January 2021


Important Zostavax update

Please find below a letter from the Chief Medical Officer regarding administration of Zostavax, a live viral vaccine for prevention of shingles. 

Update to labelling and prescribing of antibiotics

Please find attached a letter from PSA National President A/Prof Chris Freeman about key messages for prescribers regarding the January 2021 change to antibiotic labelling by pharmacists.

NMBA - NP’s to be surveyed in relation to Immunisation


February 2020

Immunisation - Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign 2020.docx

Diabetes -  Changes to the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Initiative - 2020 CGM changes

March 2020

AIHW release: Coordination of health care: experiences of barriers to accessing health services among patients aged 45 and over

Changes to Antibiotic Listings on the PBS 

As indicated in the previous emails below, please be advised that changes to antibiotic listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will commence on 1 April 2020. The changes were recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in August 2019 to support best practice prescribing in Australia.  For more information on the changes to the PBS, please  If you have any further questions on the changes, please contact the PBS Information Line on 1800 020 613 or via email

May 2020

As most of you are aware, the PBS changes to prescription opioids come into effect on 1 June 2020. We acknowledge that there may be media interest (such as the article in the Sydney Morning Herald this week) and your members may have questions. We have attached links to the updated TGA’s prescription opioid web content, including the information for consumers and health professionals that you helped refine.


Prescribers can now order their PBS prescription stationery through Health Professional Online Services (HPOS), which is available 24/7. To access HPOS, users will be required to create a PRODA account if they don’t already have one. The following steps to order stationery are outlined below:

  1. Log on to your PRODA account.
  2. Select go to service on the HPOS tile.
  3. Select My Programs.
  4. Select PBS stationery online ordering.

From here prescribers can:

  • place a stationery order
  • view order details
  • re-order a previous order

Ordering PBS stationery online will allow users to:

  • Order a range of products without completing multiple order forms
  • Track the progress and delivery of their order online
  • Submit the same order again to save time
  • Provide delegate access to others (e.g. practice managers) to place and manage orders on their behalf.

For more information on how to order through HPOS please visit us at our site here or read our recent news article at News for health professionals

June 2020

National Immunisation Program changes from 1 July 2020

From 1 July 2020, there are a number of changes to the National Immunisation Program coming into effect.

These changes are:

  • Introduction of meningococcal B vaccination and changes to meningococcal ACWY vaccination.
  • Hepatitis A vaccination schedule points for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in NT, Qld, SA and WA will change in consideration of the introduction of the meningococcal B vaccine.
  • Pneumococcal vaccination schedule will change to reflect the current best clinical evidence in preventing pneumococcal disease in adults and in people with conditions that increase their risk of disease.  

The changes are being implemented following recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and other clinical experts and are designed to improve protection against meningococcal and pneumococcal disease. 

To support awareness and implementation of the changes, the Australian Government has developed a suite of educational and promotional communication resources hosted via a news item on the Department of Health’s website.

The NIP clinical advice factsheets for providers, accompanied by correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer will be mailed to GPs and Aboriginal Medical Services Australia-wide. The information notes the availability of supporting consumer resources available to download or order through the Department of Health’s website.

Summary of Opioid Changes in effect from 1 June 2020 can be found on the Opioid Restriction Changes Guide.

July 2020

NDSS Enhancement Project - Inclusion of Practice Nurses as Certifiers of Relevant NDSS Forms

Influenza vaccine stats

 Geographical breakdown of influenza vaccines reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) as at COB 05 July 2020





Provider type




5-64 years

65 years+


















Number of vaccines

1 March 2018 - 05 July 2018


1 March 2019 - 05 July 2019


1 March 2020 - 05 July 2020



NPS MedicineWise: Medicinal cannabis information portal 

For prescribers – the portal includes important resources for prescribers including full evidence summaries with links to the TGA’s clinical guidance and a flowchart for prescribers that outlines the steps to accessing medicinal cannabis.

To find out more go to

Tax Time Helper

The ATO has prepared a range of resources to assist health professionals during this period of heightened stress. These resources have been provided specifically for healthcare workers to ensure they are aware of the deductions that they can claim for and make it easier to prepare and lodge their 2020 tax return.  To find out more go to the Australian Tax Office to down load the Health Workers Guide.

August 2020

Accessing AIR using PRODA

User guides detailing how to access AIR, the Australian Immunisation Register, using PODA, the Provider Digital Access System, are now available. 
Download the guide for organisations here.
Download the guide for individuals here.

New guide to examine clinical variation 

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has today released a new guide to support health service organisations to review clinical variation. 

The User Guide for the Review of Clinical Variation in Health Care (the User Guide) explains how organisations can implement Action 1.28 of the Clinical Governance Standard in the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

Action 1.28 aims to ensure that health services work with their clinicians to regularly review data collected on clinical care processes and outcomes to identify unwarranted variation. Examining variation in clinical care is one way of identifying if people are being offered appropriate care. 

Health services can use available data to identify potentially unwarranted variation and improve the appropriateness of care, which has widespread benefits for patients, their carers and families. 

The User Guide describes six key steps for implementing Action 1.28, and provides resources to support health services and their clinicians in reviewing clinical variation. It also includes practical case studies, and clinical topics for potential investigation.

Download the User Guide and share it with your health service organisation, colleagues and other healthcare professionals.

More information

For more information, visit the Healthcare Variation page on the Commission's website or contact us at:

Department of Health Indigenous Pharmacy Program Communique

Changes are coming. Please  note no changes until Mid 2021. 

Read the full 2020 Communique - IPP Reforms update.

2018 Submission - ACNP Response - Policy Options for Reforming the Indigenous Pharmacy Programs

September 2020

ESC Congress Digital Experience 2020 Conference ReviewTM

Access the PDF here - ESC Congress Digital Experience 2020 Conference ReviewTM

New NPS MedicineWise program - Dementia and changed behaviour: a person centred approach

Program overview

The program focuses on using a person-centred care approach when working with people experiencing changed behaviours in dementia and the limited role medicines play. The program will be delivered in both aged care and community care settings. We emphasise the importance of putting people with dementia and their carers at the centre of dementia care while also highlighting the importance of working collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team. 

The audiences of the program include GPs, pharmacists and nurses who manage older people with dementia, both in the community and residential aged care facilities. 


Key elements of the program:

If you would like more information or would like to get involved in the program, please visit the NPS MedicineWise website or contact Kara Joyce.


Recent updates to the AIR

Improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a national priority. The National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people provides additional vaccines to help improve the health of Indigenous people, and close the gap between Indigenous and non- Indigenous people in health and life expectancy.

To identify Indigenous people who may require additional vaccines, vaccination providers can now record Indigenous status directly on the AIR and it will not be over-ridden by their status recorded by Medicare. AIR Indigenous status will not be recorded on any other government database and it does not need to be the same as Medicare.  Recording an Indigenous status on the AIR helps vaccination providers to identify and give the clinically correct vaccination schedule.  Vaccination providers should seek consent from the person at the time of a vaccination encounter before recording their Indigenous status on the AIR. There is no change to how a person’s Indigenous status is recorded on the AIR.  Up to date records help determine the impact of the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases. In turn, vaccination coverage figures and data available for research purposes become more comprehensive and reliable over time.

Catch-up schedule to display on immunisation history statement

Australian Government legislation requires children to meet immunisation requirements to be eligible for family payments (No Jab No Pay). To meet the immunisation requirements for family payments, one of the following must apply to a child:

  • be immunised according to the NIP childhood schedule

  • be on an approved catch-up vaccination schedule

  • have a valid exemption

Catch-up vaccination aims to protect people against disease as quickly as possible. It aims to help people get up to date with their vaccination schedule in the shortest, but most effective, time frame.  From February 2020, if a person is on an approved immunisation catch-up schedule registered on the AIR the:

  • catch-up schedule will display on the top of the immunisation history statement

  • date it expires will also show.

This helps give people a complete picture of their immunisation status. It gives parents and guardians evidence of a child’s vaccination status for childcare or school entry. It also lets other vaccination providers know how a person’s vaccination needs are being managed.

Amended pneumococcal rules and the introduction of reminder letters for older Australians

On 1 July 2020, the recommended age on the NIP for older Australians to receive the pneumococcal vaccine changed from 65 to 70 years. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pneumococcal is recommended from 50 years. Vaccination against shingles is still recommended for people from 70 years of age and can be administered at the same time as pneumococcal vaccine.

Note: Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccination is contraindicated in people with significant immunocompromise due to a primary or acquired medical condition, or medical treatment. Please assess your patients’ current circumstances and refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for more information as to whether vaccination is appropriate.

In line with the 1 July 2020 schedule changes, Services Australia will send a reminder letter to people who are eligible for a pneumococcal and/or shingles vaccination.

Letters will be sent to:

  • people 70 years and 1 month of age who have not received pneumococcal and/or shingles vaccinations

  • people aged 50 years and 1 month displaying an Indigenous status in the AIR who have not received their pneumococcal vaccination.

These reminder letters will encourage people to contact their vaccination provider to:

  • discuss any NIP funded vaccination/s they may be eligible for

  • request the AIR be updated with any vaccines they have already received but have not been recorded on the AIR.

Update from Population Health Division | Primary and Community Care Group, Immunisation and Communicable Diseases Branch, Australian Government Department of Health

While we have seen a record number of influenza vaccines administered in 2020, there is still an opportunity to offer the vaccine to those who have not already been vaccinated this season.

It is never too late to vaccinate against influenza. Experts from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommend that vaccination should continue to be offered as long as influenza is still circulating and valid vaccines (prior to expiration date) are available. For those who have not yet received a 2020 influenza vaccine, getting vaccinated now is encouraged to provide protection during the remainder of the influenza season, the peak period of which is usually June to September in most parts of Australia.

To support awareness and continued uptake of influenza vaccination, the Department has developed the following communication resources:

We encourage you to share this advice with vaccination providers within your networks, to help ensure all people consider influenza vaccination for themselves and their families, particularly during this difficult year.

October 2020

NMBA New Appointment

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has recently welcomed a new appointment of Chair, Adjunct Associate Professor Veronica Casey.

For more information please follow our link to our news publication:

A message from the Ombudsman and Commissioner

My office strives for fair and positive change in the regulation of registered health practitioners for the Australian community.  Following the momentous ten-year anniversary of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme this year, we decided to update our visual identity and our messaging to better share who we are and how we can help.   I’m excited to share my office’s new website and visual identity with you.

Our new website

Visit the new website at

Our new look and logo

Our new logo represents the different ways we champion fairness and strive for positive change in the National Scheme.

  • Complaints to the Ombudsman: The green in our logo symbolises the role of the Ombudsman and our assistance with complaints about how Ahpra and the National Boards handled a notification about a health practitioner or a registration matter
  • Complaints to the Commissioner: The navy represents the role of the Commissioner and our assistance with complaints about Ahpra and the National Boards in relation to privacy and the handling of personal information.
  • FOI review applications: The teal is linked to our role in conducting reviews of FOI decisions made by Ahpra.

As you can see, despite our shortened name, we continue to undertake the functions of both the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and the National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner.

How to contact us:

  • Name: National Health Practitioner Ombudsman (NHPO)
  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 1300 795 265
  • Postal address: GPO Box 2630 Melbourne VIC 3001
  • Physical address: Level 1, 50 Lonsdale Street Melbourne VIC 3000

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy viewing our new website.

Kind regards, Richelle McCausland

National Health Practitioner Ombudsman, National Health Practitioner Privacy Commissioner

Improving adverse drug reporting


The Government’s deregulation agenda has been outlined by the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton.

In a speech to the Business Council of Australia, Mr Morton said while deregulation was important to the Government’s plan for recovery, it was not “about getting rid of all regulation. It’s about getting rid of unnecessary, disproportionate, and inefficiently implemented regulation”.

In relation to the pharmacy sector, Mr Morton foreshadowed reducing the administrative burden on Australian medicines and medical devices businesses.

This would be achieved by modernising business systems and combining services in the Therapeutic Goods Administration, saving medical businesses more than $2 million a year, and ensuring Australians had the quickest possible access to medicines and medical technologies.

"As an example, sponsors of prescription medicines submitting adverse drug reaction reports currently have to export data to a PDF and email it to the TGA,” Mr Morton said.

“The TGA, which receives 15,000 such reports per year, must then send an acknowledgement with a reference number to the sponsor that the sponsor must then record in their database.

“Sponsors will now be able to use an electronic database with automatic data transfer – saving them up to 15 minutes per report."

Contact: The Guild Phone: 13GUILD

A consensus statement - Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health COVID-19 Coalition
ACNP is fully supporting the following statement about Nurse and midwife-led provision of mifepristone and misoprostol for the purposes of early medical abortion.

Full Statement - Provision of Mifepristone and Misoprostol

Infographc - Provision of Mifepristone and Misoprostol (Poster)

November 2020

Media release - Modernisation of national digital health capabilities to drive innovation

13 November, 2020: Following on from the Request for Information (RFI) inviting stakeholders to contribute to a conversation about the future of the national infrastructure in 2019, the Australian Digital Health Agency (Agency) has commenced a program of work to undertake activities to modernise the national digital health infrastructure to better connect Australia’s healthcare system and deliver significant improvements in the quality and efficiency of healthcare. 

Read the full media release here  

New PhD Scholarships with Macquarie University

The Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI), Macquarie University, is pleased to announce the release of five new domestic PhD scholarships, focusing on research into Covid-19 and health system crisis planning. 

With a track record of delivering internationally significant research, AIHI leads in understanding responses to the pandemic along with preparing for future health crises. The directors, Professors Jeffrey Braithwaite, Johanna Westbrook and Enrico Coiera, are seeking suitably qualified candidates with pioneering ideas for research in this field. 

Further information is provided at this link:

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Chrissy Clay | Research Outreach Coordinator

Australian Institute of Health Innovation

Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences

Macquarie University | NSW | 2109 | w

National Stigma Report Card

National mental health charity SANE Australia recently released the National Stigma Report Card, compiled from the findings of their Our Turn to Speak survey, the most comprehensive survey of its kind in Australia.

Australia’s National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework was released by The Hon.Greg Hunt.MP. Minister for Health.  The Framework recognises the unique digital health capabilities of nurses and midwives now and into the future. It outlines the core skills, knowledge and behaviours required for professional practice across five domains.

Australia’s National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework full document and relevant Media Release.

The National Digital Health Workforce and Education Roadmap (the roadmap) was released in September 2020 by the Australian Digital Health Agency. The roadmap outlines skills and capabilities required by the Australian health workforce to maximise the use of digital health.

Join national digital health leaders and your healthcare peers in a webinar that discusses the pathway to ensure our health workforce has the skills and confidence to deliver world class digital healthcare.

The panel includes:

  • Dr Louise Schaper, Australasian Institute of Digital Health
  • Associate Professor Clair Sullivan, University of Queensland
  • Professor Tim Shaw, University of Sydney and Digital Health CRC
  • Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Ms Angela Ryan, Australian Digital Health Agency

Please feel free to join the session via the GoTo Webinar platform using the below details:

Please register here and you will be provided with a personal calendar invite including your link to join the session.

Webinar link:

Q&A via Slido:     event code: 50692

Date and time: 11 November 2020 from 12:30 to 13:30


The Innovate with nbn grants program gives businesses across seven separate categories the opportunity to win a share of $95,000 in funding to support the development of their innovative, digitally led idea.  Categories are:

  • Health, 
  • Agriculture, 
  • Tourism, 
  • Arts, 
  • Education, 
  • Indigenous Business, and
  • Women in Regional Business.

We've partnered with the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) to bring this program to life, together we?re focused on unearthing and supporting businesses that are using the nbn network to develop products or solutions that improve productivity or social outcomes for regional and remote Australians.

The winner of each category will receive a $10 000 grant, with the overall Innovate with nbn? major grant of $25 000 to be awarded to the most outstanding application across all categories.   Applications are now being accepted until 30 November 2020. More information, including eligibility criteria and the application for is available at  In coming weeks nbn will also be sharing information about this program via FacebookTwitter and Linkedin.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, don't hesitate to call.  

Jen Beer, Head of Segment - Health & Education, Regional & Remote
M +61 475 833 300| E
727 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000



DVA cards New

Ensuring all DVA clients are now using the new-look Veteran Cards avoids confusion between the old and new style of cards, and ensures they can be easily recognised by providers.

The Veteran Cards function the same way as the previous DVA health cards and cardholders’ health entitlements remain the same. Health providers can accept the Veteran Cards from DVA clients for their health treatments and services.

If a DVA client has not yet received a Veteran Card they can continue to use their existing DVA health card, which will remain valid until it is replaced. DVA clients can use MyService or contact DVA to arrange a replacement card.

Veteran Card holders may present digital versions of their plastic DVA White or Gold Cards to health providers, which clients can access through the online DVA portal MyService. Providers are able to check the digital card for health conditions covered by DVA for that client.

For further information

Visit DVA website: Veteran Card
Phone DVA: 1800 555 254
Access MyService

Calling for Remote Area Nurses to have their say in a research study about workforce safety

CRANAplus is delighted to be a part of the research team undertaking a review of remote workforce safety, conducted by the Centre for Rural and Remote Health.  We invite you to participate in this survey. The outcomes of this research will contribute to the assessment, advocacy and implementation of effective safety strategies for the remote area workforce into the future. 

All RANs who have worked in a very remote primary health clinic within Australia more recently than January 2019 are invited to participate.
The research title is The Remote Area Safety Project (RASP): A mixed methods study of health workforce safety policies and implementationBy completing the 16-20min survey you can opt to go in the draw to win a $50 grocery voucher (4 to be won). 

Survey link: 

If unsure whether your workplace is in a very remote area (MM7), the Health Workforce Locator can be used to find out: To use it, select Modified Monash Model 2019 in the classification filter, then enter the town/community name into the address bar.

This study has been approved by the James Cook University Human Research Ethics Committee (Application ID: H8255).

If you have any questions about this study, please contact Laura Wright the lead researcher at or (07) 4745 4517.

Sue Crocker
Director, Education Services