PHCQI Newsletter Issue #24, December 2023

General News

Bicillin L-A Shortage

There is a current shortage of Bicillin L-A (Pfizer). An alternative product has received emergency (19A) approval from the TGA (Benzylpenicillin benzathine 1.2 million I.U powder and solvent for suspension for injection, Brancaster Pharma, UK and supplied by Orspec Pharma Pty Ltd).

  • It is identical in active ingredient and strength to Pfizer’s Bicillin L-A
  • It is not a pre-filled syringe, but is a powder product which requires reconstitution; guidance information comes with the product
  • It contains Soya Lecithin and so should not be used in patients allergic to peanut or soya
  • It does not require special storage conditions (i.e. does not need to be refrigerated or frozen)
  • While the product is currently not PBS listed (with a cost of $45 per dose), we expect it will be listed early in 2024 (to be confirmed)

The Orspec product can be ordered now through usual pharmacy suppliers. Pharmacy suppliers must order from Orspec directly, rather than through their normal pharmacy wholesaler.

WA Health is currently updating the Syphilis SASAs to allow for the use of the Orspec product.

Standard treatment and administration guidelines are in development and will be shared on the TGA website when available.

Please contact [email protected] and AHCWA PHCQI at [email protected] if you have further questions or require assistance.

WA Notifiable Disease Dashboard

The WA Notifiable Infectious Diseases Dashboard is maintained by the Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Public & Aboriginal Health Division, Department of Health WA. This database contains information on notifiable infectious diseases and related conditions that have been reported to the Department of Health, as mandated by the Public Health Act 2016 and Public Health Regulations 2017. For more information go to: – Notification of infectious diseases and related conditionsGuide to interpreting notifiable infection disease data for WA – The WA Notifiable Infectious Disease Dashboard

2024 WA Rural Health Excellence Awards

Finalists have been announced for the WA Rural Health Excellence Awards, and AHCWA wishes to express congratulations to all nominated individuals!

The quality of work in the Aboriginal Community Controlled space is phenomenal, and we are so pleased to see so many people working within the ACCHS to be nominated for these awards.

To see the full list of nominees head to Rural Health West’s website, or keep an eye out for tickets for the award ceremony on Saturday 16 March 2024.

Sexual Health

Birds and BBVs

Birds and BBVs delivery in Carnarvon Newman and Fitzroy (October/November)

During October/November the Birds and BBVs training was invited to deliver at the Gascoyne Outreach Service (GOS) in Carnarvon, Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) Newman and WA Country Health Services Fitzroy Valley. There was a fabulous diverse mix of attendees across all three deliveries.

10 staff from GOS attended the two-day training delivered in partnership with Hepatitis WA and WAAC, staff included AHPs, Nurses, Outreach Worker and Admin staff. The following week 10 staff from PAMS clinic attended a Four hour workshop on STIs and HIV, staff included, Doctors, Nurses, Outreach workers and Youth Workers from Jigalong Community and Headspace Newman. The third delivery was at Fitzroy Crossing, nine staff attended which included Nurses from Community Health, Health Promotion staff from Nindilingarri and 5 ALOs from community Health.

Feedback received from all three training deliveries was very positive including some anecdotal feedback post training on the positive impact of the training on practice.

Covid 19

RATs, PPE & Antivirals

With Christmas approaching, we are sending a reminder to submit any National Medical Stockpile (NMS) Rapid Antigen Tests, Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 antiviral orders required for the summer holiday period.

Any orders requiring delivery from the NMS prior to the Department of Health and Aged Care’s summer holiday shutdown period (from Friday 22 December 2023 to Tuesday 2 January 2024) must be placed no later than Tuesday 5 December.

You can access free RATs for clinic until the 31 Dec 2023 via the order form. Send the form to either [email protected] or [email protected]

New Omicron XBB.1.5 COVID-19 Vaccines

ATAGI have published recommendations regarding the TGA-approved XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines which can be used for primary and additional COVID-19 vaccine doses. It is expected these will be available from 11 December through CVAS. Advice is summarised below.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia has approved the following XBB 1.5 vaccines for use as primary and additional doses:

  • Pfizer monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine 5 – <12 years formulation (light blue cap)
  • Pfizer monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine ≥12 years formulation (dark grey cap)
  • Moderna monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine, registered for use in people aged 12 years and older.

ATAGI advise that all currently available COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide benefit to eligible people, however the monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred over other vaccines for use in children aged 5 years or older and adults who are currently recommended primary or additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine according to the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

For those who have already received the recommended 2023 dose/s of COVID-19 vaccine, ATAGI is not recommending further doses or re-vaccination with an XBB.1.5 vaccine at this time.

The full ATAGI statement and advice is available here

Digital Health

Editorial Update to Electronic Prescribing Conformance Profiles

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has republished the Electronic Prescribing Conformance Profiles (v2.3 and v3.0.1) into smaller, better targeted profiles, so that software developers can read the profile relevant to their role within electronic prescribing.

The documents are available from the links below:

Electronic Prescribing – Technical Framework Documents v3.3

Electronic Prescribing Home Page

If you would like to discuss electronic prescribing, please contact the ADHA support team at: [email protected] or call 1300 901 001.

Workforce Development

AHCWA & EarTrain Workshops 2024

EarTrain and AHCWA are running a series of 1 Day workshops to provide practical skills in Tympanometry for babies 0-6months, screen otoacoustic emissions and referral pathways for child ear health. This workshop is ideal for those who need an introduction or refresh of ear health practical skills. Workshops will be in: *****SEE PIC AND MAKE TABLE; add link from flyer****

If you have any queries, please visit

Deadly Pharmacists Foundation training course

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and NACCHO have co-designed an interactive online course for Pharmacists which includes seven modules covering topics such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, communication skills including how to use clinical yarning in your practice and conditions of prevalence in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Find more information here