COVID 19 Fiveways Surgery Update 9 June 2020

Dear Patients

In this email I will discuss the following points:

  • An emerging ‘New Normal for General Practice’ and how Fiveways is changing to meet your needs.
  • The need for vigilance and adherence to public health advice remains important and necessary.
  • 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.

We are very fortunate that our country has so far escaped many of the health ramifications being experienced around the world. Our community transmission is under control, we have a robust system to manage Australians returning home, and we have easy access to testing, as well as responsive and rapid public health tracking and tracing . However, we must not become complacent. Whilst we are all understandably experiencing ‘precaution fatigue’ we need to be mindful of simple strategies like physical distancing (at least 1.5M), cough/sneeze hygiene, staying home if unwell and diligent hand hygiene

The New Normal – shaping the future of primary care

Along with my excellent team of Practice Manager, Nurses, Receptionists and GP and allied health colleagues, I am developing a new model of primary care to suit our current and future needs.

This will need to take into account the following important issues:

  • management of infectious diseases including common viral illnesses to protect our vulnerable patients (and staff).
  • connecting via ‘virtual’ rather than face to face means – video, phone and message consultations; as well as pre and post appointment information gathering using secure online forms.
  • working as a team to meet more of your health needs by expanding our team to include more allied health members.
  • offering technology solutions to enable you to monitor and track your chronic diseases.
Fortunately I have spent much of my career on these endeavours and many of these solutions were being developed prior to the COVID19 pandemic. However, as a result of the recent change in work practices both staff and patients are feeling more comfortable with these complementary modes of delivering care.Of utmost importance is protecting our patients and staff from getting sick. Sick staff pose a risk to patients and sick patients pose a risk to other patients. As I write this I am sitting at home with a very mild cold and a negative COVID19 swab result waiting for my symptoms to abate so that I can safely return to work – unfortunately there is no longer such as a thing as just a cold. In order to consolidate the gains we have made with COVID19 we have to treat every stuffy or runny nose, sneeze or cough as a potential COVID19 case.

Those without contact with a suspected case or recent interstate or international or cruise ship travel, who are not health, residential or aged care workers, and who have a low likelihood of having COVID19, do not need to self isolate – but it is strongly recommended that people work from home or limit their contact so that other viral illnesses do not spread and cause confusion and concern.

The most recent Queensland testing guidelines can be found here

I have directed my staff  to screen all patients for any cold or flu like symptoms. They will ask you if you have a headache, runny nose, sneezing, cough, fever or sore throat. If you have any of these symptoms you will be offered a telehealth consultation in the first instance. If you feel your symptoms are not related to a cold or flu or you are unsure, my reception staff will check with your doctor first to make sure they are happy for you to attend the clinic in person.

We have found that we can safely manage our patients in this way, even if it requires a same day face to face appointment. Testing is simple and easy – I did a drive through test at Sullivan and Nicolaides at Taringa and it took less than 5 minutes. I even got my negative COVID19 result as a text before my doctor called me to advise me of my result!

We are open for face to face consultations 
Our clinic is conducting 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. We are now open on Saturday mornings as well.

After my recent viral illness I may be wearing a mask more often than not to protect from inadvertent transmission of viruses from patient to doctor!

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 often 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 New Enhanced General Practice’ Primary Care is the most efficient and effective sector of the healthcare system. But like other areas of healthcare it can be done better. A lot of the constraints relate to inadequate funding but some are operational, or historical and relate to clinician and clinic models of care. The following picture shows the key components of excellent Primary Care. At Fiveways we are striving to make this the basis of our model of care as we grow into an iHealth Centre.


Image courtesy of  https://www.pcpcc.org/about/shared-principles


Chronic disease plans – Your iHealth Plan
To simplify the process of chronic disease management and care coordination we have developed a process using pre-appointment forms to identify your goals and health issues; pre-appointment iHealth Plan preparation by our nurse; collation of a hardcopy folder of pertinent information; generation of referrals and collation of important feedback from specialists and allied health team members; and an appointment via video, phone or face to face between you and your GP. To assist us with this process we would like you to email our Health Coordinator at health@fiveways.online or call our reception to arrange an iHealth Plan. To allow you to engage with us, address your health concerns, and optimise your chronic disease care we are offering bulk billed (no gap) chronic disease plans for patients with eligible conditions.

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 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

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