GP Connect Clinical Updates

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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.

 

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