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Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

General Health and Wellbeing, Gynaecology, Pregnancy

Novel Coronavirus 2019 Health Alert

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and the Australian Government has issued a health alert as a precaution.

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 is now a pandemic.

This is a developing situation and we understand that patients and their families may be concerned, or have questions about what to do or what to expect.

For accurate health information, please refer to the advice (updated daily) provided by the following sources:

Please note, this situation is changing on a day to day basis, please telephone us if you are unsure.

Alana will take all of the recommended precautions, in an effort to aid containment of the virus and protect both patients and our health care workers.  These precautions may include cancelling or postponing your appointment, or offering Telehealth appointments where appropriate.

Advice for Patients

If you have an upcoming appointment:  All appointments are currently proceeding as planned.  If any of the following applies to you:

  1. You have travelled overseas in the last 14 days, including disembarking from a cruise ship
  2. You are from or have visited one of the designated local COVID-19 hotspots
  3. You have been in casual or close contact with someone who has or is suspected of having COVID-19
  4. You have respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath

Please call us immediately, as we will need to reschedule your appointment or, if applicable, offer you a phone or video appointment instead.

If you are pregnant:  You should continue to take good care of your health as normal, and continue with your regular visits to your Alana Obstetrician, unless we advise you otherwise. If any of the above applies to you, or you develop respiratory symptoms or fever, please telephone your Alana Obstetrician on 02 9009 5255.

The Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has released information for pregnant women and their families.  You can read this information here.

Please note, due to COVID-19, the Prince of Wales Private Hospital is imposing visitor restrictions to the Special Care Nursery, Maternity Ward and Delivery Suite.  You can read about these restrictions here.

If you are due to have elective surgery:  It was announced that all elective surgery would be cancelled effective midnight on 25 March 2020, with the exception of Category 1 (within 30 days) and urgent Category 2 (within 90 days) procedures.  This applied to both public and private hospitals.  While Category 3 surgeries have now resumed, the earlier closures have created a backlog of procedures.  We appreciate your patience as we work through this challenging situation together.

If you have respiratory symptoms/fever:  In the presence of active symptoms and if any of the above applies to you, you should follow the health advice regarding testing and self-isolation.  Call your GP or call HealthDirect on 1800 022 222 to seek advice.

If you have recently attended an appointment with us and then you develop respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, please telephone us immediately.

When attending an Appointment with us

If you are attending an appointment in person:

  1. Please do not attend an appointment in person if you have respiratory symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath;
  2. Please attend your appointment alone. To support physical distancing please do not bring anyone with you to your appointment, unless you require a support person. Antenatal appointments are exempt from this rule, however we do request that, due to higher rates of gastroenteritis and URTI type illnesses, children remain at home.  Pre-approval is required for all partners/support persons;
  3. Disinfect your hands on arrival to the clinic, and at any point as instructed by practice staff;
  4. Wear a mask at all times inside our clinic. This does not have to be a medical grade mask. Investing in a reusable cloth mask is encouraged. If you do not have a mask, we can supply one to you for a small fee which will be added to your account at the end of your consultation.  Limit ONE MASK PER PATIENT and we cannot supply to partners/family.  No mask, no entry.
  5. Follow any instructions given by staff regarding what to do.

We may ask you to do some or all of the following:

  1. Complete a health screening questionnaire prior to proceeding to the consultation room;
  2. Wait in your car or outside the premises until the doctor/physiotherapist is ready to see you;
  3. Sit in a certain area or enter/exit via certain doors.

Revised Cancellation Policy

In the event you need to cancel your confirmed appointment at any stage due to diagnosis of, exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19, no cancellation fee will be charged.

Precautions we are taking

While we aim to continue providing medical care to our patients, Alana is implementing all of the recommendations to aid in minimising the spread of COVID-19.  These include:

  1. Enhanced infection control measures – including increased barrier protections, physical distancing, regular disinfection of the practice in general as well as disinfection of consulting rooms and high touch surfaces in-between patients;
  2. Transferring eligible appointments to Telehealth – any patient who does not have to physically attend the practice will be transferred to Telehealth instead, if appropriate;
  3. Spacing of appointments – appointments will be spaced to help observe physical distancing requirements and minimise exposure between patients;
  4. Reducing the number of chairs in the waiting rooms – to support physical distancing and help patients keep a safe distance from one another;
  5. Reducing surface exposure – we have removed all unnecessary items from reception and waiting rooms, including ornaments and magazines. We will take information verbally, where possible, instead of requiring completion of forms, unless it is a consent form;

Other measures will be implemented as required, on the advice from health authorities and as deemed necessary by the Medical Directors of Alana.

Precautions you can take

Although there is currently no vaccine against the novel coronavirus, there are established precautions that you can take. These include:

  1. Practice good hand hygiene – wash your hands regularly with alcohol based hand rub or soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after going to the toilet and before eating food;
  2. Practice good cough/sneeze etiquette – Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, and encourage others to do the same. Dispose of tissues immediately and wash your hands afterwards;
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands;
  4. Stay at home if you are sick;
  5. Practice physical distancing.  Where possible, keep 1.5 metres away from other people, especially those who have a respiratory illness; and
  6. Follow the advice of infection control experts!  Practicing social distancing!  Avoid large public gatherings!  The best thing you can do is STAY AT HOME, and only go out if absolutely necessary.

We all have an ethical responsibility to take all available measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Remember, if you are feeling concerned, the team at Alana are just a phone call away.