Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) update

The COVID-19 situation is evolving every day, and we continue to work out the best way to care for all our patients.   We aim to avoid the practice being a source of transmission and are using many strategies to do so. 

To help keep our staff and patients safe we are asking that every patient  book a phone consultation with our doctors. This allows for an extra level of screening, so that we can be prepared for any patient coming into the practice. Fees will apply, and there is limited bulk-billing available for patients who we would ordinarily bulk-bill. You will need to be ready with your phone in a quiet place when we call, as if it were a face to face consultation. After an initial consultation your doctor might request that you come into the practice. We are taking bookings for children’s immunisations, Antenatal visits and newborn checks, as long as patients and their parents are well.

We are asking all patients to report their cold/flu symptoms and any travel history when they call. Click here for a self-assessment guide.   

If you have travelled anywhere overseas in the past 14 days OR have been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, and are concerned about cold/flu symptoms – you should quarantine yourself at home. Please DO NOT attend the practice. Phone us on 9557 2266 and we will arrange a phone consultation with one of our doctors.

If we do ask you to attend the practice please follow our advice :

. wait outside until the doctor is ready, (will will SMS/call you)

. use hand sanitiser provided

. put on a mask as you enter the practice if you have any cold/flu symptoms

If you have severe difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival about your recent travel history. Health Direct 1800 022 222 can provide advice if you have symptoms of concern and can’t get in touch with us. Click here for a self-assessment guide.  If you have mild symptoms, you should just stay at home and follow the self-isolation guide.

A Coronavirus (COVID-19) screening clinic is in operation at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital from 8am until 10pm daily. They are testing patients who meet the above criteria (suspected COVID-19)- that is a relevant travel history and symptoms. Please do not present there if you have cold/flu symptoms and no other risk factor. You will not be offered testing as there is currently a shortage of laboratory test kits. To access the clinic follow the signs TPU on level 3 via Gloucester Drive (, number 77 on the map – off Missenden Rd next to the main Hospital)

NSW Health  and the Commonwealth Department of Health are providing updates and resources about the novel coronavirus

For general information on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) you can call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

For the latest updates on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), visit the Department of Health website or WHO.

You can also ask your employer to read these guidelines for when people can come out of isolation for suspect COVID-19. We are applying them to any upper or lower respiratory tract illness:

  • People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
    • If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
    • You have had no fever or respiratory symptoms for at least 72 hours
      AND
    • at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

See here for a useful article about quarantine and self-isolation, and how to manage sick people within the household

My Health Record

My Health Record is an online summary of some of your health information. Health information stored in your record can include information from you, your healthcare providers, and Medicare. It can be accessed by you through mygov.au, by any GP through their practice software, and hospital staff through their IT systems.

From 16 July 2018 the Government has decided to implement the My Health Record as an “opt-out” system, meaning that you will have a My Health Record created for you unless you decide to opt out. You will receive a letter from the Government (to the address associated with your Medicare card) in July 2018 advising you of this.

The initial period to opt out of having a My Health Record runs until 15 November. After that time you will have a My Health Record but this will not be activated until a health provider adds information. You can still choose to cancel you record after that time, so that information is not uploaded to it.

If you are interested in creating a My Health Record now you can register through the mygov.au website, or we can do it for you at the practice (an easier option).

Read more here

Flu vaccine update

You will have been reading advice from government sources about getting your flu vaccine this year. However, we have NOT yet received any influenza vaccinations. We are grateful if you can hold off on phoning for an appointment.

Once we do receive the influenza vaccinations, we will be contacting patients to book them in for an appointment. To do this safely we will arrange specific times when we can organise to get people in and out with minimum contact time.

We will be prioritising our patients who are over 65, are immunocompromised or have a chronic health condition, pregnant women and babies as well as our Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander patients.

The flu vaccine is maximally effective for 4 months after injection, so having this injection mid April to mid May is medically the best thing to do.

People over 65 get a different flu vaccine to other adults. This high dose flu vaccine is not available in the pharmacies. If you are over 65, please wait for this to become available from Government supplies. This will be available by the 2nd week of April through Erskineville Doctors.

We will be posting here and on our Facebook page and emailing our regular patients to let you know about availability and how to book in to get the vaccine.

In the meantime, all of the same infection control procedures discussed elsewhere apply for influenza and any of the other respiratory viruses. If you are taking all measures to protect yourself from coronavirus infection you will also be reducing your risk of influenza. Please note that the influenza vaccine does not give you any protection against the coronavirus.

Eligibility for free influenza vaccine

Free seasonal influenza vaccine is funded by NSW Health for the following groups at higher risk of complications from influenza:

  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age (including Aboriginal and medically at risk)
  • all individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions, namely:
    • cardiac disease, including cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
    • chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma
    • other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies
    • chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders
    • impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use
    • children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy
  • pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • people aged 65 years and over (vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).

Phone consultations at Erskineville Doctors

In order to keep patients and staff safe, from Monday 23 March we are asking every patient book a phone consultation with our doctors for any issue. After an initial consultation, your doctor may decide that it’s appropriate to bring you in for review or to manage your health issues over the phone. Fees will apply, and there is limited bulk-billing available – where Medicare allows – for patients who we would ordinarily bulk-bill.

The exceptions are: pregnant women needing a check up, newborn babies and children for scheduled immunisations. We might do some portion of these visits over the phone, and limit your time at the practice.

If you are very unwell, please call rather than book online for a phone consultation. Our staff will ask you some screening questions to work out the urgency of your request.

Please note, you will need to be ready at the appointment time with your phone in a quiet place, just as you would for a face to face consultation.

What we are doing to protect patients already:

  • asking people to wait outside until your doctor is ready
  • clinical staff are wearing masks, gowns and gloves for examining patients
  • alcohol handrub is available all over the practice
  • wiping down surfaces in rooms between patients
  • implementing social distancing between our staff within the practice

Please note that Healthdirect – 1800 022 222 has a phone service for advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak and can direct you as to where best to seek medical advice if you are not sure.

If you have severe difficulty breathing please dial 000 and notify the operator of any travel history or potential contact with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

If you are just after general information regarding the outbreak and how it applies to you, please visit the Healthdirect website https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus

COVID-19 screening sites

The following places are screening and testing people who have travelled overseas in the past 14 days OR have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 AND have relevant symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath).

You do not need a GP referral to attend one of these clinics, but you should fit the criteria outlined above, wear a mask to attend, and follow the guide for self-isolation before and after attending. If you have severe symptoms, like increasing shortness of breath, you should call you local Emergency Department and present there either by Ambulance 000 or taken by a family member. You need to let people know that you fit the criteria for suspect COVID-19 case so that they can treat you appropriately.

COVID-19 screening clinics

Click here for the latest list in NSW. We have included some locally located sites below:

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 8.00 am until 10.00 pm daily, follow the signs to TPU on Gloucester Drive, level 3 (this runs off Missenden Rd)

Canterbury Hospital 8.00am-10.00pm Monday to Friday 575 Canterbury rd Campsie

Concord Hospital 8.00am until 6.00pm daily – across road from ED in Sports Institute Building

Prince of Wales Hospital 10.00am to 8.00pm Monday – Friday, 10.00am to 1.00pm Sat/Sun – Building 14B Avoca St, Randwick

St Vincent’s Hospital 10.30am to 6.00pm daily. Enter via main hospital entrance and follow the green line to the Flu Assessment Clinic.

Sydney Children’s Hospital 5.00pm to 9.00pm Monday to Friday 1.30pm-9pm Saturday and Sunday High st Randwick

Sydney and Sydney Eye Hospital 8.00am-9.00pm Monday- Sunday 8 Macquarie st Sydney

Keeping everybody safe from infection

There are various respiratory illnesses circulating all the time in our community. This poster is a good reminder about how to protect other people if you feel sick. We have tissues, alcohol handrub and masks just inside our door for you to use when you attend the practice. Phone ahead if you have any concerns.

Advice re novel coronavirus

You will have heard information through the media about a new coronavirus strain originating from Wuhan city in China. Due to global travel, the illness has already spread to countries in south-east Asia and the USA. There have been a few confirmed cases in Australia, in people who have travelled directly from China.

If you have travelled in Hubei province of China in the past 14 days and develop any of these symptoms – fever plus shortness of breath, cough, or sore throat you should:

  • Phone Healthconnect on 1800 022 222
  • or phone us at Erskineville Doctors and let us know you have flu-like symptoms
  • Make it clear to staff that you are concerned due to your recent travel.

One of our nurses or doctors can talk to you on the phone to decide on the best course of action. If you are very unwell we may need to send you to the emergency department for investigation and care.

If we make an appointment for you, please follow our instructions to limit the time you need to spend in the waiting room. On arrival please use alcohol rub and don the mask provided. Place any used tissues in the yellow bin at the front door.

If the illness is mild, stay home from work or school and wear a mask if you need to go out. Observe standard precautions below

Standard precautions to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing or use of alcohol hand rub, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, (cough/sneeze into your elbow), thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

For further and up-to-date information from NSW Health please check the link below:
https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/default.aspx

Xmas opening hours

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

We are open are usual hours this week beginning 16 December.

Dr Jenny is on leave from 19 December until 6 January

Dr Joseph is on leave until 6 January

Xmas/New Year opening hours

Monday 23 December – 8.00-6.00 (Drs Cara, Annabel, John)

Tuesday 24 December 8.00 – 12.30 (Drs Patricia, Nicolette and Wee-Sian)

Wednesday 25 December to Sunday 29 December – CLOSED

Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 December – 8.00 – 12.00 (Dr Annabel)

Wednesday 1 January – CLOSED

Thursday 2 January – normal opening hours

Movember

Looking forward to seeing some facial hair around the ‘hood in support of Movember. In keeping with the theme of Men’s Health this month, we will collect some other resources here, all of which have a specific focus on men. All of our doctors are equipped to help you, but if you would prefer a male doctor for any consultation please look at our doctors page to find out more about Dr Joseph Chung, Dr Wee-Sian Woon and Dr John Kevin.

Foundation 49 has a useful “Health by Decade” page to get you started

Healthy Male, by Andrology Australia, has all you need to know on some of life’s more embarassing health problems

PANDA have put together resources to assist new dads, especially if they are struggling with their mental health.

Watch this space for updates.

November- doctors’ availability

Updating you for November:

Dr John is away for the first week of November, back on 11 November. From that week he will start working 2 extra sessions – Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

Dr Chris Ganora is working in John’s place this week on Monday and Thursday.

Dr Annabel is working the next two weeks and then away from 16 November until 3 December.

Dr Catherine Pratten will be working Tuesdays and Fridays while Annabel is away.

Everyone else will be working their usual hours for all of November.

Remember you can book online via the website or the Appointuit app. Ring the practice if you are having trouble finding the appointment you would like, or if you need an urgent appointment on the day.

Another new GP

A major reason for our move up the road was to have more space for more doctors to work and open up more appointment times for patients. This week we welcome Dr John Kevin to Erskineville Doctors. John completed his medical studies in Tasmania in 2014 and subsequently worked as a doctor at Royal Hobart Hospital and St George Hospital.  He has undertaken his GP training in Sydney. He holds a Diploma in Child Health and enjoys the variety offered by general practice. John has a keen interest in musculo-skeletal medicine, men’s health, PrEP prescribing. John enjoys playing sport, in particular playing rugby competitively.

John works on Mondays and Thursdays.