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20 December 2018
In this issue
Tas After Hours website and app available
New Tasmanian HealthPathways
Change to termination of pregnancy HealthPathway
Health Care Homes program extended
Immunisation section CPDU holiday hours
Circulating rash illness
Clinical trials consultation for 2019
Polio outbreak advice
Final Tas Guardianship law report released
New immunisation data released
Useful resources
Educational opportunities
Upcoming events
The Check Up with Johanna McShane
Tas After Hours website and app available for patients over holiday period

The Tas After Hours website and app are initiatives of Primary Health Tasmania. They aim to provide Tasmanians with information about the range of medical services available after hours (at night time, on weekends and public holidays) and how to find them.

Members of general practice may wish to inform patients about these after hours resources in the lead up to the Christmas and New Year period.

Primary Health Tasmania is again running an advertising campaign aimed at directing Tasmanians to information about options for after hours medical support.

Go to the Tas After Hours website
New Tasmanian HealthPathway: PrEP and PEP for HIV, carer support
Tasmanian HealthPathways on Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV and Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV are now available and include information about assessment, red flags, management and related Pathways.

Practitioners can now also access a carer support Pathway, which includes contact details for My Aged Care, Carer Gateway and Relationships Australia, as well as fact sheets specific to handling behaviour changes when caring for someone with dementia.

You can access the Pathways via the button below (username: connectingcare, password: health).
Go to Tasmanian HealthPathways
Change to surgical termination of pregnancy Tasmanian HealthPathway
The termination of pregnancy Tasmanian HealthPathway now recommends medical practitioners and prescribed health services seeking to refer women for a surgical termination of pregnancy do so by phoning Healthscope on 1800 844 877.
The Tasmanian Department of Health advises this is an interim measure while Hampton Park Women’s Health Care and Healthscope finalise arrangements for the service in Hobart.

Healthscope will ensure patients are referred to gynaecologists for assessment and surgery, and has committed that costs for women referred through the 1800 844 877 number will be capped at $475 until the Hampton Park service re-commences in the new year.

For additional information, please go to the Tasmanian HealthPathway portal and search for the termination of pregnancy pathway.
Go to Tasmanian HealthPathways
Health Care Homes program extended until June 2021

The Australian Government has announced an extension of the Health Care Homes program for an additional 18 months to 30 June 2021.

The patient enrolment period has also been extended until 30 June 2019, or until enrolment reaches the program’s new cap of 12,000. The Australian Government Department of Health says many stakeholders have called for an extension of the trial, with emerging international evidence indicating it takes significant time to transform practices and see the benefits of this type of major health reform.

This extension will allow participating general practices and Aboriginal Controlled Health Services more time to implement new flexible models of care tailored to the needs of their patients. Primary Health Networks will continue to support Health Care Homes until the end of the trial.  

More information
Immunisation section of Communicable Diseases Prevention Unit holiday hours

The Tasmanian Department of Health advises the Immunisation section of CDPU will be closed from 24 December 2018 and will reopen on 2 January 2019.

More information
Schools, child care centres report circulating rash illness

A number of schools and childcare centres have contacted the Tasmanian Department of Health regarding fever and rash illnesses that have been clinically diagnosed as measles or rubella without laboratory confirmation.  

If you clinically suspect measles or rubella you are required to immediately notify the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Please download a fact sheet via the button below for more information.

More information
Consultation for Clinical Trials Governance Framework Project in 2019

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has been contracted by the Australian Government Department of Health on behalf of all jurisdictions to develop the national Clinical Trials Governance Framework as a first step towards a nationally consistent accreditation process for health services undertaking clinical trials.

Consultation will be taking place across Australia next year, with the Victorian and Tasmanian sessions scheduled for 20 and 21 February. Register your interest via the button below (please note, participants from Tasmania will have the opportunity to be flown to a consultation close to them).

Register your interest
Polio outbreak in Papua New Guinea: Travel recommendations

On 22 June, the government of Papua New Guinea notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.

The Tasmanian Department of Health requests local GPs ensure travellers to PNG are up to date with their vaccination requirements, with particular emphasis on fly-in fly-out workers, PNG nationals living in Australia, and others who travel regularly between Australia and PNG.  

Everyone traveling to PNG should have completed a three-dose course of polio vaccine and had a booster dose – the timing depends on how long ago the person was vaccinated and how long they are intending to stay.

Click here to download a polio information card, or the button below for a fact sheet about the outbreak.

Download the fact sheet
Final report on Tasmanian guardianship laws recommends overhaul
The Tasmania Law Reform Institute has released its latest report, Review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 (Tas), which recommends a major overhaul of the state's guardianship laws.

Currently the Act covers people who, because of a disability, are unable to make decisions about their financial and personal matters, including medical treatment.

Among the report’s recommendations is removal of the need to establish that a person has a disability, and refocusing on whether a person is able to make decisions with the use of appropriate support.
Read the final report
New immunisation data shows new high for Australian vaccine coverage
Two new reports released by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) shine a bright new light on immunisation coverage in Australia.

Detailed analysis in the NCIRS 2017 Immunisation Coverage Report shows that vaccine coverage in Australia is climbing to new highs.

A second important report – the NCIRS Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Data Transfer Study Report – is the first since 2001 to systematically audit the accuracy of children’s immunisation records held on the AIR at a national level. 

Find out more, and read the reports, via the button below.
More information
Season's greetings from Primary Health Tasmania
All Primary Health Tasmania offices will close on 24 December and reopen at 9:00am on Wednesday 2 January. 

The next issue of General Practice Matters will reach your inbox in February. Wishing you all a restful and safe holiday break.
More information
New My Health Record packs on their way
The Australian Digital Health Agency will shortly be sending general practices and Aboriginal medical services a refreshed My Health Record communication pack to update providers on the legislation changes and the extension of the opt-out period to 31 January 2019.

The pack, to be dispatched within the next week, will include:

•    cover letter
•    summary of legislation changes
•    consumer fact sheet ‘Keeping your My Health information safe’
•    consumer fact sheet ‘How can I control who accesses My Health Record?’
•    provider fact sheet ‘Better access to healthcare information for you and your patients’.
More information
New National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance website

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has launched a new website, including coverage data, immunisation schedules and patient communication resources for health professionals.

NCIRS says the goal of the new website is to provide an information hub for immunisation professionals and the public by hosting relevant and useful content, and links to a wide range of resources and websites related to immunisation in Australia and globally.

Check out the new website
New fact sheets and data tables on vaccine preventable disease in Australia

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a set of fact sheets and data tables on vaccine preventable diseases in Australia.
The fact sheets and data tables are a valuable resource for all immunisers and can be downloaded via the button below.

More information
New RANZCP guidelines for treatment of anxiety disorders

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has published new clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of adults with panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

Published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (ANZJP), the guidelines are a culmination of a comprehensive four-year process of consultation and development.

Read the guidelines
Young people and My Health Record webinar
A national webinar about the use of My Health Record with young people will take place at 6:00pm on 21 February.
Register for the webinar
Identifying and responding to family violence short e-learning course
The University of Melbourne has developed a short e-learning course outlining practical ways that health practitioners can increase their skills in identifying and responding to domestic and family violence.

It informs participants how and when to ask about this sensitive issue and what to do when a patient discloses to enable a best practice response and referral.
Download the course brochure
Nutritional medicine training coming to Hobart in March 2019
The Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) provides education and resources to doctors and allied health practitioners in the area of nutritional and environmental medicine. For the first time, ACNEM is holding a training event in Hobart on 2 to 3 March 2019.

The ACNEM Primary Modules offer an introduction to the principles and practice of nutritional and environmental medicine. Topics include the gastrointestinal system and the importance of the microbiome, amd key nutritional, environmental and biochemical factors affecting health and disease will be explored. 

For more information, click on the button below or via 9597 0360.
More information
GP networking events: Redesign of Hospital Discharge (REHDI) Project

Date: Tuesday 19 February
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: RACV/RACT Hobart Hotel, Hobart
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 12 February 

Date: Wednesday 20 February 2019
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: The Tramsheds, Launceston
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 12 February 

Date: Thursday 21 February 2019
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: Pier01 Restaurant and Cafe, Ulverstone
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 12 February 
This interactive workshop is seeking input from GPs to provide information to support the development in the Redesign of Hospital Discharge (REHDI) Project.

The project is funded until December 2019 to develop a THS statewide discharge model project which aims to ensure timely discharge of patients back to community or aged care, who are appropriately prepared and supported for discharge.

This session will focus on:

• understanding the blocks and barriers in the current referral process for general practice
• discussing referral acceptance and intake processes and systems from general practice to the hospital
• discussing what is required for timely discharges back to general practice.

To RSVP, go to our events page or phone 1300 653 169.
Early detection of breast cancer and the role of the GP events

Date: Monday 11 February
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: The Tramsheds, Launceston 
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 4 February

Date: Tuesday 12 February
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: Best Western Hotel, Hobart
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: 5 February


This session will provide an update for GPs and practice nurses on the importance of early detection of breast cancer, optimal
referral pathways and surgery/treatment options following diagnosis.

Learning outcomes:

• describe the benefits of early detection in breast cancer for your patients
• describe the correct referral pathway for your patient
• explain different breast pathologies and surgery/treatment choices
• describe the role of breast density in risk factors for breast cancer.

Application to the RACGP has been made for 4 CPD points and is pending approval.

Click here for more information and to register.

Multimorbidity forums: Launceston and Hobart

Date: Saturday 2 March 2019
Time: 9:00am to 4:20pm
Location: C3 Convention Centre, Hobart
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: Friday 22 February 

Date: Saturday 16 March 2019
Time: 9:00am to 4:20pm
Location: The Tramsheds, Launceston
Host: Primary Health Tasmania
RSVP: Friday 8 March 

A free ALM activity for GPs. Participants will gain an increased understanding of multimorbidity and new strategies to assist in the management of patients with multiple chronic conditions. 

Application has been made to the RACGP for 40 Category 1 QI&CPD points for this activity.

Click here to download an invitation and register for the Hobart event, and click here for the Launceston event.

Advanced training in suicide prevention: Ulverstone

Date: Saturday 2 March 2019
Time: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Location: Beachway Motel and Restaurant, Ulverstone
Host: Black Dog Institute, supported by Relationships Australia Tasmania and Primary Health Tasmania


This workshop aims to increase health professionals’ skill and confidence in taking a detailed suicide history and developing a collaborative management plan to increase the safety of people planning suicide.

It will provide practical tools for health professionals managing the full spectrum of suicide risk presentations including the acute suicidal crisis, care after a suicide attempt and assisting families experiencing suicide bereavement.

Click here to register.

The Check Up
We chat to Johanna McShane about being confident in your scope of practice

Johanna McShane’s parents were among the “10 pound Pom” contingent, and she spent her childhood years in Geelong, the Huon Valley and, for a time, back in the UK.

But she’s always considered Tasmania her base, and earned her nursing qualification from the University of Tasmania in 1992.

A graduate position at the Royal Hobart Hospital followed, and Johanna eventually specialised in midwifery before moving into general practice when she had children of her own.

“I was really drawn to working with women and families - that was my driving force,” the Brighton Doctors Surgery staff member says.

In her current role, Johanna’s weeks are a mix of things like chronic disease support, treatment room work and supporting the GPs with antenatal shared care and women’s health.

“You are supporting a community,” Johanna explains.

Here’s what else she told Primary Health Tasmania:

  • The best part of the job: “It’s about empowering people to take ownership of their health. Not everyone does, but for the ones that do, it’s rewarding to to see the changes they make.”
  • Advice to young nurses: “Be confident in your scope of practice, and yourself, and don’t be too timid to show initiative. Be grounded in yourself and ask questions. Remember that a silly question is a question not asked!”
  • What she likes to do when she’s not working: “I’m the Mum Taxi at the moment, so I don’t have a lot of spare time!”
Nominate someone for The Check Up
Practice visits

Each Tasmanian general practice is eligible for two visits from our provider support team per financial year. You can find our 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
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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.
Copyright © 2018 Primary Health Tasmania, all rights reserved.

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