COVID-19 – Westcare’s response

Like all of us, Westcare has had to make rapid changes to adapt to the threat of Coronavirus.

As soon as transmission of the virus was likely to be occurring in the community, we made major changes to our usual policies. We need to protect you, our patients and community, and ensure that no transmission of the virus occurs at our medical centre. We also need to protect our staff — we are nothing without them and if any of us should become unwell then that leaves us less able to serve our community. We keep another eye on the continuity of the business, and the practice manager is working hard to keep us sound throughout the storm.

The Australian government made changes to Medicare to give everyone access to telehealth appointments, either by phone or video call. This applies to all existing patients of Westcare who have a Medicare card. If you don’t have Medicare we still want to help, so give us a call to ask details.

Telehealth consultations are a big step in helping us all to stop COVID-19. All of our doctors are able to run a video call, or if you don’t have a smartphone or webcam then a telephone call will also work. We are happy to take any questions you have about COVID, happy to help you decide what to do if you have symptoms, and also really happy to keep doing all the normal things you expect of us.

We are still open for our patients, and if you need to come in to the medical centre to be examined or to have a procedure done we will arrange that for you. We realise that it is important to continue to address your other healthcare needs even during the COVID pandemic. When you call your doctor they will give you a time to come in if needed. 

We use an Australian video call platform called Coviu to do video calls. Most people have found it easy to join a call, and you don’t need to download any software. We will send you a link and ask you to click on it 5 minutes before your appointment time. We are also making full use of the new electronic prescriptions.. If the internet connection is poor we can always just go back to the telephone.

We have made the waiting room safe — if your doctor is not ready when you arrive, we will ask you to wait in your car and we will call you when the doctor is ready. Social distancing principles will apply to our whole building, even in the consulting rooms where possible. Our cleaning schedule is extremely frequent. You will notice that the staff and doctors wear protective equipment including masks and eye shields.

We have also further protected our staff by moving all staff meetings online, and closing the lunch room. Our doctors are able to work from home, where needed.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns. We understand that this is new and different, but we believe very strongly that social distancing measures will help slow the spread of coronavirus. If you feel you are not getting enough access to healthcare we really want to hear from you as we have plans in place to ensure this does not happen.