(07) 3552 8100

 

Update on COVID-19

Training options (featured image)

Contacting GPTQ during this time

As part of the protective measures we are taking to safeguard staff and visitors during the COVID-19 crisis, all GPTQ offices will be closed from 5:00 p.m. on Friday 27 March 2020. Our staff will, however, continue to be available via phone, email and various tele-conferencing systems. This enables us to continue to provide all services, education and support during this challenging time.

GPTQ will continue to closely monitor developments and is prepared for any service-delivery interruptions due to COVID-19. We will post regular updates to various stakeholders involved as follows:

If you are a GPTQ Registrar, Practice Manager or Supervisor and would like to contact us, here are your first points of contact.

Registrars:

Brisbane North District: BN@gptq.qld.edu.au
Brisbane South District: BS@gptq.qld.edu.au
Gold Coast District: GC@gptq.qld.edu.au
Darling Downs & West Moreton District: DDWM@gptq.qld.edu.au
Hospital Based Placements / Leave / Other: supportservices@gptq.qld.edu.au
ADF: defence@gptq.qld.edu.au

Practices and Supervisors: accreditation@gptq.qld.edu.au

General Information

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) Coronavirus discovered in late 2019. Coronavirus (CoV) belongs to a large family of viruses known to cause respiratory tract illnesses and is closely related to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Symptoms can range from a mild illness to a severe pneumonia, and include fever, flu like symptoms such as cough, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat and may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhoea.  Some people will recover quickly and others may get very sick very quickly. People with COVID-19 may not have symptoms but may still pass the virus on. If you experience any of these, please contact your GP immediately.

Updates and latest information

The health and wellbeing of our staff and stakeholders is paramount and GPTQ is taking every precaution to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. As we continue to monitor COVID-19, we’d like to keep you posted on developments and advice available. For latest information on the outbreak and its spread, please refer to the WHO website, Australian Department of Health and Queensland Health websites.

Impact on GP Training

Program advice from the Colleges

Both the ACRRM and RACGP have issued advice on the impact of COVID-19 on the training program. Please see below links to statements from both colleges in this respect.

Are the College exams going ahead as planned?

The RACGP has announced significant changes to examination dates for 2020.1 and 2020.2 as below:

Exam Original Date Revised Date
2020.1 OSCE 23-May-2020 8 November 2020 (Close Of Enrolments tentatively 6 September 2020)
2020.2 KFP/AKT 17 & 18 July-2020 September 2020 (Close Of Enrolments tentatively 15 May 2020)
2020.2 OSCE 8-Nov-2020 February 2021 (Close Of Enrolments tentatively 23 November 2020)

What does this mean for exam candidates?

  • Candidates who are currently enrolled in the May OSCE will be advised that their exam will  be scheduled for 8 November 2020.
  • Candidates who are yet to enroll, and are eligible to sit the 8 November OSCE by the close of enrolments, can undertake the OSCE in November 2020.
  • Candidates enrolled in July AKT/KFP will undertake these exams in September and their OSCE in February 2021 (date – to be confirmed).

If you have any specific questions, you can contact us via examinations@racgp.org.au.

The RACGP and GPTQ acknowledge significant disruption with these changes. Further details and implications will emerge over the next few weeks, including RACGP and AGPT policy variations.

At present ACRRM is reviewing its exam schedule. ACRRM hopes to be able to deliver the assessments online. No decisions have yet been finalised. Information will be forthcoming. Please return to this page frequently to watch for updates.

I’ve had a potential work exposure – how will 2 weeks self-isolation affect my training time?

Both ACRRM and RACGP have advised that self-isolation will fall under Category 1 leave.

See our PI document on Leave (in MyGPTQ) and https://www.acrrm.org.au/home and https://www.racgp.org.au/ for updates.

As a registrar can I work from home providing telehealth services?

Every registrar placement must be supported by an appropriate supervision arrangement. You will need to discuss this with your employer. Consider access to appropriate clinical information and contemporaneous notes. Consider access to printing. Your facility may be able to accommodate telehealth onsite or offsite – each practice will need to assess their capacity to undertake such an activity safely.

GPTQ is required to ensure that appropriate approved supervision arrangements are in place before you can participate in telehealth consultations. A written supervision plan must be submitted to GPTQ before approval can be granted. Please use the application to perform telehealth form for the same.

Factsheets on MBS Telehealth items and descriptors can be found here. GPSA also have a COVID resource kit available for download.

If I need to take isolation time off – is this covered in the NTCER and will I be paid?

This will depend upon your workplace. Speak to the Practice Manager or your supervisor. GPRA may also be able to assist with employment enquiries. If you have further queries talk to your hub RLO.

Financial assistance for practices

The Australian Government’s stimulus package and the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) administrative concessions announced in response to COVID-19 contain some elements that may apply to practices as small and medium businesses.

Here is a summary provided by the RACGP on these financial assistance packages and includes information on assistance provided by the respective states as well. Here is a link to the ATO update on (and an option to register for) Jobkeeper payments and some financial advice for practices from the AMA.

 

 

Education activities at GPTQ

To minimise the risk of transmission to GP registrars, Supervisors, Practice managers and ECT visitors, GPTQ is postponing all face to face group educational activities till the end of the current semester (19.7.2020) and will be subject to further evolving information. These include district and hub activities, Supervisor, Practice Manager and ECT visitor training workshops.

This will take effect immediately as of 13 March 2020. We will provide ongoing advice for future events as it comes to hand. If you are a registrar, Supervisor, Practice Manager or ECT Visitor, please keep an eye on MyGPTQ for updates.

Telehealth consultations
As part of the COVID-19 practice response, registrars may be required to perform telehealth consultations. For this, GPTQ is requried to ensure appropriate approved supervision arrangements are in place. A written supervision plan must be submitted to GPTQ before approval can be granted by GPTQ and if required, by the relevant College(s). Application forms can be downloaded from MyGPTQ under COVID-19 updates.

Here are some resources for telehealth consultations:

I live outside Queensland and have to travel to my practice in Queensland everyday. How will the border restrictions affect me?

The Queensland government has launched an online portal enabling members of the public to apply for a QLD entry pass. This portal is aimed at non-residents requiring essential travel into QLD depending on exemption categories (including Health Service Workers) as directed by the Chief Health Officer. Eligible applicants will receive an e-pass on completing the form and applicants are required to print it and display within their vehicles to enable priority passage.

I’ve just returned from overseas – Can I attend work or education?

If you have travelled from a high-risk country within the designated or have any coronavirus systems, you must self-isolate in accordance with the relevant guidelines.  You must not attend any education sessions in person during a self-isolation or illness period. Check with https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/crisis/covid-19-and-travel.

I’m feeling anxious about a pandemic – who can I speak with?

Speak to your supervisor. If you do not feel comfortable or do not wish to do so, contact Access EAP and speak confidentially to a counsellor https://www.accesseap.com.au/. Your local medical education team will also provide opportunity to debrief.

General health advice and looking after yourself

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

COVID-19 is transmitted through contact with droplets that contain the virus.  This can happen through the air – when someone coughs or sneezes or through contact with surfaces that have the virus on them.  This is why it is important to cover coughs and sneezes, why handwashing is important and why avoiding touching your face is important.  Droplet spread also occurs when you are in close or intimate contact with someone – for example kissing or sharing utensils.

How can I protect myself?
  1. Wash your hands – frequently with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds – the time it takes to sing happy birthday). Alcohol sanitiser is an alternative but not as effective as soap and water.  Wash before and after eating, after visiting the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing and when you change workstations.
  2. Avoid touching your face – especially your nose, eyes and mouth (where the bugs get in!)
  3. Cover your sneezes and coughs (into your elbow or tissue) and dispose of tissues immediately (no hankies!!)

Avoid close contact (hugs and kisses) socially – foot tap away!

What do I do if I am sick?

Do not come to work if you have a fever above 37.5◦C or a cough that is producing sputum. If you are unwell – please use sick leave. If you are mildly unwell and are unsure about coming to work – please discuss working from home with your line manager. Advice on self-quarantine is changing rapidly and we will keep line managers informed on current practice.

There is evolving information on who should be tested for the virus – please check Australian government advice or call your own local GP for guidance (call ahead if you have a fever for appropriate triage). The department of health has a Coronavirus hotline – 1800 020 080 or you can speak with a nurse by calling health direct on 1800 022 222 both these services operate 24/7 and are free to access.

You do not need to wear a face mask unless you develop symptoms of COVID-19

Is there advice for people who smoke?

There are some indications that people who smoke may be at higher risk of both acquiring COVID-19 and a more severe illness if infected.  If you smoke and are considering stopping – now would be a good time.

Should I have a flu Vaccine?

It’s a good idea to have the flu vaccine. Although the COVID-19 virus and influenza are very different viruses, they can cause similar symptoms and it would be best to avoid having the viruses together or one after another.

I’m feeling anxious about a pandemic – who can I speak with?

Speak to your supervisor. If you do not feel comfortable or do not wish to do so, contact Access EAP and speak confidentially to a counsellor https://www.accesseap.com.au/. Your local medical education team will also provide opportunity to debrief.

How can I help?

Would healthcare workers who cross the state borders for work purposes have to go into mandatory quarantine?

Currently, healthcare workers who cross the borders for work purposes, and who are asymptomatic, will not have to go into a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Can I work at a fever clinic?

Work at a fever clinic is unlikely to contribute to training. Please discuss with your employer if you would like to work additional hours or part time to facilitate contributing to the community response.

Requests for help in the community

GPTQ have received several requests for doctors available and willing to help in this difficult time. If you feel you might be in a position to offer your services and help the community, please watch this space. Information coming soon..

Useful Links