Marketown Health, conveniently located at Marketown Shopping Centre in Newcastle, has adapted quickly to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
CEO Dr Peter Hopkins and his team understand that general practice doctors, nurses and staff are the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic response.
They also know patients are worried about leaving their homes for fear of contracting the virus and understand some of them have lost their jobs and are worried about how they will still care for their health and that of their families.
In response, Marketown Health has adopted stringent sanitisation processes in the practice waiting room in accordance with government guidelines, ensured all personnel have the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and changed the way patients attend the practice.
"We are offering Telehealth Consultations by video conference or phone call for all patients who choose to do so," Dr Hopkins said.
"Some of these services are bulk billed if the patient meets the government criteria. Patients can assist by following our new requirements for attending the practice in person and wherever possible access an appointment with their doctor by Telehealth.
"We are asking patients to wait in their car on arrival and phone our reception to let us know they are there.
"The patient can then present to the practice only once the doctor or nurse is ready to see them and so minimise the time they are in the waiting room.
"This is all very different to the way we normally operate but we are adapting in response to the challenges at hand."
Marketown Health is also able to see patients with minor respiratory symptoms in an isolation room with a separate external access so that the patient does not come into contact with any other patients.
"Patients need to understand that the Triage questions they are being asked are very important," Dr Hopkins said.
"We need to know if the patient has any respiratory symptoms so we can ensure we use the isolation room and PPE for the face-to-face consultation if there is any chance the person has a risk of Covid-19 infection."
Marketown Health follows the Department of Health guidelines to sanitise the surfaces in the practice on a strict schedule to maintain a very high standard of infection control.
The practice has also developed back-up plans in case any personnel are unable to come to work.
Dr Hopkins acknowledges that in these unprecedented times people are turning to the internet for news, information and communication.
"We have many older patients and we will be working to ensure for these patients, for whom the internet can be confusing, there is ongoing access to quality medical care," Dr Hopkins said. "We remain committed to promoting health, wellbeing and careful management of chronic diseases, especially during these challenging times."
Marketown Health (formerly King Street General Practice) has been providing medical care to the people of Newcastle for over 40 years.
In 2017 it relocated to its current address at Upper Level, Marketown Shopping Centre East, 23 Steel Street, Newcastle East, where free parking is available
Appointments can be booked over the telephone or using the Hotdocs online booking service.
For more information call (02) 4929 5691 visit the webesite www.marketownhealth.com.au or check the Facebook page.