The COVID-19 Pandemic
Protective measures taken by Retina and Eye Consultants
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and well-being of our patients and staff is of the greatest importance. But we also recognise the need for timely management of your eye condition, in order to prevent loss of vision.
Therefore, based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and the American Association of Ophthalmologists, we have put extensive safeguards and modifications in place to allow our practices at Hurstville and Miranda to remain open, while aiming to protect both your health and your vision.
These measures include careful patient screening, social distancing and physical barriers, and stringent hygiene practices.
- Patient screening:
- You will be sent an SMS (or phoned) prior to your visit, asking if you:
- Have had any contact with an infected person.
- Have returned from overseas in the previous 2 weeks.
- Are feeling unwell, particularly with fever, sore throat or cough or shortness of breath.
Please help us by answering honestly and immediately so we can reorganise your care if required.
- On arrival, and before you enter the practice, you will be asked the same questions and your temperature will be checked. If appropriate, we will ask you to attend the nearest COVID-19 Assessment Clinic and return to the practice when suitable.
- Staff and supplier screening:
- We are also screening every staff member (and supplier who visits the practice) in the same way. Again, if there are any concerns, staff are referred to the COVID-19 Assessment Clinic before entering the practice.
- Social Distancing:
- The number of patient appointments each day have been reduced and the waiting rooms reorganised to ensure a minimum distance of 2.0m between each chair.
- The duration of the consultation will be kept to a minimum to reduce contact time between yourself and staff.
- We are asking that all carers wait outside the clinic, and we are happy to call you afterwards to explain and discuss the outcome of the consultation.
- For some patients, we will use telehealth to keep in contact with you (e.g. after your operation) and we will let you know if we feel that this is the best approach in the current circumstances.
- Physical barriers:
- If you have a mask, please wear it to your consultation.
- Clinic staff are using protective equipment including facemasks, gloves, and face shields to minimise droplet spread. All staff have completed training in infection control for COVID-19.
- Perspex screens have been installed throughout the practice, including in the reception area, in the orthoptist and consulting rooms and on imaging equipment.
- Stringent hygiene practises:
- The practice is professionally cleaned every day, and the cleaning regime has been increased to include the use of hospital grade disinfectants on all surfaces.
- Strict hand washing protocols are in place for all staff, between every patient.
- Also between every patient, all surfaces in our consulting and imaging rooms are cleaned with alcohol based cleaning solutions/ wipes.
At this stage, with the gradual reintroduction of elective (non-urgent) surgery beginning on 17 April, all types of operations are proceeding.
However the number of patients per operating list is reduced, according to directives from the Department of Health, so that there are still delays in scheduling elective surgery.
Presumably the situation will return to normal if the COVID-19 infection rate remains low or falls further.
Urgent operations are continuing as usual.
We appreciate that this is a difficult time, and understand and share the concerns that you may have about the possibility of COVID-19 infection – particularly if you’re elderly or have elderly parents who are our patients.
Please call us if there are particular issues that you would like to discuss, and accept our best wishes for a safe passage through these challenging times.