The weather is starting to warm up and the days are getting longer. Lots more Australian sun to enjoy but also to protect ourselves from as summer approaches. Whether you work or play in the outdoors, now is a good time to get your skin checked for early signs of skin cancer.

Do you have a spot you have always wondered about? Has something new appeared? There’s a sore that never seems to heal and has been worrying you? All are important reasons too for a skin check.

At Busselton Medical Practice we offer dedicated skin cancer appointments with doctors who have done further training in skin cancer medicine. They are also well equipped to deal with management of any areas of concern within the practice.

So, don’t put in off any longer. Make a booking today by telephoning us on 97521133 and ask for a dedicated skin cancer check appointment.

 

Our recent after hours flu clinics held over the weekend proved a hit with hundreds of patients taking the opportunity to get a flu shot before the flu season arrives. This was a new initiative by Busselton Medical Practice to protect older people from exposure to disease.

 

The after hours clinics have been such a success that they will continue over the coming weekends.  The clinics will cater for all patients that are eligible for Government funded vaccines.

 

  

  • Children aged six months to five years.
  • Primary school aged children.
  • People aged 65 years and over.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over.
  • People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions meaning they have a higher risk of flu complications (e.g. diabetes, severe asthma, lung or heart disease).

Flu vaccine: Frequently asked questions.

Coronavirus

It is apparent that in the coming weeks the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China will spread to Australia to a significant degree. The television footage of Chinese health workers head to toe in protective suits, together with many questions yet to be answered about the virus and its health effects, has led to high levels of community anxiety. So, what should we all be doing in Busselton?

The first point to make is that our knowledge of the virus is continuing to evolve and so any advice given now may change over time. It is an important time to stay up to date with health recommendations. The Federal Government website below provides updated information:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that initially causes a flu like illness with fever, sore throat, cough and fatigue. For most people this is as bad as it will get, and they will make a full recovery. Current estimates are that about 25% of people in Australia may end up becoming infected should there be an outbreak here.

The virus can cause a pneumonia particularly in vulnerable people such as the aged and those with chronic health diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. The experience in China is that the death rate is about 2-3% in all people infected although the rate currently being reported outside of China seems to be lower than this. This is about what can happen with some strains of seasonal Influenza.

It is thought to primarily to be spread by droplets released on coughing and sneezing. People then come in contact with these droplets either through inhaling them or picking up the droplets left on surfaces that may then be transferred by their hands to their mouth, nose or eyes. It is for this reason that good hygiene practices should be adopted when you have symptoms of a cold or flu and those around you should likewise be mindful of how they can catch a virus like this. The WHO website has some excellent information on this.

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

People who have travelled overseas recently or are planning on doing so may be more at risk than others of contracting the virus. This situation and recommendations are changing as the virus spreads. A good source of information on this is found on the Smart Traveller website.

https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19

If you have symptoms of a cold or flu and wish to see a doctor at Busselton Medical Practice, we ask that you take the following steps first:

  • If you have a high fever with shortness of breath or a persistent and productive severe cough, then you should attend the emergency department of the hospital.
  • If the above does not apply, then when you telephone for an appointment or when you arrive at the practice let our reception staff know of your symptoms.
  • If you have travelled overseas in the last 2-3 weeks and have cold or flu symptoms then we ask that you stay outside the building, ideally in your car and telephone our front desk to let us know you are here. You will then be advised of the next steps.
  • Anyone with cold or flu symptoms entering the building will be asked to use the hand sanitiser outside the building and to put on a mask before coming in.
  • Anyone who is at high risk of COVID-19 as determined by triage by our nurses will either be asked to wait in their car or outside. If it is clinically necessary that they must enter the building, then they will wait in a separate room isolated from other patients.

In the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 these steps are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus to other patients and to our staff who are particularly at risk with constant potential exposure.

A large outbreak of COVID-19 will test the health system of the country and our own medical practice. At present, in our local area, the risk of contracting this virus is extremely low and it is important to not unnecessarily consume resources such as face mask and hand sanitiser. These may become in increasingly short supply should an outbreak occur. Again, the following website is a good place to look for information:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know

Most importantly, stay alert to the changing recommendations and be mindful of good hygiene practices if you or those around you have a respiratory illness. If you feel unwell enough to see the doctor, then ring ahead first so we can plan to manage your case in the safest way for you and the community.

The last 3 weeks, for us all, has been filled with making and adjusting to change. Each day has brought new problems, compromises and frustrations to our ways of working and living.

The way we deliver health care in General Practice has been overhauled to help contain the spread of CoVID-19 while still being able to provide as close to usual care of our patients as we can. We have rushed to adjust to this and now can draw breath to reflect and refine our processes.

A priority for us has been to ensure we can stay open and do not provide a venue for the sick and elderly to pick up the virus. The most immediate concern has been to make sure that people and staff do not attend the practice if they have symptoms that could be found in CoVID-19. In addition, we have tried to reduce the amount of people coming to the practice. We have also ensured we have equipment and processes to keep our staff safe at work.

We thank all our patients for their understanding and forbearance during this period. Current changes you will notice include:

Triage:

When you make an appointment and arrive at the practice our receptionists will ask you questions to initially assess if you have any risks for CoVID-19 transmission. If you do, then you will not be permitted to enter the practice. Any further assessment will be done by our doctors or nurses over the telephone or in your car in order to work out how best we can provide you with care that is safe for us all.

 

Telehealth:

To reduce the traffic of people through the practice, all new appointments will be in the form of a telephone call or video conference with a doctor. The doctor will then decide if you need to be seen in person and arrange a timely appointment. We have found most problems can be dealt with over the phone and people, particularly the elderly, are grateful not have to leave home to access care. On making a telehealth appointment our receptionists will explain the process to you. Importantly, thanks to a Federal Government initiative, almost all telehealth consultations can be bulk billed.

Face to face appointments:

We can assure you that if you need to be seen in person, you will be. Mostly this will be arranged through a prior telehealth consultation. However, there are some more routine care issues that do require attendance and will be arranged beforehand with our knowledge. These include things such as:

  • Pap smears and other automatic recalls from the practice
  • Driving medicals
  • Therapies such as prolia injections, venesections, iron infusions and chemotherapy
  • Skin cancer removals
  • Wound care
  • Childhood immunisations
  • Pregnancy care

Influenza Immunisation:

This year is a challenging time to administer flu vaccines as the demand has greatly increased, we have to deal with social distancing issues and not surprisingly the supply of vaccines is proving a problem. You may find yourself in one of three categories:

  • 65 Years and older (free government vaccines)

We are conducting flu vaccine clinics each weekend for the near future. Please ring up and make an appointment for this. These vaccines are being given on the practice veranda with strict social distancing rules in place. We do not have any problems with the supply of these vaccines currently.

  • Other free government vaccines
  • Under 65 years with chronic health issues
  • Children from age 6 months to year 6 at primary school
  • Pregnant women
  • Aboriginal people 6 months to 65 years

Currently we have no supply of these particular vaccines. When they become available, we will be holding flu vaccine clinics within the next month. When they are here, we will notify via Facebook and our website. Our receptionists will also advise you if you phone.

  • All others under 65 years of age (not free or government supplied)

We have a limited supply of these vaccines unfortunately, and they are proving hard to source. Please ring to see if they are available and if so, we can arrange it. Another option is to seek an immunisation through a community pharmacy or perhaps your workplace.

Unwell patients with respiratory symptoms

If you have a fever and/or symptom of cough, shortness of breath or sore throat then you must present to the emergency department of Busselton Health Campus. Be sure to ring the phone number on the front door for advice before entering the building. We will not see you at the practice as you need screening for CoVID-19 with full precautions and this can only be done at the hospital.

As the lengthy period of living in the CoVID-19 world progresses, we will in all likelihood continue to change how we deliver care at BMP. Please watch for our Facebook and website posts www.busseltondoctors.com.au

We thank you for your understanding of the changes we have had to make and in the spirit of the times look forward to getting through this difficult time through mutual support. Stay distanced, stay home where possible and always wash your hands!

BULK BILLING NOW AVAILABLE

Busselton Medical Practice is now bulk billing all Medicare eligible services for Pensioners and children under 16 years of age, who have a valid Medicare card.  

Book your next appointment online by downloading the Appointuit app, or via this web page, alternatively you can call the friendly reception staff on 9752 1133.

New patients welcome.

There is some alarm in the community with regard to reported cases of meningococcal disease and confusion about the availability of vaccines to prevent this disease. There are several sub types of the bacteria Meningococcus and unfortunately there is no single vaccine to cover them all. Meningococcal infection is a rapid developing and a life threatening disease causing meningitis and an overwhelming septicaemia (infection of the blood).

The current childhood immunisation scheme delivers a vaccine against Meningococcal C at 12 months of age together with other routine vaccines. This has been the case for many years.

The WA Health Department has recently started to provide the second type of Meningococcal vaccine against strains ACWY. This is to combat the 2 strains that are currently causing concern. Initially this has been through the schools for teens between the ages of 15 to 19 inclusive. In addition all medical practices have been provided with stock to immunise these same age groups if they missed out on the school program or have now left school. So if you are eligible or have a child who is in these age groups we urge you strongly to make an appointment for this free vaccine.

The Meningococcal ACWY vaccine is still indicated for other children (and adults) as well but is currently not free. It can be used down to the age of 2 months of age and we also suggest parents come in to discuss the need for this with their doctor.

The third vaccine is against Meningococcal B virus (trade name Bexsero) which is the commonest form of meningococcal disease in Australia. Again it is not free and can be used in everyone down to the age of 2 months. If you are considering the ACWY vaccine then the Meningococcal vaccine should also be discussed with your doctor.

So if you are between the ages of 15-19 years inclusive then make an appointment to see us for your free vaccine.  We also strongly believe that parents should also discuss the need for a full vaccination program for their children against all types of Meningococcal disease.