Dear Port Melbourne Medical Patients and Families,

We are aiming to keep everyone updated as things change at PMM, and offer you a reliable information source regarding COVID-19. We are aware that this is a rapidly changing situation, and can only confirm that the information contained in this newsletter is accurate at the time it was written.

At PMM, we are doing everything we can to keep our patients safe, as well as our staff safe from COVID-19. All the evidence now points to this virus being spread through respiratory droplets. Social distancing is a term you may have heard in the media and this is one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of infection. This means standing 1.5-2m apart from the people you are interacting with, to reduce the respiratory droplet spread that can occur with talking, as well as coughing and sneezing.

We have put a barrier up at reception, and we ask that you respect this when interacting with our reception staff, stepping forward only to pay, when you have your cards ready. As advised in our previous email, we are now not accepting cash due to the infection risk. Our EFTPOS machines and pens are cleaned after every use. If your doctor asks you, please leave the clinic directly and then call up to pay, and do not interact with reception staff. Whilst these measures may seem extreme, they are to protect everyone. We are aware of the need to be on the front foot.

All accounts must be settled on the day of the consultation. Failure to do so will encounter a $10 administration fee and inability to book further appointments. We do not want to be using our valuable staffs time being debt collectors. Please do the right thing by the clinic, as we are doing the right thing by you.

When you arrive at PMM, please remain in your car. If you have the HotDoc app, you can check in so our doctors or nurses know you are in your car and waiting. We ask that you get the app to check in, to reduce the enormous number of phone calls we are receiving at the moment. If you do not have the app, you can call reception and advise them that you have arrived.

You will be called by the doctor or nurse when it is your appointment time, and they will guide you from there. Keep your phone on, sound on, and phone charged, ready to take the call. We are still running to appointments and if we can’t contact you at your appointment time, you may miss your appointment. You may be asked to enter the clinic through the Specialist Centre entrance. This is to keep every single runny nose, cough, and fever out of the clinic to protect our at risk population who need to attend in person.

As more information comes to hand, we will be proactive in contacting the higher risk groups. There is emerging evidence that some people may be at higher risk if they are taking certain medications, and when this information is confimed we will contact individuals to change medications.

Some people are finding their workplace is asking for a clearance certificate. Medicolegally, we cannot provide these. We cannot confirm that someone’s viral symptoms are not COVID-19, as we cannot test for infection in people who have not travelled due to a global shortage of testing kits (the exception being health care workers, and residential aged care facility residents and staff). We know there is community spread, but unfortunately at this stage we cannot test for it. Therefore, the advice is to stay at home until symptoms have resolved. Of course, seek medical advice if you are feeling particularly unwell.

Please continue to be sensible, and help reduce the spread. Practicing social distancing, even with your friends, wash your hands regularly, especially after touching communal surfaces, and most importantly, stay home if you are unwell, even if it is only mild.

As always – thank you for your cooperation, supportive words and patience.

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