GP Connect Clinical Updates

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New Mandatory Referral Access Criteria: June 2024

Referral Access Criteria (RAC) are now mandatory for WA public outpatient services for Rheumatology (adult) and Endocrinology and Diabetes (paediatrics).

RAC are being introduced in a staged approach by WA Department of Health for outpatient specialties and are also mandatory for ENT (adult and paediatric), Direct Access Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Urology, Neurology and Ophthalmology.

Developed by Specialist Heads of Department, consultants and GPs, RACs outline the mandatory history, examination and investigations required within a referral to support effective outpatient triaging and maximise the value of your patient’s first outpatient appointment. To learn more, please access the RAC via WA Department of Health website.

PBS subsidy arrangements for medicines subject to a Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument

In circumstances where the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued a Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument (SSSI), pharmacists can dispense substitutable medicines in place of prescribed medicines that are in shortage (scarce medicines) without prior approval from the prescriber.

Before supplying a substitutable medicine, the pharmacist must discuss the proposed PBS substitution with the patient or their agent. The pharmacist must also inform the PBS prescriber who wrote the prescription, in writing, that the substitution has been made. This information must be provided within 72 hours flowing the supply.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listed scarce medicines and the respective substitutable medicines that are eligible for PBS subsidy under these arrangements are listed on the PBS website.

Information about the conditions and specified permitted circumstances that apply to an SSSI are published on the TGA website. Download the FAQs about PBS subsidy arrangements for PBS listed medicines subject to an SSSI here.

Eligible age lowering of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

From 1 July 2024, people aged 45 to 49 can request their first free kit and join the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

This follows the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) approved update to the Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection, and management of colorectal cancer to lower the entry age for population bowel cancer screening from 50 to 45.

People aged 45 to 49 will now be able to join the Program by requesting their first bowel screening kit at www.ncsr.gov.au/boweltest or by calling the National Cancer Screening Register Contact Centre on 1800 627 701. They will also be able to talk to their doctor about getting a kit through the Program’s alternative access to kits model.

Consistent with existing program practice for people aged 50 to 74, once people aged 45 to 49 request their first kit, their next kit will automatically be mailed to them two years following their last test result, and every two years thereafter.

This change in age eligibility is communicated via the Program’s website at www.health.gov.au/nbcsp and www.ncsr.gov.au. Upcoming campaign activities will also include changes in age eligibility and relevant program resources will be updated and available by 1 July 2024.

St John of God Bunbury private maternity services to close

Effective 25 June 2024, St John of God Health Care will cease delivering the maternity service at St John of God Bunbury Hospital.

A range of personalised information and support is being provided to women who were booked to have their babies at St John of God Bunbury Hospital. This includes transitioning their care to public hospitals, with the option to be treated as private patients and cared for by their chosen obstetrician or transferred to a St John of God private hospital in Perth.

During this period, St John of God Bunbury Hospital will maintain its existing arrangements to manage some of the current challenges, including bypass arrangements with Bunbury Regional Hospital for expectant women who go into spontaneous labour overnight. Read the full announcement here

Mpox added to the Australian Immunisation Handbook

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (DHAC) recently published a new chapter on mpox (previously known as monkeypox) in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

The mpox chapter follows the same structure as other Handbook chapters, giving detailed clinical advice for GP and other health professionals on the safest, most effective use of mpox vaccines in their practice.

The chapter replaces previous clinical guidance on mpox vaccination previously published on the DHAC website.

New online resource to combat high rates of Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 in Central Australia

Aboriginal communities in Central Australia have some of the highest rates of Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) in the world, an ancient human retrovirus which affects T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. While current evidence suggests most people with HTLV-1 will remain well, in a small number of people HTLV-1 can cause serious illness.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has developed the HTLV-1 Portal, bringing together a collation of HTLV-1 resources particularly relevant for Aboriginal people.

healthdirect Video Call COVID- 19 GP Program extended to 31 December 2024

GPs are encouraged to continue using the healthdirect secure video consulting platform, which has been purpose-built for primary care settings in line with the changes to the telehealth MBS items, now extended to 31 December 2024.

RACGP CPD accredited training in healthdirect Video Call is available for your practice – please register here for essential training.

A Bulk Billing Consent application is now available in healthdirect Video Call to use online.

Build parent/carer confidence to support children with their mental health and wellbeing

A new collection of free, online resources aimed at building the confidence of parents, family members and other adults to support children’s mental health and wellbeing is available from Emerging Minds.

The Understanding and supporting children’s mental health collection can strengthen families’ knowledge and confidence in talking about children’s mental health with health practitioners by offering a shared language and understanding of key child mental health concept. The resources include factsheets, videos and podcast about:

  • Understanding children’s mental health.
  • What shapes children’s mental health?
  • Understanding children’s emotions and behaviour.
  • Five ways to support your children’s mental health.

Download resources for your practice or direct your patients to the Emerging Minds website.

Free healthy lifestyle programs for WA families

The WA Department of Health has supported Better Health Company to provide two free healthy lifestyle programs for WA families:

  • Better Health Program – for children aged 6-12yrs who are above a healthy weight and their families.
  • The Active8 – for children aged 2-5yrs and their families.

Both programs provide families with free support from a dietician/nutritionist who assists with nutrition, physical activity, and behaviour change.

Programs are delivered online as a flexible and accessible option for families to start as soon as they register or in person each school term at a local community venue. Term 3 registrations are now open for in person programs.

Eligibility criteria, referral forms and contact details are also available at HealthPathways WA Child Exercise and Healthy Eating Programs.

Federal Budget 2024–25

The Australian Government has announced a total of $146.1 billion on health and aged care in 2024–25, with a five-year commitment to invest an additional $10.7 billion, including $8.5 billion in health and $2.2 billion in aged care.

DHAC has developed the following fact sheets for each of these Budget priorities:

AIHW: Australia’s health system saves money thanks to physical activity

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Australians participating in sport and physical activity have provided a net positive impact of $321 million to Australia’s health system.

Economics of sport and physical activity participation and injury revealed physical inactivity contributed to around $2.4 billion in health spending in 2018–19, making it the fourth highest spending risk factor. However, physical activity and sport prevented $1.7 billion in disease spending. Read the full report on AIHW website.

New research reveals vaccinations saved around 154 million lives in the last 50 years

Researchers at Telethon Kids Institute have helped map the global impact of life saving vaccines. Recent findings published in The Lancet reveal, since 1974, vaccination has saved approximately 154 million lives – most of these, children under the age of five.

The study was funded by the World Health Organization and led by Andrew Shattock, an Associate Professor in the Intervention and Infectious Diseases Modelling Team at Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia, with contributions from researchers from around the globe.

Read Contribution of vaccination to improved survival and health: modelling 50 years of the Expanded Programme on Immunization here.


May 2024
RSV Infant Immunisation at WA birthing hospitals begins

Beginning 2 May 2024, RSV infant immunisation is now available through WA birthing hospitals for all babies born during the WA RSV season, i.e., May through September 2024.

Recording of newborn immunisation encounters in the Australian Immunisation Register can sometimes be delayed, but parents should have documentation of their infant’s nirsevimab immunisation provided by the hospital.

If a newborn is discharged from hospital and has not already received nirsevimab, WA Health advises they should be offered immunisation in outpatient settings at the earliest opportunity prior to 30 September 2024.

A succinct 2-page “RSV Quick Reference Guide” is available from WA Health to assist busy practices in determining key program information such as eligibility, dosing and more.

Free access to syphilis Point-of-Care tests

To help control the WA syphilis outbreak, the WA Department of Health offers interested health services access to free syphilis Point-of-Care (PoC) tests for client testing.

Syphilis PoC tests offer a reactive or non-reactive result to syphilis antibodies within 15 minutes. A reactive syphilis PoC test in a patient with no history of syphilis allows treatment and contact tracing on the day of presentation, compared to waiting for the results of syphilis serology and follow-up. Enrolled services are provided the testing supplies and training for the syphilis PoC testing strips for FREE.

For more information or to find out how to enrol, please contact the syphilis PoC testing program at syphilispoct@health.wa.gov.au

Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service

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

The service is provided by experienced addiction medicine specialists and is available at no charge to all health professionals in Western Australia.

Phone (08) 6553 0520, 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday. If a call is received after hours, please leave a message and your call will be returned the next business day. For more information, please visit Mental Health Commission – Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service website

Protecting your patients with winter vaccines

In addition to Influenza and RSV, COVID-19 is also common in colder months – and COVID-19 vaccines can be provided at the same time as a flu vaccine.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (DHAC) encourages immunisation providers to review the ATAGI statement on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines and 2024 Program advice for health professionals.

2024 WA influenza immunisation program advice is also available from WA Department of Health.

You can also provide a consumer fact sheet to patients about the 2024 flu vaccine.

Further information to help answer your patients’ common questions about Influenza and COVID-19, along with RSV vaccination is available on the DHAC website.

First national survey shows that most Australians know little about dementia

Most Australians agree they would adopt a healthier lifestyle if they knew more about ways to reduce their risk of developing dementia. However, only one in three Australians feel confident in their knowledge of how to reduce their risk.

Results from the Dementia Awareness Survey, conducted between July and August 2023, were released on 24 April by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The survey collected information on how much people know about dementia, their attitudes towards dementia and people living with dementia.

Results from this survey will help inform priorities and areas for dementia awareness initiatives and prevention activities that can reduce the risk or delay the development of dementia.

Access the full report on the AIHW website.

Co-occurring psychological distress and risky alcohol and other drug use in Aboriginal people

Researchers from the University of Newcastle have identified a range of potential risk and protective factors for co-occurring psychological distress, risky alcohol and/or substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The study used data from the 2018-19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS). The research was published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

Read more at Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

RDAA launches online rural incentive payment finder

Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has launched a new tool to make it easier to find and apply for Australian Government funded rural incentive payments. The free RDAA Commonwealth Financial Support Calculator gives an estimate of the amounts GPs are eligible for according to Modified Monash Model area, style of work, and advanced skill.

Watch the video demonstration or access the calculator on the RDAA website.

New app to support GPs in delivering palliative care

CareSearch, a government-funded National Palliative Care project, recently released the CareSearchgp app to support GPs in delivering palliative care. This free digital tool brings together guidance on terminal prescribing for specific symptoms and evidence-based information on key care issues.

Find our more and download the free app on the CareSearch website.

Free online resources to support people caring for someone at the end of life

Caring for someone who is dying can be stressful and it is common for people to feel like they don’t know what to do, what to say and how to cope. Funded by DHAC, Carehelp provides free online resources to support your patients who are caring for someone with a life-limiting illness.

Access CarerHelp resources here

New AIHW report on people with disability in Australia

People with disability generally report poorer general health and higher levels of psychological distress than people without disability (AIHW 2024). People with disability also have higher rates of some modifiable health risk factors and behaviours, such as poor diet and tobacco smoking, than people without disability.

People with disability in Australia brings together information from a range of national data sources to contribute to a greater understanding of disability in Australia.

Read more about aspects of health for people with disability, from health status, and health risk factors and behaviours, to use of health services, and barriers to accessing health services on the AIHW website.

April 2024
RACGP releases updated osteoporosis guidelines for GPs

The RACGP 2024 guide to Osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis and management in postmenopausal women and men over 50 years of age is designed to provide clear, evidence-based recommendations to support clinical judgement in managing patients over 50 years of age with poor bone health, including osteopenia and osteoporosis.

An update of the 2017 edition, this guide addresses the accumulation of high-quality evidence supporting changes to clinical practice over the past five years, the need for expert consensus and opinion, and new developments in the pharmacological management of osteoporosis, especially the role of osteoanabolic therapies.

Find out more and download a copy of the guide

WA based study reveals almost one-in-five suffering from long COVID

A study of more than 11,000 Australians who tested positive to COVID-19 in 2022 has revealed almost one-in-five were still experiencing ongoing symptoms three months after their initial diagnosis, according to new research from The Australian National University.

The study was conducted in Western Australia, with participants drawn from the almost 71,000 adults who tested positive to COVID-19 in WA between 16 July 2022 and 3 August 2022.

Read more in The Medical Journal of Australia

CSIRO report highlights ‘extraordinary era’ of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare

A surge in the amount of digital data in the health sector, together with increases in computer power and the availability of new artificial intelligence (AI) tools is leading to an explosion of AI being used in healthcare, according to a new report from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

AI Trends for Healthcare identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the continued and inevitable integration of AI in Australia’s health care sector; from clinical decision support to administrative tasks. The report also notes that the digitalisation of Australia’s hospital records system, or electronic medical records,is rapidly expanding.

Find out more and download the report here

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance releases new and updated FAQs on most common respiratory diseases

 The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has published a suite of FAQ resources on three of the most common respiratory diseases in Australia: influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.

Authored by NCIRS specialists and designed to support both immunisation providers and patients, the resources are based on the latest expert research and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advice.

Access the downloadable FAQs

Updated patient fact sheet on adult physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (DHAC) has published an updated factsheet providing information and advice for adults about how much physical activity they should do each day, and about minimising sedentary behaviour.

Download a copy of the fact sheet for adults aged 18-65 years

Access the full collection of physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for each age group and during pregnancy here.

New resources for supporting victim-survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse in primary care

 The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse (National Centre) has launched a new set of resources to strengthen the capability of the primary health care workforce to better respond to children and adults who have experienced sexual violence and child sexual abuse.

The new resources include two, brief reference guides and a short video exploring lived experience and general practice perspectives in working with victim-survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse.

Further resources to support GPs and the primary care workforce will be launched by the National Centre in the future.

The resources are available on the National Centre website. Email practice@nationalcentre.org.au for more information.

Virtual peer support network for patients living with heart disease

The MyHeart MyLife community is an online group moderated by the Heart Foundation’s Healthcare Programs team, providing a safe space for people living with a heart condition and their carers to connect.

Being part of the community with others on a similar recovery journey can help people to feel reassured and less isolated while providing a forum to share their experience of living with a heart condition. The community comes with support from the Heart Foundation to learn how to lead a heart-healthy life.

Learn more about the benefits of the MyHeart MyLife community for your patients

Stillbirth prevention resources for First Nations and migrant and refugee women

 The Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence has developed resources that aim to reduce stillbirth in First Nations and migrant and refugee women.

The resources have been co-designed with target communities to be culturally appropriate. Messages address:

  • Avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • Monitoring baby’s growth through regular antenatal appointments
  • Being aware of baby’s movements
  • Sleep on your side after 28 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Discussing the best timing for baby’s birth with the doctor or midwife.

For more information visit the Stillbirth CRE Safer Baby Bundle webpage.

Stillbirth CRE resources for First Nations communities can be accessed here with more culturally adapted resources available here.

Support for rural and remote families impacted by stillbirth and miscarriage

 Rural Health Connect has launched a new service providing telehealth psychology sessions to women and families who have experienced stillbirth and miscarriage.

The program will be bulk-billed or available at low cost, for target population groups including;

  • First Nations families.
  • People living in rural and remote Australia.
  • Migrant and refugee groups.
  • Women under 20 years of age.

More information for GPs, including how to refer, is available here or by emailing info@ruralhealthconnect.com.au .

A Mental Health Treatment Plan is required for patients to access Medicare rebates. Interpreters are available upon request.

Life in Mind disaster recovery resources

Natural disasters and other traumatic events can have a profound effect on the mental health and wellbeing of affected communities, emergency services, first responders and those tasked to assist in the recovery effort.

A new resource available from Life in Minds has been developed to help you to support your patients during stressful times, along with a collation of relevant services and resources to support those affected by floods, bushfires, drought and COVID-19.

Find out more and download resources here

 

March 2024
COVID-19 vaccination advice

As of 1 March 2024, ATAGI has released advice for immunisation providers regarding the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in 2024.

This includes:

  • 2024 booster dose recommendations
  • Updated primary course recommendations

Note that the COVID-19 chapter of the Australian Immunisation Handbook is in the process of being updated to reflect this advice.

Read the ATAGI statement here

Identifying and supporting patients experiencing food insecurity

For some, accessing sufficient food to eat can be a daily or weekly struggle. In 2023, 36 per cent of Australian households experienced moderate to severe food insecurity. People who are food insecure may experience stress, skip meals, and consume nutritionally inadequate food.

GPs and other health professionals play an important role in identifying and treating the consequences of food insecurity which include physical, social and emotional ramifications, and increased risks for chronic diseases.

To access a range of resources on identifying food insecurity and the support options available to your patients, visit shape.wapha.org.au/food-insecurity/

Close to 200 medicines now available for a 60-day prescription

The DHAC has increased the number of medicines available for a 60-day prescription. An additional 94 medicines for stable, ongoing health conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, breast cancer and menopause are now eligible, bringing the total number of medicines available to 184.

The full list of medicines available for a 60-day prescription is available here

A further 100 medicines will become eligible on 1 September 2024.

Understanding the legal needs of people with sexually transmissible infections and blood borne viruses

A recent article published in Health+Law explores the unmet legal needs of people with blood borne viruses (BBV) and sexually transmissible infections in Australia, noting the important role of health workers in this context. Read more about the research and access the article in full, here

Health+Law is a research partnership to identify and eliminate legal barriers to testing and treatment for people living with Hepatitis B or HIV in Australia.

New topics – Royal Australian College of General Practitioners First do no harm guide

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has released new topics as part of First do no harm: a guide to choosing wisely in general practice. This living guide helps GPs and patients to make shared decisions on evidence-based health care, with QR codes for patients to access information during the consultation.

The new clinical topic provides information for both GPs and patients on:

Three brand new associated topics have also been released, which provides further information on the causes of low-value care and how to overcome these challenges.

On demand learning now available from Australasian Society for HIV Medicine

To support GPs and other health care professionals to stay up to date with knowledge in HIV, blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexual and reproductive health, the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine has launched a free online learning solution.

ASHM On Demand allows you to earn CPD hours across a variety of topics, and for a range of professions. You can filter the courses by topic and profession, meaning you can design your own learning journey at your own pace.

More information is available here

New podcast about lived experience of voluntary assisted dying in WA

The WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Statewide Care Navigator Service provides outreach support for anyone involved with voluntary assisted dying in WA, including patients, the family and carers of patients, health professionals and service providers.

The service has developed a podcast series called This is my stop to support anyone wanting to learn more about the lived experience of voluntary assisted dying in WA. Listen to the latest episode on Spotify or Apple.

If you have any questions about voluntary assisted dying, you can reach out to the Care Navigator Service on 9431 2755 or by email to VADcarenavigator@health.wa.gov.au, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm.

More information is available in the Voluntary Assisted Dying’ HealthPathway

New palliative care resources to support planning, grief and loss

To support your patients with navigating the challenges that come with approaching end of life, WAPHA, through its Greater Choices for At Home Palliative Care initiative, has partnered with Palliative Care WA (PCWA) to produce two new booklets, Palliative Caring and My Palliative Care.

Developed in consultation with a panel of palliative care professionals and endorsed by WAPHA’s multicultural and LGBTIQA+ reference groups, the booklets cover a variety of topics including planning, decision making, rural and remote considerations, caring at home and grief.

The booklets launched on 6 March 2024, and are available to order as a hard copy or to download from the PCWA website. For more information, contact info@palliativecarewa.asn.au or phone 1300 551 704.

Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine Telehealth Clinical Skills Program 2024

This comprehensive online educational course is designed to equip GPs with the essential skills for best practice telehealth consultations. This includes clinical skills for assessment and physical examination, covering consultation setup, physical assessments, legal aspects, note-taking, and the use of adjunctive devices for previously challenging body parts in virtual care.

In addition to the comprehensive content, the program offers additional insights into virtual assessments, including telehealth cardiorespiratory examination, gastrointestinal examination, eye and ENT examinations, and more.

Program fees:

  • ACRRM Members: Special rate of $195
  • Non-Members: Welcome rate of $225

Find out more and register here or contact the ACRRM digital health team at ehealth@acrrm.org.au

Quick how-to video on getting the best out of the HealthInfoNet WA Portal

HealthInfoNet has created a short video on how get the best use from the WA State Portal which is located on the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website. It includes how to find information, refine searches and filter content by region using the interactive WA map.

Funded by the WA Department of Health, the Portal contains key facts about Aboriginal people in WA and covers topics such as chronic diseases, infectious conditions, social and emotional wellbeing, populations, health system and determinants.

Users can find publications, polices, resources, programs, organisations, as well as workforce information including courses, events, funding opportunities and job vacancies.

View the explanatory video here

February 2024
WA residents now able to access interstate stimulant prescriptions

The WA Schedule 8 Prescribing Code has recently been updated to allow certain types of specialists to apply to be authorised as stimulant prescribers when providing telehealth services to residents of WA.

For more information on the change, see Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch – Dispensing Interstate Prescriptions. For information on stimulant prescribing in WA, see Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch – Stimulant medicines.

Shingles online module update

Since 1 November 2023, Shingrix® vaccine replaced Zostavax® vaccine on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for the prevention of shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia.

Shingrix® is the only funded zoster vaccine that is available for free for individuals aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal people aged 50 years and over and immunocompromised people aged 18 years and over.

The WA Health Shingles online update module has been updated to reflect the latest Shingrix information. This free online module serves as a refresher for immunisation providers. To access the module, users will need to complete a registration form located at Immunisation education.

Immunisation providers are reminded to refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook Zoster (herpes zoster) chapter for more information or refer to the Adult Immunisation‘ HealthPathway.

Shield yourself from shingles campaign for Aboriginal patients

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has released a targeted campaign for Aboriginal people aged 50 years and over informing them of the free shingles vaccination.

The campaign discusses shingles, side effects of having shingles and the benefits of vaccination.

Information and resources are available to download and share through your practice channels at the Shield yourself from shingles web page

GP Psychiatry Support Line

The GP Psychiatry Support Line is a free phone service connecting GPs directly with psychiatrists who can offer their expert advice regarding the mental health needs of your patients.

GPs may call to discuss:

  • medication advice
  • diagnostic clarification
  • risk and safety
  • management planning
  • general professional counsel.

Find out more and register online www.gpsupport.org.au or call 1800 16 17 18. For emergencies please call 000.

New youth mental health support from North Metro Health Service

The North Metro Health Service Youth Community Assessment and Treatment Team (YCATT) can provide short term support (for up to three months), for 16 to 24 year olds in the North Metropolitan area.

The team comprises a consultant psychiatrist, medical officer, mental health nurses, a social worker, occupational therapist, Aboriginal mental health officer and a pharmacist.

Support is patient centred and the YCATT Team can work with clients and their family/carer/significant other to provide ongoing support and links with longer term services in the community.

Access to appointments is offered flexibly, at no charge including:

  • clinic based
  • in the community (e.g. local cafe)
  • in the patient’s home environment
  • telehealth.

For more information or to discuss a potential referral, please contact the triage officer on 6382 3700.

Feed Safe app now reflects updated guidelines

Australian research suggests 67 per cent of those who breastfeed feel they do not fully understand the risks of alcohol use while breastfeeding.

The relaunched the Feed Safe app now reflects updated National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol.

The Guidelines advise when breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for the health of the baby, but in the event of consumption of alcohol, the app provides a tool that can be used to calculate when breastmilk is alcohol-free.

The app is free, easy to use and available in both apple and android app stores. Direct your patients to the Every Moment Matters website to find out more and download the app.

 

November 2023
MyMedicare patient registration – General Practice in Aged Care Incentive

From 1 October 2023, Residential Aged Care Home (RACH) residents can register in MyMedicare to formalise their relationship with their regular general practice and GP. RACH residents are eligible to register if they have a valid Medicare card or Veteran Card.

RACH residents can register in MyMedicare by completing a registration form from their GP or online through their Medicare Online Account or Express Plus Medicare mobile application. As with other MyMedicare initiatives, general practices can be proactive to assist with this process. More information is available here.

Free digital tool to discuss and monitor Healthy Habits

RACGP has partnered with the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care to develop Healthy Habits, a digital health tool that enables GPs and their practice teams to encourage patients to achieve healthier lifestyles, through increased physical activity and improved nutrition behaviours.

Being part of the Healthy Habits program can help your practice by:

  • Providing clinicians with useful tools (patient pathways, behaviour change tools, clinician dashboard, resource hub) to strengthen your abilities in motivating behaviour change in unhealthy lifestyle patients.
  • Providing clinicians up-to-date and accurate patient data to enable informed conversation and decision-making during consultations.
  • Offering a new and flexible way of delivering health care through technology.
  • Presenting activities for my GPs and practice nurses to maintain best practice in physical activity and nutrition counselling while earning CPD hours.

Find out more in Putting it into practice: Implementing Healthy Habits in your practice or visit the RACGP website for more information.

Increase to Veterans’ Access Payment for certain services

GPs will be aware they can claim a supplementary Veteran’s Access Payment (VAP) for services you provide to eligible veterans and dependants. VAP is payable based on your Modified Monash Model (MMM) classification. The VAP incentive items are equivalent to the Medicare Bulk Billing Incentive and can be co-claimed with general practice items provided under DVA arrangements.

From 1 November 2023, standard VAP amounts have tripled for certain services including:

  • All face-to-face general attendance consultations.
  • MBS Level B video and telephone general attendance consultations.
  • Video and telephone consultations when your practice and patients are registered to MyMedicare.

Standard VAP incentive items will continue to be payable to GPs who provide other relevant services, outside of those listed above, to Veteran Card holders.

As part of the incentive changes, DVA is simplifying the claiming process by removing the temporary, DVA-only, VAP incentive items introduced during the COVID‑19 pandemic. Items MT83-MT89 will not be available to claim for services performed on or after 1 November 2023. You will be able to use the equivalent MBS items to claim the VAP incentive for eligible consultations as described in this table on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. For more information on which services attract a higher incentive payment, please visit MBS online.

October 2025
Free Persistent Pain Program for Rockingham patients

The 360 Health + Community Persistent Pain Program acknowledges that effective chronic pain management extends beyond medical interventions. To equip people with the comprehensive tools they need to lead fulfilling lives despite their chronic pain, the program combines medical care with community support, education, lifestyle modifications, mental health services, and community engagement.

Over the course of 12 months, dieticians, exercise physiologists, credentialed diabetes educators, pharmacists, and psychologists pool their knowledge and experience to offer group and individual services to support clients to gain valuable insights and strategies to self-manage their condition, all at no cost.

To refer your Rockingham patients, call 1300 706 922 or email to info@360.org.au.

New Urgent Care Services HealthPathway

HealthPathways WA have released a new Urgent Care Services HealthPathway, with information for clinicians to help patients access care at a location convenient to them and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments.

The pathway features services that provide treatment for urgent, but not life-threatening, illnesses and injuries requiring same-day assessment outside of an emergency department setting, including WAPHA’s newly commissioned Medicare Urgent Care Clinics.

Work on the Urgent Care Services page commenced in August 2023 and was developed with assistance from the WAPHA GP Urgent Care Programs team. HealthPathways WA also has pages relating to After Hours Care and Acute Care in the Community.

Find out more: HealthPathways WA Urgent Care Services Pathway

To access the pathway, request a login here

Strengthening GP care for Indigenous Australians

Following a 2019 review, the Practice Incentives Program – Indigenous Health Initiative has been updated and improved to boost quality of care and outcomes for Indigenous people living with chronic health and mental health conditions through:

  • Making some GP Mental Health Care Plan Medicare items eligible for outcome payments.
  • Shifting payment amounts to incentivise follow up care for patients, rather than registration.
  • Updating eligibility for outcome payments to patients under the age of 15.
  • Giving GP practices a 12-month rolling window to provide the required number of services.

Initial changes began in the new year, with the updated payment structure transitioning in 2023 and 2024 to give practices time to adjust to the changes.

More information is available on the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care website  

Caring for older people in warmer weather

High temperatures are often experienced across Australia every summer and older people living in the community may be at risk of heat stress, particularly those who live alone without regular contact from others.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has developed checklists to prepare for extreme weather events if you work with patients on Home Care Packages or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or in residential aged care homes.

Access the resources here

Updated Dementia in Australia report

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released the updated Dementia in Australia report. The report provides the latest statistics on dementia and its impacts on the community, including mortality, hospitalisations and prescriptions under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and aged care assessments.

To learn more, visit the AIHW website.

National Dementia Data Improvement Plan 2023-2033

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has recently released the National Dementia Data Improvement Plan 2023–2033. It aims to improve dementia data across all settings from community to residential aged care and hospital environments.

The plan provides a 10-year roadmap to monitor dementia and improve the evidence base for effective policy development, service provision and planning.

To learn more, visit the AIHW website.

New dementia services and support finder

In partnership with My Community Directory, WA Primary Health Alliance has established a Dementia Community Services and Support Finder web page to help patients find information for themselves and loved ones when the early signs of dementia present.

This online resource provides dementia specific information including a service finder to assist in accessing services and planning care during the dementia journey.

Bundles of promotional cards which include a QR code to access the website are available for your practice. Contact caroline.vafeas@wapha.org.au to place your order.

To find out more visit: https://www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au/dynamic/dementia-wa

New WA Health resources: Aboriginal 0-4 Koorlongka Kids immunisation

The Koorlongka Kids Immunisation resources are designed to support you in conversations with parents and carers about immunising Aboriginal children aged zero to four years of age.

The ‘LOVE them, CARE for them, IMMUNISE them’ brochure contains artwork by a local Aboriginal artist embedded with educational messaging, and a personal story courtesy of Immunisation Foundation of Australia. The flyer includes a magnet which providers can fill in to remind parents of their child’s vaccination due dates between birth to four years of age.

For more information on how to place an order, go to Immunisation provider information and resources (health.wa.gov.au).

Australian Immunisation Handbook includes new chapter on COVID-19

The latest information and recommendations about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination have now been added to the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

The new COVID-19 chapter will serve as a primary reference for accurate information on COVID-19 vaccines and will be kept up to date to remain aligned with Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommendations.

The chapter will replace the ‘ATAGI clinical guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers’ webpage.

As with all new Handbook chapters, this chapter will undergo a public consultation, and National Health and Medical Research Council approval will be sought.

Access the COVID-19 chapter of The Handbook here

Offering bowel cancer screening to your patients just got easier:
Bulk order kits to issue to eligible patients

Encouraging your patients aged 50 to 74 to screen for bowel cancer just got easier, with the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program now enabling health care providers to bulk order program kits and issue them to eligible patients.

Healthcare providers can help people who have never screened or are overdue for screening to take that positive next step, with patients more likely to do the test after discussion with a trusted healthcare professional.

All kits handed to patients must be issued via the National Cancer Screening Register to ensure patients get their results.

Learn how to get started with the alternative access to kits model. 

September 2023
Notification of infectious diseases and related conditions

The Communicable Disease Control Directorate reminds GPs, nurse practitioners and other medical practitioners of their legal obligation under the Public Health Act 2016 and the Public Health Regulations 2017 to report diagnosis of a suspected notifiable infectious disease or a related condition.

Visit the WA Department of Health website for more information including a list of notifiable infectious diseases and how to notify.

Interested practitioners can also access the WA Health notifiable infectious disease report here

60-day prescriptions information kit for prescribers

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has developed an information kit providing information to prescribers about key changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines with increased dispensing quantities (60-day dispensing). The kit includes details of which medicines are eligible, FAQs and case studies. Download a copy here

Updated Practical Guide to Eczema Care

A Practical Guide to Eczema Care has recently been updated with a new look and new resources to help health professionals provide consistent eczema education to parents of children with eczema. The guide was funded by the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and developed by Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) in collaboration with National Allergy Council and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia.

PCH currently have hard copies of the guide available for distribution to GPs and practice nurses. Please email Jemma.Weidinger@health.wa.gov.au to request copies for your practice.

The resource can also be accessed online at the Nip Allergies in the Bub website under “Eczema training, plans and guides”.

GP Psychiatry Support Line to help GPs manage mental health care

New support is available to GPs to continue to manage the mental health of patients whose conditions can be treated within primary care.

The GP Psychiatry Support Line, on 1800 16 17 18, is a free service funded by the Australian Government enabling GPs to speak directly with a qualified psychiatrist for expert advice in diagnosis, investigation, medication and safety plans for mental health care.  Download a copy of the flyer or find more information here

New mental health resources available for health professionals

GPs and other health professionals can now access new and updated mental health resources, microlearning and online learning pathways through the Australian Government Department of Health Mental Health Professional Online Development (MHPOD) Program.

MHPOD has more than 70 one-hour lessons, videos, audio, checklists and templates. Training covers different mental health topics including recovery, cultural awareness and eating disorders.

The platform caters to different learning styles, including self-directed learning, hour-long modules, micro-learning to help people learn on the go, and self-assessment tools.

To learn more, see the Mental Health Professional Online Development (MHPOD) Program

Resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal patients

To help support the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal patients, health professionals can access culturally relevant online resources on the WellMob website that was developed by eMHPrac (e-mental health in practice) in collaboration with the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

In addition to mental health and wellbeing resources, the website also provides a range of training and workforce resources to enhance the skills and understanding of people who work with Aboriginal patients.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program now available for veterans and their families

Veteran patients and their family members who may benefit from improving their stress management skills or building connections with others with similar experiences can now enrol in one of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) free online Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) forums.

MBSR is an eight-week evidence-based program that offers intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression and pain. MBSR uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, yoga and exploration of patterns of behaviour, thinking, feeling and action.

Participants can find out more on the DVA website or register online.

Cost effective musculoskeletal physio at Curtin Student-led Physiotherapy Clinic

The Curtin Health and Wellness Centre provides affordable physiotherapy assessment and care for musculoskeletal conditions for everyone. Care is provided by physiotherapy students in their final years of study, and intermittently, post-graduate physiotherapy students.

All consultations are closely supervised by experienced physiotherapists in professional treatment areas. The treatments offered are patient centred and evidence guided.

GPs can refer via the referral form or direct patents to self-refer by calling 08 9266 1717. To find out more about the Curtin Physiotherapy Clinic, including opening hours, visit the Physiotherapy Clinic website

Find your next GP or practice nurse with Rural Health West’s Recruitment Service

Rural Health West is passionate about bridging the gap between rural communities and health professionals. Their free recruitment service can support practices in rural and remote communities to find GPs or practice nurses to join their practice through a number of initiatives:

  • Supervision support for international medical graduates.
  • Access to the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program.
  • Assistance with sponsorship of offshore health professionals to work in Australia.
  • Vacancy advertising writing support.
  • GP Locum Placement Program.

Visit www.ruralhealthwest.com.au, email recruit@ruralhealthwest.com.au or phone 08 6389 4500 to find out more.

 

August 2023
Treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs) by pharmacists in WA

The WA Government has announced the issuing of a Structured Administration and Supply Arrangement (SASA) authorising trained pharmacists to supply Schedule 4 oral antibiotics for the treatment of urinary tract infections in low-risk patients.

Pharmacists must keep a clinical record of the consultation and provide a service summary to the patient. The SASA also mandates that the dispensing record is transmitted to My Health Record.

Pharmacists are advised, but not mandated, to consider performing dipstick urinalysis as part of assessment.

For more information including pharmacist training requirements and exclusion criteria, see WA Department of Health – Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs) by Pharmacists

New guidelines for telehealth consultations soon to take effect

Revised telehealth guidelines from the Medical Board of Australia will take effect from 1 September this year.  Under the updated guidelines:

  • Telehealth consultations will continue as an important feature of healthcare in Australia
  • Real-time doctor-patient consultations remain key to safe prescribing
  • Prescribing via questionnaire-based asynchronous web-based tools in the absence of a real-time patient-doctor consultation is not considered good practice.

Download a copy of Guidelines: Telehealth consultations with patients  here

GP advice during antibiotic medicine shortages

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, several antimicrobials used to treat infections in primary care are now in short supply.

In consultation with the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care and the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Therapeutic Guidelines has engaged the Antibiotic Primary Care Expert Group to develop temporary advice on alternative recommendations to first-line antibiotics for use in shortage situations.

The guidelines are aimed at supporting antimicrobial stewardship in primary care and highlight infections for which symptomatic treatment alone is often appropriate. It also includes temporary advice developed by The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia on the preferred antibiotic to be used in children when an oral liquid formulation is not available.

Download Antibiotic prescribing in primary care: Therapeutic Guidelines summary table 2023 here

New Alcohol. Think Again campaign

The new Alcohol. Think Again Australian Alcohol Guidelines campaign aims to increase awareness of the national alcohol guideline for healthy adults, and what constitutes a standard drink.

Resources, training and information for health professionals to help prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm is available along with downloadable social media assets to share across your practice channels are available here

Contact alcoholprograms@cancerwa.asn.au or the Mental Health Commission via the Alcohol. Think Again website if you have any queries.

Evidence based advice for parents on the developmental milestones for three-year olds

The Child and Adolescent Health Service in collaboration with the Western Australian Country Health Service, the Department of Education and the Child and Parent Centres have created a six-minute video to inform parents and caregivers of the developmental milestones most three-year-old children will be meeting.

The video also encourages parents/caregivers who may have concerns with their child’s development, to contact their GP, community health nurse or the Child Development Service for follow up and review.

View and share the video with your patients here

2023 guideline assessing and managing cardiovascular disease risk

 A new, 2023 Australian Guideline brings together the latest evidence from multidisciplinary clinical and consumer groups to inform guideline recommendations for the assessment and management of CVD risk.

The development of the guideline and associated CVD risk calculator is the first update in over a decade and was led by the Heart Foundation on behalf of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance, represented in this project by Diabetes Australia, Kidney Health Australia and Stroke Foundation.

The guideline enables assessment and early identification of CVD risk in people aged 45 years to 79 years without known CVD (from 30 years for First Nations people and from 35 years for people with diabetes).

Access an overview of the guideline here , along with the following accompanying resources:

New support line for parents with perinatal mental health concerns

ForWhen is a new national perinatal and infant mental health care-navigation phone line that can connect your patients experiencing moderate to severe perinatal mental health concerns to critical mental health services and supports.

In WA, this service is provided by Ngala perinatal mental health clinical navigators, who can expertly triage and screen your patients, and recommend specific perinatal services and supports to meet their needs. Referring GPs are kept up to date on course of action and clinical navigators can stay in touch with your patient until they are connected to the recommended service.

You can refer or your patients can self-refer simply by calling 1300 24 23 22 or via the contact us on the website.

Visit the website or download a copy of the flyer for your patients here

The ForWhen model is a stepped care model which aligns with the Primary Health Network stepped care approach. Using the mental health IAR tool, our target group is finding suitable services for those in Levels 2-4. ForWhen is not a crisis service.

Special MJA supplement on vital role of education to grow Australia’s rural health workforce

The Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner has partnered with the Medical Journal of Australia to produce a special supplement that shines a light on the important role education plays in developing and growing Australia’s regional, rural, and remote health workforce.

The supplement is available on the Medical Journal of Australia’s website and through Wiley Online Library.

 

July 2023
Decommissioning the My Aged Care fax

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care will be decommissioning the My Aged Care fax number (1800 728 174) on 31 July 2023.

The e-Referral option from within your patient’s electronic medical record is the quickest and easiest way to make a referral.

If your practice does not currently use a compatible practice management system, you can use the online make a referral form. This is also available on the Aged Care Assessment pathway on HealthPathways WA

More information is available on HealtPathways WA or the My Aged Care website.  Any queries should be directed to MyAgedCareFaxDecommission@health.gov.au

This change is in line with the Australian Government’s Digital Government Strategy to have all government services available digitally by 2025.

More information is available via the Aged Care Assessment HealthPathway.

Medical Benefits Schedule access for nurse practitioners

From 1 July 2024, the Australian Government will increase the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fees and rebates for nurse practitioner general attendance items by 30 per cent. This will assist eligible nurse practitioners to support general practices to deliver services for Australians under Medicare.

In an effort to bring providers together to better support patients with chronic conditions,  eligibility for nurse practitioners to participate in MBS subsidised multidisciplinary case conferences will be expanded.

More information is available at MBS online

Change to how ODT medicines are listed on the PBS Schedule

As of July 1 2023, the way in which opioid dependence treatment (ODT) medicines are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Schedule has changed.

ODT medicines are now part of the Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs (HSD) Program  (Community Access) arrangements.

This means patients eligible for a Medicare card who meet the criteria for opioid dependence will pay the PBS co-payment of $30 or $7.30 with a concession card for up to 28 days supply per pharmaceutical benefit prescribed. This will also contribute towards their PBS Safety Net threshold.  ODT medicines currently listed on the PBS Schedule include:

  • methadone oral liquid
  • buprenorphine sublingual tablets
  • buprenorphine + naloxone sublingual films
  • long-acting injectable buprenorphine products.

Visit the PBS website for more information.

New online syphilis decision-making tool

With syphilis cases rising across the country, the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) has launched a new interactive syphilis decision-making tool to guide clinicians through testing and treating syphilis.

The free decision-making tool is available online and includes treatment pathways for pregnant women, a priority population group of growing concern.

For further information, visit the syphilis decision-making tool webpage.

TGA addressing Ryzodeg 70/30 FlexTouch insulin prefilled pens shortage

To help manage the shortage of Ryzodeg 70/30 FlexTouch insulin prefilled pens, the TGA has implemented a Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument (SSSI) as follows:

  • Ryzodeg 70/30 FlexTouch declared as a scarce medicine.
  • Ryzodeg 70/30 Penfill is specified as the substitute medicine as per the substitution protocol included in the SSSI.

More information is available  on the TGA website.

RACGP MBS online tool updated

The RACGP’s MBS online tool has been updated to incorporate the latest rebate changes which came into effect on 1 July, including 3.6 per cent indexation.

The MBS online tool includes a number of guides that allow GPs to enter their own fee for each service and automatically calculate the patient out-of-pocket contribution.

New GP MBS items for mental health case conferencing have been added to the expanded guide and full guide as part of the MBS online tool.

Immunisation for individuals with additional needs: Practical guide

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has produced a practical guide to support immunisation providers to vaccinate individuals with additional needs.

The guide provides practical advice including clinical considerations, practice adjustments and what to do next if vaccination was not successful.

Visit the NCIRS website to view and download the supported vaccination guide.

Funded medically necessary transport for aged pensioners

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has funded Wilson Medic One to provide medically necessary planned community transport at no cost to eligible patients. Services include:

  • Hospital to home.
  • Home to hospital.
  • Home to a medical facility.
  • Transport between medical and aged care facilities.

Eligible community patients who are in receipt of an aged pension receive a free transport service, with 100 per cent of the cost met by the Australian Government. Eligible community patients who are not in receipt of an age pension are required to pay 50 per cent of the cost of transport, with the remaining 50 per cent met by the Australian Government.

A range of vehicles to accommodate differing patient transport needs are available, including cars, wheelchair accessible vehicles and stretcher vehicles.

Staff all hold nationally recognised qualifications from qualified patient transport officers to AHPRA registered paramedics.

Bookings for patient transport can be pre-booked or booked on the day by calling 1300 284 940.

For more information visit wilsonmedicone.com.au/or email info@wilsonmedicone.com.au

Improve access to high quality allergy care

The presentation of Australians with allergic conditions in primary care is increasing. Supporting patients to access timely diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management will be the focus of a new National Allergy Council project, Shared Care for Allergy.

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, the project will be holding a targeted virtual consultation session on Wednesday 26 July 2023 from 10am – 12pm (AWST).

The outcome of these consultations will help inform a national approach to standards of care for allergic diseases, education, and training of health professionals, defining scope of practice for practitioners and interdisciplinary teamwork and connectivity.

Register here before 24 July 2023.

GP experience – Medication titration survey

Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group is undertaking a quality improvement activity to understand GPs experience in titrating heart failure medications.

Please consider participating in an online survey regarding your experience, which will take less than two minutes to complete.

Complete the survey here

June 2023
Revised Ahpra guidelines – Telehealth consultations

The Medical Board of Australia has recently issued revised telehealth guidelines that will take effect on 1 September 2023. Under the updated guidelines:

  • Telehealth consultations will continue as an important feature of health care in Australia;
  • Real-time doctor-patient consultations remain key to safe prescribing; and
  • Prescribing via questionnaire-based asynchronous web-based tools in the absence of a real-time patient-doctor consultation is not considered good practice.

Download a copy of the guidelines here

Get your flu immunisation video

With flu season well and truly upon us, WAPHA has prepared a short video encouraging patients to have their flu immunisation, featuring Dr Norman Swan. You can play the video on your in practice screens or post it via your social media channels. Download the video here

Supporting patients with hearing loss

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care recently launched the Hearing Health Awareness and Prevention campaign, encouraging Australians with untreated or developing hearing loss (aged 50 to 70 years) to proactively manage their hearing health.

The campaign also aims to raise awareness of hearing health among Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders, teenagers and young people exposed to recreational noise, and people exposed to noise at work.

Early awareness and intervention can help prevent further hearing loss, but people can be hesitant to seek help. GPs can help normalise the topic of hearing in conversations with patients and have a vital role in early detection and encouraging patients to explore management options.

Resources for your patients, including how to prevent and manage hearing loss, book a hearing check, and information translated into several languages, are available at health.gov.au/hearing.

Offering bowel cancer screening just got easier

Encouraging your patients aged 50 to 74 to screen for bowel cancer just got easier, with the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program now enabling GPs and other health care providers to bulk order program kits and issue them to eligible patients. Health care providers can help people who have never screened or are overdue for screening to take that positive next step, with patients more likely to do the test after discussion with a trusted health care professional. All kits handed to patients must be issued via the National Cancer Screening Register to ensure patients get their results.

Learn how to get started with the alternative access to kits model.

FREE evidence-based healthy lifestyle programs for children

Better Health Company are continuing to deliver the following free evidence-based healthy lifestyle programs for Term 3, in partnership with WA Department of Health:

Both programs are delivered as interactive face-to-face or online sessions and are designed to provide families with weekly support from qualified health professionals. Eligible children and families can be referred to each program by completing the digital referral forms.

‘Sounds Like’ it’s time to quit smoking campaign

Cancer Council WA’s Make Smoking History Program is relaunching the WA-made campaign, Sounds Like, asking people who smoke to stop, listen and notice the damage smoking is doing to their bodies.

The following resources are also available from Cancer Council WA to support patients starting their quit journey:

For more information about the Campaign or resources to help patients quit smoking please email the Make Smoking History Team at makesmokinghistory@cancerwa.asn.au.

See also the Smoking Cessation Advice and Smoking Cessation Support Services HealthPathways

May 2023
Resources to support implementation of low back pain standard

The Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard has been developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (Commission) with a focus on early management.

The standard provides GPs with a road map to help patients manage low back pain episodes early and reduce their chance of ongoing problems. It aims to improve the assessment, management and appropriate referral of people with low back pain and reduce the use of unnecessary and ineffective treatments and investigations.

Comprising eight evidence-based quality statements describing best practice care, the standard emphasises the importance of addressing physical and psychosocial barriers to recovery for people with low back pain, providing patient education and advice, and promoting active self-management and physical activity. It highlights the limited role of imaging, bed rest, pain medicines and surgery in managing most people presenting to primary care with low back pain.

To learn more about the standard, and access resources including a series of brief educational videos for clinicians, fact sheets for consumers and clinicians, and a brief educational module for GPs developed in partnership with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), visit the Commission website.

WHO reports no reduction in preterm birth rates over the past decade

A recent report by the World Health Organization has found that for the past 10 years, no region in the world has been able to improve the rate of preterm birth.

Born too soon: decade of action on preterm birth has found that 152 million babies were born too soon from 2010-2020, and preterm birth is still the leading cause of death in children under five worldwide.

In Australia, The Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance indicates 1 in every 12 pregnancies end too early – leading to more than 36,000 preterm births every year. Read more about their preterm birth prevention interventions here.

New RACGP summary of useful links on MBS and Medicare compliance

 The RACGP has developed a new online resource summarising useful links to information about the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Medicare compliance.

The webpage includes links to a range of resources such as MBS explanatory notes, education guides, fact sheets, eLearning programs and infographics from the Department of Health and Aged Care, Services Australia and the RACGP.

To find out more, visit the RACGP website.

New HIV campaign from WAAC

The WA Aids Council (WAAC) have released a new ‘HIV in 2023’ campaign that recognises how the landscape of HIV has changed drastically in the last 40+ years.  HIV medication, education, and research has come a long way, making prevention, treatment and testing now widely available.  To find out more or get involved, visit the HIV website.

HPV in 2023 – Video now available

The National Centre for Immunisation and Research (NCIRS) presented a webinar on Friday 5 May, discussing the updates and taking an in-depth look at the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Leading researchers and policy experts presented on:

The panel also answered the most frequently asked questions from the live audience.

The webinar is now available to view on the NCIRS website

Triple P – Positive Parenting Education and Support Program for patients

Delivered in partnership with Triple P International Pty Ltd (TPI), the Parenting Education and Support Program (Program) is providing free, universal access to evidence-based, online parenting education and support to all Australian parents and carers with a child under 12 years.

The suite of parenting resources offered by TPI will enable parents and carers to develop the confidence, skills, and strategies required to better support child mental health and wellbeing as children progress through the key development milestones and help them identify potential problem behaviours early.

Direct your patients and their families to access the online Triple P-Positive Parenting Program suite here.

Raising Healthy Minds App for parents and carers

The Australian Government funds the delivery of the Raising Healthy Minds App. Developed by the Raising Children Network, the app is aimed at parents and carers of children aged 0-12 years, is free to download, and is filled with tips and practical ideas to help families support a child’s social and emotional health and wellbeing and raise confident, resilient kids.

The Raising Children Network is currently expanding app functionality and content to enable use by GPs and health care workers as a tool to assist with navigating discussions with parents and families in respect to parenting, child development, and mental health and wellbeing.

More information is available on healthdirect

RACGP Health of the Nation deadline extended

The RACGP Health of the Nation survey will now close at 11.59 pm (AEST) on Wednesday 31 May.  This year’s theme is attracting and retaining the general practice workforce, which remains a significant issue despite recent positive developments in this year’s Federal Budget.

The survey takes approximately 12 minutes to complete here

Participate in a new project exploring Auslan interpreting services in primary care

Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA), on behalf of the Department of Health and Aged Care, is exploring how Auslan interpreting services are arranged and delivered in primary care settings. 

GPs and other health professionals (regardless of their level of experience working with Auslan interpreters) are invited to  share their perspectives in a short survey, either online or over a phone or video call with a member of the AHA team; email auslan.review@ahaconsulting.com.au to arrange a time.

The survey is open until 11:59pm AEST on 30 June 2023. Everyone who completes the survey will have the option of entering a gift card draw.  Contact the Chief Allied Health Office (CAHO@health.gov.au) if you have any questions regarding the project.

Motivate C research project offering cash incentive to people living with hepatitis C

Most people with hepatitis C can be cured with as little as eight weeks of treatment. Despite this, many Australians with hepatitis C are yet to undertake the treatment and be cured. The Motivate C project is studying whether the offer of a cash incentive will encourage people to take up hepatitis C treatment in primary care and is looking for people living with hepatitis C to take part.

This is a nationwide project with extensive GP consultation and input, led by the University of Sydney and approved by the Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee (2022/ETH01681). The project is now recruiting Adults with hepatitis C and who haven’t been tested for hepatitis C in the past four weeks to take part.

GPs are critical to the success of the Motivate C project. They can help by identifying eligible participants and letting them know about the project.  For more information, please see the project website or contact the Project team on motivatec.project@sydney.edu.au

Federal Budget documents

Following the release of the Federal Budget (9 May 2023), the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has developed a series of fact sheets and other documents highlighting proposed key measures relating to primary care including:

Visit budget.gov.au

May 2023
WA Health funds free influenza immunisation program during May

From 1 May to 31 May 2023, the WA Department of Health is offering reimbursement for every non-National Immunisation Program (NIP) and WA state-funded eligible influenza vaccine dose administered in registered general practices, community pharmacies, and Aboriginal Medical Services.

One-off grants may be available to immunisation providers maximising their capacity to deliver influenza vaccines across WA during May 2023.

More information is available here

 

Heart Foundation Heart Health Check Toolkit

This Heart Week (1-7 May), start a conversation with your patients about heart health and the positive steps they can take to reduce heart disease risk. The Heart Foundation has developed a Toolkit to streamline Heart Health Check delivery.

With practical resources and software-integrated templates, the Toolkit not only helps you identify, assess and manage cardiovascular risk, but also engage and recall eligible patients with ease.

By simplifying the planning, recall and implementation of Heart Health Checks, the Toolkit enables more at-risk patients to be identified and treated, ultimately contributing to better cardiovascular outcomes for your patients. Download the Toolkit here

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder summary of inclusion into the MBS for GPs

On 1 March 2023, changes were made to the MBS to include fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) on the list of eligible disabilities that can access item numbers for complex neurodevelopmental disorders and disabilities. The age of eligibility for MBS Item 139 was also expanded from under 13 to under 25 and the number of assessment services increased from four to eight.

See the Practice Assist Factsheet for a summary of inclusion into the MBS for GPs or view the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)’ HealthPathway.

The Mental Health Commission also offer a suite of FASD training for health professionals and service providers. Visit the Mental Health Commission website for more information and details of upcoming training, including the Valuable Conversations: For reducing the impact of alcohol use during child-bearing years in Perth on 26-27 April. Regional training will also be delivered as follows:

· Carnarvon: – 22-23 May

· Kalgoorlie: 15-16 August

· Wyndham: 11-12 September

· Bidyadanga: 14-15 September

Email enquiries to dionne.aitken@mhc.wa.gov.au

Support with providing equitable health care for people with intellectual disability

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed three new resources offering strategies to address safety and quality risks in health care for people with intellectual disability. These are based on Four Steps to Inclusive Health Care and include:

The first two resources for clinicians outline how to make reasonable adjustments to help people with intellectual disability to access safe and quality health care. The third is an easy read fact sheet to help patients and their supporters to talk with clinicians about their disability and what they need to access health care. This links to the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.

More information is available at the Intellectual Disability web page or by emailing cognitiveimpairment@safetyandquality.gov.au

Alcohol and other drug services for veterans

Do you have a patient who served in the Australian Defence Force and may need support managing alcohol and/or substance abuse? Veteran Gold and White Card holders can access treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse disorders including:

Call 1800 838 372 or visit the DVA website

End of Multicultural Health Connect service pilot

The extended 12-month pilot to provide a dedicated health helpline for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities will end this week (Saturday, 29 April 2023), after which the phone line (1800 186 815) will be non-operational.

Practices supporting awareness of this service are asked to dispose of any printed promotional material and remove old social media posts so they cannot be found.

CALD patients can be advised that healthdirect will continue assisting callers from CALD backgrounds to find available health services, as well as providing clinical health advice. Callers to healthdirect can also access free interpretation services through Translation Interpreter Service International on 131 450. Patients can contact healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or visit healthdirect.gov.au

March 2023
FSH Virtual Immunology Clinic now accepting referrals for patients in SMHS catchment

The Virtual Immunology Clinic – GP (VIC-GP) at Fiona Stanley Hospital bypasses the standard referral pathway and associated wait times and enables general practitioners to refer patients to an immunologist in real time via an online portal.

Via a secure telehealth consultation, an immunology specialist can discuss appropriate management advice with the patient and their GP in real time. This allows review and an ongoing management plan to be formulated by the consultant and GP in the presence of the patient and supports the GP to manage their patient’s care.

Referring GPs must first register and sign in to the SMHS Online Services Portal before they can directly refer patients to VIC-GP.

More information is available here

Diversion of NMHS Gastroenterology Elective Surgery Wait List cases to EMHS

To manage the increased demand for diagnostic endoscopy within the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS), an agreement has been made between East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) and NMHS for redirection of referrals for specific endoscopy procedures.

This will include all referrals for flexible sigmoidoscopy, diagnostic gastroscopy, diagnostic colonoscopy, and both diagnostic gastroscopy and colonoscopy to be redirected to either Kalamunda or Armadale Hospital. This will concern the following NMHS postcodes 6005, 6006, 6007, 6008, 6016, 6017, 6050, 6059, 6060, 6061, 6062, 6066, and 6090.

The diversion commenced 6 February 2023 and is currently scheduled to conclude on 30 June 2023. Referrals should continue to be sent via the Central Referral Service, using the Referring to Direct Access Endoscopy Services referral form.

TGA medicine shortages

There are ongoing medication shortages in Australia, including of some commonly prescribed antibiotics. TGA advice is that prescribers should continue to follow best-practice prescribing guidelines and not switch to second-line antibiotics without strong clinical indications to do so.

There are Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument (SSSIs) in place for both amoxicillin and cefalexin that allow pharmacists to supply alternative amoxicillin or cefalexin medicines (including different brands, strengths, or formulations) according to the established substitution protocol in the instrument.

Further information for prescribers and patients can be found on the TGA Medicine Shortage Alerts page

TGA advice on avoiding pregabalin in pregnancy

The TGA is advising prescribers to avoid prescribing pregabalin in pregnancy if possible.

This advice is based on a recent study showing an increased risk of major congenital malformations among babies exposed to pregabalin in utero. The pregnancy category for pregabalin has been changed from B3 to D in Australia. The TGA advice is that women should use effective contraception if using pregabalin, and that it ought not be prescribed in pregnancy unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.

Local information about prescribing in pregnancy can be accessed through the KEMH Obstetric Medicines Information Service (details on the Drug Information and Advice HealthPathway).

Sign up to receive TGA Health Professional Updates here.

New AJGP paper presents practical approach for engaging patients with AOD related issues

n the March Australian Journal of General Practice (AJGP), Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) GP medical education team Dr Shani Macaulay, Dr Paul Grinzi and Dr Simon Slota-Kan, published a clinical peer-reviewed article, ‘Engaging patients who use alcohol and other drugs: A practical approach.

The paper builds on the RACGP’s AOD GP Education Program, delivered between 2020–22 and funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care. A library of legacy resources are still available on the RACGP website

Palliative care resources for health professionals working in primary care

CareSearch has now released printable reference guides to direct GPs to actionable, relevant, evidence-based CareSearch resources that assist in providing palliative care, including to specific populations. Visit the CareSearch website for more information and to download.

2023 seasonal flu vaccine advice now available

Advice on seasonal influenza vaccination under the National Immunisation Program in 2023 is now available.

ATAGI has released seasonal influenza vaccines advice, including eligibility for vaccination, timing of vaccination and vaccination in pregnancy.

They have also included a reminder that it is safe to administer the influenza vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccination.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care have released Program advice for Vaccination Providers outlining Federal eligibility, vaccination timing, NIP vaccines by age group and reporting influenza to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Resources including fact sheets, brochures and posters are now also available to download and print here

TGA statement: Limited Ozempic supplies to commence distribution in Australia

Limited supplies of Ozempic (semaglutide) have now commenced distribution in Australia, at some (but not all) community pharmacies. Initial supplies of Ozempic will not be enough to meet demand from all patients with current valid prescriptions for type 2 diabetes nor for those taking it off-label for other conditions.

The TGA advises prescribers to avoid initiating new patients until supply stabilises and should continue to prioritise supply of Ozempic for people with type 2 diabetes who are current or previous users and for whom other medicines are not suitable.

Where feasible, prescribers are encouraged to liaise with community pharmacies to obtain updates on stock availability to help inform their prescribing decisions.

Read the full statement from the TGA or visit the Ozempic shortage webpage on the TGA website.

The TGA is also aware of several scams targeting consumers seeking Ozempic during the current medicines shortage and is urging consumers to only obtain these products from an Australian pharmacy and when dispensed on a valid doctor’s prescription. More information is available here

New exemption for GPs practicing at regional and remote headspace services

From 1 February 2023, GPs at eligible headspace services, who currently receive salaries or other payments from lead agencies, are exempt from subsection 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 and able to bill against 28 eligible MBS items.

Subsection 19(2) prohibits the payment of Medicare benefits where other government funding is provided for that service. This initiative has been designed to provide headspace services the opportunity to enhance GP remuneration using headspace grants or other funding streams to supplement eligible MBS billings.

Eligible headspace services are those located within Modified Monash (MM) regions MM2-MM7 (rural and remote). headspace services located in MM1 regions will be ineligible for this exemption.

If you have any questions about this exemption, please contact the Youth Mental Health Section at YMHInputs@health.gov.au.

Removal of requirement for GP endorsement for Patient Assisted Travel Scheme applications.

The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) Program has recently streamlined the application process and no longer requires a GP endorsement of PATS applications forms. It is hoped this will result in:

  • Simpler, more streamlined process for patients accessing PATS.
  • Fewer steps and stakeholders involved in the PATS application process.
  • A single point of endorsement (WACHS) for PATS applications.

To streamline the patient journey, any request that falls outside of the current guidelines will be reviewed internally by WACHS.

The patient’s GP may be contacted for additional information, as required to support the decision. The new process will be implemented throughout WACHS regions in the first half of 2023.

To obtain a date for when this process will be effective in your region please contact your local PATS office or contact Renee Whyatt, PATS Senior Project Officer on (08) 9781 2016 or email renee.whyatt@health.wa.gov.au.

For more information about PATS please visit the PATS website.

Free online education on helping to prevent suicide in seniors

If you work with older people and would like gatekeeper training in how to help prevent suicide, Anglicare have recently developed an online education package. Suicide Prevention for Seniors is funded by the Australian Government under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program.

The three-hour online education package is free and suitable for aged care workers, retirement living staff, pharmacists, geriatricians, GP practice staff (clinical and non-clinical) and anyone who works closely with older people.

he program includes one hour of self-paced online gatekeeper training followed by a two-hour Zoom workshop to contextualise the training for seniors. Anglicare can take group or individual bookings for the training package through the Anglicare website.

New eLearning – supporting alcohol-free pregnancy and safe breastfeeding

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has launched free training for health professionals, Supporting alcohol-free pregnancy and safe breastfeeding. The course aims to give healthcare professionals the tools, information and confidence to discuss alcohol use in a non-judgemental way with patients who are planning a pregnancy, are already pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Accredited by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian College of Midwives (ACM), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

To find out more, visit everymomentmatters.org.au

November 2022
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.