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GCPHN Publication Generally Speaking for Gold Coast general practices

In the February edition

Changes to Psychological Services Program

Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) has recently completed a review of its commissioned services. A number of changes are being made to the Psychological Services Program and came into effect on 1 February 2019. These changes will ensure the program is within budget and that patients accessing the program are those with the greatest need.
Key changes include:
  • Requirement of patient to hold a healthcare or pension card (with the exclusion of children in out of home care).
  • Suicide prevention and/or self-harm patients can access up to eight sessions within a two-month period, reduced from unlimited sessions over that period. Clients can still access up to three suicide prevention referrals each calendar year, but each referral must include a general practitioner (GP) re-assessment of client need with consideration given to stepping up the patient to psychiatry and acute mental health and suicide prevention services, as well as stepping down to lower intensity mental health services, as appropriate.
  • Exclusion of access for children under 12 whose primary reason for referral is for assessment/treatment of a neurodevelopmental disorder, including attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder, Autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities. These are outside the scope of the program.
You can find out additional information, including a guidance document, word referral template and a list of bulk-billing providers here.

Dr David Rowlands

Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) Board Chair

I hope you all had a relaxing and refreshing time over the Christmas and New Year period. The GCPHN team are already hard at work for the 2019 year and have some exciting opportunities coming up targeted at general practitioners (GPs) and general practice staff.

Read more ...

Dr Kate Shapland

General Practice Gold Coast (GPGC) Board Chair

Happy New Year to you all. I trust, like me, you are looking forward to an exciting year for general practitioners (GPs) on the Gold Coast. GPGC is committed to supporting and enhancing GP education and welfare on the Gold Coast, so please continue to contact us and let us know in what ways we can we can assist.

Read more ...


Registrations now open for the first GP Trainer workshop of 2019

General practitioners (GPs) who are taking, or are interested in taking, medical students or registrars are invited to this GP Trainer Workshop, which aims to upskill and support GPs involved in teaching students on placement. The aim is to share the updated curriculum for students, discuss its implementation, and exchange teaching tips and tricks to support quality teaching in General Practice. 

4 RACGP QI&CPD Category 2 Points have been approved for this workshop, activity: 149652 in the RACGP QI&CPD Program for the 2017– 2019 triennium. 

Endometriosis information now available on HealthyGC

We have recently added some helpful information on endometriosis from Dr Donald Angstetra, who has a special interest in endometriosis. The PDF is useful for GPs and can be given to patients. 

Entering Health Identifier (HPI-I) details into clinical software

Some Gold Coast practices have recently reported difficulties entering Health Identifier (HPI-I) details into their clinical software.

On further investigation the Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) Digital Health team identified that healthcare professionals must use their full Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registered name within practice clinical software, before their HPI-I can be validated for My Health Record.

General Practice Liaison Unit

Queensland Pelvic Mesh Service

In December of 2018, Queensland Health announced the establishment of a comprehensive state-wide specialised service for women with pelvic mesh complications. 

Gold Coast Health standardises age and intervals for surveillance of colon polyps

Gold Coast Health (GCH) will no longer perform routine surveillance of colon polyps for patients older than 78 years. This decision is based on guidelines from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and the Department of Health.

Gold Coast Health introduces new hotline for GPs

Gold Coast Health (GCH) has introduced a new hotline for general practitioners (GPs) to have access to information about their patients. The new service is available for GPs who require assistance to find results or information about appointments and recent admissions and who need support navigating the Health Service.

Paediatric Pearls from Gold Coast Health - Assessment of plagiocephaly

The vast majority of children referred for assessment of plagiocephaly have positional plagiocephaly (deformational plagiocephaly). Whilst the physical appearance can be alarming for parents it does not affect brain development and treatment is generally not required.

Changes to MBS for respiratory function tests

From 1 November 2018, a number of changes were made to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for respiratory function tests. These changes include spirometry and a new MBS item for spirometry has been introduced.

Nurse navigators help care for children with complex needs

The Gold Coast Health Paediatric Nurse Navigators support children and families by coordinating their care, increasing their health literacy and working in partnership with all the clinicians involved to improve patient outcomes. 

Mental Health / Alcohol & Other Drugs

$1.45 billion to strengthen mental health services

The Australian Government will provide a record $1.45 billion for community mental health services and change the funding model to ensure security for both jobs and services. The funding will be provided through Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) and the 30 other Primary Health Networks (PHNs) around Australia.

New Withdrawal Management Quick Reference Guides for health professionals

Quick reference guides have been released to assist health and medical practitioners to quickly and effectively respond to clients and patients experiencing withdrawal from alcohol, cannabis, opioids, amphetamines and benzodiazepines.

Updated guidelines for treatment of anxiety disorders

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has published new clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of adults with panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). 

Advance health directive for mental health guide

The Advance Health Directive for Mental Health Guide from Queensland Health provides information and instructions on how patients can complete an advance care directive for a mental illness. The document advises patients to discuss their options with their GP.

Cancer Screening

Cancer Screening Test reminders for patients

During November and in early December 2018, the National Cancer Screening Register commenced sending reminders to women who are overdue for their next routine Cervical Screening Test. This correspondence is being sent using a staged approach, prioritising letters to women who are most overdue.

From early January 2019, the volume of these letters will increase until early-February 2019 to address a backlog, after which time normal mail distribution volumes will resume.

Digital Health

My Health Record information packs distributed to GPs

Information packs have been distrbuted to general practices with updates about My Health record including information on the strengthened privacy protections.

The Gold Coast Primary Health Network My Health Record Provider Engagement Team, continues to work with General Practice locally, to provide assistance with awareness, registration and participation of My Health Record to accelerate clinical use. If you require support or information please contact:


Public consultation: Maternal pertussis vaccination recommendations

A public consultation is now open on proposed changes to maternal pertussis vaccination recommendations in the Australian Immunisation Handbook. This public consultation will remain open until 11.59pm on Saturday 9 February 2019.​

Queensland Health launches immunisation online courses

The Queensland Health Immunisation Program, in collaboration with the Cunningham Centre, is excited to announce the launch of a suite of four comprehensive online courses for immunisation service providers in Queensland.

My health for life

General practices and allied health providers on the Gold Coast have been reaping the benefits of My health for life for their patients. Check out some of the local stories below and learn more about how your practice could benefit.

MH4L helping patients at Hope Island Medical Centre

Hope Island Medical Centre has been looking after Gold Coast residents since 2006 and are now using the My health for life (MH4L) program as an opportunity for patients to focus on their health and wellbeing.

Griffith Health Clinic patients getting extra health benefits with MH4L

Griffith Health Clinics on the Gold Coast offer a range of services for local Gold Coast residents and are reaping the benefits of referring patients to the My health for life (MH4L) program.

Julie Albrecht and Associates supporting community through MH4L

Julie Albrecht and Associates is a team of fully qualified dietitians servicing the Gold Coast community and are engaging and supporting individuals on a journey of lifestyle changes by way of the My health for life (MH4L) program.

My Nutrition Clinic supporting clients with MH4L

My Nutrition Clinic offer Gold Coast residents a range of services and programs, delivered by dietitians with many years of specialty experience. They also provide additional support to clients through the My health for life program.

Turning Pain into Gain

Update on the Turning Pain into Gain Persistent Pain Program

In continued response to these escalating statistics and recommendations by the National Pain Strategy, Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN) has continued to collaborate with PainWISE to deliver the Turning Pain into Gain Persistent Pain (TPIG) program and has assisted in access of 600 patients since 2013. 


Practice News

Have you updated your prescription stationary?

Are you using the most up to date order forms for your prescription stationary? From 1 January 2019, the Department Human Services no longer processes orders for prescription stationary if they are made using an outdated form. For more information and to find the most up to date order forms, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Free courses for immunisation services providers

The Queensland Health Immunisation Program, in collaboration with the Cunningham Centre has launched a suite of comprehensive online courses for immunisation service providers in Queensland. These high-quality online courses are free and easy to access and they complement existing face-to-face training and education sessions already provided by public health units across Queensland. The courses are suitable for clinicians and non-clinical staff involved in supporting roles such as practice mangers or receptionists. Access the free modules on the Clinical Skills Development Services webpage.

Tip 1

Are you submitting data to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)?

Recording information to the AIR is important because it can be used to determine a person's immunisation status and eligibility. The AIR can provide an Immunisation History Statement, monitor immunisation coverage levels and service delivery, measure vaccination coverage and prevent unneccessary and potentially unsafe vaccinations. Find out more.

Tip 2

Want to learn how to register for, and submit data to the Australian Immunisation Register? (AIR) 

The Department of Human Services has eLearning modules available to help you become familiar with registering and requesting access to the AIR site, submitting information to the AIR, overseas immunisations and immunisation medical exemptions.

Access the modules here.

Tip 3

The National Shingles Vaccination Program provides free shingles vaccination to all people aged 70-years-old, with a five-year catch up program for people aged 71-79-years-old until 31 October 2021.

You can use CAT to identify patients eligible for the Shingles vaccination using the recipe that can be found here

In Brief News

New RACGP resources for General Practice

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has recently released a number of resources to support General Practice. 

Australian College of Nursing CPD courses for 2019

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has released it's Queensland courses they will be running in 2019. These short face-to-face CPD courses have been developed to assist nurses in achieving the hours required by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) for annual renewal and authority to practice.

Have your say on enhancing preventive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) are seeking suggestions for resources that will help improve quality 715 health checks and culturally responsive healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The survey will remain open until Friday 15 February 2019.

Clinicians and parents wanted in childhood obesity research project

A research team at the University of Queensland are developing an electronic tool (i-PATHWAY) to predict childhood obesity.

Project ECHO® 2019 education series for health professionals

Project ECHO® is a free, interactive, virtual learning model that provides access to specialist advice, and aims to support and empower general practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals to practice at the top of their scope. The dates for the 2019 education series have been released.

What's on

View all upcoming events 

FEATURED: 21 February 2019
Promoting participation in the National Cervical Screening Program to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Women

A nationally accredited program supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health. This course aims to educate healthcare providers on the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program and promoting the benefits of regular cervical screening to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women.

Who can come along:
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health workers and practitioners
  • Registered and enrolled nurses
  • General practitioners
  • Allied health professionals
  • Practice managers, non-clinical support staff
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community leaders.

GCPHN Professional Events

Wednesday 13 February
Foot Health Assessment Program
8.45am - 4.30pm, Robina

Wednesday 20 February
Chronic Disease Support Program
8.45am-4.30pm, Robina

Wednesday 20 February
Multidisciplinary approach to opioid rationalisation in pain management
6.45pm-8.45pm, Robina

Thursday 21 February
GP Trainer Workshop
6pm-9pm, Robina

Saturday 2 March
Wound Management workshop for nurses (part 1)
9am-4.30pm, Robina

Thursday 7 March
Spirometry Training Course
9am-4pm, Robina

Saturday 30 March
Wound Management workshop for nurses (part 2)
9am-4.30pm, Robina

Click here to see all GCPHN Professional Events


View online - Primary Healthcare Positions Vacant

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Word Count: 75 words     Layout: Dot points
Generally Speaking is a monthly publication produced by Gold Coast Primary Health Network. It is an important resource for general practice, with local information on GP/practice nurse training and education, quality initiatives, referral information, events, job notifications and local Gold Coast health and community programs that can benefit general practitioners and patients.
Level 1, 14 Edgewater Court, Robina Qld 4226  |  PO Box 3576 Robina Town Centre Qld 4230
P:  07 5635 2455  |  F:  07 5635 2466  |  E:  |

Gold Coast Primary Health Network would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the Gold Coast and surrounding areas, the Yugambeh, Yuggera and Bundjalung peoples. 

Gold Coast Primary Health Network gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health.

While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this material, the information contained in it does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided herein.
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