Stay updated with the latest information
Every winter there is a rise in demand for health services, and given the current pandemic this is further compounded. The Department of Health noted that reduced circulation of influenza virus and lower levels of influenza vaccine coverage compared with previous years may have resulted in low levels of community immunity. This, coupled with international borders reopening leads to increased influenza cases and transmission this season.
View a statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) on winter season preparedness here. Practices can stay updated with the latest influenza and COVID-19 immunisation information below:
Latest vaccination updates
On 7 July the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) expanded recommendations for a winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine to help reduce severe disease and burden on the healthcare system.
Find useful tools and resources to help your practice prepare
The best time for Influenza vaccinations is mid-April through May. The vaccine provides optimal coverage for approximately five months, which should get most of your patients through the flu season.
We know there are people in the community who are particularly vulnerable to influenza and COVID-19, and page 10 of the NSW Health Influenza Vaccination Provider Toolkit provides detail on patients to target for funded vaccines. If you need help identifying these at risk populations at your practice, refer to COORDINARE’s Winter Strategy clinical data auditing activities using CAT4.
Other vulnerable groups may also be considered 'at-risk' for developing influenza and can be identified by using the CAT4 tool. Below are some aides for these patients.
Refugee and migrant populations
- llawarra Shoalhaven HealthPathways Refugee Health
- ACT & SNSW HealthPathways Refugee Health
- Translating and Interpreting Service
- Model of care for refugees
Family and domestic violence
- Illawarra Shoalhaven HealthPathways Domestic Family Violence
- ACT & SNSW HealthPathways Assault or Abuse
- Domestic violence help
At risk or socially disengaged adolescents
- Illawarra Shoalhaven HealthPathways Child or Young Person at Risk
- ACT & SNSW HealthPathways Child or Young Person at Risk
Patients with dementia
- Illawarra Shoalhaven HealthPathways Older Persons' Health
- ACT & SNSW HealthPathways Older Adults' Health
This toolkit aims to help practices identify and implement processes to support those vulnerable groups most at risk of becoming unstable, very unwell or admitted to hospital during the flu season:
This toolkit aims to help practices review their systems to ensure infection control and safe work environments are maintained during the pandemic:
This clinical data auditing excerpt is part of the SPDS program and can be used to identify vulnerable patient cohorts for follow-up by clinicians:
This model of care incorporates different elements of the 2019 Winter Strategy projects that can be adapted to fit your practice patient population and interests:
These quality improvement recipes provide simple ideas that practices can implement:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander QI recipe
- patients with cardiac conditions QI recipe
- patients with diabetes QI recipe
- patients with multiple chronic conditions QI recipe
- patients on multiple medications QI recipe
- patients with asthma QI recipe
- patients with COPD QI recipe.
These case studies, model of care documents and video resources from the Patient Centred Medical Home (PCMH) initiatives can be adapted to develop your own workflows in practice:
As all practices have had to adapt rapidly to the increase in demand from patients for support with COVID-19, it’s great when we can share experiences between local practices that may assist others.
A number of practices have agreed to share some of their current workflows to support others also experiencing similar challenges:
When was the last time your practice reviewed its triage protocols? With a spike in COVID-19 and influenza cases, now may be the time!
The RACGP Standards for general practices has useful information to guide you whilst undertaking a review, or creating of a set of triage protocols if your practice doesn’t already have one.
This flu season there will be another set of immunisations being stored in your practice vaccine fridge. Maintenance of the cold chain, to successfully preserve those vaccines, is vital.
Education in cold chain management for any staff who may not have received their training yet (or those staff members who would like a refresher) can be found here, and don’t forget to keep a register of who completed the training and when for accreditation and QI purposes!