Published 10 Mar 2020; updated 17 Mar 2020
The coronavirus (COVID–19) outbreak is a significant health event that is affecting Australia and other countries in a range of ways. AHPA is closely monitoring developments and last week attended an Australian Department of Health briefing and consultation in Canberra focused on providing the primary health care sector with up to date information and seeking input to plans for action should there be significant spread. While there is a high volume of media coverage about the virus, we encourage you to refer to the information provided by the Federal Department of Health.
As health professionals with roles in primary care and other health settings such as hospitals, allied health professionals should understand how to minimise the risk of COVID–19 transmission. You should also understand whether any adjustments are required in your business or workplace. We recommend taking some time to review the resources listed below.
Remember, people who are older and/or have existing chronic health conditions or are immunosuppressed are more susceptible to the virus than the general population. COVID–19 is also a potential hazard for health professionals and other workers in healthcare environments.
The resources listed below are updated regularly and the Department of Health is monitoring the COVID–19 situation to ensure that clinical advice remains up to date. While this information is not specific to allied health professionals, it is equally relevant to the allied health sector.
Department of Health COVID–19 resources:
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) health alert – Updated every day with the latest medical advice and official reports.
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) news and media – The latest news on COVID–19 including announcements and public health campaigns.
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) resources – A collection of resources for the general public, health professionals and the health industry.
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) resources for health professionals, including pathology providers and healthcare managers – A collection of resources for health professionals that will also be applicable to allied health professionals.
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) – what you need to know – An information sheet with the essentials about COVID–19 i.e. what it is, how it spreads, who is most at risk, what you can do to help stop it spreading, and what to do if you have symptoms.
- Coronavirus (COVID–19) isolation guidance – This information sheet provides guidance on isolation for COVID–19.
In addition to the information above, the following information may also be useful:
- NSW Dept Health guidance on attendance at outpatient clinics during the COVID–19 outbreak. This information may be used in a primary care context to screen and manage patients who may have COVID–19.
- WorkSafe Victoria guidance on employer responsibilities to provide a safe work environment during the COVID–19 outbreak.
These resources have been developed by state authorities but provide additional practical advice that may be applicable nationally.
NDIS Update: The NDIS Commission is taking an active role in providing up-to-date Coronavirus information to registered NDIS providers via its alerts system. Please ensure you are receiving Commission alerts and have an active email address listed with the Commission. For any disability providers not registered, please visit the provider newsletter and alerts page on the NDIS Commission website. For NDIS participants, the number of face-to-face meetings is being reduced in line with the Australian Government’s advice on COVID–19. More information about the NDIS response for participants can be found on the NDIS website.
MBS Update: The Prime Minister’s health package in response to the coronavirus (COVID–19) includes temporary measures under the Medicare Benefits Schedule and Department of Veterans’ Affairs allowing doctors, nurses and mental health allied professionals to deliver bulk billed services via telehealth. These items can now be claimed.
AHPA will continue to communicate information about the government’s COVID–19 response with our member associations. Individual allied health practitioners are advised to monitor the Department of Health website and communications from their relevant professional association.