GP Connect Clinical Updates

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Infection prevention and control guidelines

To protect against COVID-19, the Department of Health WA suggests GPs and practice managers may wish to adapt WA Health’s updated COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control guidelines for Western Australian Healthcare Facilities for their own clinic needs as appropriate.

Practices requiring support with transition to business as usual are encouraged to contact Practice Assist, call 1800 2 ASSIST or email practiceassist@wapha.org.au. Visit the WA Health website for up to date COVID-19 information for health professional.

COVID-19 testing reminder

Murdoch drive-through remains the only metropolitan public COVID-19 testing clinic. PCR testing is also available via private providers. A GP referral is required for testing at private clinics. Learn more at HealthyWA: COVID-19 testing Where local testing clinics are no longer available, patients can be directed to private pathology or GP Respiratory clinics.

Post COVID-19 Clinic for patients in the EMHS catchment now accepting referrals

The East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) has commenced a Post COVID-19 Clinic, based at Bentley Health Service for patients in the EMHS catchment, over 16 years of age who are:

  • Still experiencing non-urgent significant symptoms at least twelve weeks from the date of positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis; and
  • GP screen does not detect conditions more suitable for direct referral for sub-specialty medical review or Community Rehabilitation.

More information and referral criteria is available here.

Reminder to general practice – It’s time to register for training support payments

As part of the transition of the Australian General Practice Training program, training support payments will now be paid through the Services Australia payment system.

The new support payments will commence from semester 1 2023.

The new support payments will be available to accredited training practices, supervisors and registrars. More information is available here

Register to provide access to voluntary assisted dying to regional patients

The Regional Access Support Scheme (RASS) provides funds to support regional patients to access voluntary assisted dying when a local provider is not readily available in the necessary timeframe.

Recent changes to the RASS now allow eligible medical practitioners and nurse practitioners who care for regional patients to receive a payment of $1500 upon completion of the mandatory online training required to become a VAD provider.

If you meet the eligibility requirements to access the WA VAD Approved Training you may also be eligible for this payment. Further information is available from the WA VAD Statewide Care Navigator Service which manages the RASS. For more information, phone 9431 2755 or email VADcarenavigator@health.wa.gov.au

Triple P – Positive Parenting Program now free to access

The Australian Government is providing free, online parenting education and mental health support to Australian parents and carers of children under 12.

The free Triple P Parenting Program offers a suite of parenting resources to enable parents and carers to develop the confidence, skills, and strategies required to better support child mental health and wellbeing as infants and children progress through the key development milestones and help them identify potential problem behaviours early.

The current program offering includes Triple P online under 12, Fear-less Triple P online and the new Triple P online for Babies. Patients can be directed to find out more here

Providing younger people in the residential aged care system with greater choice

The Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) System Coordinator Program aims to give people under 65 years living in residential aged care (as well as those in hospital or in the community who are at risk of entering permanent residential aged care) greater choice and control in understanding their options where they would like to live and what age appropriate supports they need.

With the consent of the younger person and/or their guardian, the team works

collaboratively with government, local community and welfare organisations and service providers to help explore alternate home and support options.

Download an information sheet or contact WA/SA Regional Manager Isabelle Currie on 0407 241 187 or email Isabelle.Currie@abilityfirstypirac.org.au

YPIRAC is a national initiative funded by the Commonwealth Government and operated by Ability First Australia.

Free infant and child mental health resources for parents, families and practitioners

Emerging Minds has recently launched Emerging Minds Families – a brand new range of resources for parents and families looking for information and support about infant and child mental health.

The free videos, factsheets, animations and podcasts have been developed in collaboration with families, practitioners and researchers. They are designed for practitioners to share and use with the parents and families they work with, or for parents and families to access directly.

Topics include:

  • Supporting parents and families living with mental illness
  • Responding to and managing the impact of natural disasters including floods, bushfire and drought
  • Understanding and managing anxiety in children and young people, and
  • Infant mental health and wellbeing.

Visit the Emerging Minds website to access the resources and subscribe to the Emerging Minds Families newsletter for the latest updates and releases.

Watch on demand: EMHS Virtual Forum on Improving Aboriginal Cultural Security during virtual appointments

A recording of the EMHS Virtual Forum on Improving Aboriginal Cultural Security during virtual appointments (19 October 2022) is now available on Youtube to view and share

Watch the virtual forum here

October 2022
Updated Perth Children’s Hospital Enuresis
Pre-Referral Guidelines

Enuresis (nocturnal enuresis) or bedwetting is the most common type of urinary incontinence in children. It is multifaceted and can cause significant psychological effects on both the child and the family.

Monosymptomatic enuresis is treatable in the primary healthcare setting.

The General Paediatrics Department together with the Continence Service at PCH have updated the Enuresis Pre-referral guidelines (PRG) and can be found here

This PRG provides updated information on:

  • Management of enuresis in conjunction with the HealthPathways Enuresis in Children Pathway
  • A Bladder and Bowel Diary resource for use by families and GP’s to track urine output and bowel function
  • Available clinics dedicated to enuresis and their eligibility criteria
  • Having discussed advance care planning with anyone (including a clinician), made a person 3 times more likely to document an advance care(health) directive.

End to mandatory COVID isolation

The WA Department of Health reminds GPs that mandatory COVID isolation ended last Friday 14 October. Western Australians are still recommended to take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect others.

People with COVID-19 are recommended to:

  • Stay at home for at least 5 days until their symptoms clear
  • Avoid large gatherings and crowded indoor places
  • Don’t visit people at high risk of severe illness, aged or disability care facilities or healthcare facilities, such as GP, physio and dentists for 7 days
  • Wear a mask when indoors and on public transport
  • Notify their employer and discuss when to return to work.

People should still register their positive RAT online.

People working in high-risk settings, such as hospitals or public healthcare services or facilities, cannot attend work until 7 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Asymptomatic close contacts who work in high-risk settings can attend work with the agreement of their employer, provided they:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Return a negative RAT prior to each work shift and;
  • Actively monitor for symptoms.

Supporting patients with cervical screening self-collection

Anyone eligible for a Cervical Screening Test (CST) under the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP), i.e., women and people with a cervix aged 25-74 years who have ever had any sexual contact, can now choose to screen either through self-collection of a vaginal sample (unless a co-test is indicated), or clinician-collection of a sample from the cervix using a speculum.

A CST using a self-collected vaginal sample is as accurate as a clinician-collected sample taken from the cervix during a speculum examination.In some cases, including where patients require a co-test (HPV and LBC), self-collection is not appropriate.

The program has seen a promising level of self-collection uptake amongst eligible patients since it was made available to all women and people with a cervix eligible for cervical screening. To help maintain the continued uptake, please see below some key resources to support GPs in offering self-collection:

  • The NSCP has produced a quick reference guide to self-collected vaginal samples for healthcare providers.
  • The HealthPathways Cervical Screening Pathway contains information to support clinicians in the assessment, management, and referral of patients presenting for cervical screening.

State-run COVID-19 vaccination clinics close

Participating GPs continue to play a key role in administering COVID-19 vaccinations, with all WA’s State-run COVID vaccination clinics set to close by early November.

The State-run clinics at Claremont Showgrounds, Armadale, Maddington and Wanneroo have already closed while Joondalup (27 October), Midland (29 October), Mirrabooka (6 November) and Kwinana (6 November) clinics will close in a phased approach.

New day hospice in Kalamunda Hospital

The East Metropolitan Health Service has recently opened a new public day hospice for palliative care patients in the catchment.

Offering a 12-week social and therapeutic programme of care, the day hospice can help to address symptom control and support your patients physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

It can also provide an environment where patients can relax and meet others living at home with a life-limiting illness. See the patient brochure for more information or download a copy of the GP referral form. Send completed referrals to akg.referrals@health.wa.gov.au

Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA)

Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) is a rare complication of suspected incorrect vaccine administration into the shoulder. Damage to local structures within the shoulder joint can occur, including to ligaments and tendons, as well as a local inflammatory response to the vaccine components.

This results in shoulder pain and limited range of movement of the affected limb. Diagnoses include bursitis, tendinitis and rotator cuff tears. Bursitis is the most commonly reported diagnosis on ultrasound. Symptoms are usually immediate and can last for days, months or as long as years.

More information on SIVA can be found in the Immunisation Handbook and on the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre website.

Health of the Nation 2022 report out now

The RACGP’s General Practice: Health of the Nation report provides annual insights and draws on specifically commissioned research spanning six years to highlight point-in-time and longer-term trends in Australian general practice.

This year’s report focuses on the sustainability of general practice, highlighting concerning issues that have arisen after years of chronic underfunding.

Read the report

New report: Youth depression in Australia

Each year, at the beginning of Mental Health Month, the Black Dog Institute publishes a research report on a key topic to stimulate discussion about how we can better prevent and manage mental health issues in our society.

This year’s report, Turning the tide on depression: A vision that starts with Australia’s youth, focuses on depression in children, adolescents, and young adults.

Black Dog has used the latest research data to document how rates of depression and self-harm have risen amongst Australia’s adolescents and young adults over the last decade and some of the worrying changes in symptoms amongst Australian children since the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have also explored the challenges of poor social and emotional wellbeing for young First Nations peoples.

September 2022
Specialist Referral Access Criteria update

The WA Department of Health has advised from 27 September 2022, the new Adult Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy RAC and Referral form applies to all referrals, submitted via the Central Referral Service, for public Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy services in WA. Read more here

GP referral for private COVID testing

Recent changes to COVID testing arrangements reflects reduced demand for PCR testing and high uptake of rapid antigen tests (RATs).In most circumstances, a RAT is suitable to test for COVID-19, however access to PCR testing will remain.

From 1 October, people seeking PCR testing by private pathology providers will need a referral from their GP or medical practitioner. The usual fees for GP clinics will apply. This new approach to COVID-19 testing aligns with existing testing for other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza. Public COVID clinics will offer PCR testing without a referral for people with COVID-like symptoms and asymptomatic close contacts to meet their testing requirements during isolation.

Learn more at health.wa.gov.au COVID-19 information for health professionals

Health Care Guide for people who need extra support

A comprehensive health literacy guide to support the health of people with a cognitive impairment or intellectual disability has been developed by the University of Notre Dame Australia with funding from the Western Australian Department of Health Research Translation Project.

This comprehensive guide can be used by health professionals who are supporting the health of a person with an intellectual disability , and includes a section on ‘Primary Care in the Community’. Access the full guide here

Peel Mental Health Service Directory Release

General practices in the Peel region can now benefit from the release of the Peel Mental Health Service Directory. The resource provides an easy way to see all the available mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and psychosocial support services in the Peel region. The directory contains over 150 listings of services delivered primarily in the Mandurah, Waroona and Murray areas.

The directory can be used alongside Health Pathways WA to navigate people through services and guide referrals. To access the Peel Mental Health Service Directory please download the latest version here (it will auto-download). Information is updated regularly, so it is important to download the latest version of the PDF via the online link regularly.

The service directory has been created with members of the services sub-group of the Peel Mental Health Taskforce. It has been initially launched to service providers and clinicians. A public launch will coincide with a model of care at a later date. The Peel Mental Health Program is jointly funded by South Metropolitan Health Service, WA Primary Health Alliance and Mental Health Commission. For further information please contact simone.kerrigan@health.wa.gov.au.

Australian Immunisation Handbook – updated Tuberculosis chapter now available

The chapter has been updated to include revised recommendations for skin testing before BCG vaccination.

A tuberculin skin test before BCG vaccination is now only recommended in limited circumstances, based on a risk assessment.

All other sections of the chapter have also been updated.

Access here

National Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program

Anglicare’s Suicide Prevention for Seniors Program equips those who support older people with the knowledge to help prevent suicide.

The free program has expanded nationally and includes a general suicide prevention online course followed by a workshop contextualising the training for older people. The two parts should only take a total of three hours to complete.

The program is funded by the NSW and Australian governments. To be eligible, you need to be working with older people and have internet access.

If you are interested, please email Anglicare at suicide.prevention@anglicare.org.au or visit the Anglicare website.

August 2022
HealthPathways Updates – Cervical Screening

From 1 July this year, the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) expanded screening test options, offering self-collection as a choice to all people participating in cervical screening.

Clinicians looking for further information may wish to access the newly updated ‘Cervical Screening‘ HealthPathway, which reflects the self-collection changes and contains further information on assessment, management, and referral pathways for patients in this cohort.

To gain access, you can request a login via the HealthPathways WA Project Site and complete the ‘Request a login’ form, or email the team at healthpathways@wapha.org.au.

WA Advance Health Directive Launch

The End-of-Life Care Program within the WA Department of Health has launched the revised Advance Health Directive (AHD), the new accompanying AHD Guide and advance care planning (ACP) resources for consumers and health professionals.

These resources will support Western Australians to make choices about their future health and personal care that reflects their values, beliefs and preferences.

Further information is available here

The newly updated WA ‘Advance Care Planning (ACP)’ HealthPathway reflects these changes and contains further information for clinicians supporting patients through the ACP process.

Updated environmental sustainability in general practice resource from RACGP

Climate change is already adversely affecting Australians’ health and quality of life through direct and indirect physical impacts and via flow-on social and economic changes. As highly trusted professionals, GPs are well placed to effectively communicate the health risks of climate change to their patients, the public and policymakers.

The RACGPs updated Environmental sustainability in general practice resource provides information on:

  • Climate change and its impacts on human health
  • The role of GPs and practice staff in addressing climate change and environmental sustainability
  • Actions at an individual, practice and population level to minimise the carbon footprint.

The upcoming sixth edition of the RACGP Standards for general practices will also include a new section on environmental sustainability. Download a copy here

New eLearning modules supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services

To support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has added a three-part series of My Health Record eLearning modules to its extensive collection of free education resources.

The series covers the basics of My Health Record, including security, privacy and access, and shows how effective use of the system can improve the quality and safety of care for all clients in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service.

Visit the Australian Digital Health Agency online learning portal here

Broaden your horizons with the AGPT Program with the RACGP

Expressions of interest are open for the 2023 Australian General Practice Training (AGPT). By expressing interest, they will be to support you through the application process by sharing valuable information.

With GPs at the frontline of primary healthcare during this recent pandemic, there are more opportunities than ever for a rewarding career in general practice – particularly those who choose to train in rural and remote Australia.

Express your interest by visiting the RACGP website.

DVA’s new quick guides for GPs: DVA Basics and DVA claiming

DVA’s new Quick Guides will make it easier for general practices to know what to do when presented with a veteran or their family member, and how to claim for different DVA programs.

The DVA Basics Quick Guide reminds you to ask your patient if they’ve served in the armed forces, which veteran cards to look out for and what they cover, as well as key DVA contacts for you and your veteran patient.

The DVA Claiming Quick Guide reminds you of the item numbers for different DVA programs and the associated tools and supports available for those programs.

New FASD resources

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has developed new information resources for health professionals, providing evidence-based information about alcohol consumption during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

The information resources are part of FARE’s national campaign supporting alcohol-free pregnancy and breastfeeding. Endorsed and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, Every Moment Matters aims to empower Australians by providing clear information about the benefits of alcohol-free pregnancy and breastfeeding.

July 2022
Changes to the NDIS Act

On 1 July, changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Act came into effect. The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Participant Service Guarantee and Other Measures) Act 2022 will enable the NDIA to make processes easier and better for NDIS participants.

Now when participants and their authorised representatives ask for a change to their NDIS plan, the Agency will be able to do this in some circumstances without having to replace the current plan with a new one. This will be called a plan variation.

These variations will help participants access new supports quickly without having to go through a full plan reassessment.

We will also start using the term ‘plan reassessment’ instead of ‘plan review’ to avoid confusion with an internal review of decisions at the request of a participant (known as a review of reviewable decisions).

Read more about plan variations and summary of changes at the NDIS website

New Monkeypox Resources

In response to the recent outbreak of Monkeypox (MPX) in Australia, the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care have worked with national expert groups to develop MPX treatment and vaccine guidelines – all available on the MPX Resources page on the Department website.

These clinical guidelines also include infection prevention and control guidance for health workers, and case and contact management guidance for public health units.

The Department is working to develop further resources including specimen collection instructions and a toolkit for health professionals. GPs are encouraged to regularly check back on the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Veterans Access Payment can now be claimed with the Annual Veterans’ Health Check

From 1 July 2022, the Veterans’ Access Payment (VAP), payable based on Modified Monash Model classifications (MM1–MM7), can be claimed with the Annual Veterans’ Health Check items MT701, MT703, MT705 and MT707.

This change represents an overall increase in the amount claimable for delivering an Annual Veterans’ Health Check and aligns the fees with the equivalent Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) health assessment items for GPs.

If you are unsure which VAP incentive to claim, please visit the Incentive payments for General Practitioners page. For more information on the Annual Veterans’ Health Check, please visit the Veterans’ Health Check – Providers page.

GP Cancer Screening Education Packs – now on their way

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is seeking help from healthcare providers to increase participation in the national cancer screening programs. The Department has begun distributing GP cancer screening education packs to more than 8000 general practices across Australia that include:

  • Three A3 posters, one for each national cancer screening program, with reminder messaging and information on how to book, including URLs. We are encouraging practices to hang these in waiting rooms and other high traffic areas to prompt conversations with HCPs about cancer screening.
  • Demonstration samples of the bowel cancer screening home test kit and the cervical screening self-collection swab – these can be used to show patients how to do the tests.
  • Information on how to use the cancer screening tests and where to find educational resources on cancer screening.
  • Information on the upcoming Department of Health and Aged Care funded Cancer Council Australia bowel screening campaign.

Digital copies of the printed materials within the pack, can also be found on the Department website

Psychological assessment: Assessing a patient’s capacity for work

Comcare, the national work health and safety and workers’ compensation authority, has released a one-page resource providing step-by-step assistance for assessing a patient’s capacity for work, with a focus on psychological considerations.

The resource also helps GPs manage recovery pathways and outline expectations to their patients.

You can view the recording of a recent webinar Comcare held with the Mental Health Professionals’ Network. An expert panel made up of a practising GP, a psychologist and a psychiatrist discussed how to assess functional capacity to work for psychological injuries.

They also discussed ‘good work’ and its benefits and provided advice on modifications to support continued work participation.

Connecting exercise prescription in primary care to Aboriginal culture

Exercise in many forms has been a part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years. Traditional Indigenous Games were played by both children and adults to ward off disease and enhance physical fitness and wellbeing. Today, through consultation with Elders the Australian Sports Commission has developed Traditional Indigenous Games resources that can support and inform exercise prescription.

Whilst referral to exercise based practitioners is an option, the benefits of embedding exercise prescription informed by Traditional Indigenous Games can strengthen connection to culture, family and community and this is central to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

Traditional Indigenous Games resources can be accessed here

NCIRS report: Communicating with people who are unvaccinated against COVID-19

The report prepared by National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) summarised perspectives on COVID-19 vaccines of unvaccinated adults living in Australia who were interviewed in late 2021.

Informed by these findings, the recommendations aim to improve communication between health authorities, providers, and unvaccinated individuals and their friends and families.

The report is available on the NCIRS website.

RACGP’s Rural Generalist Fellowship launched

RACGPs newly launched Rural Generalist Fellowship will replace the Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice and includes strengthened core emergency medicine training and additional rural skills training to better prepare candidates to work as a rural generalist in their communities.

Find out more about the Rural Generalist Fellowship on the RACGP website

June 2022
Updated WA Immunisation Schedule

the WA Department of Health published an updated Immunisation Schedule 1 June. It is available for download here

Applications for the Rural Generalist Pathway WA are now open

Rural generalists are an important part of our regional, rural and remote health workforce and application are now open to adaptable, perceptive medical practitioners who think outside the box and have the ability to work in a range of environments.

It is an open intake with applications open around the year, however potential trainees are being encouraged to submit their application by 22 June 2022 to ensure they get an opportunity to be assigned to a mentor and complete their initial career navigation session in 2022.

Download the flyer or find out more at the Rural Generalist Pathway website.

Applications for ACCRM GP procedural training grant now open

Applications for the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) General Practice Procedural Training Support Program (GPPTSP). Fellows of ACRRM and the RACGP who are practising in MMM 3-7 can apply for the opportunity to receive $40,000 of Commonwealth funding to obtain new procedural skills in obstetrics or anaesthetics.

For full application guidelines and program eligibility, visit the ACRRM website. Apply online before 11.59pm Sunday 31 July 2022.

Funded opportunity for accredited training in recognising and responding to sexual violence

Monash University’s Department of Forensic Medicine and consortia partner, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM), have developed a three-unit Course for health practitioners to equip healthcare professionals to recognise and respond appropriately to adult disclosures of sexual violence.

This training program is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) as an initiative under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010–2022.

 The curriculum was developed with input from practitioners in remote and urban settings and is accredited or endorsed for CPD by the RACGP; the Australian College of Emergency Medicine, the College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Australian College of Nursing.

Visit the Monash University website for more information and the registration form.

 Monkeypox webinar for primary care

The Australian Government Department of Health held a webinar on 23 May 2022 to provide key updates and answer participants’ questions related to monkeypox. Speakers included:

  • Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
  • Professor Deborah Williamson, Director, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory
  • Dr James McMahon, Vice President, ASHM (Australian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine)

View a recording of the webinar here

New patient resource answering common questions about influenza vaccination & pregnancy

The Australian Government Department of Health has released a new video featuring Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Professor Alison McMillan on why it’s important to get your flu vaccine when you’re pregnant, answering common questions from patients including:

  • Is it safe for women to receive a flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy?
  • What potential adverse reactions should pregnant women be aware of following the flu vaccination?

Download the video to share through your practice channels here

 

 

May 2022
The PneumoSmart Vaccination Tool

The Immunisation Coalition’s PneumoSmart Vaccination Tool has been created using the pneumococcal disease vaccination recommendations in the online Australian Immunisation Handbook. As pneumococcal disease vaccination recommendations change, the tool will be updated by clinical experts at the Immunisation Coalition.

Catch-up pneumococcal immunisations for children less than 5 years of age are complex. Appropriate catch-up vaccines should be offered as recommended:

Access the PneumoSmart Vaccination Tool here.

Resources to support Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) outbreak in Australia.

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has been detected in parts of southern and eastern Australia, in humans and in a number of piggeries, and has been declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance.

The Australian Government’s health and agriculture departments are working closely with their state and territory government counterparts to ensure a coordinated response.

A national working group of communicable disease, vaccine and arbovirus experts has been established to support the response.

The response includes mosquito surveillance and control measures and identification of those at direct risk, and the rollout of vaccines.

For more information about the spread of JEV in people and human health information please download the Information Kit for Health Professionals and visit the Department of Health website.

Changes to MBS rules on diagnostic imaging

rom 1 May 2022, only diagnostic imaging services performed on equipment within its effective life age or maximum extended life age will attract a Medicare rebate, irrespective of where the equipment is located.

The changes will ensure that patients have access to high quality diagnostic imaging services using up-to-date equipment. Under the principles of informed financial consent, providers should advise patients that no Medicare benefits are payable if the service will be rendered on out-of-date equipment.

Read more

Budget 2022-23 announcement on take home naloxone

he Australian Government is investing $19.6 million over 4 years from 2022-23 to implement the Take Home Naloxone Program nationally. Naloxone will be available in all Australian states and territories from 1 July 2022 at no cost and without a prescription to anyone who may experience, or witness, an opioid overdose or adverse reaction.

Read the full statement from the Australian Government here

Immunisation Myths Campaign

To help counteract some of the myths surrounding vaccines and reassure parents they are safe, WAPHA prepared a series of six easy to watch videos and social media posts as part of a campaign called Immunisation Myths.

These short, colourful, one minute videos are aimed at debunking immunisation myths such as vaccines are unsafe, vaccines cause autism and too many vaccines overwhelm a baby’s immune system. These videos can be watched, shared and posted to social media.

 

April 2022
Opportunity to participate in Supervised Clinical Attachment at FSH Rapid Access Neck Lump Clinic

GPs are invited by The Cancer Council WA to express their interest in participating in a Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) supervised clinical attachment at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Participation in the activity will provide an opportunity for GPs to further understand the HNC referral and diagnostic process at the Rapid Access Neck Lump Clinic, including the assessment of “red flag” symptoms, the use of appropriate medical imaging, and interpreting diagnostic tests. GPs will also observe and network with multiple sub-specialists who together make “live” decisions regarding recommended treatment for individual patients.

Download a copy of the flyer or express your interest here If you have any queries or would like more information, contact the General Practice Education team on 08 9388 4313 or GP@cancerwa.asn.au

New evidence-based online endometriosis resources

EndoZone is a comprehensive and unique web-based resource, which has been funded by the Australian Government to provide resources, and support, not only for those with the condition, but also the family and friends who support them, and the health practitioners who care for them.

Visit www.endozone.com.au There is also an “Endometriosis” HealthPathway.

Release of the National Obesity Strategy

Australian, state and territory Governments have recently released the National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032. The Strategy is primarily focused on prevention but is also about supporting the 14 million Australians who are currently living with overweight or obesity to live their healthiest lives. It outlines a framework for action for interested clinicians and creates a pathway towards achieving the vision.

Launch of My Aged Care face-to-face service

The Australian Government Department of Health has launched a new My Aged Care face-to-face service, which will provide senior Australians with access to Aged Care Specialist Officers to provide in-person support to access and register for aged care services. Aged Care Specialist Officer appointments are currently available in two locations in WA, Fremantle and Busselton. Appointments to see an Aged Care Specialist Officer in participating sites can be made by calling Services Australia on 1800 227 475.

For more information, please visit the Services Australia website

13YARN crisis support line

13YARN (13 92 76) is Australia’s first national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crisis support line; a collaboration between Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) and Lifeline. The service is run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and offers confidential, one-on-one yarning and support 24/7.

Further information is available here, download resources for your practice here

April 2022
Consumer friendly COPD Action Plan and COPD Checklist for GPs

Following response to feedback from patients, doctors and allied health workers delivering services for COPD patients in regional and metropolitan areas, Asthma WA and the WA Country Health Service have developed two new user-friendly resources for adult patients with COPD:

Developed with input from a multidisciplinary team which included consumers, nurses, allied health professionals, the resources are aimed at levels of readability appropriate for the general population and are also appropriate for those with low health literacy.

For more information, visit the Asthma WA website

Clinical Advice on Drug and Alcohol available to GPs over the phone

The Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) is a specialist telephone consultancy service that provides clinical advice to health professionals on issues relating to patient management of alcohol or other drug (AOD) use.

The service is provided by experienced addiction medicine specialists and is available free of charge to all health professionals in Western Australia.

Given how challenging it can be for GPs to manage complex problems associated with AOD use in their communities without support from specialist addiction services, the DACAS team seeks to encourage, mentor and support GPs in regional and remote areas in the management of substance use disorders and to facilitate the development of clinical skills and confidence in managing AOD issues.

DACAS operates from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday – 6553 0520.

Download the flyer for more information or visit the Mental Health Commission website

Drs4Drs Health Services

Doctors Health Advisory Service WA (DHASWA) provides a confidential, anonymous 24 hour/7 days a week advice line and referral system for doctors and medical students seeking assistance with health or personal problems.

DHASWA can be utilised by individuals, or by a concerned family member, friend, colleague or staff member. Calls are taken by a panel of experienced male and female GPs, with a psychiatrist advisor available. Callers will receive a response from a DHASWA Doctor within four hours of a call.

Calls are exempt from the mandatory reporting requirements of the Medical Board of Australia. Phone (08) 9321 3098, 24/7.

Opportunity to support young people impacted by cancer

Canteen is seeking expressions of interest from GPs around the country who would like to join a library of preferred providers that Canteen members can be referred to.

Some of their members do have a regular GP, however a large proportion do not, and are looking to find a trusted doctor who has experience working with young people.

If you are interested in joining their preferred provider library or would like more information, complete this form or email olivia.depomeroy@canteen.org.au

Canteen is a national Australian not-for-profit that provides support to 8,000 adolescents and young adults aged 12-25 who are impacted by cancer each year and their parents.

How to access disease modifying treatments for COVID-19

The new NPS online information hub contains information on recently approved anti-virals and monoclonal antibody medicines that can be used to treat COVID-19.

The hub provides new clinical information, resources and links to help keep health professionals and consumers up to date with the latest approvals, evidence and guidance.

Visit www.nps.org.au/coronavirus/antiviral-treatments-for-covid-19

Also refer to the updated COVID-19 Assessment and Management Healthpathway for prescribing rules for WA.

Free CPD on responding to patients who experienced sexual violence

Monash University Department of Forensic Medicine is providing a three unit program to address the known gap in medical training on sexual violence. Developed by forensic clinicians and nurses, clinicians can complete up to three units (six hours over six weeks), depending on their existing knowledge and practice reach.

The training is available to GPs and practice nurses free of charge. Each unit will be delivered three times during 2022. For more information, email svtraining@monash.edu or register here

Domestic and Family Violence training now available for GPs in Western Australia

The Safer Families Centre, University of Melbourne is leading Pathways to Safety – The Readiness Program, a national domestic and family violence (DFV) training program for primary care.

At least one in 10 women attending general practice will have experienced DFV, and GPs are the highest professional group disclosed to by current survivors, even more than police.

The Program will help to streamline pathways and reinforce a team approach to identifying, responding and referring individuals and families experiencing DFV.

The program is also seeking GPs and primary care nurses from Western Australia to join the Safer Families team to be trained as facilitators to deliver a DFV practice-centred training program in primary care settings. Find out more and register your interest here

November 2021
Expansion of National Cervical Screening Self-Collection Program

All women and people with a cervix will now be able to collect their own sample under the National Cervical Screening Program from 1 July 2022. Currently, self-collection is only available to women aged 30 years or over, who have never screened, or are two or more years overdue.

Read the announcement from Minster for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP for more information or contact the National Cervical Screening team at NCSPCommittees@health.gov.au.

ATAGI 2021 annual statement on immunisation now available

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) 2021 Annual Statement on Immunisation has been published in the Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal. It is the first publication in what will be a regular series.

The statement highlights the key successes, trends and challenges in the use of vaccines and control of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) in Australia in 2020. The statement also signals ATAGI’s priority actions for addressing key issues for 2021 and beyond.

Read the full statement here

AusVax Safety – Summary Report 2020

The 2020 Vaccine safety in Australia AusVaxSafety summary report is now available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Using de-identified data reported directly from people receiving vaccines in 2020 (or their parent or carer), AusVaxSafety monitors adverse events following immunisation at each schedule point and facilitates early detection of potential vaccine safety issues.

The report includes infographics highlighting the vaccines given at each schedule point, the percentage of reported adverse events, the percentage of those who saw a doctor or emergency department in the days after vaccination and the most commonly reported events. These infographics are an excellent resource when counselling patients on the short-term safety of vaccines at each vaccine schedule point.

Access the summary report here

New interactive diagnostic tool for investigating symptoms of lung cancer

Ivestigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for all health professionals, assists health professionals in the identification and appropriate investigation of symptoms and signs of lung cancer, and supports the timely referral of patients into the multidisciplinary diagnostic pathway.

This tool can be used at the point of care and for educational purposes. The tool is designed to assist health professionals to:

  • Navigate a step-by-step evidence-based approach to appropriate diagnostic pathways for assessment of symptoms and signs that might be due to lung cancer; and
  • Facilitate appropriate referral and patient support.

This resource is an update of the 2012 publication Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for GPs.

New framework for infant and early childhood mental health assessment

A GP framework for infant and early childhood mental health assessment (0-5 years) – is now available through Emerging Minds Learning.

This free, accredited e-learning has been developed to equip GPs with knowledge of common child mental health conditions, strengthen their engagement skills for interacting with a child and their family, and develop practical skills for child mental health assessment and management.

The earlier released A GP framework for child mental health assessment (5-12 years), is also available.

These are the only courses available in Australia that are designed exclusively for GPs working in mental health treatment planning and management for children aged under 12.

New app to help parents raise healthy minds

Raisingchildren.net.au has released a new app for parents and carers of children aged 0-12 years. It is free to download and filled with tips and practical ideas to help families raise confident, resilient kids.

There are also resources aimed at professionals working with children and families, to ensure they have the latest evidence-based information to.

You or your patients can download the app from the Apple or Google Play stores or access it via raisingchildren.net.au/raisinghealthyminds

NPS MedicineWise podcast – Talking to parents about the COVID vaccine

NPS MedicineWise offer regular podcasts to help health professionals stay up to date with the latest evidence for medicines, tests and treatments, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this episode, NPS MedicineWise medical advisor Dr Caroline West interviews Professor Julie Leask to discuss the COVID 19 vaccination and it’s availability to children over the age of 12. They discuss the hesitancy some parents have toward the vaccines and how to address the questions parents have.

Access podcasts here

Cancer Council Guides to Best Cancer Care

The Guides to Best Cancer Care (formerly named the What to Expect Guides), are a summary version of the earlier released 2021 Optimal Care Pathways.

These guides are consumer resources that can help patients (and their Carers, family and friends ), understand the optimal cancer care that should be provided at each step. They include optimal timeframes within which tests or procedures should be completed and ‘Questions to ask’ to help patients and carers communicate with health professionals to ensure patients receive the care they need.

They are currently available in English and will be available in other languages.

Download here

New online course for clinicians to support culturally responsive practice

The Australian Government Department of Health has released the Culturally Responsive Practice with Older People in Health and Aged Care online course.

The course is for clinicians and health practitioners working in aged care and health care settings and outlines appropriate clinical practice for working with senior Australians from CALD backgrounds.

Culturally responsive practice is part of the Aged Care Quality Standards, in particular, Standard 1. Participation in this training demonstrates a commitment to a key action under the Actions to Support Older CALD People: a Guide for Aged Care Providers action plan. It may also attract Continuing Professional Development for participants.

You can visit myauslearning.org.au for more information.

Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance – World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021

oin health organisations around the world to promote the appropriate and safe use of antibiotics during Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18 – 24 November).

Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent global health priority, with the World Health Organization reinforcing the importance of awareness and action.

Find out how your practice can get involved and download a range of resources and initiatives to help support the effective use of antimicrobials and spread awareness of antimicrobial resistance at safetyandquality.gov.au

Updated ATAGI advice on herpes zoster vaccination in older adults

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated its advice for immunisation against herpes zoster in adults aged over 50 years. The updated advice recommends Shingrix as the preferred vaccine for this age group based on its higher efficacy, and outlines a number of other important considerations regarding vaccination in this age group. See the updated advice here

October 2021
Extension to NIP shingles catch-up program

The shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine catch-up program for people aged 71-79* years has been extended under the National Immunisation Program to 31 October 2023.

As Zostavax® is a live vaccine, it is contraindicated in some patients with immunocompromising conditions. It is important to review the latest guidance on herpes zoster in the Australian Immunisation Handbook and screen patients for contraindications using the screening tool in the Handbook.

Vaccination providers are also reminded that it is now mandatory to report all NIP vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Visit the Department of Health website for more information for health professionals and consumers.

*Note: Shingles vaccination with the Zostavax® vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for people aged 70.

CVD prevention and Heart Health Check Toolkit

The Heart Foundation’s Heart Health Check Toolkit is available to help streamline cardiovascular disease prevention in General Practice. This is especially important following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, which has lead to a reduction in the number of Heart Health Checks performed.

RACGP Resource on preventing and managing patient aggression and violence

The RACGP has developed a brief guide to help practice teams identify and manage incidents of patient aggression and violence. The guide addresses common questions about dealing with aggressive or violent patients, including:

  • How your practice team should respond to an act, or threat, of aggression or violence
  • If your practice can discontinue care when safety concerns exist
  • If your practice can disclose an act, or threat, of violence by a patient
  • how you can create a safe practice environment and team.

The guide also includes editable templates for you to use when issuing warning letters, placing patients on acceptable behaviour agreements or discontinuing care for patients at your practice.

The RACGP has also developed a poster you can display in your practice to inform everyone that aggression and violence will not be tolerated.

Opportunity for GPs to reflect on imaging for low back pain through MBS Practice Review

NPS MedicineWise will be sending out an MBS Practice Review report on low back pain imaging to over 30,000 GPs across Australia with individualised MBS referral data for lumbosacral X-rays and CT scans.

The practice review aligns with Choosing Wisely recommendations from five health professional bodies, including the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, that health professionals should not request imaging if there are no indicators of a serious cause for low back pain.

Red flags for potential serious spinal pathologies that could require further investigation are highlighted in the Practice Review report along with communication tips and resources to help manage consumer beliefs and expectations around imaging for low back pain.

Time spent reflecting on the data provided in the Practice Review is approved for 2 points under the RACGP CPD Program. See the NPS website

For more information. There is also a “Low Back Pain” HealthPathway.

RACGP PEP enrolment required for RACGP Fellowship

From January 2022, it will be compulsory for all doctors to be enrolled in an RACGP-approved program such as the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT), Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS), or have completed the Practice Experience Program – Standard Stream or Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream, in order to be eligible to sit the RACGP Fellowship exams.

There are only two more PEP application periods remaining for the current government funding scheme. Application periods include:

  • 4 – 25 October 2021
  • 10 January – 1 February 2022


September 2021
Extension to Digital Image Prescriptions

The Australian Government Department of Health has confirmed that image based prescribing will be extended beyond 30 September 2021 to end December 2021. This includes the following Commonwealth COVID-19 PBS arrangements:

  • Image prescriptions
  • Expanded continued dispensing
  • Prescription signature exemptions
  • Prescription home delivery service

Despite the extension, practices are still strongly encouraged to transition to the use of electronic scripts as they are faster, secure and more convenient for prescribers, dispensers and consumers. For support or queries on the use of eScripts, please contact your software vendor or the WA Primary Health Alliance Digital Health Team at digital.health@wapha.org.au

See also “Electronic Prescribing” HealthPathway.

WA Health Onelink vaccine ordering system now active

WA Health has advised from this Monday 20 September, there will be several changes to how you order and receive National Immunisation Program vaccines.

The staggered transition of immunisation providers to the Onelink vaccine ordering system commenced this week and you will be notified by the WA Department of Health and Onelink when your account is making the transition.

To support you through these changes, WA Department of Health have developed some frequently asked questions for your information.

Please ensure you have Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari or Firefox installed on your practice computers to you use to place your vaccine orders.

In the meantime, please contact vaccineorders@health.wa.gov.au with any queries.

Upcoming regulatory changes to nicotine vaping products

From 1 October 2021 consumers will require a prescription for all purchases of nicotine vaping products, such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine. This includes products purchased both in Australia and from overseas.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is undertaking a program of communication and education activities to inform consumers and health professionals about the changes to how nicotine vaping products can be accessed, prescribed, and supplied in Australia from this date.

Download the communication pack to share through your practice’s communication channels.

2021 second quarter childhood immunisation rates released

The Australian childhood immunisation rates continue to be high, with the 2021 second quarter results showing the coverage rate has remained above the national immunisation target of 95% for all 5-year-olds at 95.2%.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at 5 years of age continue to have the highest coverage rate of any group at 97.1%. The coverage rate for 2-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children increased to 92.0%, while the rate for 1-year-olds is 93.4%.

GP podcast series from Dementia Training Australia

Dementia Training Australia (DTA) has released a series of podcasts about improving the lives of people living with dementia. The content is designed for GPs and primary health care professionals by GPs.

Dementia in Practice: Now we’re talking! features GPs, Dr Hilton Koppe, Dr Marita Long and Dr Steph Daly as they share their professional and personal experiences with dementia to help other GPs better understand what dementia is and how to prevent it, diagnose it, manage it and live with it.

There is a suite of “Cognitive Impairment and Dementia” HealthPathways.

Lung cancer training

Commissioned by Cancer Australia, Lung Foundation Australia has developed an accredited, scenario-based eLearning course, A Systematic Approach to Investigating Symptoms of Lung Cancer. The training is designed to help you recognise lung cancer in symptomatic patients and to apply the recommendations of Cancer Australia’s updated resource Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for all health professionals (the Guide).

August 2021
Making telehealth easier with electronic prescriptions

Patients choosing telehealth GP appointments can be provided with easier access to their essential medicines through an electronic prescription in one of two ways:

  • Write prescriptions electronically if the patient’s preferred pharmacy is eScript enabled. Read about setting up electronic prescribing, or contact your software provider directly. Electronic prescriptions can be sent straight to a patient’s mobile phone or email.
  • Send an image (photo or scan) of a paper prescription (image-based prescribing, or IBP) directly to the patient’s preferred pharmacy (until 30 September 2021).

Find more information in the ‘Electronic Prescribing HealthPathway, digitalhealth.gov.au or contact the WA Primary Health Alliance Digital Health Team

Maintaining routine immunisation services during COVID-19 pandemic

Immunisation is an essential health service during the COVID-19 pandemic and it is important to maintain routine immunisation services and facilitate on-time vaccination according to the current recommended schedules. The ATAGI document “Guiding Principles for maintaining immunisation services during COVID-19 pandemic” provides some useful advice around this.

New ATAGI advice on zoster vaccines in older adults

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released a new resource summarising the use of zoster vaccines in older adults. There have been cases of serious adverse effects, and even death, after zoster vaccines were administered to patients with a contraindication. . The Australian Immunisation Handbook is being updated and this resource should be used for clinical guidance in the interim.

Support your patients with bowel screening

GPs can now order or encourage their patients to order a replacement bowel home test-kit via the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) website.

To request a kit you must provide basic demographic details including date of birth, postal address, and Medicare or department of veterans affairs number. This feature can be accessed on the ‘contact us’ page of the NCSR website.

The WA Department of Health has also produced a flipchart as a tool to assist in providing information on bowel cancer, bowel cancer screening and having a colonoscopy. Download a copy here or order hard copies via WACPCN.bowelteam@health.wa.gov.au

Closure of Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) authentication files

Authentication file access to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is being closed to all provider types on 30 September 2021. More information can be found here.

All providers need to transition to Provider Digital Access (PRODA) to maintain access. With a PRODA account, health professionals can access the AIR using Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

For health professionals who access the AIR as a member of an organisation, you can also find out how to register an organisation in PRODA and link HPOS to your organisation so members can access the AIR.

Further information is available on the Services Australia website: Register for a PRODA account and set up access to HPOS.

 

July 2021
GP Care Coordination Payment expanded

From 1 July 2021, GPs providing care coordination for White Card Holders with accepted mental health conditions will now be able to claim the Coordinated Veterans Care (CVC) payments. The CVC Program has already proven effective for Gold Card holders in reducing unplanned hospitalisations and improving the quality of life for participants. Visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) website for more information.

National Cervical Screening Program communication and impact on testing

A pilot of new correspondence is being undertaken by the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) to improve participation by under screened women and promote self-collection.

This may result in a small increase in appointments booked for cervical screening and increased requests for self-collected HPV tests, from July to October 2021.

NPS Resources to support prescribers around upcoming scheduling changes for nicotine vaping products

From 1 October 2021 a prescription will be required for Australians to legally access nicotine e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping products for any purpose, including importing from overseas online retailers.

Under the new arrangements, prescribers will be able to seek authorisation from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to be Authorised Prescribers for a group of patients, or apply to the for Special Access Scheme approval for individual patients.

A new article, a flow chart summarising the pathways for access and two new podcast episodes, developed in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Health including the Therapeutic Goods Administration, are now available from NPS MedicineWise to help prescribers to prepare themselves and their practice for the scheduling change. Read and download the new resources at the NPS website or email info@nps.org.au if you have any queries.

Manual of Resources in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

‘The Manual is an online resource hub that will increase the availability of culturally responsive Indigenous suicide prevention resources – including tutorials, videos and podcasts as well as written and graphic materials – to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities.

It addresses a full range of information needs, from building resilience and social and emotional wellbeing, to support for suicidal crisis and aftercare for GPs and patients. Download a copy here

Updated guidelines for the management of anaphylaxis

The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy has updated its guidelines for the acute management of anaphylaxis This includes information on the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions, immediate actions for anaphylaxis, anaphylaxis triggers, and adrenaline administration. There is also an “Anaphylaxis” HealthPathway

Heart failure: an active role for GPs and patients

Managing heart failure can be complex. High rates of mortality and hospital readmission make this a challenging condition for patients and their GPs. But there are clear principles to support effective management in primary care.

The latest NPS MedicineWise accredited CPD topic discusses early diagnosis and management of patients with heart failure to: 

  • support GPs in the early diagnosis and classification of heart failure
  • provide clinical guidance on initiation and ongoing management of medicines
  • empower patients with effective self-management strategies to improve their quality of life.

Visit the NPS MedicineWise website to book a one-on-one, small group or virtual educational visit.

Interested GPs may also wish to view the “Heart Failure” HealthPathway.

New app to support patients to manage their WA health outpatient appointments

The Manage My Care app and web portal supports patients and carers to manage their WA Health outpatient appointments and referrals, Patients can be less reliant on receiving posted appointment letters, and can access routine information and update their personal details at a time convenient to them.

Manage My Care can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play, or accessed by visiting the Healthy WA website. For more information and to view a list of currently available sites visit, healthywa.wa.gov.au/managemycare or contact managemycare@health.wa.gov.au

17 June 2021
ePrescribing resources

Electronic prescribing provides an option for prescribers and their patients to use an electronic Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription.

The Australian Government Department of Health website has a suite of information and resources available for GPs and patients available here.

There is also an “Electronic Prescribing” HealthPathway.

New Culturally Diverse Psychological Service

The Life Without Barriers Culturally Diverse Psychological Service provides structured psychological treatment services for individuals (and their families) from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background with, or at risk of mild to moderate psychological distress.

Clients can receive short-term (up to 10 sessions) culturally appropriate and evidence-based psychological intervention. Interpreters can be requested as needed.

Clients need a GP referral (preferably with a mental health treatment plan) to access the service.

This service is provided at no cost to patients and is accessible across the Perth metro including Leederville, Mirrabooka (and surrounds) and Langford.

Visit www.lwb.org.au/CDPS for more information or to make an enquiry or referral, phone 0418 724 549 or email CaldPsychService@lwb.org.au or CaldPsychReferrals@lwb.org.au

Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment Program Changes

Key changes being implemented to Closing the Gap (CTG) Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co-Payment program from 1 July 2021 are:

  • Any PBS prescriber can register eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the Program if they are not already registered.
  • PBS prescribers will no longer be legally required to write or electronically print ‘CTG’ on eligible PBS prescriptions for registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, annotation of a PBS script will help Community Pharmacies and Section 94 Approved Private Hospital pharmacists know that the patient is registered for the program, when dispensing the medicines.
  • General Schedule PBS prescriptions issued by PBS prescribers within public hospitals will now be eligible for the Program, provided they are dispensed by a community pharmacy or Section 94 Approved Private Hospital pharmacy.

Find out more in the Australian Government Department of health factsheet for health professionals or Aboriginal patients.

Continued commitment Take Home Naloxone (THN) Pilot

The Australian Government Department of Health has advised the Take Home Naloxone (THN) Pilot will continue for an additional year to 30 June 2022 in NSW, SA and WA.

Naloxone will continue to be free and available without a prescription to people who may be at risk of experiencing or witnessing an opioid overdose.

Current registrants have been advised of the extension via email from the program administrator. Information regarding registering and participating in the pilot can be found at: naloxone-pilot registration and participation

Other resources and materials are being updated to reflect the extended timeframe and can be found at: Department of Health take-home-naloxone-pilot

Medicare Benefits Schedule Changes

From 1 July 2021 there will be changes made to the MBS. While most of these changes apply to surgical items, the following may impact general practice.

Heart Health Assessment

Items 699 and 177 will be amended from 1 July 2021, with these services only applying to a patient who is 30 years of age or older. This will align the items with the current evidence-based age cohorts for the Australian Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk calculator.

Indexation

Indexation is to be applied to most of the general medical services items, all diagnostic imaging services, except nuclear medicine imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and two pathology items. The MBS indexation factor for 1 July 2021 is 0.9 per cent.

Further information on the indexation schedule for the MBS is available on the MBS website

MBS XML files

The July 2021 Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) files, including an updated XML file, are available here.

My Health in My Hands – Youth Animation Resource

The Child and Youth Health Network has developed a video aimed at 12 to 18 year old West Australians to support them become more independent with their health care. My Health in My Hands summarises:

  • How young people can expect to be treated by health professionals
  • Information on their health privacy and confidentiality
  • How to access Medicare
  • Tips on choosing a GP
  • How to give feedback in relation to the health service received.

Download and share on your practice social media or waiting room here

Supporting women with perinatal depression and anxiety

The Perinatal Depression e-Consortium (PDeC)*, led by the Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI), has developed range of tools and resources to support GPs to better help women with perinatal depression and anxiety.

The MumSpace initiative offers MumMoodBooster and Mum2BMoodBooster free, effective evidence-based online treatment programs for mild to moderately-severe antenatal and postnatal depression and anxiety.

A clinician portal (co-developed with GPs) is also available for GPs to directly refer patients to MumMoodBooster and track their progress. GPs have rapid, secure log-in access to comprehensive screening assessments and progressive summary reports.

Other resources on this issue are also available on the “Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health” suite of HealthPathways.

 


May  2021
A reminder to first look for public hospital investigation results and letters in your patients’ MHR

Increasing numbers of Notification and Clinical summaries, outpatient letters and results of pathology and radiology investigations ordered in WA public hospitals are accessible through patients’ My Health Records (MHR).

Checking your patient’s MHR first may save you time and reduce the need to contact Freedom of Information and other hospital departments seeking information to assist with ongoing patient care.

NCIRS 2021 influenza factsheets

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has developed a provider factsheet with key information about the 2021 influenza vaccines. The resource includes a summary of the vaccines available, recommended doses, age limits for the different vaccine brands, and more.

A fact sheet for patients providing answers to common questions about influenza viruses and available vaccines is also available

Continued funding for My Health Record

The Australian Government has announced that further funding is to be allocated to support the continued expanse and enhancement of My Health Record alongside an overhaul of MyGov, supporting the ability for consumers to access their personal record.

The most recent enhancement to My Health Record is the launch of the Consolidated Immunisation View, providing practitioners and consumers with an overview of all current and upcoming immunisation details, including those for COVID-19.

New guide for GPs to manage work related patient injury

Comcare has developed a new, national, one-page guide to assist GPs in managing the recovery pathway for injured workers in all Australian workers’ compensation schemes.

The guide provides an overview of:

  • The workers’ compensation process and key timeframes
  • Statutory function of medical practitioners
  • Roles of case managers/RTW coordinators and employer obligations
  • Critical elements to successfully complete certificates of capacity.

Click here to access the guide

New translated NPS information on active ingredients

To help culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities have better access to important information about medicines, NPS MedicineWise has created a consumer fact sheet on active ingredients available in English and ten additional languages.

Download the fact sheet to help people understand why the information on their prescription now looks different.

April 2021
Extension of Telehealth Services & HealthDirect Video Call System

The Australian Government recently announced it will extend support for telehealth services and care, along with MBS-subsidised telehealth to 30 June 2021. Further to this, the WA Primary Health Alliance healthdirect Video Call COVID-19 GP Program has also been extended, providing free video call access for GPs working in private practice and/or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

Reporting vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register for persons without a Medicare Card number

It is now mandatory to report all COVID-19 and influenza vaccines given in Australia to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). This includes persons without a Medicare card number. If a patient isn’t enrolled in Medicare and they don’t have an AIR record, you will need their:

  • full name date of birth
  • gender
  • address

You can create a record on the AIR site or continue to send vaccines via practice management software and this will create a record that will match to their Medicare record if they enrol later in Medicare.

NB: For providers using Medical Director in conjunction with PracSoft billing to report vaccination encounters, patients without a Medicare card number will not transmit to the AIR. This patient encounter will need to be reported through the AIR site.

Non-Medicare individuals can get their immunisation history statement through My Health Record if they:

  • Have an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI). They can get an IHI by completing the Request or update an Individual Healthcare Identifier form (MS003)
  • Registered for My Health Record.

Reframing Children’s Mental Health – a communications toolkit

Research shows that child mental health experts and practitioners working with children, parents/adults and families have different understandings about children’s mental health. How we communicate our messages is key to bridging this gap.

This free toolkit, by the FrameWorks Institute and the Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health (NWC), has been developed for this purpose. It is based on research about how practitioners understand children’s mental health, and how their understanding impacts their support for policies to promote better mental health outcomes for Australia’s children. It is intended to support child mental health experts and organisations who communicate about children’s mental health to create messages that resonate and inspire positive change.

MedicineInsight from NPS MedicineWise

Has your practice considered MedicineInsight from NPS MedicineWise?

MedicineInsight is a data program that aims to support quality improvement in general practice and post-market surveillance of medicines. It was established by NPS MedicineWise with funding from the Australian Government.

The program draws monthly de-identified, longitudinal data from consenting general practices across Australia. The data is pooled and presented to participating practices in clinical summary reports. The reports support quality healthcare decisions at local, regional and national levels.

If you are interested in finding out more about MedicineInsight, talk to your NPS MedicineWise Educational Visitor or call Nicole Humphry at WAPHA on 08 6272 4921 (email nicole.humphry@wapha.org.au). Further information is available on the NPS MedicineWise website

MH Connext Program

The recovery-oriented MH Connext program helps connect patients who are experiencing severe and complex mental health issues to the right mental health care at the right time.

Experienced mental health practitioners work together with the patients GP to provide emotional and psychological help and connect patients with local support services to actively encourage a recovery journey.

Download the patient flyer for more information

New RACGP peer support program

Practice to Practice connects general practices across diverse geographical areas to increase access to peer support, enhance professional development, grow locum pools, and provide a greater service offering for patients.

The program encourages GPs to go beyond their every day and experience life and work in a different practice setting.

It can help address workforce shortages in rural areas and encourage professional development through encountering new clinical challenges not common in your own practice. Though the program is designed to link practices, it can also help individual GPs connect with a practice in a different area.

Registrations are currently being accepted for the pilot program, which will run until the end of the year, but places are limited. GPs and practices can register their interest on the RACGP website.

Heart Week 2021 (3-9 May)

Last year saw patients postpone a wide variety of services including routine check-ups like Heart Health Checks. Even during a period of competing priorities, the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease has never been so critical.

This Heart Week, the Heart Foundation calls on health professionals to start a conversation with their patients, family and friends about the importance of Heart Health Checks. Order or download promotional resources for your practice here

March 2021
Emerging Minds – GP Framework for Child Mental Health Assessment

Emerging Minds have launched A GP Framework for Child Mental Health Assessment (5-12 years). This new accredited course has been developed to support GPs in undertaking child mental health assessments and the management of ongoing care.

The course is accredited with the RACGP as a CPD Accredited Activity and will attract 40 CPD points. The course is also accredited by the General Practice

Mental Health Standards Collaboration as a stand-alone Clinical Enhancement Module (as part of the MHST modular pathway) and with Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine as a PDP Accredited Activity.

Download the framework

Change to Cervical Screening Guidelines on HealthPathways

From 1 February 2021, the National Cervical Screening Program’s (NCSP) Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Oncogenic HPV (not 16/18) from clinician-collected samples have changed.

There are no changes to the management of results from self-collected samples. See the “Cervical Screening” HealthPathway.

Take Home Naloxone Pilot Extended to 30 June 2021

The Australian Government has advised that the Take Home Naloxone Pilot will run for an additional four months to 30 June 2021.

Naloxone will continue to be available for free and without a prescription to people who may experience, or witness an opioid overdose in NSW, SA and WA.

Providers currently participating in the pilot program include community pharmacies, medical practitioners, alcohol and other drug treatment services, and homelessness/outreach services. A list of participating WA providers is available from the WA Mental Health Commission.

Resources and materials can be found here

Information regarding registering and participating as a provider in the pilot can be found here

The WA Mental Health Commission provides training on recognising and responding to opioid overdose. Contact naloxone@mhc.wa.gov.au or phone

(08) 6553 0560 during business hours.

Active Ingredient Prescribing Iminent

From 1 February 2021 most prescriptions for supply under the PBS and the RPBS must describe the medicine by active ingredient name to be eligible for subsidy. While current processes largely won’t change, GPs should continue talking with patients about their medicine’s active ingredient names where possible.

Visit the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website

Guidelines for provision of psychological support to people affected by disasters

Many people have been affected by disasters across parts of the country, ranging from those directly affected, to those with contact only through what they have seen in the media. The Australian Psychological Society has published this information sheet providing summary guidelines on the three levels of psychological support that can be offered to people affected by disasters. Access the summary guidelines here.

Phoenix Australia Disaster Mental Health Hub

Disasters can be very stressful for those directly impacted, as well as health professionals and those involved in disaster management efforts.

Phoenix Australia in collaboration with Primary Health Networks and other key partners, has launched the Disaster Mental Health Hub to help GPs and other health practitioners to support individuals, families and communities during the disaster response.

It includes access to free disaster mental health information, sheets and videos, online training programs and health professional support resources such as Tips for Supporting Medical Centre Staff.

New Heart Foundation resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Heart Foundation has recently developed some new resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Pilbara:

The video is also available in a video brochure for use by WA health professionals with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in primary care settings

(such as remote clinics where internet access is an issue). To order a FREE video brochure email wa@heartfoundation.org.au

Statewide Telehealth Service Desk arrangements and contact details have changed

In response to growth in telehealth services and to ensure continued quality of support, the Statewide Telehealth Service Desk has merged with WA Country Health Service ICT Help Desk. The new number to call is 1800 794 748.

Urgent incidents and requests will also have the option of being transferred to a ‘PRIORITY’ line. Calls that are not urgent will be returned to the main queue and serviced by the next available operator.

Telehealth Service Desk email address remains the same at Telehealth.Servicedesk@health.wa.gov.au

You can also access the HealthPoint Self-service Portal

National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR)

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) supports Australia’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and National Cervical Screening Program by inviting, reminding and following up participants for screening. It also helps healthcare providers make decisions about their patients’ health care.

The NCSR has introduced an online Healthcare Provider Portal providing a new way to interact with the National Register. It will also soon be releasing an Integration with Clinical Software. The new functionality will support better patient care by allowing healthcare providers and pathologists to access and submit patient’s bowel and cervical screening program-related data at any time of the day.

For more information visit https://ncsr.gov.au/content/ncsr/en/healthcare-providers.html or call the Contact Centre on 1800 627 701

My Asthma guide update

The National Asthma Council of Australia has released an update to the My Asthma Guide.

Health professionals will know of this resource as the National Asthma Council of Australia’s popular patient handbook designed to help people understand and manage their asthma. It includes information and advice based on the best evidence and provides practical strategies to help people with asthma and their families.

The Royal Children’s Hospital launches Paediatric Handbook

As part of the hospital’s 150th Anniversary, the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) is proud to launch the 10th edition of the RCH Paediatric Handbook.

The Handbook presents collective expertise of the hospital’s world leading clinical staff, including practical advice on the assessment and management of common and serious child health conditions.

An essential practical management guide to the health problems of newborn infants, children and adolescents, the Paediatric Handbook is a valuable reference for all medical students, hospital residents and community practitioners.

The Paediatric Handbook 10th edition can be purchased from December 1, 2020 via www.shop.rch.org.au and www.wiley.com

 

November 2021

WA Safer Baby Bundle

The Safer Baby Bundle is an evidence-based package that aims to reduce risk factors for stillbirth and improve clinical management of pregnant women who may be at increased risk of stillbirth. The Australian Government-funded initiative was developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth and has already been implemented in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

A key aim of the bundle is to encourage healthcare providers to talk to patients about their risk of stillbirth and how their care throughout pregnancy can be personalised according to their risk.

The initiative covers five elements:

A 2018 Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Stillbirths in Australia found Australia lagged behind other high-income countries with its stillbirth rate (beyond 28 weeks of pregnancy) 35 per cent higher than the best-performing countries.

The Safer Baby Bundle aims to reduce Australia’s stillbirth rate after 28 weeks by at least 20 per cent by 2023.

New sexual health portal on Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has added a new sexual health portal to its website.

Through engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts in the field, the portal will focus on the aspects of sexual health that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and their communities. These topics include safe sex, healthy relationships, sexuality, sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses, sexual disorders and reproductive health.

Funded by the Australian Department of Health, the portal has information about publications, policies, health promotion and practice resources, organisations and workforce information to provide up-to-date relevant information for those working in this important area.

Users of the portal can stay connected with others in the field through online yarning places and by signing up to an online free newsletter to ensure they receive updates.

PneumoSmart Vaccination Tool

The Immunisation Coalition has developed a PneumoSmart Vaccination Tool to assist immunisation providers. Developed using pneumococcal disease vaccination recommendations in the Australian Immunisation Handbook, the tool was recently updated to include changes that came into effect on 1 July 2020. The tool is available on the Immunisation Coalition website. Further detailed information regarding pneumococcal disease is available in the Australian Immunisation Handboo

RACGP CPR requirements in general practice fact sheet

The RACGP has recently released Frequently asked

questions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) requirements in general practices to help practices understand the requirements for CPR training in relation to both the RACGP Standards and GPs’ continuing professional development (CPD) each triennium

New risk stratification tool to address diabetes amputations

New pathway clinical support tools, developed by Diabetes Australia and the Australian Diabetes Society are available to help health professionals deliver the care required to dramatically reduce the number of amputations in Australia.

Developed as part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme-funded Foot Forward diabetes complications prevention program, the tools will help health professionals assess diabetic patients risk of diabetes-related foot disease and ensure they are promptly referred to specialist services if necessary.

Download the Diabetes Foot Risk Stratification and Triage Pathway and Active Foot Disease Pathway or visit https://www.footforward.org.au/ to find out more.

There is also a “Foot Screening in Diabetes” HealthPathway

CBT self-help guide during COVID-19

The WA State Government has funded Curtin University to develop an evidence-based self-help guide to share with patients.

It covers cognitive behaviour therapy strategies to support mental health during COVID-19. Access the guide via through the “COVID-19 Mental Health” HealthPathway.

New NDIS Resources for GPs

The NDIS has recently added a page to its website collating resources specifically for GPs.

It includes practical resources, such as GP-sourced FAQs, an MBS billing guide, resources specific to psychosocial disability, multilingual patient information, and quick links to NDIS forms.

Download at the NDIS website

Review of kidney health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience an increased burden of kidney disease, particularly those living in remote communities and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has produced an updated Review of kidney health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The review is also accompanied by a recorded webinar, factsheet and plain language summary.

Experiences in Health Care for People with Chronic Conditions

Positive relationships with health care providers and care continuity are key to improving patients’ health outcomes. A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare explores the experiences that patients with chronic conditions have with their health providers.

Most people with chronic conditions reported positive experiences with their GPs and other specialists. However, younger patients and patients with mental health conditions reported less positive experiences.

Read Experiences in health care for people with chronic conditions: Exploring the data on how GPs and other specialists communicate with their patients.

 

October 2020


Improved feedback pathway for WACHS services

To improve feedback pathways for GPs and other external service partners, WA Country Health Service (WACHS) has now completed updates to their web site .

This feedback page can be easily reached via any page on the WACHS website by clicking on the Feedback On Our Services icon, or by emailing: wachs.comms@health.wa.gov.au.

Identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander on the AIR

Until recently, the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) used information from Medicare to record whether a person identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Vaccination providers can now record this information directly on the AIR which can help to identify and give the clinically correct vaccination schedule.

For more information visit: https://www.health.gov.au/news/recent-updates-to-the-australian-immunisation-register

Rural Health West Health Workforce Scholarship Program

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health to improve access to health services in rural and remote areas by helping health professionals to pursue ongoing study and development.

Funding is available for health professionals who provide primary care services to Western Australian rural and remote Modified Monash locations in the fields of medicine, nursing, midwifery, dentistry or allied health, including Aboriginal health practitioners or workers. Training and upskilling of health professionals must help meet an identified health need in the community.

For more information visit www.ruralhealthwest.com.au/hwsp

New Cancer Australia resource for the investigation of lung cancer symptoms

Diagnosis at an earlier stage of lung cancer leads to better outcomes for patients, however, diagnosing lung cancer can be challenging. Cancer Australia has released a new evidence-based resource for health professionals to support the optimal and timely investigation of lung cancer symptoms – Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for all health professionals.

The Guide outlines a systematic pathway for the appropriate investigation and referral of people with symptoms or signs of lung cancer. It includes the optimal timeframes for action at each step in the pathway and emphasises the importance of multidisciplinary care.

Download The Guide and watch the following video for more information:

General practice data is informing policy and research to improve health outcomes

A new report on general practice in Australia shows that hypertension, low back pain, dyslipidaemia, depression and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease are among the most common issues dealt with in general practice.

The third General Practice Insights Report, commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and released by NPS MedicineWise, looks at around 2.9 million patients’ de-identified data showing common chronic health conditions in 2018-19 and aspects of the clinical management the patients received.

The report examines MedicineInsight data from the clinical software of participating general practices and provides vignettes that show how the MedicineInsight data can be used to support quality improvements in clinical practice and health service planning.

Visit www.nps.org.au/medicine-insight for more information on the program.

New online STI Testing in Primary Care learning module

n recent years, the incidence of some STIs in Western Australia has been rising at an alarming rate. This year a syphilis outbreak has been declared in metro Perth. It’s more important than ever for Western Australian primary care providers to screen and test for STIs.

The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine is pleased to announce a new online learning module, funded by and developed in collaboration with WA Health. Through interactive quizzes and case

studies, Western Australian GPs and other health professionals can develop their skills to confidently discuss sexual health with patients, conduct guideline-based STI screening and testing, and initiate contact tracing.

The module is an accredited learning activity with

RACGP and ACRRM, and a certificate of completion is available. Register at lms.ashm.org.au (search ‘STI Testing’) Interested practitioners may also like to view the “Sexual Health” suite of HealthPathways.

Don’t miss out on free access to the Heart Health Check Toolkit

The delivery of Heart Health Checks in primary care is now supported by Medicare. In April 2019, two new Heart Health Check items were introduced to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS): Items 699 and 177. Eligible patients can now receive a Medicare rebate when they get a Heart Health Check from a GP (item 699) or other medical practitioners non-vocationally registered (item 177) working in primary care.

These MBS items support the assessment and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in primary care for eligible patients 45 years and over (30 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples).

Register your interest to receive a copy of the Heart Foundation Heart Health Toolkit for our Toolkit, a one-stop shop for information, tools and resources to help you implement Heart Health Checks at your practice in the simplest and most impactful way possible.

September 2020
Palliative Care WA Pilot Phone Support Service

Palliative Care WA has launched the pilot Palliative Care Information and Support Line. Funded by WA Health the service has been set up to support your patients with non-clinical information, resources about:

  • Advance care planning
  • Support services
  • Palliative care
  • Grief and loss

This WA service is available 9am to 4:30pm 7 days a week on 1800 573 299.

For more information visit palliativecarewa.asn.au or email info@palliativecarewa.asn.au to order patient information brochures for your practice.

CAMHS Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS)

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) has launched a new service providing emergency support for children and young people experiencing a mental health crisis. This is achieved through specialist emergency mental health telehealth consultations and advice and assessments for children and young people in a timely manner via telehealth.

See the poster and leaflet for more information or visit HealthPathways WA. if you do not have a logon for HealthPathways, email: healthpathways@wapha.org.au.

Support your patients to be Medicinewise during COVID-19

With the emergence of COVID-19, being medicinewise is more important than ever. NPS MedicineWise has information and resources to promote being medicinewise, as well as regularly updated evidence-based information on COVID-19 topics. Visit the NPS being Medicinewise hub.

Choosing alternatives to ethinylestradiol/norethisterone) contraceptives during the shortage

The TGA have published a web statement to assist health professionals with choosing an alternative medicine for their individual patients during the shortage of Brevinor and Norimin (ethinylestradiol/norethisterone) oral contraceptive pills.

Visit the TGA medicine shortages page for more information about shortages.

New GP Hotline for Veteran Mental Health

GPs and health professionals working with complex mental health patients are now be able to access a panel of highly experienced veteran and military mental health specialists, strengthening the ability of professionals to provide support to veterans in need, particularly in rural and remote areas

1800 VET777 (1800 838 777) provides GPs who are treating veterans with free advice by health experts clinically trained in veteran mental health issues on the unique and complex mental health issues that veterans can face.

New online calculators help predict melanoma risk and potentially deadly spread

Clinicians and their patients now have access to a series of online calculators which will assist in prevention, early detection and optimum treatment of melanoma.

Developed by researchers at Melanoma Institute Australia and based on published risk prediction models, the three web-based calculators are housed on a new Melanoma Risk website.

They predict a person’s risk of developing their first melanoma; their risk of developing a second or subsequent primary melanoma; and their risk of a primary melanoma having spread to nearby lymph nodes.

The online risk calculators are designed to inform discussions between clinicians and their patients and to help facilitates specialised treatment plans according to their patient’s specific risk.

New edition Chronic Kidney Disease Management in Primary Care

Kidney Health Australia have released the 4th edition of their handbook Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Management in Primary Care. This handbook provides health services with guidance and clinical tips for detecting, managing, and referring patients with CKD.

CKD Management in Primary Care is produced by Kidney Health Australia’s Primary care education advisory committee (PEAK) and has been endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (ANZSN), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) (accepted clinical resource), and the Australian Primary healthcare Nurses Association (APNA).

August 2020
Dementia Australia new and expanded services

Dementia Australia is rolling out an expanded range of services designed to be accessed by and delivered to people via a range of modes, no matter where they live, including:

  • The National Dementia Helpline (1800 100 500)has extended operating hours from 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday except public holidays  
  • A new Post Diagnostic Support Program providing people who are newly diagnosed, their families and carers with one-to-one information and support   
  • Education courses for people living with dementia, their families and carers, including ‘Living with Dementia’ and the ‘Recently Diagnosed with Dementia’ program 
  • Specific services and supports to people diagnosed with Younger Onset Dementia
  • The National Dementia Library service
  • The Dementia Guide, which is useful at any stage but particularly on receiving a diagnosis.
  • Ongoing awareness-raising activities and campaigns to tackle discrimination, including Dementia Action Week.

STI Contact tracing video for health professionals working in regional and remote WA

The WA Health Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program has worked closely with the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service to develop a video on contact tracing for health professionals working in regional and remote WA. It features a Registered Nurse and an Aboriginal Liaison Officer based in Kununurra and covers the essential components of contact tracing for sexually transmitted diseases and potential scenarios that clinicians might face. The video has been locally produced and provides a great capacity building tool that can be incorporated into orientation processes for new staff, especially those who might be new to working in regional and remote areas. Watch the video here

Management of Type 2 Diabetes handbook

GPs have a central role in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes within the community. The RACGP and Diabetes Australia have united to support GPs to manage type 2 diabetes through a new edition of Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A Handbook for General Practice. Updates include completely new sections on:

  • Early-onset type 2 diabetes
  • Mental health and type 2 diabetes
  • Management of type 2 diabetes in the elderly and residential aged care facilities
    The use of technology in managing type 2 diabetes

The handbook is only available online 

Improved search function within SARA database

In response to requests from stakeholders to provide better access to TGA recall data, the System for Australian Recall Actions (SARA) database’s search

facility has been successfully completed. In addition to the existing PDF reports, users can now download search results of summary recall data in editable, MS Excel format.

Access the new functionality at www.tga.gov.au/recall-actions-database.

New aged care sign language interpreting service

All aged care assessment and delivery services now have access to free sign language and interpreting services to support older Australians who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing to access or engage with Australian Government funded aged care services.

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health website for more information, including how to register. The Department strongly advises that, when possible, bookings be made well in advance to ensure the availability of an interpreter.

Providing telehealth in general practice during COVID-19 and beyond

The Deeble Institute has released a perspectives brief, Providing telehealth in general practice during COVID-19 and beyond. It includes six case studies that demonstrate how telehealth can benefit GPs, maximise equity of access to healthcare, and support patients in developing their own health knowledge and skills.

BreastScreen WA has resumed mammogram screening services

BreastScreen WA has resumed mammogram screening services at metropolitan clinics and rural mobile service. Clients who have recently been invited to have a screening mammogram are encouraged to contact BreastScreen WA on 13 20 50 or visit the online booking webpage to schedule their appointment.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy and carrier screening

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) have recently launched an education campaign that aims to raise awareness of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and other paediatric neuromuscular disorders. It also aims to give practitioners the knowledge and skills to initiate conversations about carrier screening.

The RACGP have put together a website full of information and resources to help GPs and other healthcare professionals understand the red flags for SMA and learn more about carrier screening for hereditary rare diseases. The website can be found at bewaretherare.com.au

New patient resources on anxiety and depression

Beyond Blue has released two new booklets designed to help people separate fact from fiction about what really works for managing anxiety and depression.  A guide to what works for anxiety and A guide to what works for depression, reviews and rates the scientific evidence available for 440 psychological, medical and complimentary approaches used to treat anxiety and depression. For more information please visit the BreastScreen WA website or Facebook page.

 

July 2020
New WA Health VAD resources

The Department of Health WA’s voluntary assisted dying website has been updated to include new information for health services.  The aim is to provide a clear overview of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 and the implementation being undertaken. 

 This includes a Fact sheet for Health and Other Service Providers and other resources.

Contact the project team at the Department of Health WA for further information at VADimplementation@health.wa.gov.au

CAMHS Emergency Telehealth Service

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) launches on July 13 and provides support for young people, families and carers experiencing a mental health crisis.

For more information see the CAMHS ETS flyer

July National Immunisation Program changes

From 1 July 2020 some important changes to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and recommendations for pneumococcal, meningococcal and hepatitis A vaccination will take effect.

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) hosted a webinar providing an overview of the NIP Schedule changes that come into effect from 1 July 2020 and the key points that healthcare professionals need to know.

For further information see Clinical update: National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule changes from 1 July 2020 – advice for vaccination providers , or the “Immunisation – Childhood” HealthPathway.

July Quick Guide to MBS now available

Australian Doctor has released the July 2020 MBS Quick Guide. There is also a separate PDF available listing the COVID-19 Telehealth items

New Radar article on new and amended PBS opioid listings

A new RADAR article is available regarding recent changes the listings of many opioids and multiple formulations listed on the PBS General Schedule

Changes include new listings for half pack sizes, increased restrictions, and new and amended clinical criteria, prescriber instructions and administrative advice. The RADAR article explains these changes which have been made to support the appropriate prescribing and use of opioids and reduce harms.

Read Opioids: new and amended PBS listings on the NPS MedicineWise website.

Tips and tricks to minimise and identify errors in vaccination recording

Enhancing data quality of vaccination encounters recorded in practice software and on AIP – tips and tricks has been developed by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance to help immunisation providers minimise and identify errors in vaccination recording.

This ensures the information held on patient’s records and on the Australian Immunisation Register is accurate.

New Guidelines for Tuberculosis Control in WA

The WATB Control Program has published new guidelines for Tuberculosis (TB) in WA.

It includes a complete review of all TB policies in 2019 and is available on the WA TB Control Program webpage under ‘Relevant Polices’.

For further information or to provide feedback on the guideline, contact the TB Clinic and ask to speak to a physician or TB case management nurse by phoning 9222 8500 or email ACCadmin@health.wa.gov.au

The clinic is open Monday to Friday, 8:15am – 4:15pm

NPS MedicineWise portal on medicinal cannabis

NPS MedicineWise has recently launched a new, online information portal to assist health professionals and consumers navigate evidence-based information about medicinal cannabis.

The new information covers the regulatory framework and process required to access medicinal cannabis and provides summaries on the latest evidence for medicinal cannabis.

The content found in the portal supplements clinical guidance provided by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for health professionals and provides additional information for consumer and pharmacist audiences. The portal includes important resources for prescribers including full evidence summaries with links to the TGA’s clinical guidance and a flowchart for prescribers that outlines the steps to accessing medicinal cannabis.

Visit the NPS website find out more.

Changes to Genetics Services of WA inward referral process

From 1 July 2020, all Genetic Services of WA outpatient appointment referrals are to be submitted to the Central Referral Service (CRS).

Referrals that are faxed or emailed directly to Genetic Services of WA after 1 July 2020 will not be actioned.

To refer to Genetic Services of WA using the CRS, referrers will need to complete one of the standardised referral forms and send it to the CRS via:

Fax: 1300 365 056

Healthlink Secure Messaging: crefserv

Postal address: PO Box 3462 Midland WA 6056

Genetics Services of WA’s referral criteria remain unchanged. For a full list of referral criteria, please visit their website or phone(08) 6458 2723 between 8.30am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

New online PANDA resources

A group of leading perinatal depression experts, including the team at Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA), have come together to help GPs provide better care for patients with perinatal depression.

The MumMoodBooster and Mum2BMoodBooster programs are especially valuable during the pandemic as they provide online support for new and expecting mums (and dads).

Virtual learning on STIs in WA Primary Care

This new online education module from Sexual Health Quarters is intended to provide primary health care professionals with comprehensive education about discussing STIs with patients, testing and management. It includes public health responsibilities and legal issues, and recommends useful online resources for ongoing use.

More information is available on the SHQ website

NPS MedicineWise resuming CPD practice visits in WA  

PS MedicineWise are resuming face to face visits and delivering the latest free, RACGP accredited CPD topic, Paediatric asthma: breathing new life into diagnosis and management.

This topic provides clarity on the latest guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of paediatric asthma, including the differences between diagnosing and management in preschool and school-age children, and how treatment of children’s asthma differs from that of adults.

For further information, or to book a visit, visit the NPS MedicineWise website

 

June 2020
PBS Changes to Opioid Prescribing PBS

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings for opioid medicines have changed as of 1 June 2020. Changes include reduced pack sizes of immediate-release opioids for short-term acute severe pain. In addition, patients that need long-term opioids (more than 12 months) must also be reviewed by an alternative prescriber with the name of the practitioner and date of the consultation provided to the PBS with every authority application.

Visit the PBS website for more information.

Release of the July 2020 MBS XML File

The July 2020 Medicare Benefits Schedule MBS XML file has been released and is available on MBS online. The MBS indexation factor for 1 July 2020 is 1.5 per cent. Indexation was applied to most of the general medical services items, all diagnostic imaging services, except nuclear medicine imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and two pathology items (74990 and 74991).

For more information please view the MBS July 2020 News page.

Free breast screening resuming in regional areas

BreastScreen WA’s four mobile screening units have started to resume country screening. Commencing across the Midwest in June and then throughout WA into 2021.

 Women aged 40 years or over are eligible to have a FREE screening mammogram at BreastScreen WA every two years. You can direct your patients to the BreastScreen WA website to make a booking.

End of life and palliative care education and training

In response to recommendations of the Joint Select Committee  from the  My Life, My Choice Report and the WA End of Life Palliative Care Strategy, the WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, End-of-life and Palliative Care Project has developed education and training resources for GPs caring for patients with life limiting illness. Download from the Department of Health website

Lung Foundation COPD winter campaign resources

To support GPs to keep patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as well as possible during winter and reduce the need for emergency medical intervention, the Lung Foundation has launched it’s  ‘Come Prepared’  winter campaign. Download resources here or view the COPD HealthPathway.

NPS MedicineWise topics now available online

NPS MedicineWise are offering virtual visits via video call for its current therapeutic topic Paediatric asthma: breathing new life into diagnosis and management.

Just like practice visits, virtual visits are approved activities under the RACGP & ACRRM CPD programs. The visiting material is sent to you prior to a virtual visits via a Skype, FaceTime, ZOOM, Health Direct, or Scopia.

Topics can be delivered in just 30 minutes and can be scheduled at a mutually convenient time – including before or after standard work hours.  

Schedule a virtual visit appointment through the NPS MedicineWise website or email BookAVisit@nps.org.au.

New evidence-based guidance on mental illness of older persons at the end of life

palliAGED has developed new online resources on understanding and caring for older persons suffering from mental illness and approaching the end of their life.

The new resources include the Mental Illness Practice page which lists evidence-based tools, links, and other information to guide health professionals involved in planning and providing care.

The Mental Illness Evidence pages provide a summary and in-depth synthesis of the latest evidence and research on caring for older persons suffering from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and suicidality.

These pages may be of particular interest to GPs involved in aged care planning and coordination, and policy development.

New healthy lifestyle program for the Midwest

Let’s Prevent provides your patients with the information and support they need to make positive, sustainable lifestyle changes that will ultimately help them delay or avoid a chronic condition.

Already established in the South West for over two years, the program will soon be available to residents of the Midwest. It can help participants lose weight, reduce their blood pressure and cholesterol and work towards their health goals.

Let’s Prevent is funded by the Department of Health WA free for people who are at risk of heart disease, stroke or type 2 diabetes.

It is currently available online and through face to face workshops in the near future. To find out more call 1800 001 880 or email prevention@diabeteswa.com.au.

 

March 2020
AMA’s Obesity Awareness Week
This week’s AMA’s Obesity Awareness Week focuses on simple, easy ways that everyday habits can be swapped for healthier outcomes.

Obesity Awareness Week coincides with the inaugural World Obesity Day on Wednesday 4 March that was created to inspire global change in policy making, attitudes and action in response to the obesity crisis worldwide.

The AMA has partnered with Screen-Free Week to include digital detox activities. Visit the AMA website to find more information and download GP resources to help support patients improve their daily eating and activity habits.   There is also a “Weight Management – Overweight Adults” HealthPathway.

Resources to support culturally appropriate Aboriginal aged care services.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can face challenges in accessing culturally appropriate aged care services, especially those living in remote and very remote areas.

End of life Directions for Aged Care have developed resources to support and foster culturally safe and responsive aged care, advanced care planning and palliative care.

New Stolen Generation survivors fact sheet for GPs
A new resource from the Healing Foundation is providing information for GPs to improve services for Stolen Generation survivors. Download Working with the Stolen Generations: understanding trauma – fact sheets for GPs explores the history, current reality and medical care needs of Stolen Generations, things to avoid and how GPs can help.

RACGP HANDI includes updated advice for managing low back pain
The RACGP’s Handbook of Non-Drug Interventions (HANDI) aims to provide GPs with free, up-to-date evidence-based interventions that do not rely on prescribing and resources to assist in patient decision-making.

Recent updates and new HANDI entries add to the suite of 65 interventions, with more in development and planned to be released over the coming year. This includes  a recent update to ‘Advice to stay active for people with low back pain’. There is also a “Low Back Pain in Adults” HealthPathway.

February 2020
Workforce Incentive Program update

The Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) has now transitioned to the Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) – Practice Stream.

The General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) transitioned to the WIP – Doctor Stream on 1 January 2020.

The WIP provides targeted financial incentives to encourage doctors to deliver services in rural and remote areas. The WIP also provides financial incentives to support general practices to engage the services of nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners, and eligible allied health professionals. More information on the eligibility for the WIP, the rural loadings that apply under the WIP and payment levels is available at the Department of Health website

Letter templates for cervical screening and follow-up

A suite of adaptable letter templates are now available to assist healthcare providers with the delivery of recall and reminder systems for cervical screening and follow-up. Visit the Health WA website to access this resource and view the “Cervical Screening” HealthPathway.

Update regarding delegations to access the AIR

GPs with a Medicare provider number can now delegate their Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) access to another person, for example, a practice manager or practice nurse, to act on their behalf including:

• View and update individual immunisation records and reports

• Print immunisation history statements

• View claims submitted to the AIR

• View payment statements and reconciliation reports

Delegates can also request, view or modify AIR site reports including the 10A Due/Overdue report by Immunisation Practice. This can be downloaded monthly to keep your overdues maintained and to crosscheck your reminders. Contact your WA Primary Health Alliance Primary Health Liaison for support and resources.

This delegation is set up using the delegations function in Health Professionals Online Service (HPOS) and mirrors the process for Medicare access. To become a delegate, an individual must have their own PRODA account and an RA number. You can find more information about AIR HPOS delegations by visiting the Services Australia website.

Vaccine Updates email system changing

The Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) are changing the email system by which they send out Vaccine Updates. Subscribe to the new mailing list to keep up to date on the latest WA immunisation, surveillance and disease control information. Subscribers may receive duplicate emails while the CDCD will continue to distribute to both old and new mailing lists.


New resources to support conversations with older patients about
alcohol and other drug use

WA Primary Health Alliance, in partnership with local addiction specialists and GPs, has developed a series of short online videos to help GPs have respectful conversations about alcohol and other drug use with older patients. The videos include GP clinical case scenarios exploring a variety of topics including a patient presenting with a recent fall and insomnia, a patient using substances to manage anxiety and chronic pain, and a patient discharged from hospital with acute pancreatitis. Watch the videos here and read more about what GPs can do to support patients with alcohol and drug use.   There are also resources available in the “Alcohol and Drugs” suite of HealthPathways.

New NCIRS report highlights need for effective Australian Immunisation Register reporting (AIR)  

‘Exploratory analysis of the first 2 years of adult vaccination data recorded on AIR’ highlights that population-level vaccination uptake recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) substantially underestimates true uptake in adults, which could be up to double that recorded on AIR. The report highlighted the need for continued engagement with providers to facilitate timely and effective reporting to AIR and to monitor and assess the completeness of adult vaccination data. This report is available on the NCIRS website.

Palliative and Supportive Care Education at Cancer Council WA

The Cancer Council WA is offering evidence-based palliative care education for health professionals, health care workers and palliative care volunteers across WA through a suite of professional development workshops from January to June.. View available short courses at https://www.cancerwa.asn.au/articles/calendar/calendar-health-professional-training-seminars-and/.  There is a suite of “Palliative Care” HealthPathways.

DVA Veteran Health Check
The Veteran Health Check is an opportunity for veterans to access a comprehensive physical and mental health assessment and establish a relationship with a GP. The aim is to encourage early intervention to better promote better health outcomes for veterans during their transition to civilian life. The Department of Veterans Affairs recommends that at least 45 minutes is scheduled to conduct a Veteran Health Check. GPs and practice staff may refer to the FAQs page for more information.

MBS XML and Book Changes

Recent changes to the  1 January 2020 MBS XML and Book (DOC, PDF and ZIP) files have been revised to include the descriptor amendments to six telehealth items and seven temporary nuclear medicine items that are available to download from the MBS Online website January 2020 downloads page
A summary of changes is also available at the January 2020 Latest News page

New Guidelines to help GPs improve care for older Australians

The RACGP has launched updated clinical guidelines for the care of older people – for the first time covering issues such as elder abuse and concerns in the care of older marginalised groups. RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book) Part B details the latest evidence-based practice points on screening, diagnosis, management and treatment of older Australians. New additions to Part B include “practice points” on:

  • Family and carers
  • Older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Care of older LGBTI population
  • Multiculturalism in aged care
  • Disability in aged care
  • Older people in rural and remote communities
  • Abuse of older people

December 2019
Paper based payments for National Bowel Cancer Screening Program ceased

Following the November 2019 transition of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Register to the National Cancer Screening Register, in 2020, payments for paper-based Program forms will conclude.  GPs can continue to submit Program forms until this time and will receive further information on functionally of the new register and administrative arrangements in the coming months.  Updates and information about these changes are available at http://cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/information-on-provision-payments or by calling 1800 118 868.

Changing the world through teaching general practice podcast

In the latest episode of The Good GP podcast, Dr Tim Koh interviews Professor Donna Mak on ‘changing the world through teaching general practice’. Professor Mak explores the importance of GPs teaching, the benefits of teaching general practice and how this can help change the health care system. This podcast also looks at the different ways GPs can teach general practice.


November 2019
Online GP learning for Hepatitis C point-of-care

The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) have launched a free set of online learning modules for GPs and other community practitioners. ASHM’s Hepatitis C point-of-care (PoC) modules are designed to introduce practitioners to PoC testing and cover options for sample collection, the pathway to diagnosis and sharing results.

Point-of-care tests provide an opportunity for testing people who may not otherwise seek testing from medical settings and will greatly enhance linkage to care in community settings. Visit  ashm.org.au for more information.

New GP training to upskill in harm minimisation and AOD use

The RACGP has launched a new education program to help GPs develop skills in addressing alcohol and other drug use in their communities. The Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) GP Education Program will be tailored to meet the needs of GPs in different communities and settings  and encourages participation from rural and remote GPs.

To take part in the AOD GP Education Program, GPs will need to complete an online application form.  Applications for the program will open 2 December 2019.. For more information, email AOD@racgp.org.au

The Department of Health together with HealthLink has developed a new electronic referral process allowing GPs to refer their patients to My Aged Care directly from their practice management systems. The new e-Referral form can be accessed from within Best Practice, Medical Director and Genie practice management systems. For support or to enable access, contact HealthLink on 1800 125 036 or email  helpdesk@healthlink.net

A new After you’ve registered with My Aged Care brochure is also available to support patients with next steps once they have been referred.  The Department welcomes GP feedback on both the new e-Referral form and the brochure, via  myagedcare.hpreferrals@health.gov.au

Referring patients to My Aged Care now available online

The Department of Health together with HealthLink has developed a new electronic referral process allowing GPs to refer their patients to My Aged Care directly from their practice management systems. The new e-Referral form can be accessed from within Best Practice, Medical Director and Genie practice management systems. For support or to enable access, contact HealthLink on 1800 125 036 or email  helpdesk@healthlink.net

A new After you’ve registered with My Aged Care brochure is also available to support patients with next steps once they have been referred.  The Department welcomes GP feedback on both the new e-Referral form and the brochure, via  myagedcare.hpreferrals@health.gov.au

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 www.health.gov.au/workforceincentiveprogram

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 https://www.ruralhealthwest.com.au/general-practice/family/partner-education-grants

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 https://phexchange.wapha.org.au/AAD 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 www.type1screen.org or email type1screen@mh.org.au

 

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 t.swann@ecu.edu.au 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 cervicalscreening@health.wa.gov.au 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 www.ncsr.gov.au 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 www.bowelcancer.org.au/health-professionals.

Further information can be found at www.bowelcancer.org.au 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 https://www.fasdhub.org.au/fasd-information/understanding-fasd/alcohol-use-in-pregancy/gpaskthequestion/

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 info@rubytrial.com

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 TCSWAHealthcareCS@tollgroup.com.

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 wavss@health.wa.gov.au 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.