Tag Archives: immunisation

COVID-19 Anglesea Community Update 17 April

This is a brief update. Firstly congratulations to everyone for being part of the global effort to reduce the incidence of new cases. In Australia we are in a unique position compared to the rest of the world with a significant reduction in the doubling rate. The coming weeks and months will be telling about where things go.
 
Our influenza vaccination clinics have been trialled and are running well.  We were fortunate to receive a new batch of vaccinations today and have opened up more clinics next week. Please rest assured that we will ultimately have enough of the funded immunisations for everyone, but they will continue to be sent to us in batches. Local pharmacies have also received stock, so if you require a script please get in touch. Due to new advice from the Department of Health we may be adjusting our process for the clinics, so please bear with us if we make late changes.
 
We would also like to remind people to try and remain calm and polite when interacting in the community. We recognise that there are high levels of distress and anxiety, which has been impacting on how people are behaving at times. Please remain calm and remember that we are all working hard to do our best in these extremely trying times.
 
We would also like to ask people to please remain calm when speaking with our receptionists – they, as does everyone, deserve to work in a safe and respectful environment. There is much out of all of our control, but we can support each other and manage how we behave. If you are finding that your interactions with others are creating further distress and that you are unable to manage your responses, please book in with one of our doctors or find some support through other organisations or community groups. Remember that we are all in this together.
 
Here are some resources we have previously shared around mental health and COVID-19 for easy access:
 
 
Be Kind, Stay Safe, Stay Home.

Updated criteria:
In Victoria the revised testing criteria include:
Fever OR chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation
OR
Acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.

Note: In addition, testing is recommended for people with new onset of other clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19* AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days.
*headache, myalgia, runny or stuffy nose, anosmia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea

Taking the temperature of general practice during COVID-19

The past month has seen unprecedented changes occur in healthcare, and society in general, and this week we’ve finally had a moment to lift our head above the water and take a breath. Most healthcare workers and organisations have had to adapt quickly and develop new processes and protocols on the fly. This is particularly true in General Practice, the majority of which are small businesses and are the foundation stone of Primary Care.

Our clinic in Anglesea is co-located with Barwon Health allied health services and it has been interesting to note the differences between a large state based health organisation and our small GP clinic in terms of adaptability. It is certainly much easier for a small organisation to be agile and responsive, and much easier to develop a plan and implement it without the requirements of going through committees or multiple approval processes. It is also due to the fact that the bread and butter of General Practice is managing uncertainty by developing a plan, which has been key in this current environment.

What we do

As GPs we are trained to work across a number of levels that encompass some of the following;

  • direct clinical care with diagnosing, treating, and managing disease
  • continual learning with ongoing knowledge and skills development
  • awareness of public health priorities, including screening and preventative care
  • financial considerations on a patient, clinic and population level.

Another way of looking at this is that while we are working with the patient in front of us, we are always considering the context of the broader community – both locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally. To this extent, we are applying national guidelines and evidence to a regional community and the patients we are seeing. There is value in following the expert advice available and implementing it appropriately for the community we work with.

Adaptation and community

In the span of a few short weeks our clinic has moved to protect our staff, patients and community by early implementation of distancing and hygiene processes, as well as embracing providing care via Telehealth. We have developed our own processes for triaging patients, safe swabbing to test people for Coronavirus, providing a safe and innovative Influenza Vaccination clinic, and monitoring and looking after the health of our staff – all while continuing to provide face to face services where these are needed. We have had to adapt these processes almost continuously, as governmental guidelines and legislation change rapidly – at times this has occurred on a daily basis.

Throughout this time we have attempted to provide information to our local community and patients. This has involved liaising with local community based groups, the local residential aged care facility, our pharmacies, and other nearby clinics. And it has been heartwarming to see how engaged and supportive the Anglesea and surrounding community has been in embracing these rapid changes. Without this community support there are many people who would struggle to manage the day to day changes that have occurred. We can’t thank you all enough.

So where to now?

As things sit, we feel we have a moment’s reprieve and that the coming weeks will determine the outcome of the next few months. With the majority of people adhering to guidelines by staying home there has been an effect on slowing the rate of infections. However, at this pivotal time it is vital to maintain that strong commitment, and not shrug off the responsibility we all have to work together at preventing further spread of this novel coronavirus.

We also need to be planning for less positive outcomes and the potential impact that increased spread of this disease could have. There are many people who are at risk, particularly most of our older population, but also those with medical conditions that put them at higher risk of significant illness if they acquire the virus. For those who are older, we know that the spread of disease is likely to cause deaths, and we must be prepared for how we manage this if it does occur.

General health

But it is not just the impact of Coronavirus that we must plan for, it is also for all the ongoing health needs of our community. If people are not accessing GP services throughout the coming weeks and months, through fear, or not wanting to impact on services, or feeling it’s not important enough, there will also be a higher burden on our health system. We want to keep hearing from you and will continue to encourage people to manage their ongoing chronic conditions and do so in a safe environment.

It is also vital that we stay connected to each other, and watch carefully for the potential impact on our mental health. There are a number of good online resources for support, but we would also encourage you to get in touch if you are finding your mood or worries or thoughts are becoming too difficult to manage.

Here are some reliable and useful resources around mental health and COVID-19:

Please continue to check our website, Facebook page and Instagram for day-to-day updates and information:

Facebook: @angleseamedical  Instagram: @angleseamedical

COVID-19 Anglesea Community Update 27 March 2020

Anglesea Community Update on COVID-19
– current as of 27th March 2020
– please note, information will be changing rapidly
– please refer to our previous update for introductory info

Since our last update there have been many changes and new messages from the Federal and State Governments, some of which may have appeared contradictory. This remains an area of rapidly changing information and we are adjusting our systems and processes day to day to ensure that we help contain the spread of the virus, protect staff and patients, and most importantly, protect the vulnerable people in our community.

We can not iterate strongly enough how important it is for us all to play a role in managing this pandemic, and it has been heartening to see how many community groups and businesses are engaging in supporting each other and the community in general.

Quite simply, the best thing we can do is strictly adhere to physical distancing guidelines. 

This graph shows how important this can be. If just 3 out 10 people do not take this seriously there is no impact on transmission, which means a huge impact on our health system.

Our advice in pragmatic terms is:

  1. Stay at home 
  2. Only shop once a week if you can
  3. Avoid people when out – stay at least 1.5m away
  4. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  5. Stay connected with people via phone and online
  6. Be kind and generous at all times!

Do not gather with friends or extended family – unless it’s online.
Do not go on holidays – have a Staycation instead!

This quote is from an epidemiologist and explains how quickly you can compromise your efforts in physical distancing, even when you feel you are doing the right thing.

“You should perceive your entire family (or household) to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbour, your neighbour is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with.”

We have been busily transitioning to predominantly Telehealth consultations over the last two weeks. Again, this is to protect our staff, patients and the community and prevent inadvertent transmission of the virus (or any virus!). The Government is set to provide further Medicare rebates for Telehealth in the coming week, which makes it more accessible to everyone. Currently not everyone meets the criteria for Telehealth rebates.

You may have seen that inside the clinic we have increased hygiene and distancing measures with tape on the floor that provides guidance around a 1.5m buffer between people to reduce the potential for close contact. We are trying to avoid having anyone in our waiting room at the moment where possible.

For some consultations however, we will need to see patients in the clinic. For these people, when you arrive at the clinic stay in your car (if you drove) and please call reception on 42156700 (Select option 1) to let us know you have arrived. If you do not have a mobile phone please wave from the door but do not enter.

The nurses and doctors may see you in your car, or invite you to come into the clinic.

If you are attending for blood tests, or other pathology tests, the same process applies. Dial 42156700 and select option 3 for Clinical Labs and you will be invited into the clinic when they are ready to see you.  Barwon Health allied health services have been suspended at the Anglesea Community Health Centre for the time being. Please liaise directly with Barwon Health about this if you have questions, complaints or concerns.

Stay safe and be proactive. We can work together to improve outcomes, and it is only together that we can make this work.

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UPDATED TESTING GUIDELINES
(please note these continue to change regularly)

Currently you only meet guidelines for testing for COVID-19 if you meet one clinical AND one epidemiological:

  1. Clinical criteria:
    • Fever > 38°C or
    • Acute respiratory infection (shortness of breath, cough, sore throat).
  1. Epidemiological criteria
    • Travellers from overseas with onset of symptoms within 14 days of return.
    • Close contacts of confirmed COVID‑19 cases with onset of symptoms within 14 days of last contact.
    • Healthcare workers and residential aged care workers.
    • Aged and residential care residents.
    • Patients who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

If you feel unwell you should stay at home and call the clinic or the Coronavirus information line to discuss your risk.

The Coronavirus Health Information Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week 1800 020 080 or online at:
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

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“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate. This is the dilemma we face, but it should not stop us from doing what we can to prepare. We need to reach out to everyone with words that inform, but not inflame. We need to encourage everyone to prepare, but not panic.” — Michael O. Leavitt, 2007

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Influenza Immunisation Update

We are expecting the governmental supply of Influenza Vaccinations to arrive soon and will follow current guidelines that recommend immunising during the coming weeks rather than delaying until May. We do not have control over the supply we get, so please be patient as we will have enough to go around, but the supply will be staggered. Do not panic!

We will be arranging Flu Vaccination clinics and will have more information in the coming days on how this will work. We will send out an SMS to people about this and call those who do not have mobile phone numbers.

In 2020, influenza vaccines funded (free) through the National Immunisation Program are available to the following groups. This is due to their increased risk of complications from influenza.

  • Aged 6 months to less than 5 years (this cohort is newly eligible in 2020)
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
  • All people aged 65 years and over
  • People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

If you do not qualify for a funded vaccination you will need a consult with a doctor to get a script – this can be done via Telehealth and booked online or via reception.