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Caring for patients with COVID-19

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Caring for patients with COVID-19

Page last updated at 11am 24 December 2021

Information for General Practice

On this page:

Overview

Queensland Primary Health Networks (PHNs), Queensland Health, local hospital and health services, the Australian Government Department of Health, Healthdirect Australia, Health Consumers Queensland and peak agencies (e.g. RACGP) continue to be involved in planning for general practices, about caring for low-risk or mild COVID-19 positive patients in the community, in a rapidly evolving environment.

This web page, developed by Queensland Primary Health Networks, provides support and information to Queensland general practices as we transition to living with COVID-19.  Information is regularly updated as it becomes available.

Until January 2022, all COVID positive patients will continue to be managed by local hospital and health services until alternative arrangements come into place, expected some-time in January. This new model will enable low risk COVID patients to be managed in most cases by their regular primary care provider, and it is expected that most of the care will be delivered by general practices via Telehealth.

GPs will be able to access clinical advice by phone if they have concerns about their patients clinical needs and to escalate care if a patient is deteriorating.

HealthPathways

Please note: The model of care described in the COVID-19 Case Management Pathway has not yet been activated in Queensland. General Practitioner (GP) management of low-risk patients with COVID-19 will be activated as local case numbers rise. The HealthPathways page will be regularly updated with any changes in protocols. 

The Queensland-wide COVID-19 Case Management Health Pathway is now available for clinicians, and provides clinical guidance on the assessment, triage and management of COVID-19 positive patients in the community. 


The Pathway guides GPs through the process including risk assessment, notifications, method of care, escalation pathways, social support services, PPE and follow-up care.

Clinicians are also encouraged to utilise these COVID-19 HealthPathways: 

Currently all confirmed COVID-19 cases in Queensland continue to be managed or monitored by Queensland Health, in hospital or a hospital-led service (e.g. virtual ward, hospital in the home). 

As the number of cases increases in the state, COVID-19 positive patients at lower risk of severe illness or adverse outcomes will be allocated to a GP-led pathway of care.

Queensland Health is currently finalising the plan for the community management of COVID-19-positive patients. Clinical guidance for this process is being finalised and will soon be made available on HealthPathways. It is expected this Pathway will come into effect some time in January 2022.

It is encouraged that primary care clinicians and practice managers work through the pathways in preparation of the launch of the model of care. 

Local HealthPathways specific to each region and health district in Queensland are being updated. 

Practitioners are encouraged to check they have access to HealthPathways. If you do not have access to HealthPathways, please contact your local PHN for login details.

The COVID-19 In The Community Preparation Checklist is also a useful supporting document.

Managing patients with COVID-19

Healthdirect Australia has been commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and Queensland Health, to perform the initial triage and assessment of patients with COVID-19 and refer patients with a low risk of deterioration to the appropriate primary care provider whether a GP, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation or a General Practice Respiratory Clinic.

The process currently being co-designed with stakeholders, to support the care of COVID-19 patients in the community, is as follows:

  • Your usual patients will be triaged by Healthdirect according to national guidelines
  • Low risk consumers will be contacted and asked to nominate their usual GP/practice
  • Moderate and high risk consumers will be managed by Queensland Health
  • A referral will be sent to you via secure messaging for your usual patients only
  • You will be prompted to accept or decline the referral
  • If the referral is not accepted, the referral will be sent to an alternative GP. If within 24 hours from the first referral request Healthdirect cannot find a GP, your patient will go back to Queensland Health for ongoing care.


More detailed information is available in the COVID-19 HealthPathways, which are now available.

Supporting information

Model of Care
This provides clinicians with a quick, visual guide about the process for patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19. (COMING SOON)

MBS Online
MBS COVID-19 Management Support Service

Telehealth

  • COVID-19 program for primary healthcare services
    Health Direct work with the Australian Government and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to integrate COVID-19 Video Call programs into primary healthcare services.

    Under a special funding agreement from the Australian Department of Health, the service is provided without cost to General Practices, Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

    This funding provision enables telehealth as a whole-of-population model of care during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and wellbeing of practitioners and patients. If you are a GP, please register here. If you represent an AMS or ACCHOs, please register your interest in a licence here.

Face-to-face
Until 30 June 2022, a temporary Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item has been made available to support medical practitioners providing clinically relevant treatment to COVID-19 positive patients.

Checklist – is your practice COVID prepared?
Download the checklist for practices to assist with COVID-19 preparedness.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Australian Government Department of Health have now released guidance on access to PPE bundles and pulse oximeters for practices willing to treat low-risk COVID-19 positive patients face-to-face.

This Distribution of PPE through PHNs communications statement outlines the PPE available, eligibility criteria and associated obligations of GPs, ACCHSs and GPRCs wishing to access the National Medical Stockpile (NMS).

Your local PHN will provide further details about how you can access PPE.

Get COVID Ready – Consumer materials
Queensland Health fact sheets, check lists, care plans, animations to help the public prepare for when COVID is in the community. (COMING SOON)

Events and webinars

Register for upcoming events and webinars for the latest information on the COVID-19 response.

Upcoming
  • Check back in 2022
Previous recordings


Primary Health Network Contacts

Your local Primary Health Network (PHN) is your best contact for local support, advice and information and to order PPE. Click on your local PHN below for their contact information.

Phone 07 4615 0932

Email info@ddwmphn.com.au

Web www.ddwmphn.com.au

Resources 

Find links to the latest information and guidelines for clinicians on living with COVID-19 in the community, here:

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