The information on this page is the latest information and resources for General Practices.

Healthdirect Hotline: 1800 022 222

Public Health Unit: 1300 066 055 

If you require clinical advice on matters relating to Communicable Diseases or other Public Health issues outside of normal hours, please contact your nearest Public Health Unit.

Bathurst: 0428 400 526

Dubbo: 0428 400 526

Broken Hill: 0419 917 426

 

Amber Alert Issued by NSW Health

Given the current context of local transmission, NSW Health has advised LHDs / SCHNs to escalate to a moderate risk level (Amber).

This requires all health workers to wear a surgical mask if they are within 1.5m of patients. Patients are also required to wear a mask, where possible.

This advice applies to hospital and community health settings and came into effect on Friday 24 July 2020.

RACGP is supporting this new directive from NSW Health for all healthcare workers to wear a face mask when physical distancing is not possible. This applies to all face-to-face consultations, regardless of symptoms.

Message from NSW Health Secretary, Elizabeth Koff

COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Response and escalation framework

COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Amber Alert Poster

AMBER ALERT FAQS

WNSW PHN Surgical Mask Request Form

 

Expand each section below for further information


Patient Care

For people with suspected infection:

If a patient calls you, check any recent overseas travel history when assessing symptoms.

If a patient presents to you without calling:

  • Ask the patient to wear a surgical mask and move them to a separate room.
  • Use standard, contact and airborne transmission precautions, including a P2 (N95) mask, disposable gown, gloves, and eye protection if available, when entering the room.
  • Immediately contact your Public Health Unit (1300 066 055) who will arrange a phone risk assessment and advise on next steps. If further assessments and testing are recommended, this will generally be arranged at a hospital emergency department.

COVID-19 TASKFORCE SUSPECTED CASE FLOWCHARTTALKING TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ABOUT COVID-19CLINICAL EVIDENCE TASKFORCE - CARING FOR PEOPLE WITH COVID-19

ACTIVATING FAMILY NETWORKS DURING COVID-19

ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES - CULTURALLY SAFE PRACTICES 

NACCHO COVID-19 PRIMARY HEALTHCARE GUIDANCe for Indigenous People

chILD PROTECTION RISK ISSUES AND PRACTICE CONSIDERATIONS 

PARTNERING WITH WOMEN AND CHILDREN EXPERIENCING VIOLENCE

Approved COVID-19 Testing Practices

COVID-19 TASKFORCE SUSPECTED CASE FLOWCHART

WNSW PHN urges all Health Professionals to abide by advice from NSW Health in relation to testing for COVID-19.

COVID-19 PATIENT JOURNEY & TESTING OPTIONS

NSW Health COVID-19 Testing Clinic Information for Patients

NSW HEALTH COVID-19 CASE DEFINITION AND TESTING ADVICE

NSW HEALTH COVID-19 TESTING CRITERIA

COVID-19 CDNA NATIONAL GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS

When considering methods of testing it is important to understand the pre-test probability, the sensitivity of the test regarding what you are testing for, the interpretation of results and accuracy of that interpretation. It is easy to get this very wrong, and the ramifications are very serious.

Point of Care COVID-19 Serology Testing:

The current version of the POC Serology Test suffers from an unacceptably low sensitivity for COVID-19, and therefore has no clinical utility and should not be used.

PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORY NETWORK STATEMENT ON POINT-OF-CARE SEROLOGY TESTING FOR SARS-COV-2

Self-Swabbing

The process of obtaining an acceptable oro/nasopharyngeal sample is extremely uncomfortable for a patient and requires considerable technical skill.  Patients are incredibly unlikely to possess the necessary technical skills to perform the test, and it would be almost impossible for a patient to tolerate a self-collected nasopharyngeal swab. 

Self-swabbing would, therefore, increase the risk of false-negative test results due to sampling error, and false-negative test results are worse than not performing the test in the first place.  I strongly recommend against self-collection. 

Guide to Getting Patient Test Results

NSW Health has provided details on how Testing Services can send, and patients' regular GP can have access to, patient COVID-19 test results.

Any practices experiencing difficulties in accessing patient test results are asked to provide this information to WNSW PHN COVID-19 Coordinator, Tabitha Jones, by emailing:   Tabitha.Jones@wnswphn.org.au

ACCESS THE PATIENT RESULTS ACCESS GUIDE HERE

Respiratory Clinic Referral Documents

Template

Date Effective

Word Doc

PDF

Best Practice

Medical Director

Respiratory Clinics                                                                              May 2020 Word PDF

WNSW PHN Respiratory Clinics FAQ's

Bathurst Respiratory Clinic Flyer

BROKEN HILL RESPIRATORY CLINIC FLYER

COBAR RESPIRATORY CLINIC FLYER

COWRA RESPIRATORY CLINIC FLYER

DUBBO RESPIRATORY CLINIC FLYER

MUDGEE RESPIRATORY CLINIC FLYER

ORANGE RESPIRATORY CLINIC FLYER

AHMRC Pandemic Toolkit

The ACCHS Pandemic Response Toolkit may be a useful resource for Member Services in planning for and responding to pandemics.

Access the AHMRC Pandemic Toolkit

Electronic Prescribing

Commencement of Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Prescriptions) Regulation 2020

Community pharmacists in NSW can now dispense a prescription for most medicines using an image of the prescription received by email or fax, rather than requiring a paper prescription.

This temporary measure will better support patients, prescribers and pharmacists during the COVID-19 response, and allow better integration of the prescription and supply of medicines with the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 response telehealth reforms.

NSW Health Image-Based Prescriptions for Medical Practitioners Information

NSW Health Prescribing Advice for Health Practitioners

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH - ELECTRONIC PRESCRIBING INFORMATION

Cancer + COVID-19

BreastScreen NSW services during COVID-19

BreastScreen NSW has recommenced taking bookings during COVID-19.

BreastScreen NSW Information for Healthcare Providers

BreastScreen NSW Screening Centre & Mobile Screening

Enquiries to BreastScreen NSW can be made by calling 13 20 50.

 

National Cervical Screening Program

The cancerscreening.gov.au website has been updated to provide Healthcare Providers with guidance about managing cervical screening participants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended management of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the cancellation of elective surgeries

 

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Chris O`Brien Lifehouse remains COVID19 free and is NSW’s dedicated cancer-only hospital. GPs can access multidisciplinary cancer teams, including Telehealth consults across all tumour streams for their patients.

Their aim is to ensure access to timely cancer treatment options and plans during this pandemic, we will ensure patients receive care and treatment close to home as we work closely with all medical and radiation oncology teams across NSW.

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse Website

High-Risk Therapies During COVID-19

The ACI Respiratory Network has responded to queries and concerns raised by clinicians about the use of respiratory therapies that generate aerosolised particles by developing a range of Factsheets.

These therapies are capable of transmitting respiratory viruses including COVID-19; thus they are considered high risk.

Not all will be related to general practice; however, nebulisers might be for some practices. 

High-Risk Therapies - Non-Invasive Ventilation Factsheet

High-risk Therapies - High Flow Nasal Pring Oxygen Factsheet

High-Risk Therapies - Nebulisers

Safety of Corticosteroid injections during COVID-19

Dr Joel Riley (Consultant Rheumatologist and General Physician, Dubbo) strongly advises that intra-articular, soft tissue, and perineural steroid injections should be avoided whenever possible during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the risk of reduced immunity to viral exposure.

At present, in his clinical practice, he is not performing or referring for any parenteral steroid injection for degenerative diseases (degenerative disc disease, trochanteric bursitis, facet joint arthropathy, etc). In inflammatory conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, etc) he is attempting to use the absolute minimal steroid dose possible to get disease under control.

This is in line with the British Society of Skeletal Radiologists' advice on corticosteroid injections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Society of Skeletal Radiologists Report

Advice for Immunisation Services During COVID-19

Updated advice has been provided by NSW Health to assist with planning and managing vaccinations clinics while coinciding with the COVID-19 response.

Immunisation providers should continue to offer immunisation services with enhanced infection control measures.

NSW Health - Immunisation Services during COVID-19

Advice for Immunisation Services During COVID-19

CLINICAL ADVICE FOR VACCINATION PROVIDERS

2020 SEASONAL INFLUENZA VACCINES

2020 NATIONAL IMMUNISATION PROGRAM (NIP) INFLUENZA VACCINES

Drive-in Influenza Vaccination Clinics

FAQ'S FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE

Printable Resources for your Patients and Clients

DON’T TAKE THE RISK THIS SEASON Brochure

DON’T TAKE THE RISK THIS SEASON Poster

FLU IN KIDS CAN BE SERIOUS Poster

LET’S KEEP OUR MOB SAFE FROM FLU Poster

NSW Ambulance Authorised Care Plans During COVID-19

In response to the current demand on services regarding COVID-19, NSW Ambulance Models of Care Unit is changing the processing, endorsement and return of Authorised Care Plans.

Plans can be submitted via ambulance-authorisedcareplans@health.nsw.gov.au
Plan information can be accessed here

Letter of Notice - Change of Process from NSW Ambulance

NSW Health Secondary Triage Information for RACFs

COVID-19 Dementia Help Sheets

Dementia Australia has released four Help Sheets outlining tips for people living with dementia, carers, families and friends of people living with dementia, residential care providers and home care providers.

Access the Dementia Australia Help Sheets Here

Masks & PPE and Ordering

The Australian Government, through WNSW PHN, is distributing Surgical Masks for General Practices and, in the case of a lack of local commercial supply, Community Pharmacies.

Medical staff should be using either P1/surgical or P2/N95 masks, and be sure to be utilising the appropriate protection for the relevant circumstances.

WNSW PHN Mask Order Form

PUTTING ON A MASK

REMOVING A MASK

Principles of Fit-Checking

PPE APPLICATION AND REMOVAL SAFETY SEQUENCE

CEC COVID-19 PPE TRAINING VIDEOS

CEC Basic PPE Training Videos

PPE Recommendations for Allied Health

Hand Sanitiser Ordering through Practice Managers Network Group

Recent studies into various Mask designs have concluded that Cloth masks do not prevent the wearer from being infected from viral infections.

READ THE CENTRE FOR EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE REPORT HERE

READ THE BMJ OPEN REPORT HERE

Returning To Work Post-Isolation

A joint statement from the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) and Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN) with the revised Australian criteria for the release from isolation of people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Criteria for the Release of Persons Recovered from COVID-19

COVID-19 Mental Health Support


The COVID-19 outbreak may generate a range of impacts on the community and individual mental health and wellbeing.

To support the community during this period the Life in Mind team at Everymind has worked with the suicide prevention and mental health sectors, and in collaboration with the National Mental Health Commission to provide a comprehensive list of resources to support those affected.

Access the Life In Mind COVId-19 Mental Health Support Resources

HEAD TO HEALTH COVD-19 MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

Free Mental Health Resources

Black Dog Institute Online mental health case discussion and peer support group for GPs

Financial Support for General Practice During COVID-19

WNSW PHN has collated the latest Government, Financial and Mental Well-Being support information available for General Practices to ensure the ease of access to support.

Financial Support for General Practices Fact Sheet

Find more Business Support information via our Primary Care Business Resources page

General Practice Accreditation During COVID-19

To assist general practices and in line with social distancing measures during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is maintaining requirements for accreditation to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Standards for general practices, effective immediately. These changes are being enacted as part of the National General Practice Accreditation Scheme.

View the latest communication from ACSQHC National Standards Progam Team here

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Note: WNSW PHN is monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and update and develop our pathways and links accordingly.

If you identify any errors or inconsistencies or are aware of any new or emerging critical changes that are relevant, please email the Media & Communications Coordinator.