Menu Icon Search

COVID-19

Banner Image

LATEST Information Alert

18 May - For GPs and general practice

  • Information session on nbn services in a COVID-19 and post-COVID environment
  • UPDATE - CDNA Guidelines
  • NEW – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) update
  • NEW – Queensland-specific COVID-19 information in 31 languages
  • NEW – COVID-19 mental health hub for health professionals
  • Upcoming Webinars

18 May - Read full alert for GPs and general practice

Information session on nbn services in a COVID-19 and post-COVID environment

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN would like to invite you to an information session on nbn services in a COVID-19 and post-COVID environment.

DATE: Monday, 25 May 2020
TIME: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
TOPICS COVERED:

  • Background on nbn services in a COVID-19 and post-COVID environment
  • nbn support for medical and health services (similar to the attached information sheet)
  • information about the different plans and business support available to health providers
  • how to manage existing issues and who can you turn to resolve them?

Click here to access the webinar

UPDATE - CDNA Guidelines

The Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) has released the latest updates to its COVID- 19 National Guidelines for Public Health Units. Updates include ‘fatigue’ now being included as a symptom, clarification about organ donation, and a change in release criteria around high-risk areas.

The Case Definition has also been updated to include reference to serological testing as below:

Confirmed case
A person who:
i. tests positive to a validated specific SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test;
OR
ii. has the virus isolated in cell culture, with PCR confirmation using a validated method;
OR
iii. undergoes a seroconversion to or has a significant rise in SARS-CoV-2 neutralising or IgG
antibody level (e.g. four-fold or greater rise in titre).

Probable case
A person who:
i. has not been tested, with fever (≥38°C) or history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory
infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) AND is a household contact (refer to Contact
definition below) of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19;

OR

ii. has detection of SARS-CoV-2 neutralising or IgG antibody AND has had a compatible clinical
illness AND is a close contact (refer to Contact definition below) of a confirmed or probable case of
COVID-19.

Please note that serological testing in Queensland is currently undertaken with the guidance of
public health.

Click here to view the guidelines

NEW – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) update

The Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) has partnered with AMA Western Australia to expedite PPE availability, and established a dedicated ordering process for Queensland doctors.

The ordering platform is https://amamedicalproducts.com.au/collections/covid-19-pandemic-ppe, and the discount code is AMAQLD to receive a 5 per cent discount on the first order.

NEW – Queensland-specific COVID-19 information in 31 languages

Queensland Health’s Strategic Policy and Legislation Branch has published Queensland-specific COVID-19 information in 31 languages. Click here to view the resources

NEW – COVID-19 mental health hub for health professionals

TEN is an e-health hub and an app developed by the Black Dog Institute to support health professionals to manage life and work through COVID-19. TEN is part of the Australian Government’s $74 million package to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians.

The resource has been developed by health professionals, for health professionals, and provide a one-stop resource and help centre, providing self-assessment, self-management and treatment for stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.

Click here to view the hub

Upcoming Webinars

  • Black Dog Institute | Who is looking after us? Supporting health care workers during COVID-19 | Thursday, 21 May 1:00pm - 2:00pm and 8:00pm - 9:00pm | This webinar will discuss the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian health professionals | Click here to register
  • Digital Health CRC | Bringing telehealth and digital patient education together to support patient experience and health outcomes | Tuesday, 26 May 12:00pm - 1:00pm | With the rapid rollout of telehealth services being driven by COVID-19, how can we best integrate tools and resources that maximise engagement and the quality of the patient experience, support their ongoing self management and improve health outcomes | Click here to register
  • Australian Digital Health Agency | Electronic Prescribing Update for Prescribers | Wednesday, 27 May 6:30pm - 8:00pm | The session will cover an overview of the roadmap for electronic prescriptions including core features and benefits and how it may be used in routine practice. There will also be an opportunity for a Q&A | Click here to register
  • RACGP | Initiatives to support medicines safety (Activity no. 199593) - this is a recorded webinar | A raft of new digital initiatives are being introduced in Australia to support medicines safety. This webinar explains these initiatives and describe their benefits to medicines safety | Click here to view this webinar (available until midnight Friday, 5 June)

19 May - Legislative amendment enabling digital images of prescriptions

Legislative amendment enabling digital images of prescriptions

We are pleased to advise an amendment has been made to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (HDPR) to support the Commonwealth Government’s National Health (COVID-19 Supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits) Special Arrangement 2020.

The amendment:

  • enables a prescriber to send a digital image of a prescription to a dispenser
  • gives a temporary exemption from the requirement to send paper copies of some prescriptions to dispensers
  • recognises digital images of prescriptions sent and dispensed under the special arrangement since 26 March 2020 as complying with the HDPR.

Read the Factsheet for Prescribers for more information.
The amendment regulation may be found of the Queensland Legislation website sometime this week.

15 May - For allied health professionals

15 May - Surgical masks available for allied health professionals

On 19 April 2020, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced a one-off deployment of surgical masks from the National Medical Stockpile for allied health professionals.

This is a limited supply for allied health professionals who undertake work in such a way that they are in proximity to a patient for potential exposure to respiratory or oral secretions. This deployment of masks is intended for use only when services cannot be delayed for a symptomatic patient. PPE does not replace the need for modifications to practice such as telehealth and physical distancing. If a practitioner is unwell, they should not see patients.

If you are an allied health professional who works in proximity to patients and you have been unable to acquire masks through your usual supplier, you can request surgical masks from the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN by completing our Allied Health PPE Questionnaire. Please read the guidance on use of PPE in outpatient settings before requesting masks to ensure they are required.

PHN 1904029 Icons Summary Upload

Telehealth MBS Item Numbers

Whole of population telehealth now available

On 29 March 2020, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, announced: Whole of population telehealth for patients, general practice, primary care and other medical services to support the response to COVID-19. Find the full item descriptor(s) and information on other changes to the MBS on the MBS online summary webpage.

MBS Item Numbers as of 30 March 2020

> All Medicare eligible Australians can now access services via telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.

> The new temporary MBS telehealth items must be bulk billed and are for non-admitted patients.

> The bulk billing incentive Medicare fees will double for items relating to general practice, diagnostic imaging and pathology services.

> Medicare rebates paid for the new GP and medical practitioner telehealth services are at the same level as the rebates paid for the equivalent face-to-face services.

> General Practice telehealth/telephone item numbers now available for :

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessments
  • Chronic disease management plans and reviews
  • Mental health including mental health care plans and reviews
  • Eating disorder management
  • Pregnancy support
  • Autism management
  • Urgent after hours unsociable

> For more information and a list of the new MBS items, please read the COVID-19 Bulk Billed MBS Telehealth Services - GPs and Other Medical Practitioners factsheet and other relevant factsheets here.

> Find the full item descriptor(s) and information on other changes to the MBS on the MBS online summary webpage.

> Please email COVIDResponse@health.gov.au if you have a query relating to the COVID-19 telehealth MBS items.

healthdirect Australia Video Call

Our PHN offers free access to the healthdirect Australia Video Call platform for GPs and health care providers to use in our region. The platform allows you to deliver care to your patients via video consultation. Benefits of the Video Call platform include:

  • it's easy to use for consumers, web-based, requires no software download, uses low bandwidth and meets Medicare security requirements; and
  • the PHN can set your practice up with login details and offer training.

View a recent webinar about the capability of the healthdirect Australia Video Call platform.

Contact practicesupport@ddwmphn.com.au to learn more and get connected.

PHN 1904029 Icons Pharmacists Nurse MASK

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks

In response to the 2019 COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Health has now supplied Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN with an allocation of N95 masks and surgical masks.

N95 masks for specimen collection

These masks are for use by GPs who are specifically willing and able to undertake specimen collection in their practice as per the Department of Health advice.

  • the physical layout of your practice and whether it is suitable for isolation of patients presenting as a suspect case (including any post testing requirements);
  • whether you have access to all the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), not just masks; and
  • your confidence in infection control procedures across your whole practice.

Please note there are several pathology collection centres across the Darling Downs and West Moreton region who can collect specimens for testing.

Surgical masks are available

The Department of Health has made available a limited supply of surgical masks for general practice staff and people who may have had contact with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). For general practices located in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region, these masks will be distributed via our PHN.

Before requesting masks please consider:

  • Is there a local supply available commercially?
  • Does your practice have a population which is more likely to have been exposed to the novel coronavirus?
  • Does your practice have an unusual number of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms?

If you have an identified need for surgical masks at your practice, please contact our Primary Care Liaison team via email practicesupport@ddwmphn.com.au

Please include the quantity of masks that you would like to receive for consideration. We will only be releasing up to 100 masks per practice at this time due to limited supply.

Important Delivery Information

Please note:

  • We are currently processing all of the requests in accordance with the Department of Health guidelines.
  • Once processed, we will be distributing masks via courier only.
  • Due to the heavy demand on the courier services, can we please ask that you order your masks before you are completely out of stock.
  • Courier delivery can take between 1-3 days for local delivery from Springfield (possibly longer for rural areas) due to the current environment.
PHN 1904029 Icons Building 2

Fever and GP respiratory clinics now open

Fever Clinics

Fever Clinic - Baillie Henderson Hospital - Toowoomba

LOCATION:
Baillie Henderson Hospital, entrance via Burnview avenue off Mort street

OPEN TIMES:
9:00am - 4:00pm - Monday to Friday
10:00am - 4:00pm - Weekends and public holidays
NO APPOINTMENT OR REFERRAL IS REQUIRED. This is a drive up clinic. Patients will be seen in order of arrival.

TARGET GROUP:
Only patients with mild to moderate symptoms who meet the current criteria outlined in the Queensland Health Public Health Alert dated 14 March 2020. Please note: If your practice has capacity and the equipment/personal protective equipment (PPE) to assess and test patients who meet the criteria at your practice or via telehealth and referral to a private laboratory, please continue to do so.

PROCEDURE:
Patients can access the fever clinic through the Mort St entrance at Baillie Henderson Hospital. A sign will advise patients to STOP and phone the clinic. Patients can beep their car horn if they don't have access to a mobile phone. Patients will be triaged over the phone. Testing and/or clinical assessment will then occur via a doctor if needed. QAS will be called if any patients present severely unwell with breathing difficulty. The clinic is not equipped to manage severely ill patients.

MANAGING SEVERELY ILL PATIENTS:
If you or your staff assess a patient either in person or through telehealth to be severely unwell with breathing difficulties, call QAS for the patient as required.

Call the Toowoomba Base Hospital Emergency Department to let them know you have a severely unwell patient with breathing difficulty and suspected COVID-19. Due to the volume of calls being received, ensure you:

  • state your name and role;
  • state that you have a severely unwell patient with breathing difficulty and suspected COVID 19;
  • state patient observations or other symptoms/signs of severe concern. The consultant can then advise you on how to proceed.

Fever Clinic - Ipswich Hospital - Ipswich

Please tell patients to call the relevant hotline before presenting to the clinic in person.

Our hotlines are staffed by registered nurses who can answer questions about symptoms and testing criteria.

LOCATION:
Jubilee Building, downhill from Ipswich Hospital Emergency Department entrance

OPEN TIMES:
Hotline: 07 3413 7199 (8:00am to 8:00pm)
Open: 11:00am to 5:00pm, seven days a week – phone ahead on hotline

TARGET GROUP:
Only patients with mild to moderate symptoms who meet the current criteria outlined in the latest Queensland Health Public Health Alert will be tested. Please note: If your practice has the capacity, the equipment, the pathology referrals and the personal protective equipment (PPE) to assess and test patients who meet the criteria, please continue to do so either at your practice or via telehealth.

PROCEDURE:
Patients or their GPs should phone ahead on one of the dedicated phone hotlines to discuss symptoms and testing criteria before the patient presents at the hospital. If testing is recommended, the hotline nurse will provide instructions.

OUT OF HOURS:
Outside the clinics’ hours of operation, patients who meet the testing criteria should present to their closest emergency department for testing.

IN AN EMERGENCY:
If your patient is very unwell and has breathing difficulties, call Triple Zero (000) and advise the Queensland Ambulance Service that the patient they are transporting to Ipswich Hospital may have COVID-19.

Next, call the Ipswich Hospital Emergency Department triage nurse on 07 3810 1227 to let them know you have a severely unwell patient on the way to ED who may have COVID-19.

Ensure you state:

  • your name and role
  • patient observations and symptoms of concern.

The triage nurse will advise you on how to proceed.

Fever Clinic - Gatton Hospital - Gatton

Please tell patients to call the relevant hotline before presenting to the clinic in person.

Our hotlines are staffed by registered nurses who can answer questions about symptoms and testing criteria.

LOCATION:
Gatton Hospital, 97/103 William St, Gatton

OPEN TIMES:
Hotline: 07 5468 4113 (8:00am to 8:00pm)
Open: 8:00am to 4:00pm, seven days a week – phone ahead on hotline

TARGET GROUP:
Only patients with mild to moderate symptoms who meet the current criteria outlined in the latest Queensland Health Public Health Alert will be tested. Please note: If your practice has the capacity, the equipment, the pathology referrals and the personal protective equipment (PPE) to assess and test patients who meet the criteria, please continue to do so either at your practice or via telehealth.

PROCEDURE:
Patients or their GPs should phone ahead on one of the dedicated phone hotlines to discuss symptoms and testing criteria before the patient presents at the hospital. If testing is recommended, the hotline nurse will provide instructions.

OUT OF HOURS:
Outside the clinics’ hours of operation, patients who meet the testing criteria should present to their closest emergency department for testing.

IN AN EMERGENCY:
If your patient is very unwell and has breathing difficulties, call Triple Zero (000) and advise the Queensland Ambulance Service that the patient they are transporting to Ipswich Hospital may have COVID-19.

Next, call the Ipswich Hospital Emergency Department triage nurse on 07 3810 1227 to let them know you have a severely unwell patient on the way to ED who may have COVID-19.

Ensure you state:

  • your name and role
  • patient observations and symptoms of concern.

The triage nurse will advise you on how to proceed.

Rural locations

For clinics/hospitals in rural locations, please refer to your relevant HealthPathways COVID-19 Assessment and Management page and view 'COVID-19 Referrals'.

GP Respiratory Clinics

Greater Ipswich (Purga) - Flinders Peak GP Respiratory Clinic

As a part of the Australian Government Department of Health’s response to COVID-19 testing and management, GP respiratory clinics are being established in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region.

A GP Respiratory Clinic is now open at Flinders Peak Medical Centre in Purga (Greater Ipswich) to clinically assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or unusual fatigue).

If your practice does not have access to appropriate PPE/isolation rooms to assess patients with respiratory symptoms or test for COVID-19 when indicated, you can now refer them to the Flinders Peak Medical Centre GP Respiratory Clinic.

The respiratory clinics are staffed by GPs and will provide full assessment and management plans for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms. They are designed to complement existing fever clinics which have been established by the local hospital and health services.

Patients who present to the GP respiratory clinics who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be tested accordingly, with results to be carbon copied to their usual GP.

If a patient tests positive, the patient will be referred to the local Public Health Unit.

If a patient tests negative, the patient will be notified of the result by staff at Flinders Peak Medical Centre.

Depending on the symptoms of the patient, the patient will be referred back to their usual GP and/or provided with a management plan.

CLINIC DETAILS

Location: Flinders Peak Medical Centre, 355 Ipswich Boonah Rd, Purga QLD 4306
Operating hours by appointment: 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:30am to 12:00pm Saturday and Sunday.
Making a booking: Anyone wishing to be seen at the Respiratory Clinic needs to make an appointment. To make an appointment or for more information, call 07 5464 6765.

Additional respiratory clinics are being established in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region and information about these clinics will be shared once they are operational.

Toowoomba - Carbal Medical Services GP Respiratory Clinic

As a part of the Australian Government Department of Health’s response to COVID-19 testing and management, GP respiratory clinics are being established in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region.

The Toowoomba (Carbal Medical Services) GP-led Respiratory Clinic is now open at 18-24 Charnley Street, Kearneys Spring to clinically assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or unusual fatigue).

If your practice does not have access to appropriate PPE/isolation rooms to assess patients with respiratory symptoms or test for COVID-19 when indicated, you can now refer them to the respiratory clinic.

The respiratory clinics are staffed by GPs and nurses and will provide full assessment and management plans for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms. They are designed to complement existing fever clinics which have been established by the local hospital and health services and are generally staffed by nurses to assess and test only patients meeting current COVID-19 testing criteria.

Patients who present to the GP respiratory clinics who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be tested accordingly, with results to be carbon copied to their usual GP.

If a patient tests positive, the patient will be referred to the local Public Health Unit.

If a patient tests negative, the patient will be notified of the result by staff at the respiratory clinic.

Depending on the symptoms of the patient, the patient will be referred back to their usual GP and/or provided with a management plan.

CLINIC DETAILS

Location:Toowoomba (Carbal Medical Services) Respiratory Clinic, 18-24 Charnley St, Kearneys Spring QLD 4350
Operating hours by appointment:8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday
Making a booking: Anyone wishing to be seen at the respiratory clinic needs to make an appointment. To make an appointment call 07 4580 1400 or book online via https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/kearneys-spring-QLD-4350/toowoomba-carbal-respiratory-clinic/doctorsor you can access hotdoc.com.au and search Toowoomba Respiratory Clinic.

Warwick - Condamine Medical Centre GP Respiratory Clinic

As a part of the Australian Government Department of Health’s response to COVID-19 testing and management, GP respiratory clinics are being established in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region.

A GP Respiratory Clinic is now open at Condamine Medical Centre in Warwick to clinically assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or unusual fatigue).

If your practice does not have access to appropriate PPE/ isolation rooms to assess patients with respiratory symptoms or test for COVID 19 when indicated, you can now refer them to Condamine Medical Centre GP Respiratory Clinic.

The respiratory clinics are staffed by GPs and will provide full assessment and management plans for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms. They are designed to complement existing fever clinics (generally staffed by nurses) which have been established by the local hospital and health services.

Patients who present to the GP respiratory clinics who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be tested accordingly, with results to be carbon copied to their usual GP.

If a patient tests positive, the patient will be referred to the local Public Health Unit.

If a patient tests negative, the patient will be notified of the result by staff at Condamine Medical Centre.

Depending on symptoms, the patient will be referred back to their usual GP.

CLINIC DETAILS

Location: 67 Guy St, Warwick QLD 4370
Operating hours by appointment: 9:00am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 11:30am Saturday.
Making a booking: Anyone wishing to be seen at the Respiratory clinic needs to make an appointment. For bookings or more information phone 07 4666 9666.

Greater Ipswich (Booval) - Kambu GP Respiratory Clinic

As a part of the Australian Government Department of Health’s response to COVID-19 testing and management, GP respiratory clinics are being established in the Darling Downs and West Moreton region.

A GP Respiratory Clinic is now open at Kambu - Booval in Greater Ipswich to clinically assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or unusual fatigue).

This Kambu - Booval GP Respiratory Clinic is only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their immediate families.

The respiratory clinics are staffed by GPs and will provide full assessment and management plans for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms. They are designed to complement existing fever clinics (generally staffed by nurses) which have been established by the local hospital and health services.

Patients who present to the GP respiratory clinics who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be tested accordingly.

If a patient tests positive, the patient will be referred to the local Public Health Unit.

If a patient tests negative, the patient will be notified of the result by staff Kambu Health.

CLINIC DETAILS

Location: Kambu - Booval, 3/160 Brisbane Road, Booval QLD 4304
Operating hours by appointment: 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday to Friday
Making a booking: Anyone wishing to be seen at the respiratory clinic needs to make an appointment. For bookings or more information phone 0408 699 432

PHN 1904029 Icons Medical Symbol

Information and resources

Information for GPs and health care professionals

Support for GPs and general practices

Financial support measures for general practices

There is a variety of support measures in place for general practices affected by the impact of COVID-19. These include support measures recently announced by the Australian Government, the Queensland Government, tax relief initiatives via the Australian Taxation Office and support packages from Australian banks.

Click here to view available support.

Other support

During events such as the current coronavirus situation, additional pressure may be placed on GPs and practice staff as frontline workers through increased patient attendance to the practice, responding to fear and anxiety amidst the community and staying up to date as the situation evolves.

It is important during such times that GPs and practice staff take time to care for themselves and take the opportunity to debrief with colleagues.

If you require additional support, services are available, specifically developed for GPs.

  • RACGP: The GP Support Program - This is a free and confidential psychological support service available to all members. Call 1300 361 008 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
  • Queensland Doctors Health Program and Doctors Health Advisory Service - The QDHP provides independent, confidential, colleague-to-colleague support service to assist doctors and medical students.
  • AMA Anonymous Peer Support Line (Also available to non-members) - 1300 853 338
  • DRS4DRS - is an independent program providing confidential support and resources to doctors and medical students across Australia, by doctors. Confidential phone advice is available 24/7 for any doctor or medical student in Australia via each state/territory helpline and referral service. Call 07 3833 4352.
  • Lifeline - 13 11 14

Upcoming webinars and recorded webinars

Upcoming Webinars

Recorded Webinars

PHN 1904029 Icons Population

Contacting your Public Health Unit

Please discuss any cases of concern with your local Public Health Unit immediately so that appropriate actions and testing can be organised.

GPs are advised to notify their relevant Public Health Units of 'suspect cases' of COVID-19.

Darling Downs Health

Please use this DDH Public Health Unit Notification Form.

P: 07 4699 8240 (business hours) P: 07 3646 1699 (after hours)

West Moreton Health

Please use this WMH Public Health Unit Notification Form.

P: 07 3818 4700 (business hours) P: 07 3176 2111 (after hours, ask for public health)

PHN 1904029 Icons News

Previous COVID-19 Alerts and Updates

Missed an alert? Access all of our COVID-19 alerts and updates below.

On this page you'll find:

Quick links loading...