08 April 2024

GPs, registered nurses (RNs) and pharmacists can be reimbursed for their time when vaccinating patients at home, in disability homes or in Residential Aged Care Homes, through SWSPHN’s Assertive Outreach COVID-19 program.

You can claim:

  • the vaccination as an MBS item through Medicare
  • for the time spent doing the vaccination, through SWSPHN
    • $150 per hour + GST for GPs
    • $80 per hour + GST per hour for RNs and pharmacists

To claim the reimbursement, two to three residents should be vaccinated per aged care home visited and at least one person per home visit.

You cannot claim travel time to and from the home or aged care facility.

You will need to submit:

02 April 2024

The Immunisation Professional Development Conference is a two-day Benchmarque conference for primary health professionals, fully subsidised by South Western Sydney PHN.

  • Wednesday, 1 and Thursday, 2 May 2024
  • Pullman Sydney Airport
  • For registered nurse, enrolled nurses, midwives, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health practitioners working in primary healthcare.

 

The Immunisation Professional Development Conference will provide attendees the chance to accumulate 15 hours of CPD (self-reported) and covers:

  • COVID and the changing focus in primary healthcare
  • Managing RSV
  • NIP and priority populations
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Culturally safe practice in immunisation
  • Vaccine strategies and promotion
  • Travel vaccines
  • Catchups
  • opportunity to achieve an annual CPR update.

 

Fully subsidised

South Western Sydney PHN offer a complete subsidy to nurses, midwives and/or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health practitioners working in primary care in South Western Sydney to cover the $600 entry fee.

Being up-to-date and able to vaccinate will support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in our region to healthcare workers, vulnerable populations and the general community.

 

Immunisation Professional Development Conference entry criteria

You must currently be a

  • registered nurse
  • enrolled nurse
  • midwife or
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health practitioner

You must be practising within South Western Sydney in the local government area of Bankstown, Campbelltown, Camden, Fairfield, Liverpool, Wollondilly or Wingecarribee.

 

Reimbursement process

Purchase a ticket and attend the Immunisation Professional Development Conference, then submit the following documents to South Western Sydney PHN before Monday, 30 December 2024 to receive your payment.

  • completed reimbursement form
  • invoice

A confirmation of your attendance will be provided by Benchmarque to SWSPHN.

Reimbursement form

 

Conference prospectus

Download this six-page prospectus for conference agenda and registration instructions or visit Benchmarque Group website.

Download prospectus

Benchmarque Group website

05 December 2023

GP holding a stethoscope surrounded by beach holiday paraphernalia

With practices closing for the holiday period and cases rising, it’s time for your general practice to plan how to protect patients from COVID-19.

 

Patient factsheet

 

Redirecting your patients to after hours services and advice hotlines

My Emergency Doctor

Telehealth and video consultations are available 24/7 throughout the holiday period. Patients living in South Western Sydney may call this service to speak with an emergency doctor.

Call 1800 001 003

myemergencydr.com/southwesternsydney

 

Southern Highlands GP After Hours Service

Face-to-face, clinic and telehealth services will be available through the holiday period.

Call 48 616 433

www.shgpahs.com.au

 

NSW Health Flu and COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line

Advice for people managing COVID-19 at home.

Call 1800 960 933

 

National COVID Helpline

Use the 24/7 helpline to get advice and support when managing COVID-19 at home.

Call 1800 020 080

Read more on the Department of Health and Ageing website

 

TIS National

Use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) for 24/7 access to interpreters over the phone or to attend an appointment in person. TIS provide free interpreting services to anyone in Australia with a Medicare card.

Call 13 14 50

Read more about using TIS in your practice

 


 

COVID-19 antiviral medication information for older patients and their families

Share this information with your patients.

Oral treatments summary

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for antiviral treatments if you are:

  • 70 years of age or older, regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms
  • 50 years of age or older with 2 additional risk factors
  • First Nations person, 30 years of age or older and with 1 additional risk factor
  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Visit the Department of Health and Ageing website for more information

 

Factsheet for residents and families on COVID-19 antivirals

COVID-19 oral treatments – factsheet for residents and their families in residential aged care homes

 

Managing COVID-19 at home information

Recommended resources for patients:

How to manage COVID-19 at home  |  South Western Sydney PHN

Managing COVID-19 | healthdirect

Managing COVID-19 at home | NSW Government

Testing positive to COVID-19 and safely managing at home | NSW Government

 

Patient factsheet

 

How practices can prepare for the holiday season

 

Highly recommended:

Toolkit from RACGP

RACGP’s “Helping you and your practice team prepare for summer” covers extreme weather events, continued virus and disease management, staff shortages, increases in presenting patients and practice closures over the holiday period can all place additional strain on your practice team.

Read more

 

 

How practices can prepare for the holiday season

 

Highly recommended:

Toolkit from RACGP

RACGP’s “Helping you and your practice team prepare for summer” covers extreme weather events, continued virus and disease management, staff shortages, increases in presenting patients and practice closures over the holiday period can all place additional strain on your practice team.

Read more

 

Managing COVID-19: Advice for GPs with patients living in aged care homes

A guide for GPs managing patients living in RACHs.

Read more

 

COVID-19 resources for general practitioners

This NSW Health article lists recommended articles for practices managing cases.

Read more

 

Infection prevention and control

Infection prevention and control guidelines for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices

RACGP’s guidelines for infection prevention, available as an online resource or downloadable PDF.

Read more

 

COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control

Clinical Excellence Commission’s COVID-19 and ARI infection prevention and control for healthcare settings resources.

Read more

 

Antiviral medication information

Antiviral pre-assessment form

NSW Health form to support timely and safe access to antiviral medicines for vulnerable adults who are at higher risk of severe disease

Download form

 

Best practice antiviral administration information

Advice for antiviral treatments and prophylaxis in residential aged care facilities (RACF) – Fact sheets (nsw.gov.au)

 

Translated patient resources from NSW Government

Posters, factsheets, and graphics on COVID-19 for health workers, community groups, businesses, and people in NSW.

COVID-19 in-language and translated resources

COVID-19 translated resources – COVID-19

 

Department of Health and Aged Care – State office contacts

For assistance to access Commonwealth support for outbreaks over the holiday period, please contact your relevant Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care state office:

Email: NSWCOVIDCaseManagement@Health.gov.au
Phone: 1800 852 649

 


 

COVID-19 vaccines

Infographic: ATAGI recommended COVID-19 doses and vaccines (health.gov.au)

ATAGI clinical guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers

Department of Health and Aged Care COVID-19 vaccination – Provider resources

 


 

30 November 2023

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from severe illness or death from COVID-19. With older age continuing to be the biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19.

If it has been six months since receiving a COVID-19 vaccine or a confirmed COVID-19 infection, an additional dose:

  • people aged 75 or older – recommended
  • people aged 65-74 and people aged 18-64 years with severe immunocompromise – consider following discussion with their health care provider

People aged 65 years and older who have not had a COVID-19 booster in 2023 are recommended to get vaccinated with the latest vaccine.

All COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide benefit to eligible people. However, the monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred over other vaccines for eligible people, as advised by ATAGI.

ATAGI recommendations on use monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines

 

Book a vaccination

To find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic near you:

For more information or advice call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 or visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website: health.gov.au/covid-19-vaccines.

 

Oral antiviral treatments

Oral antiviral treatments are safe and effective in reducing the severity of COVID-19 and are available to people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including people 70 years and older.

Be prepared

If you are 70 years or older, or any of the below risk factors, have an early discussion with your GP or nurse practitioner.

  • Ask if an oral antiviral suits your health needs
  • Develop a COVID-19 plan with your GP. Include how to access antivirals quickly if you test positive to COVID-19.

Start antiviral treatment as soon as possible or within five days of COVID-19 symptoms beginning. Oral antiviral treatments may help stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe.

Risk factors 

  • living in residential aged care
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty (but not limited to living in supported accommodation)
  • neurological conditions like stroke or dementia and demyelinating conditions e.g. multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • chronic respiratory conditions including COPD, moderate or severe asthma
  • obesity or diabetes (type I or II requiring medication)
  • heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies
  • kidney failure or cirrhosis
  • living remotely with reduced access to higher level healthcare
  • past COVID-19 infection episode resulting in hospitalisation

Updated eligibility for oral COVID-19 treatments |Department of Health and Aged Care


 

Frequently asked questions

I have not had a 2023 booster yet, is it too late for me to have one?

No. Anyone recommended for a COVID-19 vaccine should get one as soon as possible if they haven’t had one yet.

 

What if I missed one of my COVID-19 vaccine doses?

Australia has moved away from numbering doses and a ‘catch-up’ vaccination is not required.

ATAGI recommends a primary course of COVID-19 vaccinations, including a dose in 2023 and an additional dose if recommended.

It doesn’t matter how many doses a person has had before 2023.

 

I had COVID last month, but my last dose was more than six months ago. Should I have another dose?

There is not much benefit from having a COVID-19 vaccine soon after infection.

If you are unsure if you have had a COVID-19 infection in the past six months, it is safe to get a dose.

 

Who can give me a COVID-19 booster?

You can find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic and book an appointment with the healthdirect service finder

You can get a COVID-19 vaccine from your local GP or pharmacist, or a GP or pharmacist visiting your aged care home.

 

Is there a new vaccine people should be asking for?

All COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide benefit to eligible people. However, the monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred over other vaccines for eligible people.

 

Where can I find information about COVID-19 and vaccines?

See the Department of Health and Aged Care website: health.gov.au/covid-19-vaccines.

You can also find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic and book an appointment with the healthdirect service finder or call 1800 022 222 if you need COVID-19 advice.

 

What can older people do if they get COVID-19?

If you get COVID-19 you need to take the oral antiviral treatments as soon as possible or within five days after getting symptoms.

Oral antivirals treatments are safe and effective in reducing the severity of COVID-19 and are available to people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 including people 70 years and older.

Make sure you talk to your GP or nurse practitioner to find out whether the oral antiviral treatments are right for you and how to access antivirals quickly.

22 November 2023

The Australian Government has approved the use of new COVID-19 XBB 1.5 vaccines.

All available COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide strong protection against serious disease.

The new XBB 1.5 vaccines have been found to provide modest improved protection against the COVID-19 strains circulating in the community. The XBB 1.5 vaccines will be available along with the existing bivalent vaccines.

There is no change to current vaccine eligibility recommendations.

The new vaccine is a good reminder for people to get vaccinated if they haven’t had their recommended dose(s) in 2023. For people who have had their 2023 COVID-19 vaccination(s) they do not need to get vaccinated again and remain well protected against severe disease from COVID-19.

Pfizer’s monovalent XBB.1.5 vaccine will be available for use in eligible people aged five years and older, while the Moderna monovalent XBB.1.5 vaccine can be used for those aged 12 years and older.

Check your eligibility

Providers can order this new vaccine, with doses being delivered ready to administer from 11 December 2023.

Sites which receive their orders earlier than this date can commence administration as soon as they receive them.

Read ATAGI’s statement

10 October 2023

Positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) results can no longer be registered with Service NSW. The RAT registration portal closed on Sunday, 1 October.

However, NSW Health still recommends:

  • People stay at home and don’t visit high-risk settings such as aged care facilities and hospitals if they have cold or flu symptoms.
  • People who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should make a plan about testing and antiviral medicines before they get sick.
  • People who are unwell and can’t contact their doctor, can call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the online Service Finder.
  • People at high-risk of severe disease should be tested for COVID-19 to facilitate access to antivirals.
  • Using the antiviral medicine pre-assessment action plan to support the timely management of respiratory illness, particularly in the elderly who continue to be severely affected by COVID-19.
  • Older people or those with a high-risk of severe disease should have a COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Please note, free rapid antigen tests are no longer available at Service NSW locations. Rapid antigen tests can still be purchased at pharmacies and supermarkets.

23 May 2023

High levels of respiratory viral infections heading into the colder weather has prompted calls for South Western Sydney residents to ensure their flu vaccinations and COVID-19 boosters are up-to-date.

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kristen Short, said NSW Health was already reporting high levels of COVID-19 and flu across the state.

“It’s understandable people have grown weary of hearing about COVID-19 and following all the guidance associated with our efforts to combat the virus,” she said.

“But now, as we head into winter and the flu season, is not the time to take a break.

“We should all take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones, especially those who are likely to get very sick, like young children and older people.

“This includes getting vaccinated and actions like avoiding contact with people who are sick, staying at home when you’re sick, covering coughs and sneezes and washing your hands.”

In the week ending 13 May, NSW Health received 13,545 laboratory confirmed notifications for COVID-19, an increase of 18 per cent on the previous week, and notifications of flu jumped 35 per cent to 1,282 cases.

Flu vaccinations

Flu vaccinations should occur before the onset of the flu season, which typically peaks between June and September.

People eligible for a free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program include:

  • Children from six months to under five years of age
  • People with serious health conditions (including severe asthma, diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease)
  • Pregnant women
  • Aboriginal people aged from six months
  • People aged 65 and over

COVID-19 vaccinations

While the focus on COVID-19 has decreased, the threat of infection and long-term side-effects remains.

All adults can get a 2023 COVID-19 vaccine booster if it’s been six months or longer since their last COVID-19 booster or confirmed infection (whichever is most recent), for additional protection against severe illness.

Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time.

Visit your GP, pharmacist or Aboriginal Controlled Health Service to get your flu shot and book your COVID-19 vaccination through the healthdirect Service Finder.

20 April 2023

The COVID lockdowns limited children’s exposure to structured environments such as childcare where they have typically developed their social skills and emotional resilience. 

This has resulted in many children presenting with challenging behaviours.

Examples of challenging behaviour include:

  • Defiance/ refusing age appropriate requests
  • Overly fussy such as difficultly settling
  • Hurting self/ others
  • Excessively angry when refused their wishes
  • Ongoing or frequent emotional outbursts

When to refer?

Challenging behaviour is part of typical development. However, families need support if their child’s behaviour is impacting on family functioning, the child’s engagement in daily tasks and learning environments, or if there are safety concerns.

Some behaviours may be due to an undiagnosed developmental delay (eg social, emotional, communication), disability or trauma.

Where to refer?

  • Psychologist or family therapist
  • Parent Child Interaction Therapist (PCIT)
  • Parenting education program such as Circle of Security or Tuning in to Kids

Find more information

This article was written by members of the ‘Stronger Seeds, Taller Trees’ project which includes professionals from a number of government and non-government organisations in South Western Sydney. The group aims to support GPs working with families to navigate and access timely services when they have a concern about a child’s development.

23 March 2023

The Australian Government has distributed the following Provider Bulletin (23 March) for COVID-19 vaccine providers.

Download bulletin - 23 March 2023

It includes:  

28 February 2023

Are you an allied health provider working in South Western Sydney?

We’d like to hear from you via our Long COVID Allied Health survey.

The survey aims to identify gaps in service provision related to long COVID.

The information provided through the survey will be used to develop resources to support allied health workers provide the best care for their patients with long COVID.

Visit HealthChat and login or register to take the survey.

HealthChat

If you have any questions or feedback, please email COVID19@SWSPHN.com.au