February 2021

Chair report

Message from the Chair – Assoc Prof Charlotte Hespe

The RACGP acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea in which we live and work. We recognise their continuing connection to land, sea and culture and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

One of the most important issues facing us this month is the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Many of you have registered your interest, and I hope you’re feeling ready to be part of this opportunity to oversee an efficient, safe and effective rollout to our community. The overall goal, of course, is that we can then return to a life and workplace not dominated by COVID-19.

Whether or not your practice is directly involved in delivering vaccinations, excellent planning is the key to achieving the best outcomes for our patients. Communicating the most up-to-date information to our vulnerable patients is particularly important as we move closer to implementation, and vital to a smooth rollout. Providing our patients trustworthy, safe and professional information is crucial, as many are anxious about access to the vaccine and its relative safety. This means we need access to current and reliable sources of information relevant to our communities.

The RACGP website and/or your local Health Pathways are both great sources of current, evidence-based resources.

The NSW&ACT COVID-19 GP Community of Practice is also an invaluable source of support, information and expertise. Through regular Zoom meetings and real-time chats via Basecamp, we share insights and timely updates from NSW Health and other relevant sources. You can join this supportive network of fellow GPs in NSW/ACT either by invitation from a colleague who’s already a member or by emailing us at NSWACTVCOP@racgp.org.au

You should by now have received your invitation to the RACGP Member census, which closes on 28 February. We’d love as many of you as possible to participate to help the college improve services and support provided to all members. Have your say to guide the RACGP’s advocacy and improve the value and relevance of your membership.

Calendar of events

Calendar of events

Event: Date: QI&CPD points
NSW COVID-19 update webinar  Monday 22 February
7.00–8.00‌ pm
Supporting children who are above a healthy weight Tuesday 23 February
7.30–8.30‌ pm
CPD activity (2 points)
myCPD dashboard information session Wednesday 24 February
11.00–11.30‌ am
Understanding cannabidiol Wednesday 24 February
7.30–8.30‌ pm
CPD activity (2 points)
myCPD dashboard information session Friday 26 February
11.00–12.00‌ am
NSW influenza vaccinations update 2021 Tuesday 2 March
7.30–8.30‌ pm
CPD activity (2 points)
Suddenly I'm a leader: Creating champions of change Tuesday 2 March
7.00–7.30‌ pm
CPD activity (2 points)
Atrial fibrillation management in 2021 Thursday 4 March
7.00–8.00‌ pm
Wellbeing weekend Saturday 10 April
10.00‌ am – 9.00‌ pm (overnight optional)
CPD activity (12 points)
Practice THAT! podcast On demand Self-record
RACGP & NSW Health – The GP Edition podcast On demand Self-record
Suddenly I’m a leader podcast On demand Self-record
Just a GP podcast On demand Self-record

Events in the spotlight

Wellbeing weekend – Making your health a priority

Spend mindful and enjoyable time with other GPs at our weekend away on 10–11‌ April 2021.

Practical sessions on Saturday will inspire you to make time for your health and wellbeing and develop the skills you need to do that. Anatomic watercolour painting will help you relax in a creative way. Sunday is free for you to enjoy beautiful Newcastle and relax at the beach right outside the venue.

Register now


NSW and ACT Medicines Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 – Requirements for your region

The requirements for prescriptions differ slightly between NSW and ACT.

If you’re in NSW, download the Criteria for issuing non-handwritten (computer-generated) prescriptions to ensure your prescriptions comply with Poisons and Therapeutic Goods legislation.

If you’re in the ACT and need guidance, refer to Sections 40 and 41 of the ACT Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Good Regulation 2008.

10 Questions to Ask leaflets

10 Questions to Ask is a series of leaflets written by nurses, doctors and experts with experience in aged care to increase consumer knowledge and make the journey into residential aged care easier. Each leaflet, including ‘Questions to ask about COVID-19 in residential care’ focuses on an individual aspect of care.

You can download the leaflets as PDFs to share with your patients.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule changes from 1 January 2021

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) was updated on 1 February 2021, including to update Australian Medicines Terminology descriptions for various PBS-listed insulin products.

You can access the summary of changes on the PBS website.

General practice ‘game changers’ receive Australia Day Honours

A number of GPs were recognised in the Australian Day Honours List for their services to medicine and contributions to various causes.

Congratulations to our NSW recipients:

  • Dr Susan Rowley OAM, Sydney
  • Dr Amarjit More OAM, Woolgoolga
  • Dr David Outridge OAM, Newcastle
View the full list of the GPs on the 2021 Australia Day Honours List in this newsGP article.

National news

Take part in the RACGP member census

Have your say in our inaugural RACGP member census. We’re surveying our entire membership base to learn more about you, your work, your relationship with the RACGP and your satisfaction with your membership.

Help guide our advocacy by raising issues important to you. Tell us what you value about your membership and what’s missing so we can better support you and your community.

Access the census via the individual link emailed to you or visit the member census page for more information.

The census closes on Sunday 28 February 2021 and takes about 20 minutes.

National Cancer Screening Register healthcare update

The National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) has launched the Healthcare Provider Portal to help you and your team easily access patients’ bowel and cervical screening data, ensure their screening remains up to date and improve patient cancer-screening outcomes.

These resources will help you understand, access and navigate the new portal:

The NCSR will also be integrated with primary care practice-management systems Best Practice and MedicalDirector. Find out more about the integration on the NCSR website.

Apply for the 2021 RACGP Future Leaders Program

As a GP, you’re naturally seen as a leader in your community, but you might not have had the formal leadership training you need. The RACGP Future Leaders Program gives you the confidence to lead change and overcome challenges in your community.

The program shows how your values relate to your leadership qualities and looks at techniques for driving positive change.

If you’re passionate about your profession and interested in honing your leadership skills, come to the program information night.

Register on the RACGP website by Friday 26 March 2021.

NSW Health update*

Prescribing opioid treatment – What’s new?

Are you inadvertently making errors on your Schedule 8 (S8) prescriptions? Download How to write S8 prescriptions for the Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) to help ensure your prescriptions for methadone and buprenorphine comply with Poisons and Therapeutic Goods legislation.

Healthcare professionals wishing to prescribe or administer depot buprenorphine can complete a new short course, Treatment of opioid dependence with depot buprenorphine, for free online. When prescribing depot buprenorphine, you must arrange to ensure the patient never handles the product, as serious harms can result from patients attempting to self-administer.

Find out more about the NSW OTP

National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) new guidelines for alcohol consumption

On 8 December 2020, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released the 2020 Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. The revised guidelines provide clear advice on alcohol consumption for healthy adults, children and young people under 18 years, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

The guidelines were developed after a four-year review of evidence, and they replace the 2009 guidelines. The development process included systematic reviews of the health effects of drinking alcohol, mathematical modelling, data on Australian drinking patterns, public and industry consultation, and best-practice guideline-development approaches.

More professionals can now make a domestic violence declaration

Since 2019, GPs have been able to make a domestic violence (DV) declaration to help tenants experiencing DV to end their residential tenancy early without penalty. In late 2020, tenancy laws were amended to allow more professionals to provide this assistance, including nurses, midwives and psychologists. The requirements for providing DV declarations have not changed. You can help people experiencing DV by informing them about these protections.

Visit NSW Fair Trading for more information. For victim support, phone the DV Line on 1800 656463 or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
The RACGP does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may result from reliance on, or the use of, any information contained in this newsletter.