By Dr Jared Dart BSc BA (Econ, Govt) MBBS PhD (eHealth, Medicine) FRACGP
In this email I will discuss the following points:
- We are now open for face to face appointments subject to social distancing requirements and the absence of symptoms of a viral illness.
- We will now be private billing Telehealth appointments for non-pregnant patients who are aged 16-69, without chronic diseases making them vulnerable to COVID19.
- The excellent progress we have made as a community to reign in the spread of COVID19
- How important maintaining contact with your GP is during these times
- How we are supporting our community during this difficult time
Thank you for all the messages of support.
We appreciate feedback at Fiveways Surgery however due to regulatory requirements we cannot accept comments in reviews, only star ratings. So if you’re happy with our service, please leave a star rating by clicking here
Our clinic is increasing the availability of face to face consultations in a manner that ensures we can comply with social distancing requirements. This will mean we will restrict our waiting room occupancy to a maximum of 10 people. We may ask you to wait outside or in your car, if our waiting room is full. We will schedule our patients in such a way as to minimise the likelihood of a full waiting room.
If you have symptoms of a viral illness, we will assess you by phone and if necessary arrange further assessment or testing for COVID19. We have found that we can safely manage our patients in this way, even if it requires a same day face to face appointment.
Our staff are vigilant with infection control procedures and we are doing everything we can to minimise the risks of our patients or staff contracting any infectious disease. Chairs and common areas are frequently cleaned with a product known to kill Sars-CoV-2 and our clinical staff wear masks when dealing with patients.
From May 18 we will be charging for telehealth consults for patients who are:
- not commonwealth concession card holders,
- are aged 16-69,
- have no chronic disease or immuno-compromising condition that will make them more vulnerable to COVID19, and are
- not pregnant or parents of a child under 12 months.
Patients with a current GP Management Plan will be bulk billed for telehealth consultations.
We are reducing our fee for short telehealth consults to $73 (Gap of $34.80) and $123 (Gap of $51.30) for consults longer than 20 minutes. Face to face visits attract our usual fees. Please let us know if you are experiencing financial hardship so we can provide compassionate fee relief where possible.
We are continuing to provide influenza vaccinations for those who are eligible for the Government funded vaccine and scheduled immunisations for children in a safe manner. Patients who would like a privately funded influenza vaccine will need to speak to our nurse to check on stock levels.
‘The hammer and the dance’
As many of you know we are in the ‘dance’ or suppression phase of the response to the COVID19 pandemic. For more details you may wish to read this – https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56
The current situation reflects successful suppression in most states and territories, with only a very small numbers of cases in recent weeks. New South Wales and Victoria have some outbreaks notably associated with the Cedar Meats abattoir and Fawkner McDonalds. These incidents serve to remind us how vigilant we need to be to successfully suppress the spread of Sars-CoV-2/COVID19.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a viral illness such as runny nose, sore or scratchy throat, loss of taste or smell, conjunctivitis, sneezing, coughing or fever please do not go to work or school and do not share public spaces. Call us for an appointment so we can arrange a timely test for Sars-CoV-2/COVID19 via Sullivan and Nicolaides pathology or a respiratory or fever clinic.
You will find some interesting information available at https://www.covid19data.com.au/
The following charts from that website give me great comfort.
We now have had 7019 confirmed cased of Sars-CoV-2 and only 604 active cases with only 18 active cases in Queensland.
At Fiveways Surgery we strongly encourage testing of symptomatic patients and can facilitate this via private pathology laboratories in a seamless and efficient manner. Results are back within 24-48 hours.
In Australia, our testing numbers remain high, while our number of new cases continues to remain at very low numbers with reassuringly low signs of community transmission. In Australia we are testing around 30 000 people per day of which less than 0.1% are positive.
To achieve timely identification of potential community clusters we need more data from the community. It is for this reason that I support the use of the COVID Safe app. More information is available here – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app
We need 40% or more of the community using the app for it to be effective. Currently almost 6 Million people (nearly 25%) have downloaded the app.
Waves of a pandemic – associated impacts can be worse than the disease
Courtesy Twitter Victor Tseng https://twitter.com/VectorSting/status/1244671755781898241/photo/1
|Expert advice, now more accessible than ever via telehealth Now, more than ever, it is clear that expert advice matters. As your specialist GPs, we strive to keep up to date with evidence based practices and utilise our individual and collective experience to serve our community. With your permission we will discuss or refer complicated clinical issues using our network of specialists so that you can receive the most timely and best evidence based care. We believe it is now very safe to have appropriately triaged face to face services in General Practice. We need to separate patients with symptoms of possible viral infections from well patients, so it is a mandatory expectation that patients self declare any symptoms such as a scratchy or sore throat, loss of smell, itchy eyes, runny nose, cough, sneezing or fever. We will then determine the safest way to assess and treat you. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, our specialist training college, has just launched a communication campaign to remind the community that expert, specialist General Practice advice matters. You can find more information here – https://www.expertadvicematters.com.au/ To make sure we do our part to reduce the chance of poor health outcomes from lack of access to chronic disease and preventative health, we will be reaching out to our patients with chronic diseases to create or update their Chronic disease management plans.|
|Supporting Our Community Excellent General Practice or Primary Care can be defined by the principles in the image below. Image courtesy of https://www.pcpcc.org/about/shared-principles|
Since 1945, Fiveways Surgery has been striving to serve our community in the most caring and effective manner. I have been privileged enough to care for some of our past practice principals and I am proud to continue the tradition of excellence they established. It is clear that we will have to evolve to meet the challenges posed by a pandemic and post pandemic world. While the future is not clear, I am sure we will find a path which will allow us to continue to serve our community. Doing this will require us to provide safe and effective care for urgent and chronic issues. During this time it is crucial that our patients keep up to date with their chronic disease management, so we ask you to make a time to discuss your chronic disease plans with your regular GP as soon as possible. Chronic disease plans In order to address your chronic diseases, you need to understand: What chronic health conditions you have. How you can measure them, what targets you should aim for, and how well controlled these conditions are. How you can improve the control and reduce the complications associated with them. What medications and activities are recommended for each condition. We have designed a specific template to address these issues and will work with your specialists and supporting allied health practitioners to improve your health. Many of these allied health and specialists are now conducting telehealth consultations. The process will take place over two consultations. An initial consultation to explain the process and determine your health priorities and a subsequent one to discuss the chronic disease plan. To assist us with this process we would like you to email our Health Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org – we will then be in touch to arrange a telehealth consultation. Alternatively, call to arrange an appointment with your GP. To allow you to engage with us, address your health concerns, and optimise your chronic disease care we are offering bulk billed (no gap) short telehealth appointment and chronic disease plans for patients with eligible conditions. Please call our reception, book online or email our Health Coordinator today at email@example.com
|Technology enhanced care, iHealth Australia and Welio |
As many of you know, I have been working on my eHealth business Welio for some time now. We are now testing and refining our platform and hope that Fiveways can be the first clinic to roll it out in June/July. Welio will enable patients to have video/audio consultations and message consultations with their usual clinician(s). I am also developing an enhanced model of primary care, utilising a broader team of allied health clinicians and the appropriate and sensitive use of technology, to increase your access to and engagement with your team of health professionals. Fiveways Surgery will be the first iHealth Centre within the iHealth Australia group and will spearhead the development of iHealth Solutions for complex and chronic health issues. I will share more information about this in the coming weeks/months as we develop and then launch our new website. This will not change the personal, expert care you receive. Rather, it will combine the best of the traditional care you know so well, with technology that will help you take control of your own health issues. I hope this email finds you well. If you, your family or your friends need any support, we are here to help. We feel truly privileged to serve our local community. Thank you for your support during these challenging times. With my warmest regards Jared Dr Jared Dart Director iHealth Australia iHealth Centres Fiveways Surgery Founder, Welio