Important Changes to Our Practice
Updated Tuesday 17th March, 2020
On the 11th of March 2020, COVID-19 has been classified as a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Providing a safe environment for our patients and the communities we operate in will always be a priority.
We are doing all we can to keep our patients and team safe as well as play our role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19. This includes following the advice of the Public Health Department, Australian Government and World Health Organisation.
Is it still safe to visit Latrobe Family Medical Practice?
Yes. Our number one priority is both staff and patient safety. As such we have instituted the following changes:
- All patients, regardless of symptoms, that have returned from overseas are required to self isolate for 14 days.
- All patients that have symptoms of fever, a cough and have travelled or potentially had contact with the virus are not to attend the clinic. Please ring the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738
- All phone calls and online bookings are screened to ensure no cough, fever, cold and flu symptoms.
- Those with symptoms or a fever that have not travelled or believe they have been in close contact with the virus are being requested to remain isolated upon attending the clinic.
- Every patient has their temperature checked by a staff member before entering the building.
Telehealth options now offered
On March 13th 2020, Medicare via the federal government introduced bulk-billed telehealth item numbers for practices that can be used for patients who meet certain criteria (please see below for more detail).
These appointments can be booked as alternative to attending the clinic by phoning our reception on (03) 6426 1141. You will be asked several questions to determine if you are eligible
Patients who are already booked with doctors may be contacted by our reception team to offer the following alternatives:
- Having a telehealth appointment at the same day and time with the original doctor.
(If patients don’t meet the criteria a practice fee will be applicable. Unfortunately a Medicare rebate will not apply. We are continuing to lobby for broader criteria)
- Rescheduling the appointment for the same doctor at a later date.
People in home isolation or quarantine as a result of the coronavirus, and those at high risk of complications if exposed to it, will be eligible for bulk-billed telehealth consultations with doctors, nurses and mental-health professionals.
Eligible vulnerable groups include:
- people aged over 70
- Indigenous people aged over 50
- people with chronic health conditions or whose immune system is compromised
- a parent with children under 12 months
- pregnant women.
Thanks for being pro-active to all our patients.
As you can imagine, we are experiencing exceptionally high volumes of calls and enquiries and apologise for the occasions where our call waiting times may be a little longer than usual.
So what can you do?
- Social distancing – avoid hugs, kissing, and keep a meter gap. Reduce travel unless essential, especially using public transport or airports.
Cough etiquette – cough away from people into the crook of elbow. If you have a cough or cold with or without fever wear a mask and self- isolate until completely cleared. Use disposable tissues and throw into trash.
- Personal hygiene – wash hands frequently – for minimum 20 seconds including backs of hands and between fingers. Try to avoid contact with potentially infected surfaces eg door handles, rails, table tops etc. If travelling use disposable wipes to handle door handles, taps, etc.
- Possible infection – If you develop a cough or fever, and/ or have recently travelled or been in contact with someone who has, ring the public health hotline number 1800 671 738 for advice. Do NOT attend your GP owing to risk of infecting other vulnerable patients. If you have essential medical reasons for attending for an assessment you MUST warn reception staff when making an appointment. You will be placed in isolation and suitable protective equipment will be worn by attending nurses and doctors.
- Self isolation – is mandatory if recently returned from overseas travel or had contact with positive cases, been tested and are awaiting results, or tested positive.
Phone consultations: we are attempting to do as much work as possible over the phone to keep vulnerable patients away from the practice.
- Influenza vaccine – to reduce the risk of co-infection.
For general Coronavirus enquiries please ring the Coronavirus National Hotline on
1800 020 080