Keeping Covid Safe
In these uncertain times, please be assured that RFM is a safe place to visit. Like all businesses, we are striving to ensure that both our patients and our staff are safe.
You will have noticed some differences at the Practice if you have visited in the last few months. Sneeze guards create a barrier on the front counter to protect our administration staff, there are very few chairs in the waiting room – and indeed very few patients in the waiting room. There are no magazines or toys, and there are bottles of hand sanitiser it seems on every surface. Whilst it all feels a bit odd, we are carefully following the Department of Health guidelines, and are doing so for the safety of everyone. We do know that it is very odd to wait in your car until the doctor is ready for you, but in doing so we can ensure that we are maintaining social distancing. We know that the screening questions our staff are asking can feel invasive and probing, but it is so important that you answer carefully. Once you arrive at the surgery for your appointment, please ring us to let us know that you are there, and we will then give you further instructions. If the phones are too busy – as they often are of late – pop your head in to let us know you are outside.
We have implemented a variety of measures that enable us to help you depending on the circumstances. We are still seeing patients in the rooms if it is safe to do so, however if you are sick, we are doing telephone or video calls to limit the exposure to our doctors, staff and other patients. Often we still need to examine you, but by starting out on the phone, we know what measures need to be put in place before you arrive. Sometimes you will be asked to come in with a mask on, other times we may even have a doctor examine you in your vehicle, and at other times the video call may be sufficient. There are some issues with Medicare sometimes, but we will work it out for you. Many of our patients have expressed fond memories of our car park influenza vaccination clinics – indeed it was so popular and successful, that it just might become the norm!!
If you become unwell and know that you need a COVID swab, check our Facebook page for our regular updates on the location of local testing centres. https://www.facebook.com/riverinafamilymedicine
So many more of us are suffering with Mental Health issues since the Covid pandemic began. Social isolation from family and friends, job insecurity and losses, financial pressures, home learning, and a general fear of the unknown for example, have created whole new levels of stress for many of us, and when added to the other issues that 2020 has thrown us, such as bush fires, drought, floods in some areas, it is unsurprising that we are seeing a major rise in stress related issues. You do not have to soldier on and go it alone. Your GP is an excellent place to start and we are here for you. There are also many other services that are available online and via telephone, such as:
Emergency – 000
Beyond Blue - Telephone 1300 224 636 or https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Lifeline - Telephone 13 11 14 or https://www.lifeline.org.au/
Mens Line Australia - Telephone 1300 78 99 78 or https://mensline.org.au/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrd-9_4ek6wIVUgwrCh0WdAnNEAAYASAAEgLE5fD_BwE
Kids Help Line - Telephone 1800 55 1800 or https://kidshelpline.com.au/
Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line provides information and support to senior Australians, their families and their carers. Call Monday – Friday, except public holidays, from 8.30am – 6pm. Call: 1800 171 866
General COVID-19 Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Call: 1800 020 080
Or visit NSW Health website: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
As the Corona virus situation develops, we are encouraging our patients to purchase some masks, either disposable or reusable, to have as part of your normal first aid kit at home. If you develop any Upper Respiratory symptoms such as a temperature, cough or a sore throat, and need leave your home for medical treatment, you have them ready to wear. Disposable masks are available from most pharmacies, Bunnings, and some shops. People are becoming inventive with reusable masks, there are some talented people making masks and selling them online, though it can be difficult to know what to buy. This is a link to some sensible mask information. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-20/coronavirus-reusable-face-mask-guide-melbourne-what-to-look-for/12471918?fbclid=IwAR0zdijnbM5d8aiGxxvD4QJ3OCj4oSd7SVmXuSm58nvQfT7goL-oT6fUvyk
Remember though that if you are unwell, please stay at home until your symptoms have resolved AND you have a negative COVID test, unless you are going out for medical treatment, and don't forget to wash your hands!