Our People to Live Stronger & Longer

EOI’s for use of Mobile vans

The AH&MRC is seeking expressions of interest for services wishing to use AH&MRC’s Mobile Health Clinic or the Mobile Denture van both currently located at AH&MRC Little Bay.  

The mobile health clinic is a motorhome that has been fitted with basic medical equipment including a point of care machine, fridge, and clinical items (e.g.: blood pressure machine). There is space to conduct a basic patient assessment and basic medical procedures (e.g.: providing vaccinations). It has a side awning which can be used to shelter a table for health promotion activities.

This link has a video of the layout of the mobile health clinic.

The mobile denture van can support the making of dentures only and is not set up to allow general dental services.  It requires access to electricity and water supply to be functional.

ACCHO’s are responsible for providing clinical items including cartridges for the POC machine, gloves and sharps bins etc. ACCHOs will also be responsible for the cost of fuel whilst using the vans.

The mobile vans are comprehensively insured by AH&MRC. However, organisational and medical/dental indemnity for services provided from the van will need to be covered by the successful ACCHO.

If you require further information or wish to send an EOI, please email the AH&MRC Public Health Team Publichealth@ahmrc.org.au. Please include a brief summary of how you plan to use the van and the required loan period (maximum of 3 months) in your EOI.

Hepatitis B Medication s85 Advocacy

ASHM are currently in the early stages of progressing advocacy to potentially move hepatitis B medications from s100 to Section 85 (s85) to improve and increase access to treatment, as increasing access to primary care for hepatitis B management is a priority to reducing barriers to care. 

Currently, these medications are listed under Section 100 (s100) of the PBS, which allows only accredited community-based practitioners supported by a comprehensive prescriber program administered by ASHM to prescribe hepatitis B medications without hospital affiliation.

ASHM’s current priority is to continue sector consultation to seek information on jurisdictional nuances and ensure ASHM understand all implications of this potential change to avoid any unintended consequences. This consultation is being conducted to better understand the views and experiences of key stakeholders, to support ASHM in making informed recommendations and to advocate effectively for all individuals affected by a potential change.

ASHM invite you to complete the consultation survey here – it is open until 29/02/2024. If you would prefer to provide feedback via phone call or a meeting, please let us know and we would be delighted to organise this.

Read the letter of support from ASHM and Hepatitis Australia which details further information and outlines the expected benefits of this change including improved treatment access, adherence and health outcomes.

Reduced access to vapes coming – is your ACCHO ready?

New regulations placing stronger controls on the importation, manufacture, and supply of vapes are being made in stages this year. A ban on the importation of disposable vapes has now been in force since 1 January meaning that patients cannot purchase any disposable vapes online from overseas.

From 1 March 2024 the importation of ALL vapes, irrespective of nicotine content or therapeutic claims, will be banned from sale. Vapes containing nicotine will be legal from a pharmacist with a prescription form a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Many patients may seek medical advice in the coming months on how to overcome their smoking and nicotine addictions. Unfortunately, MBS items supporting smoking and nicotine cessation counselling services have been discontinued, but these services can be provided through general time-tiered MBS items.

On a more positive note, the TGA has now implemented a new Special Access Scheme pathway to simplify prescription access to therapeutic vapes where clinically appropriate, with all doctors and nurse practitioners able to prescribe.  The following resources may be helpful for ACCHO staff to feel more confident in advising clients:

  • RACGP Provisional Guidance to smoking and vaping cessation related to changes in regulations
  • The Department of Health and Aging’s advice for health professionals may assist when considering whether patients are eligible for subsidised NRTs under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • Resources for health professionals available through the Quit Centre – www.quitcentre.org.au
  • Patient support to quit smoking and/or vaping is available through Quitline services : Hotline on 13 QUIT (13 7848),or online at www.quit.org.au.

Now is the time to make sure ACCHO staff particularly your GP and Nurses understand the changes to accessing nicotine vapes. There is Information for Prescribers available on the TGA website and AH&MRC will keep communicating updates including access to resources as they become available.

COVID 19 Supplies – National Medical Stockpile

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (DoH) have advised that due to an IT issue with their mailbox, orders sent in December for PPE/RAT/ antiviral supplies from the National Medical Stockpile were never received.

They are asking ACCHOs to re-send their orders on the attached form to FirstNationsCOVID-19@health.gov.au and also to cc in Covid19Vaccine@naccho.org.au as NACCHO is keeping track of orders placed, acknowledged by Department of Health and then received.

To reduce delay with back and forth communication, before submitting a request the DoH are also asking ACCHOs to revise their orders based on the following criteria:

  • Please explore your usual channels first for obtaining stock, because the National Medical Stockpile is intended for emergency support when no supplies are available (e.g. due to local floods or pandemic level demand).
  • If your clinics are unable to obtain stock through usual channels, please provide specific numbers of items needed (e.g. 100 RAT Tests).
  • Please limit requests for supplies to volumes likely to be needed for a few months only, based on your usual demand. This helps to avoid problems with stock expiring before it can be used.

Download the ACCHS Test, Treat and Protect order form here.

Atypical Pneumonia Alert

There has been a recent increase in pneumonia presentations to emergency departments in NSW. There are a variety of causes of pneumonia but of note: 

  • there have been 12 adults with confirmed Legionella infection, all of whom have spent time in Sydney CBD in the exposure period, and
  • there has been an increase in Mycoplasma infections, particularly children aged 5 to 16 years.

More information for your clinic teams is available here Legionella and Mycoplasma Pneumonia Alert for Primary Care

Bicillin shortage update from NSW Health

TGA reported a supply disruption for the benzathine benzylpenicillin shortage which is expected to improve by late February 2024. 

Please see the attached document for the full updates, but as previously mentioned:

  • Prioritise the use of this product for Rheumatic Heart Disease / Acute Rheumatic Fever, Syphilis​ & consider alternative agents for other indications.
  • Please continue to use existing pathways to access the benzathine benzylpenicillin.

 In addition, if unable to access benzathine benzylpenicillin, please reach out to:

This information is also available online on the Infectious Diseases alerts page HERE.

Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Centre Staff Development Day

The Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Centre was lucky to have Richie and Kay in Tamworth this week to be apart of their staff development day. 

Covering a range of topics from funding to 715 health checks, the Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service are staying at the forefront of Indigenous Health.

They chatted and engaged well with all staff yesterday and hope they  can take their knowledge and further grow the organisation.

2024 Aboriginal Chronic Conditions Conference

The Aboriginal Chronic Conditions Network and Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council invite abstracts for the 2024 – Aboriginal Chronic Conditions Conference

Theme: Closing The Gap Priority Reform Areas and Aboriginal Chronic Care
Dates: 3rd & 4th April 202
Location: Sydney

 We call on abstracts that highlight the successes, showcase innovations, strategic partnerships and key learnings in Closing the Gap aligned to Aboriginal Chronic Care.

This includes the focus across Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, NSW Health, Primary Health Networks and other organisations across Australia.

The objective of the 2024 conference is to promote innovations across Aboriginal Chronic Care that are culturally responsive, aligned to the Closing the Gap Priority Reform Areas and that showcase;

  • Strategic partnerships that strengthen Aboriginal leadership and shared decision making
  • Building community control capability as guided by community control
  • Success and key learnings in the design and delivery of programs and services
  • Leading initiatives for shared access to data and information at a regional level
  • Pathways to Aboriginal employment and procurement of Aboriginal business
  • Aboriginal culture as the core element to healing and wellbeing for Aboriginal peoples

More information can be found here.

Please submit abstracts by the 7th February 2024 to ACI-ACCN@health.nsw.gov.au

NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal

The Minister for Mental Health is seeking applications from qualified persons interested in appointment as part-time sessional members of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal.

Appointments are generally for four years, and candidates must be available at least one full day per month, although greater availability is welcomed. Appointment dates will fall between April and October 2024.

More information can be found here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/regional/Pages/regional-health-ministerial-advisory-panel.aspx

CINSW Evaluation Data Governance Group

Phrase 2 of the evaluation project for KOWA Pty Ltd will be to develop a First Nations Data Governance Framework and First Nations Data Sovereignty Protocol to underpin the evaluation of the NSW Aboriginal Cancer Primary Care Program.

First Nations Data Sovereignty refers to the right of First Nations people to govern the collection, ownership and application of data about them. First Nations Data Governance is how data sovereignty is enacted. Kowa will utilise the OCCAAARS Framework (2022) to operationalise First Nations Data Sovereignty principles across all evaluation phases.

For this evaluation, the Governance Group will include representatives from;

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations
  • The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council
  • Cancer Institute NSW

The Governance Group will be involved throughout the life of the evaluation to ensure that the Evaluation Team (Kowa Pty Ltd) upholds the First Nations Data Governance Framework and First Nations Data Sovereignty Protocol developed in phase two.

Expectations for the Governance Group include;

  • One full day per year (spread across multiple meetings) – the Evaluation is scheduled for completion in June 2026
  • Review First Nations Data Governance Framework and First Nations Data Sovereignty Protocol
  • Other expectations to be explored and set during the first workshop.

Once recruitment of member to the Governance Group has been completed, the Evaluation Team will reach out to provide further information in relation to their participation requirements, this will include dates, times etc.