View this email in your browser
8 August 2019
In this issue
Meningococcal update
Latest Tasmanian flu statistics
New and updated Tasmanian HealthPathways
Hepatitis A vaccine program
Quality Prescribing Incentive payment update
PIP QI frequently asked questions and support
Australian Immunisation Register online information
Update on federally funded psychosocial support programs
Ebola update
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome update
Local pollen research
Cancer and physical activity study
Useful resources
Educational opportunities
Upcoming events
The Check Up with Jo Bean
Meningococcal update, vaccine recommendations
Following the prominence of cases of meningococcal disease across the country, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) staff have developed an update highlighting the risk factors, incidence and vaccine recommendations.

It comes after a 20-year-old Burnie man was admitted to the North West Regional Hospital for treatment for invasive meningococcal disease.

The full article, published in Australian Prescriber, is available via the button below, as well as a table outlining meningococcal vaccine 2019 recommendations by age and risk group.
Read the article
View the table
Winter management: Latest Tasmanian flu statistics
A total of 1877 laboratory-confirmed flu notifications (1780 influenza A and 97 influenza B) have been confirmed as of 28 July, according to the latest Tasmanian flu notification report.
More information
New and updated Tasmanian HealthPathways
The Tasmanian HealthPathways portal has been updated to include new and updated pathways on:
  • bone flare pain following radiation therapy
  • long-term glucocorticoids.
You can access the pathways by clicking the button below, with username: connectingcare and password: health.
Go to Tasmanian HealthPathways
Expansion of hepatitis A vaccine program
In May 2018, a Tasmanian Government-funded hepatitis A vaccine program commenced, making the vaccine available to Tasmanian men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 16 to 69 years.

The Tasmanian Department of Health advises uptake of the vaccine has been low. From July 2019 the program has been expanded to include inmates of correctional services, individuals who have injected drugs within the past 12 months, and people who experience homelessness.

These groups are at increased risk of hepatitis A infection and immunisation provides very effective protection against hepatitis A.

Immunisers are encouraged to offer the vaccine to all individuals in these at-risk groups. Immunisation involves two doses at least six months apart. Protection begins within weeks of the first vaccine. Anti-HIV antibody will probably persist for at least 10 years after completing the two-dose course.

Please order vaccine through your normal vaccine ordering process; it will be available until the end of April 2020. For further information please refer to the Hepatitis A vaccine for at-risk groups fact sheet
More information
Quality Prescribing Incentive payment 
The Australian Government Department of Health advises the most recent annual payment made in May 2019 was the last Quality Prescribing Incentive payment, and no pro-rata payment will be made for the May to July quarter.

Funds for the Quality Prescribing Incentive (along with that of the other ceasing incentives) will be consolidated into the new PIP QI, which commenced on 1 August.
More information
PIP QI frequently asked questions and support 
The Primary Health Workforce Support team sent an email to all practice managers yesterday with answers to frequently asked questions about data sharing and PIP QI.

If your practice has not received this email, please contact our team at

If your practice would like to have a follow-up discussion about PIP QI or data sharing, please don't hesitate to get in touch. 
More information
Updated information on accessing and using the Australian Immunisation Register
The Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) has updated its website to include information for accessing and using the Australian Immunisation Register as a medical practice, medical practitioner, midwife, nurse practitioner, or other vaccination providers.
More information
Update: Australian Government-funded psychosocial support programs
This year, there have been changes to federally funded psychosocial support services available for people living with a severe mental illness. 

The Partners in Recovery, Day to Day Living and Personal Helpers and Mentors programs ended on 30 June, when the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was fully implemented in Tasmania. 

The Australian Government has funded Primary Health Tasmania to commission services to ensure clients of those programs who are ineligible for the NDIS, waiting to transition to the NDIS, or waiting to be tested for the NDIS will continue to receive similar levels of support. These services are now in place.

More information is available on a new Primary Health Tasmania web page for health professionals. A page for community members is also available.

A reminder that Primary Health Tasmania has also commissioned a new service for Tasmanians who have a severe mental illness that impacts on their daily life from time to time, who have not previously received psychosocial support, and are not suited to the NDIS. More information is on Our Services Portal.
More information
Ebola update
On 17 July 2019, the WHO Director-General officially declared the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The risk to Australia is very low and has not changed with the declaration of a PHEIC.

Public Health Services advises frontline health professionals should be alert to the possibility of Ebola in unwell travellers returning from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The risk of spread within the country and to neighbouring countries is considered high.

For a detailed list of currently affected areas refer to this list.

If you suspect a case of Ebola obtain a full travel and exposure history. A range of advice for public health professionals on Ebola is available on the Australian Department of Health website.

The situation continues to evolve and further detailed information, including situation reports and information on case numbers, is available on the WHO website.

International travellers to the DRC or countries on its eastern border are advised to check the latest Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) travel advice on the Smartraveller website.
More information
2019 Hajj and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) 
The 2019 Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia ends on 14 August, and around 3000 Australians typically attend. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is still experiencing cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) infection.

Public Health Services recommends practitioners always obtain a travel history from febrile patients, and suspect MERS-CoV infection in patients with acute pneumonia/pneumonitis:
  • and travel in the Middle East in the previous 14 days
  • or close contact with an acutely ill traveller from the Middle East.
Public Health Services advises to:
  • use standard and transmission-based (contact and airborne) precautions
  • isolate suspected cases in a single room and ask the patient to wear a mask
  • report suspected cases immediately to the Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738
  • refer patients to a hospital for investigation and management
  • ensure infection control measures are communicated and maintained during transport
  • in the hospital settin
  • isolate suspected cases in a single room (with negative pressure air-handling if available)
  • seek urgent advice from an ID physician and laboratory before collecting samples
  • use infection control precautions for all care including when collecting samples
  • test for other causes of community-acquired and travel-related respiratory illness.
More information
Local pollen research reveals common types
As the 2019 pollen season begins, a study by researchers at the Menzies Institute has revealed new information on which pollen types allergy sufferers in Hobart are sensitised to. More than 20% of Tasmanians suffer from allergic rhinitis, but practitioners have lacked local, comprehensive information on which pollen types are frequent drivers. 

The ‘Which Pollen Matters’ study aimed to fill this gap with a study of 67 allergic rhinitis sufferers in Hobart, each receiving skin prick tests for 23 pollen types. 

The top six pollen types leading to an IgE-mediated reaction were rye grass (63%), silver birch (44%), bahaia grass (41%), plantain (34%), bermuda grass (28%), golden wattle (25%) and oak (25%). Blue gum and bottlebrush had sensitisation rates of 19% and 20% respectively.

The study is now being followed up with research investigating Australian native pollen types in more detail.  
More information
Cancer patient and physical activity study
Researchers from the University of Canberra are seeking GP participation in a study about the knowledge, attitudes and practice of GPs in the promotion of physical activity for cancer patients.

They are collecting feedback via a survey that takes five to seven minutes.
More information
Tame the Beast persistent pain video
Following on from the Pain Revolution's Rural Outreach Tour of Tasmania in March this year, founder Professor Lorimer Mosely has released a video about new thinking on persistent pain that local general practices may like to play in their waiting rooms or tell their patients about.
Watch the video
RACGP releases new My Health Record videos
The RACGP has released a new suite of videos on My Health Record. These videos discuss topics such as:
  • consent
  • security
  • medico-legal concerns
  • practice responsibilities
  • benefits.
These videos are designed to assist GPs and practice teams with better understanding My Health Record, including the roles and obligations for anyone participating in the system.
In addition to the videos, the RACGP has a number of resources relating to My Health Record, including My Health Record: A brief guide for general practice and policy templates.
Access the resources
Access the videos
Free GP training available about barriers to healthcare for sex workers
Last year, the Scarlet Alliance Tasmanian Sex Worker Project, in partnership with the Tasmanian Department of Health, conducted a Tasmanian Sex Worker Needs Assessment that examined barriers to sex workers accessing health services.

Sex workers reported significant and specific barriers to accessing GPs in Tasmania. In response, the project has developed a free, 90-minute training session for GPs, in consultation with Tasmanian sex workers.
More information
Wound management update
Date: Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 September
Time: 8:30am to 5:00pm
Location: Launceston
Cost: $398 for members, $443 non-members
Host: Australian College of Nursing
This course is designed for registered and enrolled nurses from all health sectors, who are engaged in providing wound care to patients or residents.

This is an in-depth review of pathophysiology, pharmacology, assessment strategies, clinical aetiologies and interventions.  

Click here to find out more, and register.
Save the date: Indian Medical Association of Tasmania event
Date: Saturday 14 September
Time: TBC
Location: Hobart
Cost: $100 for members, $125 non-members
Host: Indian Medical Association of Tasmania (IMAT)
IMAT is proposing a scientific meeting where GPs will be able to ask questions of medical experts on topics such as mental health, chronic pain, cardiac health and more.

Click here to download a flyer.
The Check Up
We chat to Jo Bean about her passion for practice management

Born and bred in northern Tasmania, Jo Bean is a former Tasmanian Practice Manager of the Year award winner with a fundamental empathy for the patients that come through Mowbray Medical's doors.

Jo started her career in health more than 25 years ago and has always worked in general practice - a place where she believes reception staff have a key role in giving people a positive, sensitive experience of accessing health care.

"If that experience with reception starts positive, then each next step, with the nurse, or the doctor, is an easier one for them," she says.

"I say to never make a judgment because, sadly, the people we deal with are at their worst a lot of the time - they're not feeling well. So don't make a harsh judgment.

"Make them feel like they've been heard."

Here’s what else she told Primary Health Tasmania:

  • On the importance of reception staff to patient experience: "When they go in to the doctor, you don't know what they're being told - it may not be as positive as they'd like it to be. So as soon as they walk in the door, that's neutral ground. That's the opportunity to make a good start."
  • On her healthcare passion: "My passion is continuity of care, and straightforward care."
  • On what she likes to do when she's not working: "In my spare time I love to garden, and be outside. I love camping, walking - the great outdoors!"
Nominate someone for The Check Up
Practice visits

Did you know every Tasmanian general practice is eligible for two visits from our provider support team, per financial year? You can find out more about our practice visit program here, or click on the link below to request a visit.

Request a practice visit
Contact us
1300 653 169
If you would like to submit an article or provide feedback on General Practice Matters,

If you would like to print this email, we advise doing so from within your email account rather than after opening in a web browser, for best results.
Brought to you by Primary Health Tasmania (Tasmania PHN).
The information in this newsletter comes from a range of sources, and every reasonable effort is made to ensure it’s accurate.
While the Australian Government helped fund this document, it has not reviewed the content. The Australian Government and Primary Health Tasmania are not responsible for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided herein.
Copyright © 2018 Primary Health Tasmania, all rights reserved.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Primary Health Tasmania · Level 2, 85 Collins Street · Hobart, Tas 7000 · Australia