DISCLAIMER: This is accurate at the time of writing, but as events are moving quickly, please check media / Government sources to see if there have been changes.

Dear Employers/ School Principals/ Day Care Managers,

Doctors are unable to provide patients with COVID-19 clearance.

As per government advice and guidelines, resources must be conserved for patients who are both unwell and fit strict testing criteria and this means that testing for COVID-19 outside of the strict medical criterion cannot and should not be done.
This is to preserve precious healthcare resources, such as testing kits, laboratory facilities, protective equipment and health care workers.
At this time, doctors are therefore unable to:
Provide clearance for people who have returned from overseas. These patients need to self-isolate for 14 days. Once 14 days have passed, if the person shows NO symptoms, they are fit to return to work.
Provide clearance for well people who have had contact with unwell people (specifically, if the unwell person has NOT been formally diagnosed with COVID-19). Our advice to everyone is to self-isolate if and when they develop any symptoms of a respiratory tract infection.
Provide testing for patients with MILD illness symptoms, with no COVID-19 close contacts or travel risk factors. These people are to take ‘sick leave’ as usual for a cold or flu, and are able to return to work once their symptoms have fully resolved.

As an Employer/ School, you can do your part to help during this difficult time by:
Enabling employees/ students to self-isolate for 14 days if they meet the current government criteria (the most up to date criteria will be found on your local state government website)
Enable any and/or all employees to work from home
Allow employees/students who develop viral illness symptoms to take sick leave as required, without requiring a medical review or clearance from already overstretched clinics
Make changes to how your business operates to be flexible for those staff who are high risk, such as immunosuppressed, to decrease their risk of exposure.
Access all staff to adequate hand washing facilities including alcohol hand gels
Educate all employees about the need to uphold the following social distancing recommendations
Maintain safe distances between employees in the office and during face to face meetings – 1.5m between each person
Wash hands regularly between all contacts with surfaces
Avoid touching the face (except after hand washing)
Cover mouth and nose if you sneeze and cough using the elbow rather than the hand
Wipe down all hard surfaces in the workplace with detergent and water at least every 24 hours

We would implore and recommend that you consider the need for requesting Medical Clearance/ Certificates during this time as it leads to well people presenting to GP Practices and stretching our essential health care service.

Other measures that you can assist as per Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC):

  • Limit all organised outdoor gatherings to fewer than 500 people
  • Limit all organised indoor gatherings to fewer than 100 people
  • Limiting non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforce
  • Discourage any non essential domestic travel
  • Encouraging all Australians to exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures
  • Initiating measures to protect vulnerable populations.

For up to date information visit https://www.health.gov.au/

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Dear valued patients,

Moving forward, we will be conducting phone consultations rather than face-to-face consultations as the first point of contact whenever possible.

Medicare rules have changed, so many calls may be Bulk Billed, but unfortunately some calls may still incur a private fee.

We have to take this step to minimise the risk of infection to our staff and also to encourage people to remain at home and reduce their exposure to the virus.

Services such as the provision of referrals, certificates and prescriptions can be conducted over the phone and will be sent by unencrypted email or faxed as required.

By proceeding to book a telephone consultation you are agreeing to:

  • your information being sent by email as not all providers have fax or encrypted email
  • assigning your Medicare rebate (where available) to the doctor to claim directly from Medicare (Bulk Billing)

In order to keep our practice free from infection we will be keeping our doors locked.
For non-infectious patients, they will be allowed to enter via the usual main doors.
We ask that you be mindful of social distancing and remain 1.5m - 2m away from others.

After the telephone call if it is agreed that you should attend the clinic for an examination, we kindly ask:
-You come to your appointment alone unless you need someone to help you mobilise
-You do not bring any children who are not being examined by the doctor
-You do not bring other family members who are not being examined by the doctor
-We ask that patients drive to the practice but remain in your car in the street until the doctor is ready to see examine them.
-We may ask some patients to drive into the ambulance bay or rear carpark - where the doctor will examine the patient in their car.
-We may ask some patients to  follow the  dots down the drive to be seen in the tent  under the  rear of the building. The dots are 2 metres apart so stay on these to maintain social distancing if there is a queue.

On occasion you may be directed to a fever clinic, pathology collection centre or respiratory clinic.

We aim to continue to provide our usual services such as vaccinations programs including Influenza vaccinations and childhood immunisations.

The reason we that we have had to make the difficult decision to change the way we operate is to protect our patients and staff during the Coronavirus Pandemic, and deliver family medical care in a safe and equitable way for all patients

We ask all patients  to follow the above process as a big concern is that one of our staff becomes infected with Coronavirus and we are forced to close.  This will have an immense impact on our ability to provide adequate care to our patients; particularly those with compromised health and the elderly.

We have seen around the Globe that the Coronavirus is not always easy to detect with symptoms ranging from a very mild cold to severe respiratory illness.  Currently, due to restricted numbers of test kits, only patients that meet a strict criteria can be offered Covid-19 testing – please see the QLD health Coronavirus quiz to see if you meet that criteria:

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/novel-coronavirus-quiz

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time and hope to provide you with the same high level of care that you have come to know from our practice.