North East Valley DGP eNews

No 1233: September 12, 2012
eNews is a weekly electronic newsletter sent to all GP practices (with email addresses) within the NEV catchment. The aim is to provide up to date information relevant to GPs and to disseminate the latest activities and resources from the division. All feedback and enquiries welcome and should be addressed to Patty Marshall. You can also visit our website at:
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In this issue:

Editorial                                                NEVDGP audit findings on GP prescribing   

Australian Doctor Articles                  Using LetterWriter templates

Chronic Disease Management            Changes to the Life! Program         

Professional Development                 CPD events   

Information Management                  Medical Director Tips

Items of interest                                  Inpatient Wait Times, GP Network News    

News for Practice Staff                       Annual APNA salary and Conditions survey, Nursing in General Practice Orientation Program, APNA newsletter      

Positions vacant/wanted                            

Fun stuff                                                        


A Word from the Editor

NEVDGP audit findings on GP prescribing

In conducting our audits on the prescribing habits of GPs we followed the RACGP General Practice Fact Sheet for medicines which are the recommended RACGP Standards for general practices (4th edition), criterion 1.7.2: health summaries.

This includes:

·         all medicines (e.g. over the counter; complementary therapies; topical therapies) should be captured

·         diagnosis/problem as to why medicine prescribed (coded)

Our findings:

1.      Patient medication lists were generally very well recorded, including OTC, samples and items prescribed elsewhere

2.      Very few doctors had “Reason for Prescription” for all prescribed medications, many having significant gaps in recording “Reason for prescription” and in many cases “Reason for Prescription” was not used at all.

3.      Some GPs were over using free text rather than using coded items

4.      Some medication lists displayed medications that were either overdue or needed to be deleted.

Our recommendations:

1.      It is suggested that all GPs familiarise themselves with the RACGP recommendations for the recording of medicines - Full RACGP Fact Sheet  for the recording of medicines

2.      A team meeting should discuss the pros and cons of recording “Reason for medication”, and in particular, using coded items

3.      Practices may wish to consider enforcing “reason for prescription”.. This can be quite unpopular amongst some GPs but turning on this Option is quite simple in MD - Tools >Options >Prescribing – tick in “Reason for Medication” box.


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Australian Doctor Articles

Using LetterWriter templates

On the 20th July, 2007 I wrote an article on using templates. The two key messages were:

1.      It is easier to modify an existing template rather than create one from scratch

2.      When downloading a template from the internet (such as a division or Medicare Local website), follow the download instructions to the letter!

This advice is still the same today, especially for reading download instructions. Not a week goes by where I don’t receive a call from someone in Australia saying “I have downloaded the template and it does not work!” In just about every case it is because the person opened the template in Word and saved it in Word before importing into the clinical software. This invariably causes the template to lose its fields or to put it bluntly, it does not work. All this because the download instructions were not followed to the letter!

Another reason for the failure of templates to work is where some well-meaning person downloads a template (maybe correctly, but often not) and then proceeds to edit it and save it in Word. Once again this will not work as all the fields are lost once you use anything other than LetterWriter to work on a template.

For the full article which also includes download instructions (as does the NEVDGP website) click here.


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Chronic Disease Management

The following changes have been made to the Life! Program:

First visits - First visits will no longer occur after 30th September, 2012. These will be replaced with the one-on-one introductory session.

New Program Structure: The current 6 session fortnightly group sessions will be replaced by a ‘1+5’ model where the participants will have a one-on-one face to face introductory session then five fortnightly group sessions.

Eligibility Criteria: The age criteria has changed from 50 years to 45 years. Anyone 45 years and over are eligible for the program; Workhealth participants can be 16 years and over (previously 18-39 years)

Program content changes: Information on cardiovascular disease, blood pressure and sodium now included; Increased focus on the role of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats; Recognition of the detrimental effects of sedentary behaviour.

For further information contact Northern Division on 9416 7689


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Continuing Professional Development


ThinkGP, in collaboration with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, have produced education on the diagnosis and management of the common genetic condition hereditary haemochromatosis. Listen to Professor John Olynx answer all your questions.

Click on to start this free education.


General Practitioner Pharmacotherapy Training Program for Opioid Dependence

Sunday 11 November 8.45am – 4.30pm at General Practice Victoria, 458 Swanston St, Carlton

This session is designed to for those who: Would like to improve their knowledge and skills in managing problematic pharmaceutical opioid use; and are interested in prescribing pharmacotherapies for opioid dependence within the Victorian regulatory framework.

This activity attracts ACRRM and 40 Category 1 RACGP QI & CPD Points. Please note that General Practitioners will be given first priority as numbers are limited

For flyer and registration visit GPV website.


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Information Management

Medical Director Tip - Tiling windows to see investigation results and Progress Notes

(This hint from Dr Peter Eizenberg, Doctors of Ivanhoe)

Sometimes you wish to view a patient’s results and take notes into the Progress Notes at the same time.

1.      Open the patient record, click on Results and open a result

2.      From the Window menu of the Result screen select Tile – this place the two windows (Patient clinical screen and Patient results screen) side by side.

3.      Open the Progress Notes from the patient clinical screen and add notes while viewing the results screen

Note: Unfortunately there is no Copy and Paste function between the 2 screens.


This week’s IM problem - Template not working

Question: I have downloaded a template from the NEVDGP website and it does not work!

Answer: Do you realise how many times I have been asked this question? The simple answer is you did not read or follow the download instructions and you have used Word to open, modify and save the template. I could tell you how to do it correctly here, but I suggest you go to the NEVDGP website and print the instructions and do not attempt a download without the instructions beside you! And please read them.


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Items of Interest

Inpatient Wait Times

As at Wednesday 12/09/2012 - Current inpatient waiting times for Northern Health Continuing Care Inpatient Services are Rehab - 23 days and Gem - 61 days

For further information/ assistance please contact: The ACCESS office on 9495 3443.


GP Network News

This week’s edition includes: Practice Nurse Pay Claim; AMA Guide to using the PCEHR; Closure of the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme; GP Management of Depression Enhanced Through the Better Access Program; RVTS Applications Close 14 September.


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News for Practice Staff

Annual APNA salary and Conditions survey

The survey will be open from Monday 10 September to midnight Sunday 7 October, and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Click here.

All nurses who take part in the survey will go into the draw to win a free registration to the APNA National Conference to be held in Melbourne from 2 to 4 May 2013.

Nursing in General Practice Orientation Program

Please find attached a link to the flyer for Nursing in General Practice Orientation Program to be held on 11 & 12 October. This is aimed at nurses who are new to General Practice (usually less than 12mths) although other practice nurses are welcome to attend. Any queries please contact Eliza Sanneman


APNA newsletter

Click here for the latest APNA newsletter.


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Positions vacant/wanted

Please note: only new ads or resubmitted ads will be posted here. All other ads can be found on the website


Positions vacant


Northcote – F/T P/T VR GP or Subsequent Trainee GP position. Fully accredited, computerised, long established doctor owned practice in a new purpose built facility with a fabulous work environment. Ancillary Health, Pharmacy and Pathology services on site. Inquiries Diane Cronin (Practice Manager) 9481 1214. Visit our website


Practice Staff

Banyule Community Health - An experienced Division 1 Practice Nurse is sought to work in a friendly and supportive team environment in a computerized and fully accredited bulk billing practice in the Heidelberg area.  Mon - Fri 9-5. Enquiries may be directed to Meni Stefanovski on 9450 2013.

See here for job description. Online applications are preferred. Applications close on Sunday 16th September 2012.


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I went to a bookstore and asked the salesgirl, “Where’s the self-help section?” 

She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.


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And remember


            Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.