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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.

29 July 2021

In this issue:

COVID-19 in Our Region

Local COVID-19 cases in the Nepean Blue Mountains region (as at 8pm 28 July)Confirmed cases: 34 

  • Blue Mountains: Total Cases 2
  • Hawkesbury: Total Cases 6
  • Lithgow: Total Cases 0
  • Penrith: Total Cases 22. Unknown source 5.
Case numbers are taken from the latest totals available on the NSW Government website (4:40pm, 29 July). 

ALL LGAs in our region now have exposure sites. Check the NSW Health website regularly for the latest information. Ensure you are checking for updated restrictions for your LGA daily on the NSW Government website.

ATAGI Update on Pfizer Timing (24 July)

The ATAGI statement on 24 July reinforced that all individuals 18 and over in greater Sydney should strongly consider getting any available vaccine including AstraZeneca. Additionally, spacing Pfizer to an interval of six weeks will allow limited supplies to be redirected to obtain protection in outbreak areas.

Vaccinating Practices in Our Region

In our region there are 86 general practices delivering COVID-19 vaccinations including:

  • 14 in Blue Mountains (7 delivering Pfizer)
  • 21 in Hawkesbury (9 delivering Pfizer)
  • 6 in Lithgow (4 delivering Pfizer)
  • 45 are in Penrith (17 delivering Pfizer)
In addition, our three GP-led Respiratory Clinics in Hazelbrook, Penrith and Windsor deliver both vaccines.

Nurse Vaccinators Available

We have enlisted a large pool of registered nurses available to work casually in general practices to assist with the vaccination effort. If you would like to discuss employing additional nursing support for vaccine administration in your practice, contact your General Practice Support Officer or email Rakesh Patel.   

COVID-19 Update from the Deputy CMO

Today at 11:30am a response update was held for GPs regarding the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out. It was led by Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Steph Davis. Today's panel included Carita Davis from the COVID-19 Primary Care Response team and Dr Merson Mathew, a general practitioner from Canberra.

Bushfire and Flood PTS Reminder

The Bushfire PTS stream is available to anyone in our region experiencing high levels of distress as a result of the 2019/20 bushfires and/or 2021 floods. Individuals are entitled to up to 10 free face-to-face sessions until June 2022. Individuals must be referred, although no mental health care plan is required. GPs may complete one at own their discretion.

My Health Record Emergency Access

You may override a patient’s My Health Record access to obtain key health information in certain emergency situations where there is a threat to individual safety or public health. For example: you are vaccinating a patient who does not normally attend your practice, an emergency situation occurs and the patient is not responsive. FAQs are available on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

Chronic Pain Management Program

Do you have patients suffering from chronic pain? Our Community Chronic Pain Management Program includes a three hour group education and exercise session run weekly over a six week period, plus two follow-up sessions. Programs are run in Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Penrith and can be accessed via telehealth or video conferencing. See our website for more information and facilitator details


Improving Primary Care Response to DFV

The Department of Health is seeking your views on the role of primary healthcare in responding to domestic and family violence (DFV). The Improving Health System Responses to Family and Domestic Violence Measure is focused on building the capacity of primary healthcare professionals to identify, respond and refer patients to appropriate services. The survey is open until Friday 13 August 2021

Changes To The Closing The Gap PBS

A reminder that you are now no longer able to register patients for the Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme co-payment through the Practice Incentives Program Indigenous Health Incentive. You must register eligible patients online through Health Professionals Online Services using your Provider Digital Access account.

Penrith Street University

International Youth Day on Thursday 12 August is an opportunity to highlight the qualities of young people as well as the challenges they face. Penrith Street University offers youth engagement activities as well as early intervention for alcohol and other drugs support. Fully funded by us and run by the Noffs Foundation, this program is designed for young people aged 15-24. 

Hepatitis Awareness Week 2021

This week is Hepatitis Awareness Week, and according to estimates there are a significant number of people with the virus who are yet to be identified. A simple self-assessment tool for hepatitis C risk, has been developed by Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, in consultation with Hepatitis NSW. This tool can be used by patients or as a conversation starter in a consultation. For support or information contact the Nepean Liver Clinic at Nepean Hospital on 4734 3466.


Read the latest news from Lizz Reay, our CEO:

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Reports

Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Australia: This report consolidates recent information on the availability and consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Australia, and related impacts, harms and treatment.
Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia annual report: In 2019–20, around 139,300 clients aged 10 and over received AOD treatment. The four most common drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (34%), amphetamines (28%), cannabis (18%) and heroin (5.1%). The median age of clients was 35 years.
Suicide & self-harm monitoring: This report brings together a variety of new and existing sources of data on suicide and self-harm in Australia. New statistical research and other information can help to further our understanding of suicide and self-harm.

Local Healthcare Positions

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Upcoming Local Events

Resources for General Practice

General Practice Support Team
From left: Catherine Scardilli, Andrew Warrilow, Maha Sedhom, Emma Jackson,
Teena Kaur, Kirrilee Barlow and Michael Blancia.
Request a visit from a Practice Support Officer online or call 4708 8100.

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