Regular patients of our practices will have noticed that we are starting to shift our usual face to face consultations to telephone and videoconsultations (“telehealth”).
Conducting telehealth consultations is not a new to the Huon Valley Health Centre – we have been doing them since 2011.
The coronavirus pandemic is not going to be resolved quickly, and for that reason we are aiming to have 80-90% of our consultations conducted by telehealth, along with the other risk reduction strategies we have implemented in the last 2 weeks.
We are doing this for the health and safety of our patients, and the health and safety of our staff. Worldwide, the recommendation is to practice social distancing if amongst others, and to stay home if you do not have anything essential to do.
We also believe in implementing change when it feels too early. In doing this, we are able to stay ahead of the curve, react faster to changes and ensure that when we are at peak community spread of coronavirus, we have practiced our safety measures for a couple of weeks already.
We are offering telehealth appointments with your GP, psychologist, social worker or one of our registered nurses. Telehealth appointments will be booked in using our usual booking system. You are also able to book telehealth appointments online. If you require a face to face consultation, we are also able to arrange this for you.
Be prepared to receive a phone call within the hour of your appointment. You will be asked to confirm your identifying details: your name, date of birth and your address and how best to conduct the consultation (phone or video) before the consultation proceeds.
If the GP or nurse determines that you need a physical assessment, we can arrange this a number of ways:
- GP appointment in the practice – our Huonville and Cygnet practices will have GPs physically present during our usual operating hours
- GP home visit – not every GP is able to perform home visits though
- Nurse practitioner home visit
- Ambulance Tasmania if you are very unwell
Telehealth consultations will be bulk billed.
Some appointment types cannot be offered through telehealth. These include childhood vaccinations – and we strongly recommend that you continue having your children vaccinated during this time.
If you are booked in for a face to face consultation with one of our GPs or nurses, you will be screened at our doors for fever, and asked some questions about your symptoms and history before proceeding.
We are also receiving a lot of queries about influenza vaccinations. At this point in time, we are aiming to commence vaccination clinics in mid April, once publicly funded stocks of vaccines arrive.
We are planning on holding vaccination clinics at the beginning and end of each day, when there are fewer people around.
We strongly recommend all of our patients receive the influenza vaccination every year, but particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have ordered extra private stock of vaccinations this year in anticipation of increased demand.