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Practice News is a fortnightly publication for GPs and general practice staff. Please share it with any healthcare professionals in your practice.

17 JANUARY 2019

Continuing Professional Development in 2019

GPs, nurses and other health professionals can look forward to a great calendar of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events in 2019. These free events offer evidence-based clinical education as well as updates on local health services and opportunities for peer networking.

Last year we delivered 63 CPD events which were attended by 1,000 health professionals, 93% of which reported that it improved their knowledge or skills.

We are excited about the line-up for the next six months, which will include events on: Cardiovascular Disease, Aboriginal Cultural Awareness, Drug and Alcohol First Aid, Diagnosis of Dementia and Focussed Psychological Strategies, to name a few.

The following events are coming up in February:

read more

Caring for Colleagues - GPs for Doctors

The start of a new year is great opportunity to reflect on our own health and wellbeing. Yet for some doctors and health professionals, looking after their patients’ health can sometimes take priority over their own. A recent emphasis on doctors’ health and wellbeing has highlighted the importance of doctors having their own GP.

For many doctors - particularly those in training, working away from home or on rotation - visiting their regular GP can be difficult. The Australian Medical Association (NSW) provides the Doctors for Colleagues directory which provides a list of GPs by area who are interested in taking on doctors as patients. The aim of this directory is to provide easier access of care for doctors and remove some of the barriers that may prevent them from seeking help when needed.

GPs who are interested in taking on doctors as patients can also sign up to appear on this directory.

read more

HealthPathways Update

New Mobile-Friendly Site Coming Soon!

A new mobile-friendly NBM HealthPathways site will be launched soon! The mobile site will be easier to use on your phone, tablet or desktop. Whether you’re in your practice or out in the community, HealthPathways will now be more easily accessible no matter where you are. More information to come!

New Pathways Available:

Termination for Fetal Anomalies or Genetic Disorders

Many women describe termination for fetal abnormality as the most difficult experience they ever have to go through, regardless of whether termination occurs early or late in the pregnancy. As a GP,  it is important to know the how to access local services to provide the best possible care for women, and their partners, during this difficult time. This HealthPathway will guide you through this process and provides information and resources for both GPs and patients, so that all aspects of care are included.

Return to Work

Developed in partnership with icare, the NSW Government’s insurance agency including workers’ compensation insurance, this pathway provides information about return to work principles, workers compensation and the role of work in recovering from an injury. It also assists to identifying if a patient is at risk of not returning to work, and how the insurer and employer can assist. Should you have any feedback regarding this pathway please contact Clayton Waters at icare via email.

Other new pathways include:

If you currently do not have access to HealthPathways, please contact the HealthPathways Team who will provide you with a username and password.

read more

Already Using HealthPathways? 

Do you regularly use HealthPathways? How is it valuable to you? Please tell us your thoughts in this quick and easy two-minute survey.

My Health Record Update

Legislation Changes Tighten Access to My Health Record

The new My Health Record laws passed late last year prohibit the release of health information in a person’s My Health Record to law enforcement agencies and government agencies without their express consent or an order from a judicial officer. These laws also prohibit by law access to My Health Records by anyone for insurance or employment purposes.

When a minor turns 14, their authorised representatives will be automatically removed from their record. Technical changes to the My Health Record system will be made to reflect this change in law, and implemented in the system as soon as practicable.

read more

ADHA Communications Packs

By now you should have received a My Health Record Communication Pack from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA). This included a cover letter, a summary of recent My Health Record legislative changes, consumer factsheets Keeping your My Health Record information safe and How can I control who has access to My Health Record, and the provider factsheet Better access to healthcare information for you and your patients.

The cover letter also included information about how to order more consumer materials for your practice. If you have not received your Communication Pack, or wish to discuss training opportunities for your practice, contact our Digital Health team.

read more

Immunisation Update

Public Consultation: Maternal Pertussis Vaccination 

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is consulting with stakeholders on proposed changes to the maternal pertussis vaccination recommendations for inclusion in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

In particular, ATAGI is seeking comments on the following:

  • Are there additional potential benefits, risks or unintended consequences which could arise from the proposed changes to the use of pertussis vaccines in pregnant women, not already outlined and how likely are they to occur? 
  • Are there additional clinical or implementation considerations which need to be outlined? 

This public consultation closes on 9 February 2019. If you have any questions contact the ATAGI Secretariat via email

make a submission

Rubella Officially Eliminated from Australia

The World Health Organizaton (WHO) has verified that Australia has eliminated rubella, also known as German measles, a contagious viral illness that can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

WHO has also confirmed that Australia has maintained its measles elimination status, after being verified in 2014.

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Routes of Administration of MMR II

M-M-R II (Measles, Mumps and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live) is now approved for two routes of administration: subcutaneous and intramuscular injections. Please refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook for vaccination recommendations and schedule.

read more

New Resources for Immunisation Providers

Several new resources are now available for use by immunisation providers:

  • Questions about vaccination booklet - this Department of Health resource is designed to assist vaccination providers answer questions from their patients, and help parents find out more about vaccines and the most recent evidence about their safety and effectiveness.
  • AAS Immunisation video series - developed by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), in partnership with the Department of Health, this series of short videos and in-depth articles answers common questions patients and health professionals may have about immunisation and vaccines.
  • Meningococcal disease videos - developed by AAS, in partnership with the Department of Health, these two videos one for patients and one for medical professionals provide information about the disease and feature leading experts and a meningococcal survivor.

MedicalDirector Releases New Drug Database

MedicalDirector has released the January 2019 MDref drug database and content update for MedicalDirector Clinical. This update is current from 1 January and can ONLY be applied over the December 2018 MDref releases.

MedicalDirector strongly recommends that you update your MDref database every month. Monthly PBS changes, including new items, Streamlined Authority changes and PBS pricing details, are included in the monthly MDref update. Without this data you are at risk of creating invalid PBS scripts.

read more

Changes to Spirometry MBS Item Numbers 

In November 2018 changes came into effect for Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers related to respiratory function testing, including those for spirometry.

The changes included the introduction of improved quality requirements, a contemporary list of MBS funded complex lung function tests, and a new higher-rebated item to encourage the use of well performed spirometry in general practice.

There are now two separate item numbers for diagnosis and monitoring of respiratory conditions, item numbers 11505 and 11506.

The newly created item 11505 Office-Based Spirometry (Diagnosis) applies to GPs conducting office-based spirometry. This item attracts an increased rebate fee and can used for the diagnosis of COPD, asthma or any other cause of airflow limitation.

The revised item 11506 Office-Based Spirometry (Monitoring) applies to GPs and is to be used as means of monitoring airway function.

More information is available on the Department of Health's Respiratory Detailed Factsheet.

read more

Do you need an interpreter to talk to your patients?

Call the Doctors Priority Line on 131 450 for access interpreter services in more than 160 languages. This service is free for eligible health professionals and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

read more


Read the latest news from Lizz Reay, our CEO:

Local healthcare positions

Upcoming local events

Resources for General Practice

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Cancer Council NSW Community Forum

Cancer Council NSW is holding a Community Forum on 15 February from 10.00am - 11.00am at Thornton Community Centre, 61 Lord Sheffield Drive Penrith, to call on the next NSW Government to protect the community from tobacco, tackle childhood obesity, and support people with lymphoedema. Contact Natalia Atcha on 9354 2009 or for more.
BreastScreen is free for all women aged 40 years and over, but is especially important for women aged 50-74 years. Appointments can be made by calling BreastScreen NSW on
13 20 50. More information about screening locations and opening times can be found on our website.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work and
pay our respect to Aboriginal Elders, past and present.

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