Welcome to our July newsletter. We hope you are all staying well and safe out there during yet another COVID-19 lockdown. We know how tough this is for everyone and we hope that if we stick with the latest stay at home orders, and we continue to get tested if we have symptoms – we will see those numbers drop down so we can return back to our normal activities. In the meantime self care is very important – please keep connected with family and friends through other means such as telephone and face time and if you are struggling please reach out. The Beyond Blue Coronavirus wellbeing support service have trained counsellors available 24hours a day , 7 days a week and are available on 1800512438 or visit https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au
In this month’s newsletter we will be updating you on the how the YFD team are keeping you Covid safe, the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, telehealth changes and the availability of video consultations, Naidoc week and also a big thank you to our amazing reception staff who are doing a fabulous job with all the challenges that the covid-19 pandemic has thrown our way.
HOW THE YFD TEAM ARE KEEPING YOU COVID SAFE
Since the COVID 19 pandemic begun last year YFD has put in a number measures to keep our patients and staff safe. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding in continuing these measures to help protect you.
⭐️ All patients will be screened by staff for any flu like symptoms, positive COVID 19 contacts or recent travel to any hotspots. Please be honest with your answers to avoid putting others at risk – we can still assess you with a telehealth appointment and make arrangements to see you safely in our respiratory check clinic if required.
⭐️Our front door will continue to be locked so staff can screen patients using the intercom.
⭐️Please wear a mask when attending our practice
⭐️Please use hand sanitiser when entering and leaving the practice
⭐️Sign in on the QR code when you enter our building
⭐️ Please adhere to social distancing guidelines. This means we can only fit 7 people in our waiting room so if things are getting a bit crowded you may be asked to wait outside in our garden or in your car. Please attend alone or with one carer if possible.
⭐️Telehealth appointments are available to help keep you safe. Book a telephone appointment for shorter consults (such as scripts, referrals and review of results). If you require a longer consult for multiple medical issues, GP management plans, and GP mental health plans you will need to book a Video consult (due to recent Medicare changes). All you need for video consults is your smart phone – when the doctor is ready you will receive a text message inviting you to join the video call. These appointments can be booked through reception or via our HotDoc app.
⭐️ Face to face appointments remain available if required and if you do not have any respiratory symptoms. This may change if the current outbreak worsens.
⭐️ if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms please have a covid test. We have to have them too!
⭐️ We will still see sick children and adults with cold or flu symptoms in our respiratory check clinic if required after a Telehealth appointment wearing PPE. This is important because if we catch your cold or Covid – we can’t work either!
⭐️ Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect against Covid-19. Our patients can book for the AstraZeneca vaccine via HotDoc. We do not have the Pfizer vaccine available at our practice.
⭐️ Please be nice to our staff. They are doing an amazing job fielding hundreds of calls a day and are doing their best to find you appointments and answering vaccination enquiries. We hate Covid too, but we do have zero tolerance for disrespect towards our staff.
Stay safe everyone and where possible stay at home 😊
COVID VACCINATION UPDATE
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY 2ND ASTRAZENECA VACCINE?
⭐️ Recently the government recommended to consider reducing the dose interval of the AstraZeneca vaccine to 6-8 weeks in the Greater Sydney region, given the current Covid-19 outbreak and increased risk of infection in the next few weeks, especially in those residing in the South Western Sydney area.
⭐️The official health advice from ATAGI, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, remains most people have their booster shot at 12 weeks for optimal COVID protection, but under certain circumstances, such as a high risk of Covid-19 exposure, that can be reduced to to four weeks.
⭐️The 12 week interval between dosing recommendation came from a study in ‘The Lancet’. It found separation of the two doses reported differences in efficacy (protection from symptomatic disease)
– less than 6 weeks = 55.1% efficacy
– 6-8 weeks = 59.9%
– 9-11 weeks = 63.7%.
– 12 weeks = 81.3%.
So to get the best protection from the AstraZeneca vaccine, you need at least 12 weeks between your first and second shot.
⭐️However, with cases of the very contagious Delta strain increasing in Sydney we know that two vaccinations of the AstraZeneca vaccine is better than one in preventing hospitalisation and ICU admission – hence the recent change in recommendation of reducing the interval between doses (and keeping in mind it takes 2 weeks for vaccinations to take effect).
⭐️Based on this information and the latest outbreak, if you would like to bring forward your second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine we will be opening up an extra clinic this Saturday afternoon which can be booked via HotDoc or by calling reception. This extra clinic is for second dose vaccinations only.
⭐️If you are aged over 60 and haven’t had your first vaccine we strongly recommend booking – even one dose of AstraZeneca can reduce COVID-19 hospitalisations by 80–88% in the elderly. You can book an appointment for your first AstraZeneca vaccine online or by calling reception.
⭐️Please note that at YFD we do not have the Pfizer vaccine available. We have put in an Expression of Interest to receive the vaccine however we do not anticipate this will be for several months. In the meantime eligible patients for the Pfizer vaccine can find a location through the eligibility checker https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility
COVID VACCINATION IN THE UNDER 60’s
To say there has been a bit of confusion about the Covid-19 vaccine for the under 60’s over the last few weeks is an understatement!
Hopefully the following helps clear a few things up!
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine as the preferred vaccine for those aged 16 to under 60 years.
The COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in adults under 60 years for whom;
– The Pfizer vaccine is not available
– The benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual
– The person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.
At present at YFD we only have the AstraZeneca vaccine available.
Sites for Pfizer vaccinations on the Central Coast can be found via the eligibility checker (for patients aged between 40 – 60, and/or in category 1a and 1b) and we encourage eligible patients to check availabilities at these vaccination clinics.
If you are under the age of 60, unable to access the Pfizer vaccine and you wish to have the AstraZeneca vaccine we recommend you discuss with your doctor to go through a risk-benefit assessment.
Advice and guidelines do change frequently based on best available evidence and the availability of vaccines.
We have been fortunate over the last 14 months to have had the availability of telehealth consultations to help get us through the hurdles that the COVID-19 Pandemic has thrown at us. However as of 1st July the government has made further changes to the the telehealth model.
☎️ There will no longer be medicare rebates for longer telephone consultations. Therefore, telephone consultations will be only available for shorter appointments such as scripts, giving of results, or if you cannot attend the practice in person due to cold and flu like symptoms or are in isolation.
☎️ If a longer appointment is required, such as for multiple medical problems, GP management plans and GP mental health plans a video consultation or face to face consultation will be required.
☎️ For Video consultations we are presently using the ‘’GP Consult’’ video consultation program. All that is required is your smart phone – when the doctor is ready you will receive a text message inviting you to join the video call
☎️ Telehealth appointments with a medicare rebate are only available to existing patients that have attended our practice for a face to face appointment in the last 12 months. If you are unsure, when your last face to face visit was you can check with our reception staff
☎️The existing relationship requirement does not apply to
– children under the age of 12 months
– people who are homeless
– patients living in a COVID-19 impacted area.
☎️If you are unsure what type of appointment is right for you please talk to our friendly reception staff.
THANK YOU TO OUR RECEPTION STAFF
We would like to thank our amazing receptionists who have done an amazing job dealing with all the curve balls that the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination rollout has thrown at us. This recent article in The Conversation sum’s up beautifully the challenges our team faces……..
‘’Phones are ringing off the hook at GP clinics with people desperate to know when and how they can be vaccinated against COVID-19. Every time there is a change in recommendations or advice, medical receptions field calls from concerned people trying to book in to talk to a GP or to cancel bookings. This is on top of supporting patients and juggling the extra workload required to perform COVID-19 triage, screening and telehealth. GPs and practice nurses are considered central and front line in Australia’s primary care COVID-19 response. However, GP receptionists are one step in front.
Their role has changed considerably during the pandemic, taking on functions and learning new skills no-one planned for. We must not forget them and the stressful work they do.
Please remember to be kind to our reception staff. We hate Covid too but we do have zero tolerance for disrespect towards our staff.
Effective 1st July, we have increased our fees so we can continue to provide you with quality care. We will continue to bulk bill children under the age of 16.
We are a privately billing practice but we are often asked why we don’t bulk bill. When doctors bulkbill, patients often believe the practice will receive the same amount of money for the service, just from a different source. This, unfortunately, is not the case. When a patient is bulkbilled, the practice ONLY receives the current Medicare rebate for that contact. This means the practice is receiving approximately $40 less than it should be, and we cannot remain viable if we continue to do this. Unlike the public hospital system, the government doesn’t pay for our staff wages, rent, medical equipment, computers and printers, furniture, insurance, vaccination fridges, electricity bills, dressings and many more practice expenses. The out of pocket gap payment helps cover these costs.
We choose to book appointments at 15 minute intervals. We feel this provides a good opportunity to provide comprehensive, holistic care, allowing us to maintain a close relationship with you and your family. This is a very different model of general practice to the bulk billing medical centres, which rely on quicker appointments and higher throughput to survive.
We look forward to continuing to care for your health needs 😀
NAIDOC WEEK July 4 – 11th
NAIDOC Week is an important occasion and opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the history, cultures and achievements of First Nations peoples.
‘The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction’
This is an important opportunity to learn about and celebrate the 65,000-year history of Australia and its peoples – recognising their ongoing spiritual and cultural connections to land and sea.
For the kids – here is a link for a colouring page of the amazing 2021 National NAIDOC Poster, ‘Care for Country’ which was designed by Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas.
So that’s it for our July Newsletter, stay safe everyone and we will be back soon with more news. In the meantime like us on facebook or instagram to keep up to date with the latest Covid changes, important health information and to see what the YFD team has been up to. Our website is also a great source of information, so please check out our blog for health information written by our team.
Stay safe and stay home where possible.
Love the YFD Team xx