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7 June 2018
In this issue
Pertussis warning
What is 'whole person care'? Share your thoughts
Access an online immunisation calendar
Healthy Kids Toolkit material available
Be part of rheumatic illness survey
Get ready for statewide Hep C campaign
In the north
In the south
Useful resources
Upcoming events
The Check Up with Dr Tim Flanagan
Warning: Pertussis currently circulating Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government advises pertussis is currently circulating in the state. Health professionals should be aware people who are fully vaccinated can still develop pertussis and there is a growing body of evidence that immunity wanes over time, even in children.
Infants under six months of age account for the vast majority of pertussis hospitalisations and deaths, and particular focus should be given to preventing disease in this age group.
When testing for pertussis in an adult or child who has close contact with infants under six months, health professionals are advised to consider:

  • commencing antibiotic treatment before the results are available
  • excluding patients from work until five days after commencing treatment.

The Tasmanian Government also requests practitioners advise people with pertussis to avoid contact with infants and women in the last month of pregnancy, as well as excluding them from work, school, and child care. Attendance in settings where there are infants should be restricted until they are no longer infectious.
Nucleic acid testing (NAT) (also known as PCR) is the diagnostic method of choice.
Please call the Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738 if you require any further information.

More information
Be a part of University of Queensland whole person care research

Researchers from the University of Queensland’s primary care clinical unit are seeking GPs and GP registrars willing to participate in a short interview about their views on and experiences providing “whole person” care.
Whole person care is considered a core feature of general practice, but not consistently defined. The researchers are seeking to clarify how GPs understand whole person care, factors that affect its provision and the likely impact of the Health Care Homes initiative.
Participating in the study involves a 20-30 minute telephone or online interview at a time convenient to the practitioner. 

Contact the researchers
Online Immunisation calculator for Australian children under 10

An online immunisation calculator developed by the South Australian Government may also be of use to Tasmanian health professionals.

The Immunisation Calculator is based on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all Australian children prior to their 10th birthday. If vaccine doses are delayed or missed, the calculator can provide a catch-up schedule.

Schedule variations for all states and territories have been incorporated.

A reminder also there is a suite of immunisation pathways available via Tasmanian HealthPathways. Click on the button below to access the portal (username: connectingcare password: health).

Go to the Immunisation Calculator
Check out Tasmanian HealthPathways
Healthy Kids Toolkit promotional material available for practices

General practices are reminded free promotional posters and postcards for the Healthy Kids Toolkit are available for display and to give to patients.

The toolkit has simple and practical information about food, nutrition and physical activity, all in one place. It is organised under the topics of pregnancy, babies, early childhood, school age, and young people. 

Ahead of an evaluation process scheduled for October, the Tasmanian Government is encouraging general practices to request free promotional material for their use.

For more information about the Healthy Kids initiative, click here.

Request promotional material
RHDAustralia survey on rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

RHDAustralia and its partners are seeking practitioner responses via a short survey as part of a review of The Australian guideline for prevention, diagnosis and management of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (2nd edition).

For the guideline review to be effective, they say it is important to understand the needs of the health workforce and others associated with rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.
The survey should take under five minutes to complete, and all responses will be treated confidentially.
For more information, please contact RHDAustralia on 08 8946 8654 or via email.

Take the survey
Coming soon: Live Hep C Free statewide public awareness campaign

Tasmanian general practices will receive promotional material for a new statewide hepatitis C public awareness campaign in coming weeks.

The Tasmanian Government campaign - Live Hep C Free - is expected to launch in late June and will aim to boost awareness of the condition and its risk factors.

Ahead of receiving posters, general practices can support the campaign by:

  • testing anyone who asks
  • identify patients at risk of hepatitis C and offer testing
  • screen concurrently for other blood-borne viruses and STIs
  • offer free hepatitis B vaccine for people living with hepatitis C, or at risk
  • view the Tasmanian HealthPathway.
Check out Tasmanian HealthPathways
In the north
BREATHE for Life program launching in Launceston soon

Health professionals with patients who may benefit from educational support for managing anxiety, depression and stress are encouraged to consider the BREATHE for Life program.

BREATHE for Life is a free program designed to give people strategies to manage such conditions based on neuroscientific research. Adults aged 18 years and over in Launceston and surrounds are eligible to take part in the eight-week educational group, which focuses on gaining helpful information to assist self-management.
The course begins on 20 June, with the group meeting on Wednesdays between 10am and 12:30pm at the Ravenswood Community Health Centre.

Prospective participants may contact Joanna Kohler via email or on 6777 4422.

Find out more
In the south
Dr Malcolm Turner has relocated his private rheumatology practice

Dr Malcolm Turner, who sees a broad range of rheumatological conditions and has an interest in hypermobility, has relocated his private rheumatology practice.

Please send correspondence to:

Dr Malcolm Turner
Suite 5/33 Argyle St
Ph: 6214 3560
Fax: 6214 3577
Fact sheet for finding telepsychology and telepsychiatry services

Primary Health Tasmania has prepared a simple fact sheet to help health professionals quickly access national services offering telehealth capability, as well as web-based portals listing suitable providers.

The entire state of Tasmania is defined as a telehealth-eligible area. This means all residents can access the Medicare Benefits Schedule for telepsychiatry or telepsychology consultations.

Download the fact sheet
Free coeliac disease diagnosis and management webinar available 
Coeliac Victoria and Tasmania advises their recorded webinar on coeliac disease management and diagnosis is available for GPs.

The webinar is free and will count towards two CPD points.
Apply to access the webinar
Webinar: Ethical dilemmas for rural and remote telehealth patients

The Mental Health Professionals' Network is hosting a webinar on 18 June exploring ethical dilemmas regarding rural and remote mental health patients in the telehealth setting.

The webinar, which takes place between 7:15pm and 8:30pm (AEST), will provide participants with the opportunity to:

  • recognise client suitability for telehealth services
  • identify risks associated with telehealth services
  • outline procedures such as contingency plans, privacy, informed consent, staff training and record keeping for the telehealth setting.
For more information about CPD eligibility, click here.
Register for the webinar
Range of health literacy resources to tell patients 'It's ok to ask'
General practices are welcome to access a range of health literacy resources, from brochures and posters to games and video clips, to remind clients 'it's ok to ask'.

The 26TEN and Tasmanian Government initiative supports clients to ask questions and get the most from their visits, while also reminding services to welcome queries in a bid to boost health literacy in the community.

The available resources have been developed with consumers to act as conversation starters and capacity-building tools.
Download the resources
RACGP 5th edition standards training workshop
Date: Friday 22 June
Time: 8:30am to 3:30pm
Location: Launceston
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 15 June
This event will be facilitated by an AGPAL-experienced surveyor and will include a full-day interactive workshop with presentations, activities and group discussions where participants are encouraged to share their own experiences.

For more information, click here.
Instrument processing education for general practice staff 
Date: Tuesday 26 June
Time: 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: Burnie
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 19 June

Date: Wednesday 27 June
Time: 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: Launceston
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 20 June

Date: Thursday 28 June
Time: 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: Hobart
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 21 June
These sessions aim to educate and demonstrate the infection control procedures based on the 5th edition standards with reference to the 2010 National Guidelines for general practice staff.

For more information, click here.
General practice infection control workshops
Date: Tuesday 26 June
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: Burnie
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 19 June

Date: Wednesday 27 June
Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: Launceston
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 20 June

Date: Thursday 28 June
Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: Hobart
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 21 June
This session for practice staff covers the infection control requirements of the 5th edition accreditation standards (Criterion 5.3.3).

For more information, click here.
'Right as Rain': Immunisation event for GPs and nurses
Date: Tuesday 26 June
Time: 6:30pm, with free dinner included 
Location: Ulverstone
Host: Royal Flying Doctor Service
RSVP: 19 June
This event is part of the Royal Flying Doctor Service's Right as Rain project and will include information such as how to navigate conversations with hesitant immunisers.

To RSVP, contact Lucy Byrne via email.
Docs4Docs training workshop
Date: Thursday 28 June
Time: 6:00pm
Location: 5/11 High Street, Launceston
Host: Victorian Doctors Health Program and RACGP
GPs are invited to attend a meeting aimed at springboarding the Docs4Docs service across the state.
Structural health disease education evening for GPs
Date: Thursday 5 July
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: Launceston
Host: Medtronic
RSVP: 28 June
Cardiologists and GPs are invited to this event, to be addressed by Dr Michael O'Keefe and Dr Matthew Brooks.

Click here for more information.
The Check Up

Dr Tim Flanagan grew up in Longford, studied (and met his future wife) at the University of Tasmania and worked at Launceston General Hospital before joining the Longford Medical Centre in 1999.

Partly inspired to pursue a career in medicine by his father's experience as a prisoner of war, he's also been a regular visitor to Flinders Island over the past 18-odd years.

Dr Flanagan has high praise for the "terrific" Flinders Island Aboriginal Association, and says a GP can act as an important aide for people who identify as Aboriginal in Tasmania.

"A lot of them are poorer people, and health goes with wealth - they keep doing studies on it, and they all show that," he says.

"Poorer societies have higher rates of smoking, teenage pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease and so on. So if you can have some impact there, it's a good place to start."

Here's what else he told Primary Health Tasmania:

  • On studying medicine in Tasmania in the 70s: "When we were studying medicine there were no CT scanners in Tasmania and the only ultrasounds were done on pregnant women. Blood testing, all that stuff, there was just a lot less of it. But I see myself as fortunate as coming up and being trained where clinical process was so important."
  • On his advice to young doctors: "I reckon you should always try to put yourself in the patient’s boots. Just realise that most people don't have a lot of the benefits you’ve had in your life. They’re often very anxious. You’ve got to dignify them, hear them out, and then at the end you’ve got to find something to reassure them."
  • On the benefits of doing a professional exchange: "I did a practice exchange in England in the 90s. It opens your eyes, working in another system. If patients don’t know you, they’re actually harder on you. You’re pushed right out of your comfort zone."


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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.
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