A behind the scenes look at Eleanor Clinic during the COVID pandemic

News of what is occurring overseas is filtering in, becoming more real as our doctors and nurses keep up to date with overseas medical groups.

As the days go past, the team at Eleanor Clinic is working hard behind the scenes to change processes and accommodate Eleanor Clinic’s overall structure to ensure we can keep our patients and our staff safe. Some people may think we are going overboard but safety has always been on the top of our list and we are more than happy to wear that tag proudly.

The transition to telehealth would have gone smoothly if the phone and internet connections didn’t decide to suddenly break down. But we activated our back up systems and all swung into action. Facebook comes in handy to help keep our patients updated. All temporary roadblocks making life very interesting behind the scenes all while we are changing our model of care.

Reception has been inundated with queries , nursing staff and doctors also inundated – many, many phone queries. We are hanging on, trying hard to answer everyone’s questions when even the medical community are only being drip fed information. Hang on a minute, that order for gowns and masks – not coming through. Hand sanitiser and soap – unable to purchase any more. Head in the hands moment. Oh: and phones down again. But there’s more, one of our admin staff was overseas and is now in home isolation – hang on, another one same scenario – so we’re two staff members down for 2 weeks.

Meanwhile phone consults commenced. Confusing only certain groups are allowed to be Bulk Billed – reception starting to ask about medical history to see if you are eligible and book accordingly. Other phone consults – private fee, no rebate – we can’t charge full fee – so we reduced the fee significantly. This means less income to pay our staff and bills. Because times are so crazy we’ve had to call in our casual admin team to help out, leading to additional expenses.

Patients are frustrated , don’t like to pay without any Medicare rebate. We totally understand but at this rate Eleanor Clinic will shut down. Hang on a minute: government assistance – that will pay for a month’s worth of rent and give some reprieve. We don’t want to lose great staff and great doctors so let’s continue to restructure. Shorter appointments, waiting for Government to announce Bulk Billing for everyone’s Telehealth Consult – big hit on Eleanor Clinic financially but so much more accessible and easier for our patients.

We have to cut back consult time to 10 mins – no more leisurely 20 min appointments – they are currently a luxury item and sadly farewelled… for now anyhow. Upshot is our doctors are happy to chat by phone or video or even see you in the carpark when needed. Whatever it takes.

Meanwhile staff wearing gowns and masks with any patient interaction. Some people just don’t tell the truth – do you have a fever? Do you have a cough? Some answers should be yes but some are telling us no. Perhaps they are scared they won’t get medical treatment, we get that. But that’s not how we work at Eleanor Clinic. ALL our patients will get medical treatment, we just need to do it in the safest possible way for everyone.

More processes change, patients now sit in their cars if they need to be seen by a doctor. After an initial phone consult the doctor will see them in their car. Immunisations? Easy peasy, let’s set up a marquee and do as many as we can – quickly running out of flu vaccines, order some more, there is a delay. How long? No one can tell us, they will just show up one day.

Hang on, there’s more, power failure late at night. Off to Clinic to look after those precious vaccines and make sure our processes have kept them safe – yes! Processes have worked and vaccines very safe.
More information from Government, still a little confusing, more meetings, more discussion, more changes as to how we operate. Staff all amazing, going with the flow, working together as a solid team to get through this. We all have families, we all have commitments but everyone at Eleanor Clinic going the extra mile to do what it takes to be more available for our patients in the safest possible way.

Less sleep, no high fives and no hugs when things get tough. No more social dinners but we still manage to keep it together – there is more to come and it will get harder but we are all committed. A little bit of crazy dancing and poorly pitched singing – our patients can’t see us and hear us do this in the waiting area – it’s a bit of fun and gives us a giggle amongst the crazy chaos we find ourselves in. The only tears shed are when our patients leave us food parcels on our doorstep, anonymous flowers telling us we are amazing, notes of thanks and verbal messages of gratitude and that our patients are thinking of us. This all helps us get through the days as we prepare for more to come.

It will be hard and it will be challenging but we have a purpose. To help our patients who have supported us since we started only one and a half years ago. We are committed and we are ready, ready to answer your questions, ready to reassure you, and ready to take further action if you need it. Our information to you may change on a daily basis but that’s only because the information we are receiving is changing at least 10 times a day.

We are chameleons and our team will adapt to any changes that need to be made. We are all in this together and it is together that we will get through this. Yes, we will come out a little different to the way we were but overall we will be much stronger, more resilient, yet a little crazier. Everyone has their strengths and it can be as simple as staying at home while going stir crazy. Now that takes a lot of strength!!
We take our hats off to you all who are staying home and to those who are continuing to work in essential services.

It’s called teamwork and it’s what makes us trong. Without each other we have nothing!!

Safe appointments at Eleanor Clinic during COVID-19

As you are all aware the best thing we can all do to slow the spread of Covid-19 is to stay at home.

At Eleanor Clinic we have put best current medical advice into practice and changed how our clinic runs during the pandemic. The aim is to be available to look after our patients. We are here for you to get through this difficult time.

Phone consults

You first point of call will now be a phone consult, which will be fully bulk billed. Referrals and scripts can be done this way and sent to you. Your doctor can then decide if further things are needed. A video assessment or a face to face consultation can be organised as per your doctor’s recommendations.

Eleanor Clinic’s friendly team with our reception under a canopy in the car park.

In person consults at Eleanor Clinic

All patients who enter our clinic will first be screened for fever and asked to use hand sanitiser on entering.

Well patients

Well patients coming in for important issues like antenatal care, 6 week baby checks, Diabetes management etc will be given special time slots to come in – isolated from anyone else.

Unwell patients

Unwell patients will be given a specific time to come to the clinic. On arrival please give us a call and let us know you are here. If you are coming via car, please stay in your car. Otherwise we invite you to take a seat in our clinic front garden. There is a chair in each corner for safe physical distancing.

Vaccinations

We continue to offer vaccination clinics – these are vitally important. Vaccinations will be done by our nurses outside the clinic under our marquee or in your car. Of course all vaccinations will be entered and documented into your file. Flu vaccinations are fully funded for:

  • Children between 6 month and 5 years
  • People with chronic health conditions, like asthma, Diabetes, Rheumatoid disease, etc
  • Pregnant women in all stages of pregnancy, pertussis booster after 20 weeks for each pregnancy recommended
  • People aged 65 and older

If you do not belong to any of the above groups we can administer the flu vaccine privately, fee $25/person.

Over the coming weeks we will see a rapid rise of COVID infections in our community. Remember that children are the group that is mostly only mildly affected. But you should keep children away from the grandparents as even well appearing children can spread COVID to people who are elderly or those with chronic health conditions.

#We will stay at work for you – please stay at home for us!

COVID resources

Vaccinations

Info on the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Federal Government

Eligibility criteria for those 16-39 years old

Info from the Victorian Government and more info on getting vaccinated

Vaccine info from the Health Department and The Federal Government

Where are we on the vaccine rollout?

The Guardian Vaccination Tracker

Children
  • On every parent’s mind: How dangerous is the Delta-variant for children?
    For most children even the Delta-variant – currently circulating in Victoria and NSW – is not particularly dangerous,
    Hear more about it from the director of General Paediatrics at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Sarah McNab on the ABC website.
  • Having a COVID-19 swab done

COVID testing

Victorian Government info on testing

Locating a COVID testing site near you

Short list of COVID testing sites in the West

Check Vic Government site for up to date info

 

CoHealth West Footscray

575A Barkly St, West Footscray

12:15pm-1:15pm

 

Altona – Dorevitch

Walk-in, GP referral required

Mo-Fr 8:30am-4pm

Sat-Sun 8:30am-1pm

99 Pier Street. Altona

 

Altona North Respiratory Clinic (children and adults)

Monday-Friday

Testing by appointment only. Phone: 9393 3900 or Book online

 

Ascot Vale (Melbourne Showgrounds)

Drive through, remain in vehicle

Adults and children 5 years and older

Gate 3, Langs Rd, Ascot Vale

Mo-Sun 6am-10pm (last entry 15 minutes before closing)

Registration form

 

4Cyte Pathology, Spotswood

Drive Through, remain in vehicle

615 Melbourne Rd, Spotswood (Rear car park)

 

IPC Health, West Sunshine

Drive Through, remain in vehicle

25 Kermeen St, Sunshine West

Mo-Fr 8am-5pm

Support from Maribyrnong Council (food, financial and health resources)

Maribyrnong council has set up relief and recovery response teams that are available to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. These teams can provide information and advice about services that are available to those affected by COVID-19, including financial resources, food resources, and health resources. They can also coordinate service responses for individuals and families including emergency food hampers, and can assist with general and specialised service referrals. If you, your family or someone you know has been impacted by COVID-19 and is in need of support, please call our dedicated number on 9688 0434 from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

General advice
Doctors
Pregnancy, Sexual and Reproductive Health
Senior citizens
Anxiety, Stress & Relaxation
Self isolation / quarantine

An update: We’re growing, joining a national research project and training medical students.

As our Eleanor Clinic family is growing it was time for a new team photo.

Our focus has not changed: we provide high quality medical care in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Eleanor Clinic TeamTo grow while keeping our focus on the best medical care for you requires the right professionals to join our team. So we are once again looking to extend our clinic family. Keep an eye out over the next few month: you may spot the odd new face!

In keeping with striving for clinical excellence we have agreed to take part in the General Practice National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey. This impressive sounding title translates to something very important to all our patients: finding out if doctors are using antibiotics appropriately and are following the latest treatment guidelines.

Don’t worry: No patient data is shared here – we never share any of your information unless you explicitly ask us to. Much rather, this survey studies how the doctors in our practice use antibiotics to make sure your treatment is in line with national recommendations. Something else to make sure our patients receive the best medical care? A no-brainer for us: we were only too happy to agree to be part of this laudable project!

Very much in keeping with this we are delighted to have been accredited by the University of Melbourne to help train medical students here at Eleanor Clinic. We will have a student spending time with one of our doctors each Thursday. We feel strongly about helping to shape the next generation of doctors. What better way to introduce them to the complex and wonderful world of General Practice than right here at Eleanor Clinic!

We understand if you may not wish to have a student present for any or all of your visits with us – this is perfectly fine. We will always ask for your consent to have a student present during a consultation beforehand and we will be just as pleased if you’d rather see your doctor without a student present.

To sum it up: Eleanor Clinic’s very own kind of gentle clinical excellence is thriving and we are carefully growing our family. We have entered research and training collaborations to ensure highest medical standards while helping to train the GPs of tomorrow. Exciting times for all of us!