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!