Welcome to Brisbane South PHN's 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!
Vaccine rollout - Brisbane South PHN update
The Australian Government is now releasing weekly updates on vaccination rates by Statistical Area 3 (SA3). Looking at percentage of population who have received at least 1 dose, it’s exciting to note that Centenary, at 82.6%, has the second-highest rate in Queensland. However, there are also many opportunities at the other end of the scale. Brisbane south is overrepresented in the bottom fifth of vaccinations nationally, with 6 of our SA3s at rates of 58.5% to 64.8% (Browns Plains, Beaudesert, Jimboomba, Beenleigh, Loganlea-Carbrook, Springwood-Kingston, and Forest Lake-Oxley). SA3s are fairly large areas (up to 130,000 people), so there is suburb variation within each of these as well. Encouragingly, our remaining 12 SA3s are in the middle third, keeping up with the national rates, ranging from 71.3% in Rocklea-Acacia Ridge, to 77.3% in Carindale.
We encourage all primary care providers to get competitive about this; look up your suburb’s ranking and promote vaccine uptake to push our region higher up the ladder. Please contact us if you would like any assistance with suggested wording or processes for reaching out to your patients to encourage them to come in and have a chat about the vaccine. Please also remember that vaccinating practices can claim an MBS item for an extended consultation about vaccine safety, where needed. Brisbane South PHN has also recently commenced a social media campaign to promote vaccine uptake across our community; we invite practices to reshare these posts on your own Facebook pages
If there are practices that would now like to come on board with the COVID-19 vaccination program, please reach out to us. Similarly, if your vaccinating practice could use more doses than you can currently order, we may now be able to influence an increase to your allocation.
We recognise the huge and sustained effort being made across primary care - thank you for helping to keep our communities safe.
Super vaccination weekend
Queensland Health are holding another super vaccination weekend this weekend on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 October 2021. This will include the addition of pop-up walk-in clinics in some school locations. Vaccinating practices are encouraged to offer any additional efforts they can for this weekend, and to also plan for another super weekend on 30 and 31 October 2021. If you let us know prior through our email below, we can ask Queensland Health to promote any particular additional primary care efforts.
All approved vaccines now available to everyone 18 years and over
The Minister for Health has announced people aged 18 years and over are now eligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia. This includes AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna. This means:
- people aged 18 years and over can access any COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna)
- people aged 12 years and over can access the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Find your nearest vaccination clinic using the Vaccine Clinic Finder below.
Sotrovimab in pregnant women
The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has updated its recommendation on the use of sotrovimab in pregnant women. ‘Consider using sotrovimab for the treatment of COVID-19 within 5 days of symptom onset in pregnant women in the second or third trimester who do not require oxygen and who have one or more additional risk factors for disease progression.’
Rapid antigen testing approved
The Minister for Health announced that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved rapid antigen testing for in-home use. Testing will be available to Australians from 1 November 2021, subject to individual tests being approved by the TGA as safe and effective. Rules on use of at-home testing will be determined by state and territory governments.
Mandatory vaccination of residential aged care workers
Just 1 week after the deadline for mandatory vaccination of residential aged care workers came into effect, providers have reported 99 per cent of workers nationally have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82 per cent are fully vaccinated. This gives Australia’s residential aged care sector one of the highest vaccination rates of any workforce anywhere in the world. The role played by primary care providers in supporting this achievement cannot be underestimated.
AHPPC statement on mandatory vaccination of all workers in health care settings
On 1 October 2021, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) released a statement recommending to National Cabinet mandatory vaccinations for all workers in health care settings as a condition of work. Further, AHPPC recommends the first dose of a TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccine by 30 October 2021, and a second dose by 15 December 2021.
AHPPC also recommends that all jurisdictions accept a national definition of health care settings in their relevant legislation to ensure consistency. These settings are intended to capture all health professions and all other individuals who work in these settings, and includes private provider facilities such as general practitioners, private nurse offices and consulting offices, pharmacies and private pathology centres. At the National Cabinet meeting on 1 October 2021 the AHPPC statement was noted, however as at 7 October, has not yet been agreed to.
Patients requesting additional COVID-19 doses
There have been reports that people who are fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca are making bookings to receive other vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna). It is important that vaccinators check each patient’s records in the Australian Immunisation Register before administering any COVID-19 vaccines and ensure that they receive two doses of the same vaccine. If a patient has been fully vaccinated (2 doses of the same vaccine), please advise them that they do not need another vaccine. Refer to the ATAGI clinical guidance document below for further detail.
Planning for possible widespread COVID-19 in our region
Planning discussions are underway at all levels to develop models of care that reflect the planned shift to living-with-COVID and significant Delta case numbers. Brisbane South PHN is working with Metro South Health and the Commonwealth to promote the inclusion of primary care perspectives in this planning stage and we welcome any initial considerations or questions you may wish to contribute (acknowledging that primary care workers are already fatigued and facing competing demands on their time). We will update you on preparations when we have further information.
Boosting capacity of providers delivering end-of-life care
PallConsult is a Queensland Health website and phone service providing 24/7 support to health care professionals. This service has been designed to boost the capacity of local health care teams to deliver patient-centred palliative and end-of-life care.
Consider referring patients to PalliChat Brisbane south for access to free services such as phone and group support below.
Seeking expressions of interest to join Brisbane South Lived Experience Advisory Group - applications closing soon!
Brisbane South PHN has partnered with Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services to recruit the following people to be part of a Brisbane South Lived/Living Experience Advisory Group (LEAG):
- people with a lived/living experience of suicide attempt or ideation, mental health or alcohol and other drug use concerns
- carers or close supporters of people with a lived/living experience of suicide attempt or ideation, mental health or alcohol and other drug use concerns.
The LEAG will provide strategic advice and recommendations that guide the development and implementation of the Brisbane South Joint Regional Plan, and other important health service and support initiatives.
EOI applications close on Monday 11 October 2021.
Sign up to improve your skills this mental health week
Nearly half of all Australians aged 16-85 years will be affected by a mental illness at some stage during their lifetime.
People with mental health conditions and high levels of psychological distress continue to be more likely to smoke and consume alcohol and illicit drugs than people without these conditions.
As General Practitioners (GPs) are often the first point of contact for patients experiencing a mental illness, they are the most common providers of mental health services. It is essential that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to address patients’ mental health needs.
The Mental Health Skills Training (MHST), accredited by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC), provides the fundamental skills required to assess a patient’s needs, recommend appropriate referral options and manage a patient’s ongoing mental health care.
GPs who have completed a GPMHSC-accredited Mental Health Skills Training will be able to access the higher schedule fee items 2715 and 2717.
Palliative care education for providers and patients
PalliLearn aims to build community knowledge, death literacy, compassion literacy and community capacity in relation to serious illness, dying, death and grief, by providing quality, easy-to-understand courses
While the primary target audience is general community members, those who support patients such as providers and practice staff will also find it useful.
- What is palliative care?
- How to have conversations about dying and grief
- How to nurture compassion
- Palliative caring: Planning in 5 steps.
5th Standards Accreditation Support for General Practice
Brisbane South PHN, in partnership with AGPAL, are hosting 2 lunch time webinars this month to further support general practices in understanding the 5th standards. Dates and registration links can be found below.
Tuesday 19 October 2021
Webinar 3: Guidance for meeting challenging Indicators in the Quality Improvement and General Practice Modules
Thursday 21 October 2021
Webinar 4: Areas of Non-Compliance and Next Steps
Is your practice looking for more support in adopting a person-centred care approach?
Brisbane South PHN have partnered with AGPAL and national leaders in primary care and are offering 2 person-centred care programs supporting general practices in the region to:
- build effective teams
- focus on quality improvement activities
- improve interactions and outcomes for patients.
The programs support practices to meet the accreditation requirements set by the Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP) and the Practice Incentive Program for Quality Improvement (PIP QI). The programs on offer are 1) People, Leadership and Teams Program, and 2) the Optimal Care Quality Improvement Program. More information can be found in our Program Overview document and FAQ document.
If you and your practice team are interested in participating in either of these programs, please complete the expression of interest form and a Brisbane South PHN team member will be in contact. Alternatively, you can email our Support team below.
Workforce development and training
Increase the proportion of your patients who have their smoking status recorded
While the prevalence of smoking is declining in the general community, it remains high among people living with a mental illness. Compared with the general population, people living with mental illness have higher smoking rates, higher levels of nicotine dependence, and a disproportionate health and financial burden from smoking.
Across the Brisbane south region, 65.5% of active patients in general practices aged 15 years and over have a smoking status recorded. Review your practice data in your benchmark report to see how you compare and set a goal to increase the proportion of patients recorded.
It is important to identify patients who use tobacco or consume more than the recommended daily intake of alcohol in order to be able to help with smoking cessation and alcohol reduction. This can lead to both improved mental and physical health and is important as part of a holistic and person-centred approach.
This is a PIP QI measure and ensures your practice is maintaining ongoing accreditation requirements. To request practice support to access or interpret your benchmark report, contact the Quality Improvement team.
Palliative care quality improvement toolkit for General Practice
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (9 October 2021) raises awareness about the importance of palliative care, and why we must ensure everyone has access, no matter their location, age or background.
Palliative care aims to improve quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses. Where there is capacity, the General Practitioner (GP) should be positioned as central to the palliative care continuum to ensure that care is coordinated.
Brisbane South PHN, co-branded with Palliative Care QLD, have developed a quality improvement toolkit on palliative care and last days of life.
This toolkit is to be used in general practice to:
- ensure systems are in place at your practice to assist patients with end-of-life conversations and implement planning
- identify systems to assist patients to remain in their own homes longer
- review how to involve the palliative care team at the appropriate time
- identify MBS item numbers available for patients.
To request practice support, contact the Quality Improvement team below.
SpotOnHealth HealthPathways - new and updated pathways
SpotOnHealth HealthPathways provides the best available information on how to assess and manage clinical conditions, including when and where to refer patients.
New and updated pathways published on SpotOnHealth HealthPathways in the past month include:
If you are a clinician working in the Brisbane south, Redlands, Logan or Scenic Rim catchments, request the username and password by calling 07 3156 4346 (Monday to Friday) or request online below.
Raising awareness for Queensland Seniors Month
Queensland Seniors Month raises awareness about the ways we can support our older patient cohort. By 2026, 16% of people in the Brisbane south region will be over 65 years old.
As part of our commitment to ensuring that our communities can live long lives in good health, we jointly developed the Brisbane South Older People’s Health and Wellness Strategy 2019-2024.
This ‘whole-of-system’ approach facilitates the delivery of quality older person-centred services that are integrated to support seamless transitions and continuity of care between hospital, primary health care and community settings.
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.