We are now more than a month into the ‘Black Swan’ event that has changed all of our lives.
We are fortunate that General Practice is an essential service, but providing that service carries risks. The new telehealth item numbers have made it
easier to continue to provide services to our patients. This is safer for them and us, however some patients need to be seen face to face.
While some of you are very familiar with telehealth, many have been on a learning curve, with its gradient dependent on experience. GPSA has developed
a COVID19 resource kit with input from our membership base. Our resources complement the Covid 19 resources that can be found on Department of Health
websites – Federal and State, your College website, APHRA and your medical defence and are particularly focussed on practical ideas for keeping your practices
viable, supporting your registrar, doctors and staff. GPSA along with the AMA, RDAA, both Colleges and Australian GP Alliance are in constant communication
with Health departments and Health ministers, advocating on our behalf.
GPSA has also been advocating on your behalf with letters to:
GPSA has been active in the education space with several webinars since the Covid 19 crisis started.
Recordings of these Webinars can be found on the GPSA website under Educational resources.
For the foreseeable future our registrars will need more support than ever. Not only education and supervision of the new telehealth consultations
(in addition to face to face consultations), but ensuring they are kept informed of how your practice is adapting to the new environment and are able
to contribute to discussions. Registrars typically don’t have an existing relationship with many patients until later in their term and are least experienced
in dealing with uncertainty. Please ensure (where patients are available) that your registrar continues to see at least the minimum number of patients
stipulated by your College. This will require constant monitoring by the Principal Supervisor and Practice Manager and lateral thinking in providing
clinical material for them.
Get them involved with flu vaccine sessions, seeing patients with nurses in the treatment room, etc. Formal teaching can be done online. Remember
social distancing rules if you continue to do these face to face.
Keep in touch with your colleagues. My practice will be having a weekly online Zoom meeting with all Doctors. During the week we will keep in touch
with internal email. We are practising social distancing with work colleagues. RACGP Victoria is providing a weekly webinar with the Vic Health department.
Check with your State/Territory ACRRM/RACGP College faculty to see if something similar is being offered.
My RTO (EVGPT) has closed its offices and all staff will be working from home. All face to face activities such as ECTV’s, Workplace based assessments,
Registrar release and Supervisor PD have been suspended and alternatives are in place or being explored. We are receiving regular updates and I assume
all RTO’s will be doing the same. Check with your RTO if uncertain.
Some practices are already reporting a drop of 50% or more of their income. The next six months will be stormy. Please continue to share ideas as I have
said above through GPSA to support each other and our registrars.