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COVID-19
April 9, 2020

UPDATE: 4pm, Tuesday 21st April (Australia)

The prime minister has announced that all category two elective surgeries will reopen, including IVF and joint replacement surgery for children under the age of 18.

Other procedures to have restrictions lifted include eye procedures, endoscopy and colonoscopies, post-cancer procedures such as breast reconstruction and some dental work including fitting dentures and braces.

Upon reopening, priority will be given to the most needy patients first, based on surgical advice of the medical facility where elective surgery is scheduled.

"There is a road ahead and the decisions that the National Cabinet has taken today is evidence of that," Mr Morrison said.

"This would not be possible if we were unable to secure additional PPE nor would it be possible if we were not able to have confidence about the level of contact, of cases that had been identified in Australia and the slowing the rate of growth down to a minimal level."

Elective procedures will gradually begin restarting after the Anzac Day weekend.

UPDATE: 11am, Friday 17th April (Australia)

The World Health Organisation has reminded healthcare providers that oxygen therapy is critical to be able to treat patient. Though the majority of cases of patients with Covid-19 have mild symptoms, it’s estimated that 20% of those affected will need oxygen.

UPDATE: Monday 20th April (Australia)

Queensland has reported no new cases of coronavirus since yesterday evening, for the first time in more than 40 days. The first cases recorded in Queensland was on 30th January and the state’s total stands at 1,019.

UPDATE: 11am, Friday 17th April (Australia)

The World Health Organisation has reminded healthcare providers that oxygen therapy is critical to be able to treat patient. Though the majority of cases of patients with Covid-19 have mild symptoms, it’s estimated that 20% of those affected will need oxygen.

UPDATE: 1:30pm, Tuesday 14th April (Australia)

There are 6,366 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with 44 new cases since 6am yesterday. 61 people have died from Covid-19. More than 363,500 tests have been conducted.

New South Wales continues to be the state with the highest number of cases, at 2,870.

However, the curve does appear to be flattening. In an interview on Sunrise this morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised h

“I am particularly proud of those who are on the frontline whether they’re our health workers or people out there processing claims for JobSeeker and JobKeeper, the country has pulled together and I particularly want to thank all Australian’s for their great effort over the Easter weekend. All of us urged people to stay at home, I know it was a very different Easter, it was for our family too. But everybody responded to that call on the weekend and we want to thank them very much for that because the level of activity was very low and that just means that what we have seen in the rate of increasing cases has remained low, and so well done, Australia.”

UPDATE: 1pm, Thursday 9th April (Australia)

AMA and government urge people not to neglect health  

Following last week’s announcement that the Australian Government has extended Medicare-subsidised telehealth services, the government and Australian Medical Association is urging people with chronic health conditions to not neglect their regular health care needs.

“The AMA is very concerned that some Australians are putting off seeing their doctor or getting a test, investigation, or immunisation due to fears of contracting COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 fear is understandable, but for some people it could mean that a medical condition like cancer or heart disease will go undetected,” AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said.

While social isolation is slowing the rate of Covid-19 infections, pathology tests have reduced considerably, and diagnostic and management investigations for cancer and chronic illnesses appear to be slowing.

Bulk billing requirements to be relaxed

Medical specialist requirements for telehealth bulk billing will be relaxed after Easter. While non-general practice specialists will have greater discretion than general practitioners about who can be bulk billed, general practice will receive an injection of $500m over the next six months.

The AMA has further details on this here.

TAL backtracks

Major life insurance provider TAL came under fire last week after ABC News revealed plans to deny pay-outs to Australians at higher risk of dying from Covid-19. The planned restrictions would have left some front line medical staff, including doctors, without coverage. After backlash, the company said in a statement that it will not apply any coronavirus exclusions to new customers, "including doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers, with greater risk to be exposed to COVID-19".

UPDATE: 4pm, Thursday 2nd April 2020 (Australia)

Locum doctors in demand

We’ve seen a surge in demand for doctors right across Australia over the past few days.

As the COVID-19 situation escalates, the need for locum doctors keeps increasing. Hospitals and clinics are in critical need of a wide variety of doctors right now, for both long and short term locums. They need to cover the increased demand on their services, roster gaps, and vacancies due to doctors unable to travel from overseas and doctors having to self-isolate.

MedRecruit, together with partner company Medworld, has redoubled its call for all doctors willing and able to help. If you are currently registered, willing and able to work, you can register your availability for locum work here{LINK: to registering}.

All grades and specialities are required, but there is a lot of demand for the following specialities right now:

  • ICU
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Anaesthesia
  • General Medicine
  • General Practitioners

Pandemic response sub-register

The increase in demand for doctors is expected to continue. To help meet demand, yesterday evening the Australian Government announced a pandemic response sub-register.

The sub-register enables medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and pharmacists who held general or specialist registration and who left the Register of practitioners or moved to non-practising registration within the past three years to return to practice. All eligible practitioners will be contacted and automatically added. The sub-register will operate on an opt-out basis, but practitioners can opt out at any time for any reason.

The register should be in place by Monday, 6th April.

UPDATE: 4pm, Monday 30th March 2020 (Australia)

At 11:59pm tonight, new restrictions around public gatherings, travel and what constitutes social distancing will come into place across Australia. Many public spaces are closed and some states, like Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania are enforcing these rules.

Travelling for work

Doctors and nurses are considered essential services and you are still allowed to travel to and from placements. You may be asked to prove that you are travelling for work, so we suggest you carry the following with you:

•          Photo ID

•          AHPRA registration

•          Copy of your locum hospital contract

•          Hospital contact details

Telehealth services

The Australian Government has announced a $1.1 billion funding boost to protect against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This includes giving Australians bulk-billed telehealth consultations with their doctors, so they don’t have to pay any out-of-pocket costs.

With no need for waiting rooms, the risk to both patients and GPs is greatly reduced – and, of course, there’s no need for PPE, which means equipment can be saved for when face-to-face consultations are needed.  

UPDATE 4pm, Monday 23rd March 2020 (Australia)

For: All doctors with current or upcoming placements

You may have heard that the New Zealand Government has announced a lockdown, starting on Wednesday. This means that everyone who is not working in essential services must work from home, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We believe similar restrictions may be put in place in Australia soon.

If this does happen, we’d like to assure you that doctors are essential services and you will still be allowed to travel to and from placements. We’re closely monitoring the situation and your Solutions Specialist will let you know if anything changes.

What you need to know

All placements current and upcoming are going ahead as planned and your Solutions Specialist will let you know if there are any changes.

Doctors are classed as ‘essential services’ and you are permitted to travel to and from placements. Your Solutions Specialist will provide you with a letter to carry with you when travelling to placements to verify this. Please make sure you have a printed copy of your APC and a copy of your Confirmation Email with you when you travel.

You may find that there are fewer transport options for you. If you have any problems, contact your Solutions Specialist who will be happy to help. We want to make sure you can travel to and from your placements safely.

Business as (almost) normal for MedRecruit

As a company, we planned and prepared for the possibility of a lockdown and increased demand a few weeks ago. All our team members have everything they need to work from home and during the lockdown, we’ll continue to operate as usual.

We are here for you. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Solutions Specialist.

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medworld Updates

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