We want to thank our doctors, nurses and practice staff! In recent weeks, they have stepped forward and shown us commitment and courage in a time of change and uncertainty. As the world looks on, aghast as the pandemic tightens its grip on humanity, it is on these professions we hold our breath. In all their education, degrees and qualifications, they were not taught to be soldiers. Yet the expectation is unspoken, that they can manage their feelings of trepidation as each day they enter in the fight to help others.
Since COVID-19 hit Australian soil, like many in the industry, our team has worked their days with minimal potentially inadequate supplies. As a Group, we have resolved this industry-wide issue for now and will continue to work with our valued suppliers and government for stock. We have also transformed dramatically to protect both our healthcare team and our patients. We’ve introduced Telehealth consultations, so patients can access GP’s from home. We’ve installed hygiene stations and social distancing measures on-site, and are rolling out safety screens for reception teams. Healthcare has also redefined itself in the matrix of the outbreak and our entire team adapted swiftly, proving in a time of need to be both versatile and accommodating.
While it is still early in the fight, we wanted to take a moment to say we are truly grateful to have each of our doctors, nurses and practice staff members by our side. Your services to our patients and community are invaluable.
Thank you again.
For all persons aged six months and older, having an annual flu vaccination will reduce their chances of becoming ill with influenza (unless contraindicated). Having the Flu Vaccine is considered by health experts to be beneficial amidst the COVID-19 global outbreak. While at this stage, there is no vaccine publicly available for COVID-19, we look at why the Flu shot is considered an important weapon in fighting the outbreak.
Will the Flu Vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
COVID-19 is not a form of influenza, so the flu vaccine is not designed to protect against it. However, both COVID-19 and influenza affect the respiratory system and can lead to pneumonia. So if you were to have both viruses at the same time, that has the potential to be a significant attack on the lungs. Alarmingly, COVID-19 has ten times the mortality rate of Flu; so this is a fight you want to go into armed and healthy!
When is the Flu Vaccine available in 2020?
National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines are available and in Qualitas Health general practices now.
Vaccinating from April provides protection before the peak season takes place. While protection is generally expected to last for the whole season, the best protection against influenza occurs within the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination. It is recommended to time your vaccination ahead of the peak flu season, this is usually June to September in Australia.
To meet the anticipated demand for seasonal influenza vaccines in 2020, the Australian Government will be securing the largest ever supply of seasonal influenza vaccines. These are provided through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for people most at risk.
What’s new with the 2020 Flu Vaccine
- All people aged 6 months to less than 5 years will now be eligible for free influenza vaccines under the NIP in 2020.
- This year Australia is the first country to offer an adjuvanted Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV) – Fluad® Quad. This is available for people aged 65 years and over.
- New age-specific vaccines will be available under the NIP in 2020 for eligible people. Age indications for some vaccines have changed.
- For more information on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines in 2020, refer to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s Statement. This includes up-to-date clinical advice on the age-specific QIVs available under the NIP, strains included in 2020 vaccines, timing of vaccination, and other relevant topics.
Eligibility for influenza vaccines through the NIP
In 2020, influenza vaccines funded through the NIP are available to the following groups. This is due to their increased risk of complications from influenza.
- All people aged 6 months to less than 5 years (this cohort is newly eligible in 2020)
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy)
- All people aged 65 years and over
- People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.
Call us now to book in your flu vaccination.
Source: https://www.health.gov.au/news/clinical-update-2020-seasonal-influenza-vaccines-early-advice-for-vaccination-providers (visited: 16 March 20)
Qualitas Health general practice is now providing our GP consultations via telephone, across our 31 locations in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Even more great news is that all telehealth appointments will be bulk-billed for Medicare cardholders.
We are #inthistogether and feel the shift to telehealth consultations enables us to provide high-quality healthcare to our patients in the safety of their homes. The move has come about following the recent announcement from the Australian Government to extend MBS as part of the National Health Plan and response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Our practices have had to evolve quickly to accommodate these changes and to ensure operations continue with minimal disturbances to patients. We have always been proud of how agile we are as a business. Yet in recent weeks, we have been humbled by the flexibility and professionalism our doctors, nurses, practice staff and suppliers have demonstrated in implementing the changes. We have truly transformed how health services can be delivered on the front line in a matter of weeks, and for that, we say thank you, we couldn’t have done it without all of you.
Our practices are still OPEN for face to face appointments if necessary. However, we request you to book a telehealth appointment initially.
Telehealth bookings can be made online via HotDoc or by calling the practice.
Qualitas Health has 31 medical centres across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland who are moving their General Practitioner consultations to be conducted over the phone.
Managing Director Prashant Menon states “Our GP’s, nurses and practice staff are on the front line and to continue to provide our services in a safe environment for both our teams and patients we are moving all GP consults be carried out over the phone.”
“We hear the message about social distancing and we are evolving quickly to accommodate the changing needs and environments of our Patients.”
“It may become increasingly undesirable for patients to leave their homes for basic medical needs.”
“I believe that phone consultations will ease much anxiety for many. It enables GP’s to triage over the phone, only seeing patients at the practice where there is a clinical need and it is safe to do so.”
The Federal Government has included GP’s in the criteria for Telehealth consults to be bulk billed in a recent move, working in conjunction with advocates for the development, RACGP.
“We encourage all patients wanting to make a booking to call our practices, and we are providing phone consults to all needing to speak to a GP, those who are Medicare-eligible and private.”
Less than two months have passed since Australia’s horrifying bushfire season, which saw both great heroism and patriotism as we stood together and battled our way through a national emergency. For months we choked in the smoke of the fires, feeling helpless as we watched our country burn. It seems only a few moments have passed of which to catch a breath, and we no longer stand together in the fight for our lives, but rather in the unfamiliar form of warfare through isolation.
In these uncertain times amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, authorities doing the best they can with the limited information as it becomes available, advise a new paradigm for the identity of Australians. This includes social distancing, prohibiting the customary handshake and closing public areas for social expression, including pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and spiritual houses. Those flaunting non-compliance forcing more salt in the wounds, provoking the closure of some of our most iconic beaches. As we quickly drift towards a crashing wave of pandemic proportions.
Mass hysteria has led to understocked supermarkets (and outhouses for that matter) and the fundamental ritual of sanitising or sudsing up hands is now enjoyed after all occasions keeping you busy for seemingly hours each day (if you are lucky enough to have a supply of soap that is). But to top it all off, the all Australian saying of “She’ll be right mate!” is no longer the socially acceptable way to handle feeling under the weather, you’re expected to crawl under a rock for two weeks and hope there is still a good (healthy) Samaritan or UberEATS driver around to drop in vital supplies.
So how do you know if the symptoms you’re feeling are indications of Coronavirus, the Flu or if it’s the everyday run of the mill cold?
We think this infographic put together by the Department of Health (and adapted by us) is a great way to differentiate between the symptoms of each and may save an unnecessary trip to the closest COVID-19 clinic.