Coronavirus

Last updated 9:00 am, 25 November 2020

Contents

Current situation

Snapshot

NSW coronavirus information: NSW Health webpage

NSW Testing criteria: Testing Advice

AHPPC: Latest Statements

MBS Online: Latest item number updates and information

News

Now available: Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Cervical screening dropped during COVID-19. GP and Gamilaroi woman Dr Annalyse Crane says it is time to come back and get tested. Cervical screening is even safe during pregnancy 

Domestic Violence has reached a crisis point during COVID-19. In response, actor Luke Carroll and several other well-known Sydney men have lent their voices to new video campaign,We're Better Than That,” aiming to target domestic violence

COVID-19 Testing Clinics can change location or hours - see here for updated list of clinics 

NSW Dept Health and LHD advice to GPs who work or reside in Lakemba (updated Nov 13)  ALSO, video statements in Arabic here and in English here encouraging testing to share on your social media/websites

Aged Care Information

Home care services letter from Dr Jeremy McAnulty (updated 12 November)

Residential Aged Care Facility letter from Dr Jeremy McAnulty (updated 12 November)

Resources (updated 23 November) from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission for Aged Care Provider

Healthdirect Video Call Service Pilot Programwas extended until 30 June 2021See here for more information. 

Useful Contacts

  • Healthdirect Coronavirus 24/7 Help Line (coronavirus only) 1800 020 080 
  • Healthdirect 24/7 Help Line (general health issues) 1800 022 222
  • Link to your local Public Health Unit 1300 066 055
  • Language translator needed? 131450

Upcoming Sydney webinars/meetings 

General Practice Triage during COVID-19
Join us for this live webinar on General Practice Triage during COVID19 
Presented by Medics for life - Understand the risks and limitations associated with telehealth.
3 December, 2020 - 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm Register Now

RACGP NSW&ACT representatives and NSW Health Public Health leaders.
Update webinar with the most recent information on the constantly changing Coronavirus situation.
7 December, 2020 - 7.00 pm - 8.00 pm Register Now

See here for our CPD calendar

See here for upcoming external events

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Masks

Quick Information on Masks/PPE

PPE Strategy: Latest update from NSW Government
NSW CHO Dr Kerry Chant recommends masks
To request surgical and P2/N95 masks please use this form. To check if you are in the CESPHN area, refer to this PHN locator link

  • Surgical masks have been supplied in limited numbers to PHNs for general practice, community pharmacies, GP respiratory clinics, after hours GP home visiting services, medical deputising services and allied health professionals working in higher risk clinical areas who are exposed to at risk customers.
  • We have a small supply of P2/N95 respirators for those assessing and collecting specimens from patients with suspected COVID-19.
  • The Department of Health has advised that stocks from the National Medical Stockpile are limited and masks should only be used in accordance with the guidance provided by The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
  • CESPHN is only authorised to provide masks to general practices, community pharmacies, GP respiratory clinics, after hours GP home visiting services, medical deputising services and allied health professionals working in higher risk clinical areas. For further information see this fact sheet.

Allied health professionals are now eligible for limited access to the supply for the use of their staff when there is no available commercial supply and they are working in higher-risk clinical areas, and with higher risk vulnerable patients. Given the diverse nature of the allied health sector, when determining whether allocation of masks is appropriate, PHNs have been asked to consider:

  • The likelihood of the worker having direct or close contact with high-risk patients who are presenting with fever and/or respiratory symptoms.
  • The extent to which the allied health professional can manipulate their environment or practice method to reduce the chance of transmission.
  • The relative vulnerability of the patients that the allied health professionals are treating.
  • There remains an assumption that allied health professions will, where possible, not see patients with respiratory symptoms or at a higher risk of COVID-19 unless required to as part of their core business.
  • Other Health Care Providers including community service organisations requesting masks can email the National Incident Room: health.ops@health.gov.au. These requests must state your organisation's need for masks.

Advice from the Department of Health regarding masks for other key groups 

Aged Care

If Commonwealth funded aged care providers are experiencing shortages and are unable to obtain masks, you may request supply from the Stockpile by emailing AgedCareCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au.

NDIS and disability providers

If NDIS and disability support providers are experiencing shortages and are unable to obtain masks from any other source, the National Medical Stockpile may be able to provide a small supply to supplement existing supplies.

After disability support providers have explored alternative supply options, they can submit a request for supply from the National Medical Stockpile by emailing NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au.

Non hospital-based specialists

High priority consideration will be given to providing masks to support necessary and urgent interventions for community/non hospital-based specialists whose assessments of, and interventions with, patients require close contact with patients, and particularly where aerosol generating procedures are involved. Masks are not routinely being made available to this group at this time

All other groups

People in other groups should continue to follow other infection prevention and control protocols, including social distancing, respiratory hygiene, frequent handwashing and regular cleaning of surfaces, including between patients if they are working in a health or other care field.

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COVID-19 Testing

PPE Strategy: Latest update from NSW Government 

Information on testing at a glance: FAQ on COVID-19 testing

Location and hours: Pathology testing (including self testing)

Location and hours GP Respiratory clinics

Location and hours: COVID-19 clinics (public)

  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's announcement from 24 April still relevant on widespread COVID-19 testing in NSW: "If you have symptoms, if you're worried you have COVID-19 or if you've been in contact with someone who may have it, please come forward and get tested"
  • Latest NSW Health: Testing beyond the suspect case definition may, based on the clinical and public health judgement of the treating clinician, include individuals with sudden and unexplained onset of one or more of the following symptoms. Loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite. See CDNA national guidelines testing criteria here
  • Arrange Telehealth assessment of patients with respiratory symptoms if they meet the Suspect Case Definition. Arrange further assessment and testing, either at your practice (noting the infection control requirements and you will need to organise specimen collection) a pathology collection centre, coronavirus clinic, respiratory clinic or refer to your local emergency department
  • If you are notified of a positive COVID-19 test result, need advice, or have concerns about the ability of a patient to self-isolate, e.g. if they live in a residential facility, contact the Public Health Unit
  • In NSW calling 1300 066 055 will direct to your local Public Health Unit
  • South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit - 9382 8333 After hours emergency - 9382 2222, ask for Public Health Officer on call
  • Sydney Public Health Unit - 9515 9420 After hours emergency - 9515 6111, ask for Public Health Officer on call

 

eOrdering pathology remotely

GPs are strongly encouraged to refer low risk patients with acute respiratory symptoms to a private pathology collection centre in the first instance.  These centres have good capacity and in most cases you will receive your patient’s test results back within 24 hours.

Use your usual forms, or use this chart to remotely eOrder private pathology for your patients. This could be through your clinical information system or logging in directly with the private pathology provider.  Remote ordering is ideal for telehealth consultations.

Only refer low-risk patients to private pathology collection centres.

  • Patients with moderate acute respiratory symptoms requiring an examination including fever, sore throat, cough, tiredness and shortness of breath can be referred to a GP Respiratory Clinic.
  • Unwell patients who may require hospital admission should be referred to a local emergency department immediately.

Please ask patients to wear a surgical mask whenever possible when going for a COVID-19 test. 

COVID-19 pathology collection centres (GP referrals needed)

Self Testing for COVID-19:

Histopath delivers a test kit to your patient's home, the patient self collects throat and nasal swabs, and the courier returns the specimen to the Histopath lab. Most people can self collect, the only two contraindications are:

- A patient who would be unable to take a good quality swab by themself, or
- A patient who requires a COVID-19 clearance test for employment or for other medicolegal reasons

Referrals are made by fax to 9878 8300 or by email to covid@histopath.com.au
For more information and to download a referral form go to: http://www.histopath.com.au

 Eastern Sydney

  • Chifley Histopath 'Drive-through'
    Chifley Sports Reserve
    800-899R Bunnerong Road,
    Chifley https://www.histopath.com.au/
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday - Friday (No booking required)
  • City Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology
    Hudson House, 131 Macquarie Street, Sydney 
    Ph: 9111 3405, 1800 026 622
    7.45 am - 3.00 pm Monday - Friday
  • Mascot Laverty Pathology 'Drive-through'
    135 Baxter Rd, Mascot
    8.00 am – 4.00 pm Monday - Friday
  • Randwick Laverty Pathology
    Ground Floor, 164 Belmore Rd Randwick
    Ph: 9314 6571 Fax: 9314 6571
    7.30 am - 4.00 pm Monday - Friday (Closed Public Holidays) No request form required

Inner West Sydney

  • Campsie Australian Clinical Labs
    Suite 101, 1st Floor, 308-312 Beamish St, Campsie 
    Ph: 02 9789 6220 Fax: 9787 1082 
    8.00 am - 1.00 pm
     Monday - Friday (patient must wear mask and have referral from GP)
  • Earlwood Laverty Pathology
    293 Homer Street, Earlwood 
    Ph: 
    9558 1568 Fax: 9559 4287 website
    1.00 pm - 4.00 pm Monday - Friday (Closed Public Holidays) No request form required
  • Five Dock 4Cyte Pathology 'Drive-through'
    155-157 Parramatta Road, Five Dock
    Drive into side carpark and do not get out of your vehicle at any time.
    No booking required. For further information, please refer to 4Cyte Pathology
    8.30 am - 5.00 pm, Monday - Friday, 10.00 am - 2.30 pm weekends
  • Marrickville Medlab Pathology
    322 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville
    Ph: 02 8095 8990
    8.00 am - 1.00 pm Monday - Friday 
    Sat 8.00 am - 12.00 pm
  • Roselands Laverty Pathology 'Drive-through' 
    Roselands Shopping Centre, 1 Roselands Drive, Roselands NSW
    (Red Level external Carpark, COVID-19 Testing)
    8.30 am - 4.00 pm daily (Closed Public Holidays) No request form required
    Information here Ph: 90057000
  • Stanmore 4Cyte Pathology 'Drive-through'
    Side Carpark, Cyprus Community Club of NSW,
    58/76 Stanmore Rd, Stanmore
    Patient or Doctor to email Request Form to covid19@4Cyte.com.au OR telephone on 0435 085 052
    Each patient MUST have a pathology Request Form from their doctor
    See website for details: Stanmore COVID-19 testing
    8.00 am - 5.00 pm, Monday - Friday
    11.00 am - 2.00 pm Saturdays and Sundays 

South Eastern Sydney

  • Hurstville 4Cyte Pathology 'Drive-through'
    Entry via Butler lane (rear of 8 Ormonde pde, Hurstville)
    See Instructions here
    Bring this attached request form
    Patient or Doctor to email Request Form to covid19@4Cyte.com.au
    Phone: 0434990083
    9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday - Friday
    11.00 am - 2.00 pm Saturdays and Sundays
  • Jannali Laverty Pathology 'Drive-through'
    2 Roberts Street, Jannali, NSW (Entry via Box Road)
    8.00 am - 2.00 pm Monday - Friday (Closed Public Holidays) No request form required
    See instructions here for more information
  • Kyeemagh (a.k.a. the Brighton Le Sands) 'Drive-through' 
    ‘Fishos’ Club car park at Muddy Creek,
    100 Bestic Street,
    Kyeemagh
    operated by Histopath Diagnostic Specialists, no referral or appointment is necessary.
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday - Friday
  • Miranda Laverty Pathology
    125 Kareena Road, Miranda
    Ph: 0401 673 829 Fax: 8544 3771
    8.00 am - 3.00 pm Monday - Friday
    8.00 am - 12.00 pm Saturdays
  • Oatley Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology
    111 Mulga Road Oatley
    Ph: 8650 1370 Fax: 9586 2420
    8.00 am - 4.00 pm Monday - Friday (appointment only)
  • Riverwood Park Medlab 'Drive-through' COVID-19 clinic
    Public Amenities store room at Riverwood Park
    8.30 am - 4.30 pm, Monday - Friday
    Will continue operating until 5 January 2021
  • Sylvania 4Cyte Pathology 'Drive-through'
    Doltone House,
    223 Belgrave Esplanade
    Sylvania
    9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday - Friday No appointment and no referral needed (All ages including infants)
    See here for important instructions

Testing centres in other regions can be found Here

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GP Respiratory Clinics 

GP Respiratory clinics will assess people with mild to moderate respiratory symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough, tiredness and shortness of breath. Regardless of whether COVID-19 testing is indicated, or a specimen is taken, the patient will receive clinical guidance about managing their respiratory symptoms. Patients attending clinics must make an appointment. 

Locations of Respiratory Clinics
  • Belmore Medical Respiratory Clinic
    481 Burwood Rd, Belmore
    9.30 am – 4.00 pm  Monday to Friday

    9.30 am – 1.00 pm Saturdays 
    Booking essential for all evening appointments website for Belmore Medical
    Phone: 97403211

  • Inner West GP Respiratory Clinic
    21a Elliott Street, Balmain
    8.30 am – 6.00 pm Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 1.00 pm Saturday
    Appointments can be made via this link 
    Explanatory video here - GPs wishing to contact this clinic, please call 9555 5035 (only GPs)

  • Bondi Junction GP Respiratory Clinic
    47 Spring St, Bondi Junction 
    9.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday to Friday 
    Appointments can be made via this this link or by calling 9194 2788
  • Lakemba GP Respiratory Clinic
    96 Haldon St Lakemba (access from Oneata lane)
    8.30 am - 6.00 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am - 5.00 pm weekends
    Appointments should be made via this link or by calling 9758 9848
    Information poster (note, hours have change for October) AND See magazine article featuring this clinic (page 6 and 7)
  • Kirketon Road Centre 'pop-up' The mobile respiratory clinic, operated by the Kirketon Road Centre, is a mobile, walk-in primary health care assessment and testing service for socially housed, homeless and/or disadvantaged people who are experiencing respiratory symptoms. See magazine article featuring this clinic (page 6 and 7)Children under 5 years old should attend Prince of Wales Hospital Clinic (if attending with parent being tested), or Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick for testing.The clinic will rotate between pop-up locations in South Eastern Sydney including: 

    • Walla Mulla Park, corner Forbes and Cathedral streets, Woolloomooloo: (Tuesdays 7.45 pm - 9.15 pm, Fridays 3.00 pm - 4.30 pm, Saturdays 2.30 pm - 4.00 pm)  
    • Eddie Ward Park, Northcott Estate, Belvoir St, Surry Hills: (Tuesdays 4.00 pm - 5.45 pm, Wednesdays 12.00 pm - 4.30 pm, Fridays 12.00 pm - 2.30 pm, Saturdays 11.30 am - 1.30 pm) 
    • Martin Place, Phillip Street: (Wednesdays and Fridays 6.00 pm - 7.30 pm) 
    • Elphinstone Reserve, South Coogee: (Mondays, 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm)
    • Outside The Hub at Lexington Place, South Maroubra: (Mondays, 9.15 am - 10.30 am, Thursdays, 9.15 am - 12.30 pm)
    • Namatjira Place, Chifley: (Mondays, 11.30 am - 12.30 pm)
    • Outside Kooloora Community Centre, Bilga Crescent, Malabar: (Thursdays, 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm)
    • Poets Corner, Redfern: (Tuesdays 2.00 pm - 3.30 pm, Saturdays 9.00 am - 11.00 am)
    • Wentworth Park under the arches, near Wattle St: (Tuesdays and Fridays, 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm)

    Flu vaccinations also available

    All centres are wheelchair accessible and testing is FREE. No need for referrals or appointments. Call 0429 802 381 or KRC on 9360 2766 for information - Further details on KRC testing times here

  • Double Bay Doctors 'Drive-through' 
    Jamberoo Lane (off William Street)
    9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday and Tuesday 
    9.00 am - 1.00 pm Wednesday to Friday AND Sundays 
    11.30 am - 2.00 pm Saturday 
    Ph: 93283100 online bookings here
    Appointment only. There is a $45 gap fee for this service (pensioners are bulk-billed). This service is for anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms or a temperature, regardless of the cause. There is a three-step process. 1. telehealth screening 2. Drive-thru 3. Results facebook page here
  • GPMaroubra 'Drive-through' 
    14 Meagher Ave Maroubra
    Appointment only and there is approx. a $52 gap payment (pensioners and concession card holders are bulk billed).
    The process is as follows:
    1. A telehealth screening consult is required prior to the test – Ph: 9311 9311 or online bookings here
    2. Drive-through test which is available from 1.00 pm - 1.45 pm Monday - Thursday
    3. Results provided over the phone the next day
  • Miranda Medical Centre 'Drive-through'
    573 Kingsway
    Miranda.NSW. 2228
    enter Covid testing marquee from Penprase Lane
    Ph: 95401044 for an appointment
    8.00 am – 4.00 pm Monday - Friday, 8.00 am – 1.00 pm weekends
  • Helensburgh Respiratory Clinic
    129 Parkes Street,
    Helensburgh, NSW 2508
    Ph: 4294 1400 www.PSGP.com.au
    8.30 am - 12.30 pm Monday - Friday
  • Ryde GP Respiratory Clinic 
    11-17 Khartoum Road, Macquarie Park (Back car-park to Wise Clinic) 
    8.00 am - 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm daily
    Ph: 9216 7676
    Appointments can be made via this this link 
    The booking process can be found here - this can be printed off and provided to patients to help with appointments. Click link for map

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COVID-19 Testing Clinics (public)

Both children and adults require the same testing (although non-emergency children can preferably be taken to the Sydney Children's Hospital or Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for testing)

  • Caringbah COVID-19 Testing Centre (Caringbah Testing Clinic is now closed on weekends
    348R The Kingsway, Caringbah (located next to the pedestrian access linking the Kingsway to the supermarket)
    The clinic is free and no referral or appointment required
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday - Friday
    Closed on public holidays
    Restricted to ages 5 and older. Children <5yrs can attend Sutherland Hospital.
  • Canterbury Hospital
    575 Canterbury Rd, Campsie
    Outpatient department
    access via the main entrance
    10.00 am - 8.00 pm daily Canterbury Hospital website
  • Central Railway Station
    Shop 8, 1 Eddy Avenue, Haymarket, NSW, 2000
    8.30 am - 4.00 pm, Monday - Friday
  • Concord Hospital
    Hospital Rd, Concord West
    Across road from ED in Sports Institute Building
    8.00 am - 10.00 pm daily
  • Homebush testing clinic 'Drive-through' 
    opposite DFO, Bressington Park
    Underwood Rd, Homebush
    8.30 am – 4.00 pm daily
  • Hurstville Community Centre
    34 Woniora Road Hurstville
    No referral or appointment required
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm Monday - Friday
    Closed on public holidays
    Restricted to ages 5 and older. Children <5yrs can attend St George Hospital.
    Phone 9113 2150  (website link with translated information included)
  • Prince of Wales Hospital
    Access via Building 14B Avoca St, Randwick
    No age restrictions for children although children will only be tested if they are with a parent that also requires testing. Generally, children and definitely toddlers, are referred to the Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick
    9.00 am - 7.00 pm daily 
  • Redfern Health Centre
    103 – 105 Redfern St
    8.30 am – 4.00 pm Monday to Friday

  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
    Building 25 at the end of Salisbury Rd, Off
    Missenden Rd, Camperdown Follow signs from the main hospital
    Behind the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
    8.00 am - 10.00 pm daily
  • Rozelle 'Drive-through'
    University of Tasmania car park (Rozelle Campus)
    Corner of Church and Glover streets
    (Access via Wharf Rd and then Church St)
    Rozelle
    8.30 am - 4.00 pm daily
    No referral needed/ No appointment needed
  • St George Hospital
    Gray Street Kogarah
    Test children ≥12 months old. Children <12 months old are referred to the St George Hospital Emergency Department to be tested there. All patients should continue to go to the ED after hours for COVID-19 screening.
    8.00 am - 6.00 pm daily
  • St Vincent’s Hospital (East Sydney Community and Arts Centre)
    34 Burton St, Darlinghurst (enter from Palmer St entrance)
    Children must be ≥16 years old. Otherwise they should attend Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick for testing
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm daily
  • St Vincents Bondi Beach 'pop-up' clinic, Bondi Pavilion
    Children must be ≥5 years old. Children under 5 years old should attend Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick for testing
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm daily
  • St Vincent's Bondi Beach car park clinic 'Drive-through' 
    Park Drive North, Bondi Beach car park.
    Children must be ≥5 years old. Children under 5 years old should attend Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick for testing
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm daily
  • Summer Hill 'Drive-through' 
    7 Prospect Rd, Summer Hill
    Stop at covered area and wait for staff instructions
    8.30 am - 4.00 pm daily
  • Sutherland Hospital testing clinic
    Ground Floor, old Emergency Department, Kareena Road entrance, then follow signs from ED
    No age restrictions for children
    8.00 am - 4.00 pm daily 
  • Sutherland 'Drive-through'
    Sutherland basketball stadium car park at the rear of Sutherland Leisure Centre, opposite Waratah Park (off Old Princes Highway and accessed via the roundabout on Rawson Ave)
    No referral or appointment required
    Children must be ≥5 years old. Children under 5 years old should attend The Sutherland Hospital Emergency Department for testing
    9.00 am - 4.00 pm daily (Closed on public holidays) 
  • Sydney CHILDREN’s Hospital, Hospital Rd, (Off High Street and around the corner from children's emergency) Randwick
    The COVID-19 Assessment Clinic will review Children with mild respiratory symptoms and assess the need for COVID-19 swab.
    The clinic is staffed by Paediatric trained medical and nursing staff
    10.00 am - 8.00 pm daily - No appointment required
  • Sydney Eye Hospital
    8 Macquarie St, Sydney (follow signs)
    Children ≥1 can be tested here. Children less than one should attend Prince of Wales Hospital Clinic (if attending with parent being tested, or Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick for testing
    10.00 am - 6.00 pm Monday to Friday Outside of these hours, you can attend the Emergency Department

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Infection control advice

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Home isolation

  • All people arriving in Australia from any country must isolate for 14 days. This means no activities outside isolation location except for seeking medical care 

  • People who are isolated at home should not go to work, should not go to school, should not use public areas, and they should not use public transportation or taxis. Should a person isolated at home require medical care, wherever possible they should call first.

  • Appropriate contacts are their GP, local emergency department, coronavirus helpline 1800 020 080 or the Healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222

  • Healthcare workers who develop fever and respiratory symptoms must isolate themselves immediately and seek medical attention as soon as possible Download fact sheet here

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Telehealth MBS Items

MBS

Digital Health Administration
SESLHD will cease faxing discharge summaries and inpatient admission and discharge notifications  See Resources for general practice
eOrdering pathology: Use this chart to remotely eOrder pathology for patients
eLectronic prescribing: Latest advice from Digital Health Agency
These general practices are currently able to issue electronic prescriptions (tokens) at their practice: Prescriber Ready
Electronic Prescriptions Toolkit
Available now is a selection of printed materials and digital assets to assist you in promoting your practice as ‘getting ready’ or ‘ready’ for Electronic Prescriptions.
Log in using these details: digitalhealth.immij.com Username: Pharmacy Password: digitalhealth

General Practices

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the extension of a range of COVID-19 health measures for a further six months, to 31 March 2021. Medicare-subsidised Telehealth and pathology services, GP-led Respiratory Clinics, home medicines delivery, public and private hospital services will all be extended, as well as further investments in PPE. This means GP-led respiratory clinics across the country, will continue their pivotal role in testing. People will continue to have access to bulk-billed COVID-19 Tests under Medicare, with aged care residents and staff getting priority access to rapid testing. Eligible people will continue to get free home delivery of essential medicines by their local pharmacist. Further details here

Medicare subsided telehealth has been extended for a further six months, to 31 March 2021 for GPs, medical practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners in the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

It is a legislative requirement that GPs and Other Medical Practitioners (OMPs) working in general practice can only perform a telehealth or telephone service where they have an established clinical relationship with the patient.

Exemptions to this requirement: does not apply to people who are homeless; patients receiving an urgent after-hours (unsociable hours) service; children under the age of 12 months; patients of medical practitioners at an Aboriginal Medical Service or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service; and people living in a COVID-19 impacted area*.

*A COVID-19 impacted area is one where a person’s movement is restricted by a state or territory public health requirement that applies to the person’s location. This includes patients subject to quarantine, and other restrictions intended to support infection control.

The temporary GP and OMP bulk billing incentive items for patients who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and the temporary doubling of all Medicare bulk-billing incentive fees ceases as of 1 October 2020.

From 1 October 2020, GPs will be able to choose to bulk-bill or patient bill any temporary COVID-19 telehealth and phone attendance service. Bulk billing will continue to be available and regular billing practices will apply to all of these services

Bulk billing is at the discretion of all providers, so long as informed financial consent is obtained prior to the provision of the service.

Bulk billed GP and OMP services provided using the MBS telehealth items are eligible for MBS incentive payments when provided to Commonwealth concession card holders and children under 16 years of age.

Recording from October 2020 webinar on differential pricing in telehealth is now available: Watch recording here 

For all the fact sheets please click here.

e-Prescribing Medication - Latest advice from Digital Health Agency: electronic prescribing (21 August)

 Frequently Asked Questions   

Mental Health Services

  • From 13 March, 2020 Medicare-subsidised Telehealth services has be expanded for all Australians
  • MBS Item numbers updated 9 October, 2020: HERE
  • COVID-19 Temporary MBS Telehealth Services Updated 23 September, 2020 

For any enquiries please email us at telehealth@cesphn.com.au and our Telehealth Support team will quickly respond. We are here to assist you with expert practical advice.  

Telehealth Resources

As part of our ‘vox pop’ series on primary health care workers in the CESPHN region, we speak with GP and telehealth expert Dr Amandeep Hansra who gives us her insights into video telehealth (VTH) and where it is heading.

Here is a summary of her main points:

  1. Video Telehealth (VTH) is available through many platforms either through an existing patient booking system or as a separate package.
  2. The price of VTH can range from being free to being very high.
  3. Some VTH platforms (such as Healthdirect video call) are specifically designed for health consultations.
  4. There are numerous companies offering VTH so when making the decision as to which platform you use, do a checklist. This includes price, waiting room function, ability to add extra people (such as a specialist or family member), and compatibility with existing patient booking system. Increasingly, other issues will become important. These are end to end encryption, privacy, information storage, business ownership and the country where data is hosted.
  5. It is possible MBS item numbers for VTH will be linked to secure systems that are hosted in Australia in the future.
  6. The most efficient way to set up VTH is for all staff to talk through their needs and then for the practice manager to set up the system so that the GPs only need to press on a link that is sent to them for a VTH consultation to begin according to the booking.
  7. VTH should be as simple as a patient making a normal booking over the phone (or online from the doctors website booking system) and then at the time of the VTH consultation, both the doctor and the patient pressing on the link (organised by the practice manager) and for the VTH consultation to begin.
  8. In the same way as some face to face consultations go overtime, some VTH bookings also go overtime. The VTH platforms have waiting rooms with alert calls so that the next patient can be alerted if the doctor is running late.
  9. Payments are organised by the practice staff as usual. Some patients will be bulk billed and others with use their credit card in the same way as they do for any other service.

Further Resources

Practice Nurses

New Telehealth Items: are now available for a practice nurse or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner (mirroring items 10987 and 10997)  to provide ongoing care to chronic disease patients during COVID-19. MBS Item numbers updated 9 October, 2020: HERE

As part of our ‘vox pop’ series on primary health care workers in the CESPHN region, we speak with St George after hours practice manager Leone Smith who gives us her insights into working as a GP practice manager 

Healthdirect Video Call service

We are pleased to announce the extension of the Healthdirect Video Call Service Pilot Program by the Department of Health until 30 June 2021.

The eligibility for access to the Video Call Service Pilot remains consistent with the current pilot for CESPHN which provides Video Call licenses free of charge for use by GPs, non-GP type primary care services classed as Mental Health, Aged Care, Maternity, Indigenous Health and Allied Health services within our region.

The Australian Department of Health is currently reviewing the eligibility criteria for this program. If there are any changes to program eligibility we will communicate these changes to our HealthDirect Video Call Services users directly.

View this short video to learn more about the Healthdirect Video Call service

To register for a free licence, complete the New Clinic Application Form and send it to telehealth@cesphn.com.au. We can get you up and running in a day. 

HealthDirect Video Call Service resources:

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Resources for General Practice 

PHQ: Our quarterly magazine, Primary Health Quarterly, focussed on cancer (and the adaptations made during COVID) is now available online

RACGP guide to managing patients who present with respiratory symptoms: This covers preparation, screening, triage, billing, teleheath consultion and testing.

RACGP list of ways to keep a GP practice COVIDSafe

  • SESLHD: communication of patient care to GPs
    South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) will cease faxing discharge summaries and inpatient admission and discharge notifications on 1 November 2020. This information will be available through My Health Record and secure messaging. To receive patient care information successfully, you must be registered for My Health Record and connected to a secure messaging solution such as Argus, HealthLink or Medical Objects. To assist you with this, please contact CESPHN's Digital Health team via digitalhealth@cesphn.com.au

    To update GP and practice details please contact one of the following hospitals and your details will be updated for all SESLHD Hospitals.

    Calvary Hospital, Clinical Information Service: 9553 3488     
    Prince of Wales Hospital, Health Information Unit: 9382 9172    
    Royal Hospital for Women, Health Information Unit: 9382 9172    
    St George Hospital, Clinical Information Service: 9113 2888     
    Sutherland Hospital, Clinical Information Service: 9113 2888     
    Sydney Hospital & Sydney Eye Hospital, Medical Records Department: 9382 7339    
    War Memorial Hospital Medical Records Department: 9369 0242 

  • Check-In with your GP marketing resources available: Fear of COVID-19 has meant many patients are delaying or avoiding seeing their GP. As a result, many are missing out on important health checks and potentially missing early diagnoses. It is now safe for patients to visit their general practice and patients also now have the convenient option of telehealth. We have developed some messaging your practice could use to ensure your patients stay in touch and get the care from you that they need. Our full resources package is here for you to use

 

Supporting Women 

BreastScreen NSW has now resumed breast screening. Details here in this PINK document  contact BreastScreen NSW on 132050

RPA Women and Babies/Canterbury ANSC Update: Information here

Royal Hospital for Women ANSC Update: Information here

St George/Sutherland ANSC Update: Information here

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HealthPathways

  • Join Dr Martina Gleeson, an experienced GP, registrar supervisor and GP Clinical Lead for HealthPathways South Eastern Sydney, introducing HealthPathways South Eastern Sydney and showing you where to find the latest pathways specific to COVID-19.
  • Similar pathways exist on Sydney HealthPathways so if your practice falls within SLHD please access their site for localised information and responses.

The South Eastern Sydney HealthPathways and Sydney HealthPathways now include information on management of coronavirus. New users will be able to request access on their local HealthPathways home page. To access these Pathways use the following links:

South Eastern Sydney: Community Health Pathways

Sydney: Community Health Pathways

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Education: Videos and webinars

Upcoming Sydney Webinars     (timezone converter)

General Practice Triage during COVID-19
Join us for this live webinar on General Practice Triage during COVID19 
Presented by Medics for life - Understand the risks and limitations associated with telehealth.
3 December, 2020 - 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm Register Now

RACGP NSW&ACT representatives and NSW Health Public Health leaders.
Update webinar with the most recent information on the constantly changing Coronavirus situation.
7 December, 2020 - 7.00 pm - 8.00 pm Register Now

See here for our CPD calendar

See here for upcoming external events

Previous recordings to WATCH now 

CESPHN COVID-19 Update series

  • CESPHN COVID-19 Update (1 hour, 50 minutes)
    This is the third in our series of COVID-19 updates facilitated by our board chair Dr Michael Wright.
    28 July Watch youtube recording here

 

RACGP/NSW COVID-19 Health recordings

RACGP NSW&ACT in partnership with NSW Health
Webinar: COVID-19 Vaccine - Where Are We At?
18 November, youtube recording coming soon

26 October, Watch youtube recording here
28 September, Watch youtube recording here
17 August Watch youtube recording here
28 July Watch youtube recording here
7 July Watch youtube recording here
17 June Watch youtube recording here
27 May Watch youtube recording here
12 May Watch youtube recording here
27 April Listen to youtube recording here
23 April Listen to recording here
16 April Listen to youtube recording here
2 April  Listen to recording here 

 

LINKS to CESPHN's telehealth series: Access with Train IT Medical using the access code: AsyJe88h Instructions here

  • Leading Quality Improvement and Change post COVID-19 - episode VIII: webinar with Katrina Otto
  • Maximising benefits of digital health changes - episode VII: webinar with Katrina Otto
  • CESPHN Telehealth webinar episode VI: Electronic transfer of prescriptions using Best Practice Software (including My Health Record)
  • CESPHN Telehealth webinar episode V: Electronic transfer of prescriptions using MedicalDirector (including My Health Record)
  • CESPHN Telehealth webinar episode IV. Advanced Telehealth and other digital improvements 
  • CESPHN Telehealth webinar episode III -Telehealth Basics with Katrina Otto, (Principal & Owner of Train IT Medical)
  • CESPHN Telehealth webinar episode II - Telehealth Basics and using Healthdirect
  • CESPHN Telehealth webinar episode I - What is Telehealth? Educating your patients on using Telehealth and other useful tips 

Externally produced PAST RECORDINGS HERE (head to our youtube channel here for CESPHN recordings)

  • The Medical Republic + Coviu: Webinar - What if you HAVE TO do VIDEO telehealth?
    The COVID-19 crisis has launched us into a new era of telehealth, with very little warning.
    The MBS reforms that came into effect on October 1st mark the next stage of telehealth’s accelerated progress. However, GPs are using video at extremely low rates, especially in comparison to allied health professionals and other medical specialists.
    The government is giving strong consideration to differential pricing next – that is, video will be incentivised via a higher payment to phone. 
    29 October, 2020  Watch zoom recording here 
  • Redefining your business for your recovery (56 minutes)
    This webinar runs through the product frameworks you need to consider when returning to business as usual after the Covid-19 disruption. 
    26 June Watch youtube recording here
  • Update on the Australian Government's response to the Coronavirus pandemic: Mental Health Practitioners (30 minutes) 
    15 April Watch recording here
  • A digital approach to mental health: Flip the Clinic (1 hour and 26 minutes) 
    University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Centre. Hosted by Dr Norman Swan 
    8 April Listen to recording here
  • In Home and Community Aged Care COVID-19 Preparedness Webinar (2 hours)
    13 March Watch video here
Links to relevant video LIBRARIES

Link to CESPHN's full video library here

Link to Australian Government COVID-19 video library

Link to NSW Dept Health COVID-19 videos

Link to RACGP upcoming webinars

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Allied Health Professionals

Watch our new vox pop series where we interview primary health workers including allied health professionals HERE

Allied health professionals are now eligible for limited access to the supply of masks for the use of their staff when there is no available commercial supply and they are working in higher-risk clinical areas, and with higher risk vulnerable patients.

Free technology help available: Help for allied health professionals and patients to connect online

 Videos/webinars and other information

  • COVID-19 Response Update for Allied Health Practitioners - Dept Health
    23 April  Watch video here
  • COVID-19 Response update for primary care and allied health,  
    9 April Watch video here
  • COVID-19 response update for allied health practitioners, 
    2 April Watch video here

  • COVID-19 response update for allied health practitioners 
    26 March  Watch video here

  • NSW Health Guidance for home visiting and scheduled Outpatient clinics
    Infectious/diseases, Community and Outpatients
    While the above resource is not specific to allied health professionals, the information is equally relevant to allied health professionals conducting home visits or working in Outpatient clinics.​​ The below information will be updated regularly by NSW Health to ensure clinical advice remains up to date during the COVID–19 situation.

  • Screening and managing patients who may have COVID-19
    Infectious disease and Outpatient Guidance
    This information relating to Outpatient clinics may be used in a primary care context to assist with the screening and management of patients who may have COVID-19

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Aged Care providers

COVID-19 Outbreak RACF Preparedness and Response plan for Primary Care (28 October)

Advice for GPs with patients in aged care: To assist local GPs prepare for the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in an aged care facility CESPHN have put together the following key actions guide:Advice for GPs with patients in aged care. If you are a GP who provides care to residents in aged care facilities please take the time to review these actions and make contact with aged care facilities you see patients in.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR GPS IN THE LAKEMBA AREA HERE (16 October)

 
RACF PPE: Ordering Process: For RACFs requiring PPE please follow the process below:
  • There is an email address to escalate requests for PPE for RACFs agedcarecovidppe@health.gov.au

  • All requests will be triaged by the Department of Health with priority given to facilities, programs and workers where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • The following information must be provided in your email request:
    • the facility, program or service requiring PPE
    • if you have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your facility, program or service
    • types and quantities of PPE required 
    • details of other suppliers you have attempted to source PPE stock from
  • COVID-19 guidelines (updated 29 July) for outbreaks in residential care facilities Australian Government Information on COVID-19
  • Resources (updated 23 November) from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission for Aged Care Provider

NSW Health Advice for Residential Aged Care Facilities: Residents of residential aged care are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and are more vulnerable to serious complications if they do become infected.

NSW Advice for aged care services (updated 30 September)

NSW Residential Aged Care Facility outbreak management (updated 29 July)

NSW Guidance for Residential Aged Care Facilities (visitors, movement of patients, hygeine, emergency plan, access restrictions)  (updated 29 June)

Webinar (March 2020): In home and community aged careCOVID-19 preparedness

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Resources for Community providers

Watch our vox pop on Hend Saab, senior psychologist to get an insight into mental health during COVID-19. 

Also, JewishCare NSW, based in Bondi Junction/Woollahra, has been working with vulnerable members of the community for over 85 years. Teams specialise in aged care, mental health & wellbeing, disability services and family and child support services. Watch our vox pop on CEO Claire Vernon here

Advice for employers from the Australian Government Department of Health

  • Can staff go to work?
  • What should I tell my staff?
  • What precautions should I take when cleaning?
  • Can food and water spread coronavirus?
  • How to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Supporting People to Stay Infection Free

Disability Services Consulting has released a free e-learning module covering theory and lots of practical strategies for preventing and controlling infections. This 30-minute eLearning module is specifically designed for the Australian disability workforce and is aligned with the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. This module includes:

  • information about why many people with disability are more vulnerable to infection
  • key steps to prevent spreading infection and COVID-19 transmission
  • application of the NDIS Code of Conduct to infection control
  • information about the chain of infection and key modes of transmission
  • understanding risks and responsibilities in keeping people infection free
  • education about maintaining privacy, choice and control

Sexual Health and COVID-19: link to website plus see here for webinar discussing COVID-19 for the BBV and STI sectors and further information on care with BBVs and sexual health

Health care workers: Link to Infection control training video

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Community information

You must immediately self-isolate and get tested for Covid-19, and then stay isolated at home for 14 days from the date of your visit to some venues: Active COVID-19 cases in Sydney: Regular updates here 

Healthdirect Symptom Checker guides you to the appropriate healthcare action which is also available on the Healthdirect app

FAQs from Healthdirect on coronavirus

Community information on face masks

We have had a significant increase in enquiries about cloth face masks and as a result, we have compiled this information on wearing and making face masks.   

Mask use supplements but is not a substitute for other precautions such as hand hygiene and physical distancing. 

When wearing or buying a mask, check it complies with recommendations. There are specific guidance requirements for masks to be effective.  

·        How to: Wear a mask here 

·        How to:  Make (sew) a cloth mask 

·        How to: Make a (NO sew) cloth mask

         How to: Make a cloth mask (another example)

There is a lot of support for vulnerable groups

COVIDSafe APP is available in Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese

Guidance for accessing and delivering AOD services during COVID-19: Alcohol and Drugs information and services

Aged Care/Loneliness: Community Visitors Scheme

For people feeling socially isolated, the Red Cross has a chat service to help people feel connected

Your rights during COVID-19: Anti-Discrimination NSW

Survey on how children are coping with COVID-19: Survey on how children are coping with COVID-19 HERE

Mental Health: Extensive mental health information and contacts

Information on elective surgery: FAQs for consumers on elective surgery

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health: July 2020 posters  extensive information plus watch our vox pop with Mark Spinks, chairman of Babana Aboriginal Men's Group and Tribal Warriers

Languages other than english: Multilingual Resources on COVID-19

International Student COVID-19 crisis accommodation

Disability Information: COVID-19 Resources  Please note: The Department of Health has extended the Health Professionals National Disability Advisory Service beyond its 6-week trial period, to 17 November 2020. Health professionals involved in the care of people with disability diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can call the service during the new operating times of 8 am to 9 pm (AEST) Monday to Friday on 1800 131 330 Information poster is here

Telehealth

Homelessness, domestic violence and unemployed

Other helpful Information

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Useful Links

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Business Support

As small businesses you may be entitled to some government help during this time.

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Further questions

If you have a question or would like additional support please email coronavirus@cesphn.com.au

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