COVID-19 - Information for health professionals

Key reminders for general practice 

  • If referring your patients for COVID-19 testing, a list of testing locations can be found on DHHS' Getting tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
  • All doctors requesting COVID-19 testing must provide a patient mobile number on the pathology slip. GPs should also indicate on the form if the patient is a health or aged care worker in order to expedite their test result. 
  • Medical practitioners seeking advice about COVID-19 (outside of testing and notification procedures) can call 1300 651 160 and choose the ‘Specialist Medical Advice’ option. Pending demand, you may be asked to leave a message for return phone call.
  • Deaths due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection must be notified to the department as soon as possible. Call 1300 651 160 (24 hours, seven days).
  • The  Quick Reference Guide  and the  Guidelines for Health Services and Practitioners download as Word documents and are updated live by DHHS. Please ensure you are using the latest version. 
  • Check the  DHHS novel coronavirus information page  regularly for updates about the novel coronavirus. 
  • Need advice on using PPE? Videos available on the RACGP's website
  • Sign-up to receive DHHS health alerts and advisories  here .
  • Sign-up to receive SEMPHN’s COVID-19 email here.
  • GP management of COVID Positive patients Pathway here (updated 28 October)

Update 30 October

  • As of 29 October 2020, three new cases have been diagnosed since yesterday with the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Victoria at 20,344.
  • The 14-day average case number for metropolitan Melbourne is 2.4 and regional Victoria is zero.
  • There have been zero new deaths from COVID-19 reported since yesterday. To date, 819 people have died from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria.
  • The total number of cases from an unknown source in the last 14 days is four for metropolitan Melbourne and zero for regional Victoria. 4,277 cases may indicate community transmission (an increase of one).
  • There are 76 cases currently active in Victoria. 19,382 people have recovered.
  • Five people are in hospital. There are no cases in intensive care.
  • A total of 3,130,788 test results have been received. This is an increase of 24,135.
  • You can find further details in the coronavirus (COVID-19) media release.
  • The DHHS website has full details in the interactive daily report.
  • From 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October, restrictions have eased further in metropolitan Melbourne. Visit the Summary of changes to restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria page and stay up to date via the DHHS website.

Advice for clinicians

Additional advice:

  • For current testing criteria, click here.
  • If referring your patients for COVID-19 testing, a list of testing locations can be found on DHHS' Getting tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
  • For other clinical guidance, click here.
  • Call-to-Test service provides in-home coronavirus testing to Victorians who would otherwise be unable to get tested. People can call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398  and select option 9 to find out if they are eligible. If eligible, testers will visit their home within 48 hours. View the flyer

DHHS update: COVID Safe Plan and permitted worker scheme COVID-19

COVID Safe plan

As part of the Stage 4 Restrictions, businesses must have a COVID Safe Plan in place. 

Permitted worker scheme

From 6 August 2020 employers that require their staff to attend a worksite must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility. Additionally, only the children of permitted workers and vulnerable kids will be able to access childcare and kinder. An Access to Childcare Permit will be required and will sit alongside the Permitted Worker Scheme.

  • Read the full details and download the worker permit on the DHHS website.

Reusable face masks for vulnerable Victorians

DHHS will be distributing 2.1 million reusable face masks to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Agencies including general practices and pharmacies who work with vulnerable and/or Aboriginal Victorians are eligible to place orders for masks. For the list of agencies and what constitutes vulnerable Victorians, click here
  • Orders can only be made using the online ordering form. There will be limits on the number of masks each agency will receive.
  • Reusable masks are being distributed by DHHS directly – not Primary Health Networks (PHNs). For more information click here.  

Resources


COVID-19 Pathway

  • GP management of COVID Positive Patients Pathway here (updated 28 October)

Access to HealthPathways Melbourne during COVID-19

SEMPHN, the Victorian Tasmania PHN Alliance and the Department of Health and Human Services are making Melbourne HealthPathways available for SEMPHN GPs and other clinicians to access freely during the period of COVID-19.

For specialist clinics pathways we encourage you to use to continue using the Statewide Referral Criteria on the SEMPHN Pathways page, as they have the most accurate SEMPHN region referral information.

Access: https://melbourne.healthpathways.org.au/ 

Login: Contact your Provider Support Officer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the login details. 


COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics

SEMPHN is working with health services across south eastern Melbourne to provide access to Commonwealth-funded COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics. 

Pathway

  • Victorians are encouraged to use Health Direct’s symptom checker if they are feeling unwell. If patients are experiencing difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000).
  • After identifying symptoms, Victorians should get tested at a nearby testing location (this may include a COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinic).
  • After testing, they must stay home and isolate until they receive test results. If they test negative they can continue they’re regular activity following the local restrictions in place. If they test positive for COVID-19 they must self-isolate until they receive clearance from the DHHS. 

COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics available in south eastern Melbourne

ClinicAddressContact details

Star Health

Prahran Town Hall, 255A Chapel St, Prahran

Contact: 03 9525 1300
Website: https://www.starhealth.org.au/ 

Carrum Downs Medical Centre 113b Hall Road, Carrum Downs 

Contact: 03 9782 6088
Website: https://carrumdownsmedicalcentre.com 

Rosebud Skin Cancer Centre 1079 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud Contact: 0436 033 507
Website: https://www.rosebudskincancercentre.com.au/
Port Melbourne Medical Centre  Shop 1/405 Bay St, Port Melbourne 

Contact: 8686 0500
Website: https://portmelbournemedical.com.au/

Appointments

  • Patients should book ahead for an appointment at the COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics. This helps the clinics maintain the standards for physical distancing.
  • Patients do not need a referral from their GP to book an appointment at one of these clinics.
  • Appointments are available on weekends. 
  • Appointments are booked here.

PPE requests 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be requested when a practice, pharmacy or clinic is unable to secure commercial supply for their team and are delivering face to face care. 

Please refer to the DOH guidance on supply of PPE:

  • PHN distributed PPE for health professionals here
  • Addendum relating to PHN distributed eye protection here
  • Addendum relating to PHN distributed gowns here
  • Cleaning and disinfecting reusable eye protection here.
  • Please utilise in line with current DHHS guidance found here 

General Practices and ACCHOs which are NOT testing for COVID-19 

Please use this link: General Practice/ACCHO PPE

  • Level 1 surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members
  • P2/N95 masks are now in stock. PHNs are asked to conserve stocks of P2/N95 respirators as far as possible. They are only required for aerosol-generating procedures. 
  • Goggles (protective eyewear) are currently available. Please request up to 30 depending on the size of your practice. 

General Practices and ACCHOs which are TESTING for COVID-19

Please use this link: COVID-19 testing General Practice/ACCHO

  • Level 1 surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members
  • Level 2 surgical masks (only to be used when testing)
  • P2/N95 masks are now in stock. PHNs are asked to conserve stocks of P2/N95 respirators as far as possible. They are only required for aerosol-generating procedures and respiratory assessments. 
  • Goggles (protective eyewear) are currently available. Please request up to 30 depending on the size of your practice. 
  • Gowns are currently available (only to be used when COVID testing)

Community pharmacies

Please use this link: Pharmacy masks requests

  • Level 1 surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members (NOT for commercial resale).

Nurse Practitioner Practices and Allied Health

Please use this link: Nurse Practitioner Allied Health PPE request

  • Level 1 Surgical masks to work with at-risk or COVID-19 community members.
  • Goggles (protective eyewear) are currently available. Please request up to 20 depending on the size of your practice

Residential Aged Care Facilities

Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) requiring PPE can request by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Department of Health will give priority where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19.

NDIS providers

NDIS and disability support providers who are unable to obtain masks can submit a request by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more detail on how to apply and COVID-19 training see Department of Health advice here

Community services

Organisations in need of face masks to continue providing vital community services, please complete the State Government's request for PPE form online


PPE suppliers

To assist local health services with sourcing PPE, the following supplier details may be useful. Click here to download the PPE supplier spreadsheet

Disclaimer:

These businesses are not affiliated with South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN). Please contact these businesses directly for more information. SEMPHN cannot answer any questions related to these suppliers. SEMPHN cannot guarantee the quality of the PPE supplied by these vendors. SEMPHN is not obligated to include any businesses in this list. 


Access & Referral arrangements during COVID-19

As our Access & Referral team and providers adjust to new working environments, some organisations have advised they are experiencing issues with faxing referrals to A&R.  A new process has therefore been established that will facilitate a secure upload of referrals online. 

Ways you can refer to SEMPHN services:

  • Telephone: 1800 862 363 (8.30am-4.30pm weekdays)
  • Fax: 1300 354 053
  • Upload: Securely upload a referral form online

Visit our Access and Referral page for more information.


MBS COVID-19 Telehealth items 

Visit mbsonline.gov.au for a summary of the changes and a list of item numbers. 

Our telehealth HealthVitalIT article lists the items and requirements  (see the COVID19 section).  We are continually updating this article to add practical advice for remote consultations,  so it's a good idea to bookmark the page and check for updates every now and then. There are lots of useful tips in here. 

If you're using the bulk billed MBS telehealth items you can access HealthDirect's VideoCall platform for free via SEMPHN. For more information, see our Telehealth page.


Infection control training

COVID-19 infection control online training is available for health care workers in all settings. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19.

Modules available include:

  • infection prevention and control for COVID-19
  • training for aged care workers
  • training focused on rural and remote communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Read more.

Register here


Immunisation service delivery and COVID-19

Visit SEMPHN's immunisation service delivery and COVID-19 page.

Visit SEMPHN's immunisation page


National COVID-19 MATOD guidance now available

Interim Guidance for the delivery of medication assisted treatment of opioid dependence in response to COVID-19: a national response is now available to assist clinicians in ensuring continuity of medication assisted treatment of opioid dependence (also known as MATOD, or opioid pharmacotherapy) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance demonstrates how clinicians can adapt treatment during this time and is intended to be read alongside state and territory guidance issued in response to COVID-19.

It recognises that many jurisdictions are at different stages of response, and also that many of the communications from government authorities relate to regulatory or guideline changes, rather than focussing on aspects of clinical care. Victorian guidance is available here.


Aged care sector and COVID-19

Visit the DHHS’ page on Coronavirus and Residential Aged Care Facilities Plan for Victoria to read the latest guidelines for this sector.

The page includes: 

  • Guidelines
  • Training on PPE and infection control for aged care workers
  • Resources

Resources 

  • Evidence-based COVID-19 clinical guidance is available here.
  • Access to the Melbourne HealthPathways is available to SEMPHN region GPs during the pandemic. https://melbourne.healthpathways.org.au/ 
    Contact your Provider Support Officer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the login details. 

Children (2-12 years)

If you are a health professional or service provider who works with children or young people, a number of resources on COVID-19 are now available. These resources help explain what children need to know and how to have that conversation with them. 

  • For service providers, GPs and other health organisations Emerging Minds has developed resources here
  • For younger children, a booklet has been developed for practitioners. Download the booklet here

Young people (12-24 years)

ReachOut and headspace have digital support forums (peer-based and moderated) with spaces specific to the pandemic. Additionally, online support for parents is available through ReachOut Parents (Parent Coaching online) and eheadspace (Family and Friends support). 

For access to youth mental health support visit our youth mental health page

Other resources

Plain English

Other languages 


We're still here to help

At SEMPHN, we are committed to keeping our people healthy so that they can continue to support the health workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As such, our employees are now taking the responsible step of working remotely to limit the spread of the virus.  We are limiting contact, looking at alternative ways of working with stakeholders, reducing or cancelling face to face meetings and protecting our people, families and service providers to continue to conduct our business.  

Thank you for your understanding as we change our business model in the short term, in an effort to better contain the virus.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Health professionals can also sign-up to receive our COVID-19 email here


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