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.  Please read our COVID-19 page for updates 

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.  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.

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.

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

Staff Leave Sep/Oct

Just a quick update on who will be away in September/October.

We will be closed on Monday 5th October as this is a public Holiday.

Dr Jenny will be away 28 September- 4th October

Dr Annabel will be away 3 – 10 October.

Dr Cara is away from 17 – 31 October.

Dr John is away 15 – 23 October

If your regular doctor is away and you need an appointment please call to discuss with our staff on 9557 2266. They will arrange a time with one of our other doctors, who can hand over care back to your regular doctor if needed.

Welcoming Dr Jodie Parker

Next Tuesday, 15th September we have Dr Jodie Parker joining the Erskineville Doctors Team! Jodie graduated with her medical degree in 2012 before completing her GP training in 2017. She enjoys all aspects of general practice but has a particular interest in women’s health, paediatrics and adolescent medicine. Jodie is qualified to insert and remove implanons and is able to provide antenatal shared care. https://www.facebook.com/ErskinevilleDoctors/

Jodie will be working Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s here at Erskinevile Doctors so please call 9557 2266 to make an appointment or you can book via our online booking system under book appointments.

NSW COVID alerts – including the Inner West

See the COVID CASE ALERTS for information about specific venues and locations where COVID-positive people have been traced to.

LATEST NEWS 5 Sept –

Newtown: Kuleto’s Cocktail Bar 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Friday 28 August People who attended for at least one hour must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there (until midnight on 11 September), and stay isolated for the entire period, even if a negative test result is received.

A diner who attended It’s Time for Thai on King St, Newtown, later tested positive to coronavirus. The person visited the venue on Friday August 28, from 5.00-8.00pm. If you were at the restaurant at this time you are defined as a close contact and will need to arrange a test ASAP and the self-isolate for 14 days.

Marrickville: Anytime Fitness
7pm to 8pm on Monday 24 August
Anyone at the gym at this time is considered a close contact and is required to immediately get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days until 7 September.

The COVID case alerts list now also includes businesses in Marrickville, Broadway and Glebe, as well as some bus routes. If you are concerned you might have been exposed, please organise a test at one of the clinics, or call us for advice. See our Coronavirus page for all the info.

Stay home and get tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore/scratchy throat, loss of smell, loss of taste and shortness of breath, as well as other reported symptoms including runny nose, joint pain, muscle pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.

You will need to self-isolate before and after testing, and any time you have symptoms. The simplest way to think about this is just to stay at home, and take care not to infect the other people in your household.

When and where to get a COVID test

This week some of the public swab clinics are struggling to keep up with demand, in particular the drive-through clinics at Rozelle and Summer Hill. There are lots of other options, so check the map for what’s closest to you – eg .Canterbury Hospital, Redfern Community Health, the pop-up clinic in Surry Hills.

One of our doctors can provide you with a request form for any of the private pathology companies, and this might be a quicker option. They include a drive-in clinic at Stanmore, and some pathology services at Marrickville and Earlwood. Please call for a quick appointment to organise a request form.

NSW Health recommends that anyone with respiratory symptoms or unexplained fever should be tested for COVID-19.

Relevant symptoms that could be COVID-19 related are fever ≥37.5, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath,  loss of smell and loss of taste.

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.

If you have these symptoms you should stay at home and arranged to get tested.

In particular, we ask you to keep an eye on the hot spots and information about venues in NSW where known positive COVID cases have been traced, and follow the advice here. Note there are businesses listed here in several suburbs in the inner west and inner city, as well as the recommendation to have a low threshold for anyone who has been in the whole of Potts Point.

When attending a COVID swab clinic you should take your Medicare card and/or ID, wear a mask to attend, and be self-isolating before and after attending. This means that you need to wait for your test result until you go to work, shopping, go on public transport, attend the gym or do anything outside of your house that involves interacting with other members of the public.  The turnaround time is about 48 hours.

As per the Public Health Order you are required to self-isolate for 14 days if you arrived in NSW from Victoria from 8 July. Call if you need a phone consultation during this period

 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.

For further information, see this link about who to call.

Electronic scripts

Electronic scripts are now available – we have the technology! 

An e-script is a QR token, much like a boarding pass on your phone. This is how it will work: 

  1. During a consultation your doctor will offer to send your script as an e-script (QR token) 
  2. You can choose to receive it via SMS or email –we will use the details we have on file and check them with you before sending 
  3. We will check that you have received the e-script before the end of the consultation. 
  4. The script opens on your phone or computer as a QR token 
  5. Print the QR token or take your phone to the pharmacy. They will scan the code and dispense your medication 
  6. The pharmacy software will generate a new QR token for the repeats 

You can also choose to have the e-script sent to an alternative mobile number or email, for example if you need a family member to collect your script. 

Not every pharmacy is currently set up to process e-scripts, so it’s worth checking with your preferred pharmacy. You should discuss with your regular pharmacy if they are able to receive the token via email/SMS/app at their end.  

Hopefully this will mean no more lost scripts! If you do lose your phone or delete the SMS we can cancel the script and re-issue. We suggest you look at the possibilities of storing the scripts in a file on your smartphone (eg. on an iPhone you can created a folder under the Notes icon and save them there).

Face-to-face consultations

If you have fever or any respiratory symptoms, OR have been in a NSW hotspot, OR you have travelled to Victoria in the past 14 days, , you MUST call the practice first for a phone consultation initially.  This provides an extra layer of screening and safety for everyone. Your doctor will make appropriate arrangements if you need to be assessed in person.

Given there have been increased COVID-19 cases in Sydney over the past fortnight, we suggest that you opt for a phone or video consultation if you think your issue can be appropriately managed that way. We continue to offer face-to-face consultations for many issues, eg. immunisations, cervical screening, any issue that would warrant a physical examination.

Please note that as of 20 July 2020, the Government has advised that eligibility for Medicare rebates for phone/video consultations will be limited to patients who have attended the practice at least once in the past 12 months. This means that we might suggest a consultation at the practice if we haven’t seen you in the past 12 months, UNLESS we need to screen you out due to symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19. In those situations we will triage you and make appropriate arrangements.

Attending the practice

For patients attending the practice, we will need to manage our waiting room according to physical distancing guidelines, and allow time for cleaning surfaces between patients. Our waiting room has capacity for 8 people.

Please take note of the following:

. Please bring your own mask

. Let our staff know you have arrived, but you may need to wait outside or in your car until your doctor is nearly ready.

. We will do our best to advise you if there is a delay in your appointment time. We can SMS to let you know when your doctor is nearly ready.

. As you enter the practice please clean your hands and follow any instructions from our staff about where to sit.

. don’t bring extra family members to the consultation if you can avoid it.

We appreciate your patience as we manage the constant changes. Don’t neglect your health needs – if in doubt please call.

Returned travellers from Victoria

If you have travelled from Victoria in the past 14 days, and have been in a COVID hot-spot   or arrived in NSW from 8 July, as per the Public Health Order 7/07/2020 you are required to self-isolate for 14 days on your return to NSW .

Please call for a phone appointment if you have fever or any respiratory symptoms while you are self-isolating. We can advise you about testing and make a plan to monitor you. Your doctor will make appropriate arrangements if you need to be assessed in person.

Refer to our Coronavirus page for further information.

Staff leave June/July

Dr Jenny is having a well-earned three weeks off, from 18 June until Monday 13 July . She has handed over to other doctors regarding patients who are likely to follow up during this period. She will be available for telehealth consultations only from 13-24 July.

If you are a regular patient of Dr Jenny and need an appointment please call to discuss with our staff. They will arrange a time with one of our other doctors, who can hand over care back to Jenny if needed.

Dr Annabel will be away for the second week of the school holidays, the week starting 13 July only.

Dr Cara is away from 13-25 July.

Dr Wee-Sian is away from 20-31 July

Dr Nicolette is away from 27-31 July

Flu vaccine update

Flu vaccine is still available – currently we have vaccines for anyone aged 65+, children 6 months to 4 years of age, and anyone else who meets the criteria for a free vaccine from NSW Health (see list below).

We do not currently have any private vaccines for sale, but can write a script for you to obtain one from a pharmacy.

Remember that if you are keeping yourself safe from coronavirus you should also be protecting yourself from flu. There has been less influenza circulating currently compared to the same time last year. The influenza season tends to peak in late June, and through July/August. It is still useful to get a vaccine later in the season.

Before your appointment

Once you have booked your appointment, please read the information below about flu vaccines for 2020 and the checklist. If you have concerns about anything on the checklist or if you feel unwell on the day of your appointment, please call and make a time to speak to one of our doctors. Download checklist here

On the day of your appointment

  • If possible, only one parent/guardian should accompany a child into the session
  • People must not attend the session if they or their child have symptoms of a respiratory infection (such as fever, or a sore throat, or a runny nose, or shortness of breath or a cough) or have returned from overseas in the past 14 days or have been told to self-isolate
  • Let us know you have arrived but please wait outside the practice until you receive a call/SMS to ask you to enter

When you enter the practice

  • Use hand sanitiser provided at the entrance to the reception or waiting area
  • Please follow all instructions given by our staff

After the vaccination

  • We will ask you to wait for 10 minutes
  • You will receive an SMS the following day from Smartvax to check on any adverse reactions .You can also call the practice to report any concerns.

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
  • pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • people aged 65 years and over

Is the influenza vaccine safe?

As with any medications, vaccines can have side effects. The most common side effects following influenza vaccination include mild fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and injection site reactions. These can occur in the first three days after vaccination and can generally be managed safely at home.

Serious side effects are rare. In Australia, we have a system which monitors the safety of vaccines including seasonal influenza vaccines. This system uses a short SMS survey to ask patients, or parents of children, in a large number of general practices around Australia, if they experienced any health issues in the first few days after vaccination. In 2019, 93.9% of people that participated in the survey reported no adverse events following immunisation. Of the 6.1% of people that reported an adverse event the majority were generally mild and short lived.