1 October 2021

Farcical treatment after clinic’s covid exposure

COVID-19

Melbourne GP Dr Todd Cameron says Victoria’s treatment of GP clinics following low-risk covid exposure is “completely ridiculous”, based on his experience this week, and would not only cost practices but result in more deferred care and more emergency visits.

“If a covid-positive patient walks into your clinic, you are screwed,” he said.

In a video account made available to TMR, the part owner and founder of M3Health group of practices said a pre-symptomatic patient had on Tuesday 21 September attended the Spotswood practice for about 10 minutes. This practice has a face-to-face zone where staff wear full PPE including gowns and shields, and the patient wore a mask.

The patient was tested for covid on the Friday and found to be positive.

The clinic wasn’t notified until Wednesday 29 September, upon which Tier 2 precautions were immediately enacted: staff were sent home after being covid-tested and all surfaces were cleaned.

Yesterday – nine days after the visit – Victoria’s Health Department (DHHS) called and informed the practice it was a Tier 1 site, made staff complete paperwork that had not been updated since August last year, and enforced a 14-day furlough of three staff – one GP, one nurse and one admin – and a deep clean that cost the practice $6000.

Despite the staff all wearing full PPE, Dr Cameron said, the DHHS had treated them as though they were “naked, serving people in a pub”.

“This is completely ridiculous,” he said.

“We made a decision in our clinic that we would continue to provide face-to-face care because based on the 2020 outbreak, which went for a long time, we know that the problem is that the cost of deferred care is huge.

“It basically means that if a covid-positive patient walks into your clinic, you are screwed: you are a Tier 1, no matter what you do, and if we had been unlucky and like most clinics had a single work environment, then everybody in that environment is treated to 14 days Tier 1 exposure, which is an absolute nonsense and costs a fortune.

“A ‘deep clean’, nine days later, for an airborne virus, no fomite spread to speak of.

“So I’m going to say there’s no evidence for the way that general practice is being treated.

“What are we supposed to do? Do you want us to send all patients that require a physical examination to the ED? I’m going to suggest that’s probably not what you want, but the current rules mean that that is the safest thing for us to do.

“You need to get your game in order and stop having us acting to ridiculous rules that treat us like we are naked workers in a pub.”

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5 Comments on "Farcical treatment after clinic’s covid exposure"

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Julia
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Julia
1 month 27 days ago

This happened to us, not once, but twice. Clinic never told to shut down or deep clean.

Richard Wright
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Richard Wright
2 months 23 hours ago

We had similar exposure.
I waited 5 hours and 45 minutes on the phone for dhhs to determine our status.
Deemed tier 2.
I emailed them immediately we knew ie at hour 1.
The advice was to send no details of contacts???
We tested all staff and notified relevant patients… none had heard a word from department.

Matt Long
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Matt Long
2 months 1 day ago

So so stupid by DHHS but nothing surprises me anymore re their response. This perhaps the ideal way to put even more pressure on emergency departments whilst doing absolutely nothing to stop the spread of Covid. Surely if staff are double vaccinated and wearing PPE then all that is required is daily covid testing and no furloughing.
If the cases of Covid keep rising and DHHS keep these ridiculous rules then there will be no GP clinics left open.

Judy Campbell
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Judy Campbell
2 months 1 day ago

I was informed by hospital ID professor and by hospital micro pathologist that if all staff are wearing full PPE including N95 masks and goggles that staff do not need to isolate after a Covid exposure in a GP clinic???

Jim kyriacopoulos
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Jim kyriacopoulos
2 months 7 hours ago

DHSS Victoria have no idea. Poorly trained get different responses from different staff working there. The worst in the country. That’s why we are in lockdown virtually all the time. And Dan of course. Look at the quarantine disasters we have had. No hope.

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