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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.

4 JULY 2019

GPs in our region can now access a free psychiatry advice line to help manage the care of patients with mental health concerns. 

The GP Psychiatry Support Line gives GPs direct and timely access to a psychiatrist, allowing patients whose conditions are treatable within primary care, to stay under the care of their GP. This service is provided by ProCare, and is jointly funded by eight PHNs. 

How to use this service

The service is available on 1800 16 17 18  Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. To access this service GPs must register. Once registered, you can use the service as many times as you need.

This service is exclusively for GPs to seek psychiatric expertise to support their patients. This is not a triage, referral or emergency service. For emergencies, please call 000.

register now for this service
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New Districts of Workforce Shortage System

On 1 July, the new health workforce Distribution Priority Areas classification system replaced the Districts of Workforce Shortage (DWS) Assessment Areas for GPs and Bonded Doctors. This change has implications for the majority of practices in our region.

Most practices that were previously classified as being in a District of Workforce Shortage, are now not classified as Distribution Priority Areas. The only suburbs in our region now considered Distribution Priority Areas are Blackheath, Portland and Wallerawang.

The Department of Health has advised that they will still consider applications where employment negotiations commenced while a practice was located within a DWS. Documentary evidence must be supplied and may include signed and dated employment contracts or forms, or dated emails discussing the employment arrangements.

If you would like to discuss how this could affect GP recruitment in your practice, contact Rakesh Patel, Workforce Program Officer on 4708 8194 or via email.

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headspace Lithgow Opens

The long anticipated headspace Lithgow service is now open. headspace is a free early intervention service for young people aged 12-25 years old, delivering support across mental health, physical health, work, study, and alcohol and other drug needs.

headpsace Lithgow is linked to headspace Bathurst and operated by Marathon Health. The funding outcome for this service was the culmination of shared advocacy by our PHN, Lithgow City Council, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District and the broader Lithgow community.

headspace Lithgow is located at 23 Main Street and can be contacted on
6352 7600. Young people can self-refer, or be referred by a family member or health professional. 

read more

NewAccess Available in Hawkesbury and Lithgow

People living in the Hawkesbury and Lithgow areas will now be able to self-refer to the new mental health support service, NewAccess. We are funding this service through our Empowering Our Communities project.

Developed by Beyond Blue and provided by Marathon Health, NewAccess is an early intervention program for anyone who may be experiencing signs of depression and anxiety.

This free service provides six sessions with a trained coach, who will use a Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy model to work with individuals to support them overcome difficult issues. The service is confidential and available for people aged 16 and over.

To self-refer, patients can fill out an enquiry form on Marathon Health's website. The service officially launches on Wednesday, 10 July.

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Speakers in the Spotlight:

At our upcoming Rethinking Mental Health Conference, we are delighted to have Jocelyn Brewer present Technology and Psychology. Jocelyn is a Psychologist, Educator and Researcher with a flair for communicating modern issues in an accessible, practical way.

Jocelyn's area of expertise is the psychology of technology, developed over 16 years in public education as both a teacher and school counsellor.

In 2013 she created Digital Nutrition to help guide best-practice, balanced technology use and healthy relationships with digital devices and regularly comments in the media and presents to various groups about the impacts of technology and digital well-being.

The conference will be held at the Fairmont Resort, Leura on Saturday 17 August. Places are open to primary healthcare professionals working within the Nepean Blue Mountains region only. Registration is $50 and must be made online.

register now

Seeking HealthPathways GP Clinical Lead

We are seeking a GP Clinical Lead to join our HealthPathways team and to build on the excellent work which has been established over the last two years.

This casual position provides leadership, guidance and support to our HealthPathways Clinical team; contributes to the program's Governance Steering Committee; collaborates with clinical and community teams within the Local Health District and provides expert advice and mentorship to our GP Clinical Editors.

The HealthPathways team works closely with primary, public and private healthcare providers to improve the integration of healthcare within our region.

For more information about the role and for a full position description, contact HealthPathways Program Manager Nick Rosser on 0403 575 965 or via email.

PRODA and Accessing Online Health Services

Provider Digital Access (PRODA) is an online authentication system for health providers, practice managers and practice nurses to securely access Government services. PRODA can be used anywhere internet access is available.

Why do I need a PRODA account?

  • Some Government services are now only accessible using PRODA
  • Health professionals are no longer be able to request verification of a patient’s Medicare card details via phone (except in exceptional circumstances)
  • From 1 August, the only way to apply for the new PIP QI will be through HPOS via PRODA

It is important that GPs, practices managers and practice nurses have their own PRODA account and delegation responsibility to access these services.

The Education Gateway helps you navigate the Department of Human Services education resources including PRODA education for health professionals.

For more information contact Practice Support on 4708 8100 or online.

read more

New Medicare Rebate Changes

On 1 July, a 1.6% increase was applied to all GP, other specialist and allied health attendances. Some of the changes include:​
  • Level B standard consult: $38.20​
  • GP management plan: $146.55​
  • GP mental health plan (without skills training 20-40-minute consult): $72.85​
  • GP mental health plan (without skills training 40-minute or longer consult): $107.25
  • GP mental health plan (with skills training 20-40-minute consult): $92.50​
  • GP mental health plan (with skills training 40-minute or longer consult): $136.25​

Therapeutic and procedural items will also be indexed, along with all other GP services, such as prolonged assessments, urgent after-hours, health assessments and telehealth.

The Federal Government will introduce indexation for diagnostic imaging from July 2020.

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Immunisation Update

Measles Vaccination Catch Up Guide

This year, Australia has seen an increase in reported measles cases. The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends that two doses of a measles containing vaccine are required for protection against measles.

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has developed a Measles Vaccination Catch-Up Guide which may assist practices with decisions regarding measles vaccination catch-up.

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Well-Being Grants for Farming Communities Update

Pictured from left: Peter Kennard and James Daley - Trybal Productions, Jennifer Quealey - Wentworth Healthcare Community Development Officer, Christine McMillan - Arts Out West and Kieran Mahony - Wentworth Healthcare Manager, Mental Health Reform.

We are relieved to see that drought conditions in some parts of our region have eased due to the recent rains. While this is good news, we know that consistent rainfall is needed to provide long-term relief to our farming communities.

Our Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities help build on existing community networks so that people have the skills to support each other, ensuring they have the best opportunity to thrive.

Last week, we were excited to announce four more Grant recipients that have been successful in the Lithgow region: Capertee Valley Landcare Incorporated, Lithgow Area Women’s Shed, Lithgow Information & Neighbourhood Centre and Trybal Productions. 

read more

#CEOdesk

Read the latest news from Lizz Reay, our CEO:

Local healthcare positions

Upcoming local events

Resources for General Practice

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RACGP: New Location for Policy and Procedure Templates

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has consolidated their general practice policy and procedure templates into one new central location. These templates assist practices in meeting their professional and legislative obligations when providing clinical care, while also supporting day-to-day business activities. They can also help practices meet and maintain accreditation in accordance with the RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition).

Butterfly Foundation: Calling for GPs for National Database

The Butterfly Helpline referral database is Australia's only database where clinicians and services are screened for an understanding of eating disorders. With additional Medicare support for eating disorders coming into effect on 1 November, Butterfly Foundation is calling for GPs, and other practitioners, with an understanding of eating disorders to apply for inclusion on their database.

Survey: Dementia Friendly Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury City Council is undertaking consultations with the local community to develop a Dementia Friendly Hawkesbury plan. They are asking Hawkesbury residents living with dementia and their carers to complete a short 5 minute survey
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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