Australian Family Care

Covid 19 Epidemic

The Covid-19 virus has changed health care delivery.

The way you will receive care is to change for the foreseeable future.

Please read more important information below.

To: All patients

From: Dr Brian Symon and Dr Renee Petrilli (The Covid 19 response team)

Date: Monday, 23 March 2020 (last updated)

Re: Covid 19

To our patients.

As health care professionals our first responsibility is to those for whom we care.

The current situation with Covid 19 forces us to modify our models of health care delivery.

The aim of the changes is to protect our patients and staff.

We must modify our practice systems completely until this pandemic has resolved.

  1. We urge you to stay at home.
  • It is clear that the most effective strategy to protect yourself is to stay away from potentially infected people.

  • Only leave your home for urgent matters.

  • Practice personal hygiene with hand washing, hand sanitiser, cough etiquette and attempt to maintain a distance of something in excess of 1.5 metres from others if you are in a group

  • Be especially aware that mortality rises sharply over 60 years of age.

  1. Medical services must change.

  • A medical practice is a place where people who are unwell come together.

  • At the moment this puts staff and other patients at risk and we will make major changes to maximise the protections to staff and patients.

  • To the best of our ability we will be providing consults by phone or video.

  1. Covid 19 testing

  • We are unable to offer this service at the moment.

  • Please use the public clinics established for testing of at risk persons.

  • As soon as this changes we will place notifications on our website
  • We cannot provide clearance certificates for COVID-19 unless we receive written evidence of your being tested and confirmed as negative.

  1. Are you at risk and do you qualify for testing?

  • these guidelines will change by the nature of this epidemic

    • These clinics are for people who have COVID-19 symptoms (especially fever or cough)
    • AND
    • have recently returned from overseas OR have had contact with a known COVID-19 case.
  1. Routine consultations at Australian Family Care

  • Please delay any routine visits to the medical centre

  • Phone to request a telephone consultation

  • We will not be offering in person consults for routine services

  1. Prescription renewals:
  • If you need a prescription renewal there are a number of options.

    • ask your pharmacy to extend your current prescription.

    • ask the pharmacy to fax a script request to the surgery.

    • please only book a telephone consultation for a prescription renewal if you would like to speak to the GP about adjusting your present dose.

    • during this pandemic we will not be charging an additional fee for faxed renewals.
  1. Existing appointments

  • If you have an existing appointment, our office may contact you to arrange a telephone or (soon) video consultation instead of an in-person visit.

  • Please note that, for telephone appointments, you may receive a call from a blocked number around the scheduled time.

  • Be sure to answer the telephone.

  1. New appointments

  • Our GPs are available for telephone consultations.

  • These can be booked by calling our reception at the normal practice number.

  • Online bookings are available but you may receive a phone call to review the reasons for the visit.

  • At this time, GP resources are limited due to the pandemic. Therefore, we request that you only call for a physical face to face appointment to address an urgent matter.

  • If your issue is not appropriate for a telephone consultation because it requires a physical examination, then you will be offered an in-person visit.

  1. Immunisation of Babies and children.

  • Immunisation is a fundamental protection for our community

  • All children should continue with their normal immunisation protocol.

  • These will be provided in your normal clinic by the usual staff.


See below for guidance on in person consults

  1. In-person visits:
  • Some GPs will be available on most weekdays for a limited number of in-person visits.

  • These will include urgent issues that require a physical examination and well-baby visits that require vaccination.

  • For your safety, our waiting room is closed.

  • When you arrive for your appointment, please wait in your car or outside and call us to let us know you are here.

  • We will call you back on your phone when we have a room available.

  • Please DO NOT walk-in to our clinic without an appointment.

  • This is necessary to protect the safety of our staff and other patients.


  1. Results and referrals:
  • We are carefully reviewing all incoming laboratory and imaging results and will call you back about any concerning or abnormal results.

  • Specialist referrals will continue to be made as needed but by telephone consult.

  • Please note that many specialist offices may be closed due to the pandemic, so wait times for specialist appointments will be longer than usual.

  • Once again, in communicating results, you may receive a call from a blocked number.

  • If you do not answer the phone, please be sure to check your voicemail regularly.


  1. Sick notes:
  • If you need a sick note telephone the surgery and request a phone consult to discuss how we can best help.


  1. Patients at risk
  • If you feel that you need medical care and have a high risk profile for example:
    • Believe that you may be infected with Covid 19

    • Over 70 years of age

    • Over 50 and ATSI/Torres strait Islander

    • Have a heart or lung condition

    • Immunocompromised

    • Parent of a baby less than 12 months

    • Pregnant

  • Please use the following flow chart.


  1. If you think you may have COVID-19, please see the flowchart below.


  1. In conclusion: We are in this together.
  • We want to assure you that we are here for you and are constantly designing models of care which can keep you as patients and our staff safe.

  • We remain committed to doing everything we can to support your health.

  • We also want to take every precaution to ensure we do not inadvertently put you at risk.

  • We would like to reinforce the importance of hand cleaning hygiene

  • We are confident if we all do our part as individuals, we can as a society best get through this pandemic.

Flowchart :