COVID-19

Information about coronavirus (COVID-19)*

Disclaimer

  *This page will continue to be updated as new information is available.  Last update Thursday 22 October, 10:45am  (AEDT)
   - please note the updates relate primarily to information for Victoria (see below) 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.  

The Department of Health (Australia) is monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19.  You are encouraged to stay up to date with information on their website, or via Facebook.  At the bottom of this page is a long list is resources available.

 

Specific resources available for Allied Health Professionals:

  • PPE video for allied health workers - link here
  • Webinar series for primary care and allied health practitioners - link here
  • Distribution of PPE for general practice, community pharmacy and allied health professionals - link here
  • Allied Health checklist for receptionists - link here
  • Allied health poster - 'now open for clients' - link here
  • Alled health poster - 'practice now open' - link here

Resources developed for health professionals which are also intended to support allied health professionals:

 

Continuing to Practice

Victoria Only

On Sunday 18 October, the Victorian Government announced a change in restrictions.  Advice from the Victorian Chief Allied Health Officer on the 19th October:

"We were pleased with the inclusion of Allied Health in the Premier’s media announcement yesterday, and recognise the challenging impact of restrictions for Allied Health practitioners over recent months. We again thank you and your members for your assistance in ensuring the health and wellbeing of all Victorians during the pandemic response.

We are pleased to confirm the following easing of restrictions for Allied Health services in metro Melbourne (effective as of 11.59pm, 18 October 2020);

  • All AHPRA registered health workers - and in addition, social work, speech pathology, dietetics, audiology, exercise physiology, orthotists and prosthetists, orthoptists, art therapists and music therapists may provide routine and preventative care for individual patients.
  • Telehealth should remain the first preference for service delivery and be provided wherever clinically appropriate.
  • Indoor group classes are not permitted.
  • Outdoor classes are permitted with a maximum of 2 patients to 1 health professional.
  • Hydrotherapy services may be provided 1:1 in an indoor pool are permitted (1 health professional to 1 patient).  No group sessions are permitted, however a maximum of 10 people are permitted in a hydrotherapy pool at any given time with services provided 1:1 with density quotients (i.e. 5 health professionals and 5 clients).
  • Gyms remain closed.
  • Treatment of more than one person in an open clinical space is permitted with density quotients.
  • Home visits may be provided with strict infection prevention and control and use of PPE.

From 1 November, we anticipate that there will be a further easing of restrictions and move to the full ‘third step’ of the recovery roadmap for metro Melbourne - pending the advice of the public health team.”

 

There is signficant lobbying taking place to include Myotherapists and Remedial Massage Therapists in the list of those allowed to practice.  This page will be updated as the situation changes.

The Victorian Government has recently released the Industry Restart Guidelines Allied Health and other primary health services.  This document covers both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne and includes a comprehensive FAQ.  

Information can also be found on the DHHS website here.

The Department of Health and Human Services has updated guidance on the use of PPE specific to private practice settings.  Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers.

Australia

Information from the Commonwealth Department of Health is available on the Guidance on the use of face masks for health care workers.  There is a full suite of guidance on PPE for healthcare workers, updated 31 July, on the Department of Health Website here.

The attached letter provides information to allied health professionals in relation to their use and priorisation of access to surgical masks.

Practitioners who have a medicare provider number can provide telehealth videoonference and telephone services under sub-groups 11 and 12 to clients with a chronic condition and:

  • a shared care plan, or
  • a GP Management Plan and Team are Arrangements or
  • if they are a resident of an RAF and have a multidisciplinary care plan.

The service can be bulk-billed, and for allied health health services, is only available to AHPRA registered professions.  We encourage practitioners who meet this criteria to continue to see patients under this arrangement if able to do so.  Please refer the the MBS changes factsheet for full information.

For those members seeing DVA clients, the Department has recently provided informaton on temporary changes in service delivery to our clients during the current pandemic. You can find the details here.

New Zealand

Auckland is currently at Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 2.  Information can be found on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website here.  These Alerts are in place until 11.59 pm Wednesday 26 August.  Specific information for Allied Health can be found here.


Information & Resources

Current information from the Australian Government Department of Health
The Government's $2.4 Billion health plan
The JobKeeper Payment has been extended beyond September - Fact Sheet: Extension of JobKeeper Payment

Information from the Ministry of Health (New Zealand) can be found at there website here.

There is a very useful website Train IT Medical which has information on different MBS item numbers and telehealth information.

A COVIDSafe planning tool for businesses has been published.  The tool is designed to help businesses prepare to re-open safely following the COVID-19 shutdown.  

For more information on the coronavirus, you can contact

Financial Support

Many ALA members/ALA Accredited Lymphoedema Practitioners are small business owners/operate from a private practice.  Below are a number of links which may be useful (note: this is changing all the time, so we also suggest you continue to refer to your state or territory sites for up to date information)

Australia

To assist businesses experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 the ATO have released a series of relief options - CLICK HERE

Cash Flow Assistance information available for small to medium business from Treasury.

State support available:

New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has released a number of finanical support initiatives - CLICK HERE

Support for ALA Members and their community

It is being said time and time again, we are in an unprecented situation.  If you need to, please access support services (most of these services operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Australia

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 
  • Beyond Blue : 1 300 224 636 
  • MensLine Australia: 1 300 789 978 
  • Kids Helpline: 1 800 551 800
  • Headspace: 1 800 650 890
  • Head to Health is a government resource which provides links to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options.

New Zealand

  • The Low Down: 0800 111 757
  • Sparx - online e-therapy tool - www.sparx.org.nz
  • Healthline (registered nurse): 0800 611 116
  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • What's Up (5-18 year olds): 0800 942 8787 (M-F, 1pm - 10pm, Sat/Sun, 3pm - 10pm)
  • Ministry of Health, Mental Health crisis services (emergencies only) Crisis Assessment Teams

 

The ALA would like to acknowledge the support of AHPA and AHPA member organisations, allowing ALA to build this content specific for lymphoedema therapists.