An Update From Dr. Tim O’Brien Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Watch the video below to learn more about the steps we’re taking at Sunnybank Hills Medical Centre.

Video Transcript:

The coronavirus has affected and will continue to affect every aspect of our day to day lives during this pandemic. For healthcare, it presents a unique challenge to protect the community, to slow the spread and to help our most vulnerable.

At Sunnybank Hills Medical Centre we are stepping up to do what we have always done – look after our patients and those in need. We realized that during these times, changes in the way we conduct our medical practice can have positive effects in slowing the spread of this disease. It is our hope that through this, we can be there for our community, protect the vulnerable and ease the burden for our colleagues in the hospital system.

Here is what we’re doing.

1. Phone Triage: Our reception staff have been educated and upskilled in the management of patients with suspected coronavirus. Patients who notify us, of symptoms before attending our practice will be asked not to enter the practice until precautions are put in to place. This message is reinforced with signage placed at the entrance to the centre.

All patients deemed at risk will be fitted with a surgical mask and will be placed in an isolated area, if appropriate. All necessary measures will be taken as per public health protocol. We will work with our public health unit and direct appropriate patients to the established fever clinics. By following these measures GPs and practice staff can deal with patients, avoid self-isolating for fourteen days and remain healthy and useful on the front line.

2. Extended Waiting Room: We have extended our waiting room facility to include a covered waiting area in the open-air car park.

3. Distancing Measures: Addition of barriers in our reception to help protect our frontline staff and to decrease the spread through distancing measures.

4. Daily meetings amongst our clinical and reception staff so that we can stay on top of the unfolding situation. We are in regular communication with our public health unit to deliver the best care for our patients.

5. Private Examination Area: designated private examination area removed from the practice and situated in our lower car park. This is for any patients with a temperature or symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

6. Swift utilization of Telehealth: Bulk billed Telehealth consults to those who are eligible, privately billed consults for other patients. At the doctor’s discretion, scripts may be supplied as part of a Telehealth interview. More on this in our next video.

7. Allied Health & Pharmacy: Working more than ever with allied health, pharmacy to create new ways of helping our patients.

So that’s what we’re doing.  What can you do you may ask. Be rational. Stay calm and be informed. The Department of Health website is an excellent resource for up to date information. Reach out to your GP. Be empowered. Focus on the positive actions you can do to help your community. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, employ social distancing. Your actions can help protect the vulnerable.

Be responsible. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, self-isolate, phone the National Coronavirus Helpline for advice on 1800 020 080 or phone your GP for medical advice.

Be thoughtful. This is a tough time for everyone in our community. Look after each other. In saying that, look after yourself – both your physical and mental health. Everyone can do their part during this time. Working in general practice brings with it a great privilege and responsibility to help those who need it.

At Sunnybank Hills Medical Centre we are up for the challenge and we know our community is to.