GPs working in residential aged care

22 September 2020

We have received lots of questions as to whether GPs who attend an RACF where there is a COVID-19 case are able to continue working in their practice or visiting patients in other RACFs. See below for advice received from the South Eastern Sydney LHD Public Health Unit.

Can a GP who has reviewed a patient in a Residential Aged Care Facility  (RACF) where there is a COVID-19 case: 

  • continue to work in their GP practice; and
  • attend to patients in other RACFs?

 

Timing 

Implications for GP/AHP

When the outbreak is first recognised (i.e. when the case is notified to the Public Health Unit)

  • The GP should contact the PHU for advice on whether they are a close contact.
  • Until they have been advised by the PHU on their status, they should not work.

During the initial stages of outbreak management when the results of the initial swabs of all residents and staff are pending

  • If the GP has donned and doffed the appropriate PPE for contact and droplet precautions for all residents and observed appropriate hand hygiene, the GP can continue to work in their practice.
  • The general advice is for GPs and other RACF staff not to work in unaffected RACFs if possible.

During the outbreak once the results of the initial swabs for all residents and staff are available

  • If the GP has donned and doffed the appropriate PPE for contact and droplet precautions for residents identified as close contacts, and observed appropriate hand hygiene, the GP can continue to work in their practice.
  • The general advice is for GPs and other RACF staff not to work in unaffected RACFs if possible.