NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: New patient assessment for COVID-19 vaccine

feature tile text 'new MBS items for in-depth clinical assessments for patients 50+ years receiving COVID-19 vaccine' - image of torso of GP with pen in hand & hands of patient

New patient assessment for COVID-19

On 18 June 2021, the Australian Government introduced two new MBS items (10660 and 10661) to support general practitioners and other medical practitioners. The two new MBS items provide in-depth clinical assessments of patients aged 50 years and over. This is in regard to the patient’s individual health risks and benefits associated with receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The key information on these new MBS items are as follows:

  • MBS items 10660 and 10661 may only be claimed where a GP or OMP attends to a patient in person for more than 10 minutes.
  • The item must be billed in association with a relevant MBS COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment item.
  • Consistent with the other MBS vaccine suitability assessment items, items 10660 and 10661 must be bulk-billed.

To view a the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Primary Care Update click here.

GP swabbing arm of patient in consult room

Image source: AMA website. Feature tile image from: Medium website.

Pfizer vaccine set to ‘ramp up’

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has also urged people who received their first shot of AstraZeneca to get a second dose, saying “you need to match, not mix” vaccines. The coordinator of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout says supplies are being “carefully managed” ahead of a major ramping up of doses from August.

Premiers have been critical of a shortage of supplies. Lieutenant General John Frewen, who is in charge of logistics for the vaccine rollout and briefed the national cabinet, told reporters the premiers had now been given a detailed breakdown of what supplies they can expect, including dose number forecasts. “We are still in a resource-constrained environment we need to carefully manage,” he said. “But on current forecasts, we are looking forward to ramp up availability of Pfizer through August into September and into October.”

To view the full article click here.

production line of Pfizer vaccine

Image source: Chemist and Druggist website.

Aboriginal community-controlled councils closer

Delegates to the 27th National General Assembly of Local Government have backed moves to give Indigenous Australians a greater say in how they address entrenched disadvantage in their local communities. A motion put forward by East Arnhem Regional Council to support nationally consistent recognition of Aboriginal controlled councils was carried unanimously at yesterday’s session of the NGA. Djuwalpi Marika, the Deputy President of East Arnhem Regional Council, hailed the unanimous support for the motion, saying it aligns with and further strengthens the recognition of Local Government in the Closing the Gap National Partnership Agreement. “Council is the arm of the people of East Arnhem Land,” he said yesterday.

To view the Australian Local Government Association’s media release click here.

blurred image of the back of the heads of attendees of 27th national general assembly of local government Canberra June 2021

The 27th national general assembly of local government has unanimously backed a motion to support nationally consistent recognition of Aboriginal controlled councils. Image source: The Mandarin.

Caregivers of Indigenous cancer survivors

Caregivers of Indigenous cancer survivors provide critical unpaid support to survivors, yet they rarely receive information or training for this role and may themselves benefit from support services. Little is documented about the experiences of caregivers of Indigenous cancer survivors. The aim of a systematic review published in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research and Practice was to identify and aggregate qualitative research describing the experiences of caregivers of Indigenous cancer survivors in Australia, NZ, Canada and the US.

The findings reveal caregivers’ unique experiences of caring for an Indigenous cancer survivor, and identifies several unmet needs which should be appropriately and systematically addressed. Caregivers should be regarded as co-clients with their own needs as well as co-workers with health professionals providing cancer care. Ultimately supporting caregivers will contribute to improving health outcomes for Indigenous cancer survivors.

To view the article in full click here.

7 Aboriginal women sitting on chairs in circle in bush setting

Image source: Cancer Council SA website.

National Sepsis Program – get involved

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Every year at least 18,000 Australian’s are diagnosed with sepsis, with around 5,000 losing their lives.

T for Thomas is a campaign to raise awareness around the sepsis, the signs and symptoms. Thomas “Snelly” Snell was almost 14 when he contracted influenza A while on a rugby trip to Brisbane in 2017, he developed pneumonia and a secondary bacterial infection, which triggered sepsis and septic shock.  Sepsis can be triggered by any infection, but most commonly occurs in response to bacterial infections of the lungs, urinary tract, abdominal organs or skin and soft tissues. To view the T 4 Thomas website click here.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is undertaking a program of work to improve early recognition, treatment, outcomes and post-discharge support for people at risk of or diagnosed with sepsis in Australia. To view the Commission’s first newsletter click here.

If you or someone you know has a lived experience of sepsis, or professional interest in the topic and would like to be more involved in the National Sepsis Program, please email NACCHO Medical Advisor Dr Kate Armstrong here for more information.

image of gloved hand holding petri dish with sepsis infection; text ' #spesis 2 x as many Australian as road accidents' #sepsiskills in dark grey font & other words in hot pink

Image sources: BBC News; and Australian Sepsis Network website.

Call for abstracts – Aboriginal Health Conference

Rural Health West is seeking abstracts for the 2021 Aboriginal Health Conference to be held in Perth from 20–21 November 2021.

The conference will celebrate culture, strengths and successes in Indigenous health – a time to reflect on achievements so far and how we can address the challenges, and provide a space to rejoice and reconnect with colleagues after a challenging year in terms of environmental impacts and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rural Health West is calling for abstracts for interesting and thought-provoking 20-minute oral presentations and E-poster presentations under the following streams:

  • Mental Health
  • Quality improvement – interrogating data for the benefit of Aboriginal people and their communities
  • Environmental Health
  • Chronic Disease with a focus on palliative care, voluntary assisted dying and end of life
  • Early intervention with a focus on child health, chest, ear and skin

While these streams are provided for guidance, abstracts may be applicable across multiple streams. All innovative projects, programs, research and initiatives will be considered. Preference will be given to presentation and poster abstracts that are action-oriented, strengths-based and solution-focused. Submissions from the Aboriginal health workforce, students, researchers and educators are encouraged.

Closing date for abstract submission is Monday 19 July 2021.

If your Abstract Submission is selected you may be eligible for funding towards your conference fee, travel and accommodation through the Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP).

 For more information visit the conference website here.banner text 'Celebrating success - rejoice reconnect reflect - Call for Abstracts closes 19 July 2021 VVISIT TO SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT' image of smiling Aboriginal child hanging on to swing

Ngar-wu Wanyarra Conference – call for abstracts

The 6th Annual Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal method s and models of practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

Submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing are WELCOMED.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete your registration here.

Note: there is a requirement that at least one presenter is of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.

Closing date for abstract submission is Monday 5 August 2021.

Aboriginal dot art painting 'Kidneys of Dungala' by Norman Stewart, 2014, colours light blue, yellow, orange, ochre, white, brown, black

Norman Stewart, ‘Kidneys of Dungala’ 2014, Community / Language Group: Yorta Yorta. Image source: University of Melbourne website.