21 May 2020

A month in the life of the Gold Coast’s first federally funded respiratory clinic

COVID-19 Respiratory

The Burleigh Cove Respiratory Clinic is run by HMS Medical Group, specialist medical consulting duo, Heather McLellan-Johnson and Dr Mark Spanner, who are also behind other major medical clinics across the Gold Coast and they can share some of the data and insights gained from the first four weeks at the frontline of the pandemic and also talk about the recent healthcare changes, many of which are here to stay.

Gold Coast Primary Health Network (PHN) board chair Dr Roger Halliwell recently said authorities were preparing for at least a quarter of Gold Coasters – about 140,000 people – to be infected by COVID-19 by the end of September.

The procedure at the respiratory clinic is for patients presenting with a fever or COVID symptoms until their appointment time (for social distancing reasons) until a doctor in full Personal Protective Gear (PPE) takes their medical history and ascertains if the fever or other symptoms are likely to be related to the virus or another ailment. They are then directed to either isolate until they receive confirmed results, or go directly to hospital.

This model of care is throughout all HMS Medical Group Medical Centres – this includes infrared temperature checks of all GPs, staff and patients entering the clinic, 7am to 8am appointments for pregnancy appointments and early childhood vaccinations, using hand sanitisers, safety screens, and social distancing practices.

“This new model allows prompt treatment by doctors, without putting others at risk of contracting the virus,” says Ms McLellan-Johnson.

Some of the other changes HMS Medical Group are predicting to become regular practice include/ are already offering:

  • Temperature checks: Infrared thermometer checks of all staff and patients prior to entering the premises.
  • Early access for those at risk: Elderly patients and pregnant women able to attend the first appointments of the day, at times allocated for them alone.
  • Telehealth here to stay: Not all patients need to come into the clinic to seek help, some 40% of visits can routinely be carried out with a doctor and patient over the phone or on Zoom. There is still going to be a need for patients to physically come in and see a doctor however.
COVID-19 live update