Welcome to Brisbane South PHN's new-look weekly newsletter for primary health care providers.
We understand primary care is a busy environment so we have streamlined our communication and activities to focus on identified priorities that reflect the needs of our region each quarter. From September to November 2021, we are focusing our activities and communication with you on:
• Alcohol and Other Drugs
• Older People
• Children and Youth.
We welcome your feedback. Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy reading!
Serving the region - Brisbane South PHN update
This week at Brisbane South PHN, we are:
- Supporting general practices to access additional Pfizer vaccines as they become available from the Commonwealth and Queensland Health supplies at short notice.
- Onboarding an additional 7 general practices to commence Pfizer vaccinations from 4 October 2021.
- Planning and commissioning service providers to improve vaccination access amongst vulnerable communities, particularly our culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people experiencing homelessness, and people unable to leave home to access vaccinations.
- Escalating feedback from general practices to Queensland Health for clarification or response.
- Triaging and sharing of COVID-19 information relevant to our practices and the region.
Resources and information regarding COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents
Adolescents aged 12 to 15 years are now eligible to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. A number of resources are now available to support this extension of eligibility:
Information session for GPs: COVID-19 vaccination and children aged 12 years and over
Last week, Children's Health Queensland hosted a Q&A session to discuss COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 12 years and over.
The session covered information on vaccinating children aged 12 years and over against COVID-19 and included a panel discussion with frequently asked questions regarding vaccinations. If you missed the session, a recording is now available on the General Practitioners hub below.
ATAGI clinical advice on use of a different COVID-19 vaccine as the second dose in special circumstances
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends to use the same COVID-19 vaccine for the two doses of the primary course of vaccination, unless there are specific medical contraindications or precautions. This recommendation is based on current evidence for the vaccines available in Australia. At this stage of the pandemic, mixed vaccine schedules with different COVID-19 vaccines should be used only in special circumstances. For more information, you can use the clinical advice guide on use of different COVID vaccines as a second dose.
New respiratory clinic commencing this week in Manly West
We are pleased to announce that we have opened a new GP-led Respiratory Clinic (GPRC) in Manly West, following the recent closure of the Alexandra Hills respiratory clinic.
Boosting COVID-19 vaccination support for First Nations peoples
The Institute of Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) has developed the “I Stepped Up” advertising campaign in South East Queensland to promote vaccination uptake. The campaign aims to encourage all First Nations peoples to step up and get vaccinated. The campaign website also includes resources to support vaccine uptake.
Prioritisation of individuals with a disability and their carers
General practices are encouraged to directly reach out to patients who have a disability, or who are carers, to support them to book an appointment as soon as possible. General Practitioners (GPs) and other medical practitioners (OMPs) who conduct COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment services in a residential disability facility setting or a patient’s place of residence can claim a flag-fall fee through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). GPs and OMPs may also claim in-depth clinical assessments for these individuals.
Extension of the Free Interpreting Service on weekends
Medical practices can now book onsite interpreters on weekends for COVID-19 vaccination purposes. Telephone interpreting services continue to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days week.
Medical practices can use their existing Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) client code to request interpreters for both their Medicare and non-Medicare patients.
Request for Tender published for additional vaccine administrators
Last Tuesday, the Minister for Health announced an expansion of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout program. This allows businesses to engage with vaccination providers and administer COVID-19 vaccinations to staff at their workplaces.
Vaccination providers will be able to seek accreditation to administer COVID-19 vaccines at workplaces, similar to the way flu vaccines are administered. This will be through a 'Request for Tender' program that will kick-start Stage 3 of the National COVID Shield Campaign Plan.
Next “Super Pfizer Weekend” on 9-10 October 2021
Following the success of last weekend’s vaccination blitz, and in acknowledgement of the short notice given, Queensland primary health networks (PHNs) are partnering with Queensland Health to offer the next ‘super weekend’ on 9 and 10 October 2021 as a joint primary care and state clinic event. Unfortunately, at this point we cannot anticipate if there will be any additional vaccine doses available for this purpose, but we invite practices and pharmacies to consider planning for, and promoting, your own bump in vaccine clinics on that weekend (for whichever vaccine brand you are offering), which Queensland Health hope to be able to assist with promoting as well.
Vaccinating practices and pharmacies are also encouraged to consider creative approaches (such as adding on to Queensland Health hubs, or partnering with other providers for a collective local clinic), which we may be able to support with guidance and promotion. Practices that are particularly enthusiastic about joining in, and who would like to be considered if there are any short-notice additional allocations of Pfizer (in multiples of 500 doses), are also asked to let our COVID Support team know that they would like to be added to a waitlist for such opportunities.
Updated guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination referrals
Referrals for COVID-19 vaccination are only essential when people require vaccination to be provided within a health care facility.
Metro South Hospitals will only be accepting referrals for people who have one of the following:
- a documented history of anaphylaxis to previous vaccines (non-COVID vaccinations) and/or multiple drugs (injectable and/or oral) or
- a known systemic mast cell activation disorder with raised mast cell tryptase that requires treatment.
People with a history of the following should be referred to QLD Adult Specialist Immunisation Service (QASIS) via the Metro North Referral Intake Service:
- immediate (within 4 hours) and generalised symptoms of a possible allergic reaction (e.g. urticaria/hives) to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- generalised allergic reaction (without anaphylaxis) to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered (e.g. PEG in the Pfizer vaccine or polysorbate 80 in the AstraZeneca vaccine).
Further information is available on Metro South Refer Your Patient. For assistance with these guidelines, or to give feedback on the updated page, please contact the GP Liaison team on 1300 364 155 – Option 2 or email the team below.
Restrictions on prescribing oral ivermectin
Last week, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced new restrictions on prescribing oral ivermectin for COVID-19. Ivermectin has not been approved for use with COVID-19 in Australia or in other developed countries.
Supporting families impacted by substance use
Has a patient mentioned or discussed their concerns for a family or friend who uses alcohol or drugs? Or asked you for support around the impacts on them? It can be difficult for families and friends when someone they care about is using alcohol and other drugs. There are several resources you can share to support them.
Breakthrough for Families Queensland was designed to provide information and support to families and significant others of individuals affected by methamphetamine and other substances.
Adis 24/7 Alcohol and Drug Support Line, 1800 177 833, is a confidential support service for people in Queensland with alcohol and drug concerns, their families and friends. Interpreters can be requested.
Metro South Health Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit
The Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit (ADAU) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH), with outreach to Queen Elizabeth 2 (QEII) Hospital, is a small multidisciplinary liaison clinical service consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers and psychologists. ADAU offers structured outpatient programs related to addiction treatment for alcohol, cannabis and stimulants. ADAU accepts external referrals and self-referrals but is not a ‘walk in’ service.
Referrers and patients can contact the Alcohol and Drug Assessment Unit directly on 07 3176 5191.
To refer to this service, follow the essential referral information as per Metro South Health Refer Your Patient - Alcohol and Drug Assessment page which includes:
- drug(s) of abuse
- basic demographic and medical information
- quantity of substance used and recent use (i.e. within the last month)
- relevant blood tests.
Supporting patients experiencing substance misuse due to trauma
Nearly 3 in 4 Australians will experience some form of potentially traumatic event in their lifetime. Alcohol and other drugs are commonly used as coping mechanisms for dealing with trauma symptoms.
There are a range of resources to support clinical and practice staff in understanding what trauma is, how it affects people, and its link with substance use.
Metro South Health GP Maternity Shared Care Alignment
The Metro South Health GP Shared Care team are delivering a virtual Alignment 1 education seminar on Saturday 23 October 2021.
Attending this CPD-accredited course will enable General Practitioners (GPs) to participate in the Maternity Shared Care Alignment Program with Logan, Redland and Beaudesert hospitals. From June 2022, participation in shared care arrangements with these hospitals will only be available to aligned GPs.
The interactive virtual education seminar will run from 8.30 am to 1.00 pm, including case discussions and covering topics such as medical conditions prevalent in the Brisbane south region that influence the complexity of pregnancy, and best practice recommendations.
GPs currently aligned to provide shared care with Mater Mothers Hospital can now become aligned with Logan, Redland and Beaudesert hospitals by completing the Metro South Health GP Maternity Shared Care Online Bridging Module.
General Practice Accreditation Support - online webinar series
Do you need more information and support with accreditation? AGPAL and Brisbane South PHN are providing general practices with the opportunity to participate in 1 hour lunchtime online webinars.
There are three webinars left for 2021, each on a different aspect of the accreditation cycle. Webinar dates and registration links can be found below. All webinars are held from 12.30 pm - 1.30 pm.
Thursday 30 September
Webinar 2: Strategies for meeting evidence requirements for challenging Indicators in the Core Module
Tuesday 19 October
Webinar 3: Guidance for meeting challenging Indicators in the Quality Improvement and General Practice Modules
Thursday 21 October
Webinar 4: Areas of Non-Compliance and Next Steps
Expression of interest for Brisbane South PHN Advisory Councils - one week to go!
Health professionals and community representatives who want to make a difference in the Brisbane south region are invited to apply to join one of Brisbane South PHN’s 2 advisory councils.
- The Clinical Advisory Council assists the organisation to develop local strategies that will improve the health care system for health consumers.
- The Community Advisory Council advises on local issues to better meet the unique needs of our communities.
Together, they help guide the development of Brisbane South PHN’s strategy and activities, and play an important role in providing advice on health issues and initiatives in the region.
To ensure the councils focus on local needs, it is preferred that applicants live or work within the Brisbane South PHN boundaries and have strong links with those communities. First Nations Peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people living with disability and members of the LGBTQIA+ community are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applications close on 30 September 2021.
Have your say on direct referral pathways for GPs to Hospital in the Home (HITH)
Hospital In The Home (HITH) is a service that provides acute hospital-level care in a person’s residence, including a nursing home. Clinical Excellence Queensland is developing a GP direct referral pathway for state-wide public HITH services, enabling patient care in the right place in a timely manner.
To assist in the development of that pathway, general practitioners are asked to share their feedback by close of business on Thursday 30 September 2021, via a short online survey.
Workforce development and training
Increase the proportion of your patients who have their alcohol status recorded
General Practitioners (GPs) have an important role to play in identifying and discussing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among patients, and in creating safe spaces that encourage treatment-seeking.
Asking questions in a non-judgemental manner and avoiding stigmatising language contributes to the development of trusted and maintained relationships.
There are many opportunities to open the conversation in everyday practice, such as when a patient presents with common symptoms like hypertension, falls, anxiety, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, conditions, pain, etc. These symptoms all have potential links to substance use and permit an entry point to screen as part of a holistic and person-centred approach.
There are 60.4% of active patients in general practices across the Brisbane south region aged 15 years and over that have an alcohol consumption status recorded. Review your practice data using the below instructions and set a goal to increase the proportion of patients recorded.
This is a PIP QI measure and ensures your practice is maintaining ongoing accreditation requirements. To request practice support, contact the Quality Improvement team at email@example.com.
Engaging with adolescent patients about alcohol and other drug use
Experimenting with alcohol and other drugs is a relatively normal part of adolescent risk-taking behaviour. General Practitioners (GPs) should be alert to substance use behaviour and the impact substance use can have on the developing brain and later cognitive development.
GPs are the most accessible primary health care provider for young people as the first point of contact with the health system and play an important role in preventing future harmful use of alcohol and other drugs.
RACGP have developed the 5A framework to support providers to engage with young people about alcohol and other drug use. This includes scenarios and demonstration videos.
SpotOnHealth HealthPathways - Genital Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Did you know that Cordyline paint used for treatment of genital warts is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and should not be used on mucosal tissue, perianal warts or large areas (>4cm squared)? Find out more about genital human papilloma virus (HPV) on SpotOnHealth HealthPathways.
If you are a clinician working in the Brisbane south, Redlands, Logan or Scenic Rim catchments, request the SpotOnHealth HealthPathways username and password by calling 07 3156 4346 (Monday to Friday) or request online below.
Shining a light on suicide prevention
This month, we marked World Suicide Prevention Day. The day provided an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action through proven means that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally.
Brisbane South PHN supports PAUSE (Peer, Acceptance, Understanding, Support, and Empathy), a peer-led program, delivered by BrookRED in collaboration with Logan Hospital, to support people following a suicide attempt.
PAUSE provides non-clinical support to people and connects them to appropriate primary health care, social services, or community-based supports.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work, and of the many different nations across the wider Brisbane south region. We pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging, as the holders of the memories, the traditions, the culture and the spiritual wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation. We acknowledge any Sorry Business that may be affecting the communities as a whole. In the spirit of reconciliation, partnership and mutual respect, we will continue to work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to shape a health system which responds to the needs and aspirations of the community.
While the Australian Government has contributed funding for this material, it has not reviewed the content and is not responsible for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided herein.