression in primary care. This includes a 45 minute video lecture presented by Dr Daniel Rock and Dr Geoff Riley that qualifies as self-directed learning in a GPs professional development plan. Visit to access the video and other Alliance Against Depression Resources.

New factsheet on selective reporting of antimicrobials

A new Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care factsheet supports quality reporting of antimicrobials in the Australian context to improve clinical care for patients and support antimicrobial stewardship. The factsheet promotes the guideline developed by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Download the fact sheet here.

Detect type 1 Diabetes early with free screening tool

Type1Screen offers free type 1 diabetes risk screening for two to 30 year olds who have a family member with type 1 diabetes. People who are found to test positive are monitored closely and, if they develop type 1 diabetes, will be offered education and started on insulin early to avoid serious illness. For more information visit or email


September 2019
New Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye screening resources

To assist in understanding the eye care journey, Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, in collaboration with The Fred Hollows Foundation, has launched a series of knowledge exchange tools about eye screening and care for health professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This includes:

A free Eye screening and care: treatment pathways and professional roles along that pathway’, webinar will also be broadcast at 12pm on Wednesday 25 September. Email  Tamara Swann for more information or to register.

Tips on health care quality improvement
Stanford University has recently published an interesting article on the ‘pitfalls and promising practices drawn from experimentation with quality-improvement methods and performance management in health care.  Read  10 Lessons From Health Care on Quality Improvement in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

4 September 2019
GP consultation on cervical screening recall and reminders

WA Health would like to invite GPs to provide feedback on a suite of recall and reminder letter templates for cervical screening. Once finalised, these templates will be made available to assist in guiding clear and accurate communication to patients.

The closing date for feedback is 30 September 2019.

Click here to take part in the consultation.

Contact Stacey-Mae Prokopyszyn on (08) 6458 1740 or email for further information.

 GPs may also wish to review the “Cervical Screening” HealthPathway.

Overdue vaccination reminders

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has begun sending additional reminder letters to individuals overdue for vaccination.

Currently, parents of children overdue for vaccination are sent reminder letters when their children are 10, 21 and 54 months. However, additional letters have been sent to families with children aged seven, 13, 15, 19 and 49 months who are not in receipt of family assistance payments.

Adolescents who are overdue for their childhood and adolescent vaccinations will be sent letters when they are 14.5, 17 and 18 years of age.

 Information about immunisation for these groups can be found on the “Immunisation – Childhood” and “Immunisation – Adolescent” HealthPathways.

Increased access to cancer screening information

Cervical screening healthcare providers without a Medicare provider number are now able to access participant information for the National Cervical Screening Program through the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR).

Healthcare providers can either complete the Register Identifier number request form available at or provide practice contact information to the NCSR Contact Centre on 1800 627 701.

LiveLighter calls for urgent obesity action with new ’13 Cancers’ campaign

Cancer Council Western Australia is urging Western Australians to reduce their cancer risk by reducing sugary drink consumption. The new LiveLighter® advertisement focuses on the contribution of sugary drinks to dangerous toxic fat around the organs which can trigger certain cancers.

The campaign has been developed alongside new Cancer Council Australia-funded research indicating over 200,000 cancer cases could be avoided in Australia over the next 25 years if all Australian adults maintained a healthy weight and met the physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention.

As the primary care partner for this campaign, WA Primary Health Alliance will be supporting GPs and front-line practice staff to ensure they can talk to patients about their weight, reflecting the importance of early intervention and management of overweight and obesity in general practice.

Click here for further information and patient resources.

August 2019
PRODA account now required to access the Australian Immunisation Register

From 31 August 2019, GPs nurse practitioners and other health providers will need a PRODA account to access the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and the current authentication file log in method will cease.

Practices are can apply for a practice login to get a practice authentication file that can be used to login to the AIR site by completing the IM004 form from the Department of Human Services.

August 2019:  TGA product defect correction – Endone 5 mg tablets 

WARNING: Potential for incorrect medicine in the pack.

Aspen Pharma, in consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), is undertaking a product defect correction for one batch of Endone 5 mg tablets (batch number CW612, expiry November 2020).

A single pack of Endone 5 mg tablets in South Australia has been found to contain a blister sheet of Anamorph 30 mg tablets. While the product names were correctly printed on the back of the blister sheet, the tablets and the blisters are a similar size, shape and colour, which increases the risk of inadvertently taking the wrong medicine.

Visit the TGA website for more information.

19 to 25 August 2019 is NPS MedicineWise Week

The focus of this year’s campaign is ‘getting to know the language of medicines’ with a special focus on plain English communication about modification, as well as accessible information for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. NPS MedicineWise and Choose Wisely Australia offer a range of patient friendly resources and support that can help your patients access information, ask the right questions and get the most out of their medication, safely. This includes:

Support your patients to screen for bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is our second biggest cancer killer but only 4 in 10 eligible Australians complete the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program test kit when it is sent to them in the mail.

The Cancer Council has launched a new online toolkit to make it easier for GPs and other health professionals to support their patients to screen. The toolkit includes links to order resources, helpful audit documents, and templates for sending reminder letters. Access the toolkit at

Further information can be found at or by contacting the Program Information Line on 1800 118 868.


July 2019
Talking to patients about alcohol during pregnancy

GPs are usually the first health professional to see a woman who thinks or knows she is pregnant. The Telethon Kids Institute’s GPaskthequestion project provides videos and resources to highlight the importance of asking all pregnant women irrespective of age, socio-economic status or ethnicity about their alcohol use.

The project also highlights the importance of assessing and recording patient responses using a validated tool (such as AUDIT-C) to provide the right advice and support to assist women to stop or reduce alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
For more information and to watch the videos, visit the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FAS-D) information hub at

Clinical trial for patients with viral conjunctivitis

Lions Eye Institute is conducting an ongoing clinical study for people with viral conjunctivitis. Eligible patients will receive medical care at no cost, as well as reimbursed travel expenses. Patients can express interest in participating in the trial by phoning 08 6382 0582 or emailing

Subsidised kids’ healthy lifestyle program

The Department of Health is offering Perth families access to a fun and interactive program to improve their health at no cost. Children and their families become fitter, healthier and happier as they have fun, meet new friends and learn new skills.

For families with children who are above a healthy weight, the Better Health program supports them to:

  • Develop healthy habits and practical skills
  • Increase physical activity
  • Improve eating habits and overall health.

Sessions are led by qualified health professionals and take place in various locations after school, running parallel with school terms. GPs can refer families with two to four-year olds and seven to 13-year olds. Visit the Better Health Program website to download a copy of the referral form. GP referral is only mandatory for patients with medical conditions.

Has your Poisons Permit expired?

Many WA Health Service Permits (Poisons Permits) linked to funded vaccine ordering that expired 30 June 2019. Until permits are renewed and advised to Toll, Government funded vaccines cannot be released from the WA Health/Toll warehouse for distribution.

Please scan and email a copy of your renewed permit via

For further details regarding the Poisons Permit, please visit the WA Health website 

Reporting Adverse Events Following Immunisation moving online

As of 1 July, reporting an Adverse Event Following Immunisation for vaccines administered in WA is only take place on the AEIFI-CAN website.  Report Forms will no longer be accepted by fax or email, and the fax line is now disconnected. Support is available to GPs at or at 08  6456 0208 during business hours.

Before reporting adverse events, GPs are encouraged to read about common and expected side effects of vaccines on the WA Health website.

Helping patients with psychological conditions return to work

The Australian Government’s Comcare scheme has developed a new resource for GPs to assess work capacity in patients with a psychological condition and help them to recover and participate in work.  Presented by consultant psychiatrist Dr Dielle Felman, this five-minute video provides better practice information and recommendations for treating health practitioners on how to practically assess capacity for work. The video and other related resources are available here

Updated national guidelines available for pregnancy care

The Department of Health has released updated National Pregnancy Care Guidelines that include new content on the following chapters:

  • Chlamydia;
  • Syphilis;
  • Preterm birth;
  • Prolonged pregnancy; and
  • Cytomegalovirus

Free training to assist GPS with difficult conversations about weight in children

A FREE, online professional development resource is available for health professionals to encourage sensitive and effective conversations with parents about their children’s weight.  Click here for more information or to register.


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