COVID-19 has impacted our way of life at almost every level. In the context of work, it has forced us as employers, employees and contractors to adapt our thinking and approach to workplaces and work methods with a view to minimising transmission risk and disruption so as to ensure ongoing productivity. Here at Sonic HealthPlus, we’re continuing to provide best practice COVID-19 clinical advice, and develop and help implement risk minimisation strategies with and for our clients based on risk averse principles and sound research.
As jurisdictions come out of lockdown and we prepare for borders to start opening again, Sonic’s Pandemic Preparedness Team (PPT) has been focussing on the ‘post vaccination normal’, and what this means for our clinics so as to minimise risk for everyone who works in and visits our centres. This includes clinic personnel wearing PPE appropriate to warnings and conditions relevant to that particular location.
What will the COVID new normal look like for clients?
Our existing risk minimisation strategies currently require patients and candidates visiting our sites to complete a Triage and Declaration form on arrival. This form has now been updated to include current vaccination status as well as information on whether a person has come from a high risk location or hotspot. This confidential information will assist clinic staff to assess whether a person is deemed:
- unsuitable to attend for a medical appointment (i.e., has COVID-like symptoms and should attend a local testing site for PCR testing, and self-quarantine);
- high risk (i.e., from a high risk area and/or not fully vaccinated. In this instance, clinic staff will perform a Rapid Antigen Test screen (RAT) at no cost to the employer). Persons deemed high risk whose RAT test results are negative can undertake all appointment assessments, including aerosol generating procedures (AGP’s) like spirometry and high exertion assessments; or
- low risk (i.e., can attend the clinic without limitations on services performed).
Should RAT be deemed necessary, it will add approximately 15 minutes to normal medical assessment/consultation appointment times.
Where a RAT is positive or inconclusive, the medical assessment or procedure will not proceed and the patient or candidate isolated and provided advice with regard to further COVID-19 testing procedures.
Note that RAT testing is currently not permitted in Western Australia without Department of Health (DOH) approval, and under review in South Australia but is permitted in all other states and territories.
Symptomatic patients who present with acute injuries will be provided appropriate acute treatment, with staff utilising appropriate personal protection, before being directed for PCR testing and self-quarantine.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our client partner team should you require further information on our in-clinic risk minimisation strategies.
We appreciate your understanding and support as we transition to a new COVID ‘normal’ environment.
Chief Executive Officer
Dr Keith Adam
Chief Medical Officer
Will I be charged an appointment cancellation fee if a patient or candidate is deemed unsuitable or high-risk?
Will there be any impact to pricing?
We have no plans to increase the pricing of our services to incorporate RAT. Confirmatory PCR testing will be completed as a bulk-billed referral to the patient.
Will you be recommencing spirometry at all of your clinics?
Yes, within the above clinical framework, our clinics will recommence spirometry and salvia testing services in all locations, subject to State and Territory Government regulations.