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Some procedures will no longer be bulk billed

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We would like to advise patients that our prices for some procedures will no longer be bulk billed.

For you, this will mean Iron Infusions, Implanon removal or insertion and Mirenas will have an out-of-pocket fee.

As you know, we value your business and have worked hard with you to achieve better health outcomes.

Like any business though, our own operating costs do increase over time.

To maintain the level of service you’re accustomed to, this increase is necessary, so we wanted to communicate this to you in good time.

We’re confident that our prices remain competitive within our sector for the quality of the service that we provide and as always, we’re focused on the results we provide to patients.

Winter booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk Australians

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ATAGI recommends an additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine to increase vaccine protection before winter for selected population groups (see Table 1) who are at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and who have received their primary vaccination and first booster dose. These groups are:

  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
  • People aged 16 years and older with severe immunocompromise (as defined in the  ATAGI statement on the use of a 3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older.

The additional winter booster dose can be given from 4 months or longer after the person has received their first booster dose, or from 4 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, if infection occurred since the person’s first COVID-19 booster dose.

ATAGI recommends that the rollout of the additional booster dose for these groups starts from April 2022, coinciding with the rollout of the 2022 influenza vaccination program.

Influenza vaccine can be co-administered with the additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. However, if a person is not yet eligible for their additional booster dose, influenza vaccine could be given ahead of the additional booster dose.

Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) are the preferred vaccines for COVID-19 booster doses including the additional winter booster dose. Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) can be used when an mRNA vaccine is contraindicated or a person declines vaccination with an mRNA vaccine. Nuvaxovid (Novavax) can be used if no other COVID-19 vaccine is considered suitable for that person.

For other groups not listed above, there is insufficient evidence of the benefits of an additional booster dose to make recommendations at this time. This includes people younger than 65 years with medical conditions that may increase their risk of COVID-19, individuals with disability and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recipients who are not in residential disability care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 to 49, workers at health care or residential care facilities, or younger healthy adults. ATAGI will continue to monitor emerging evidence and may recommend an additional dose for these groups in the future.

Prevention of severe illness from COVID-19 remains the primary goal of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program. These recommendations for an additional booster dose focus on protecting the most vulnerable groups against severe disease and reducing the potential burden on the healthcare system over the coming months.

The secondary aims of the COVID-19 vaccination program are preventing infection and preventing transmission of the virus. There is limited evidence at this stage for additional booster doses to prevent transmission. Emerging evidence in relation to prevention of transmission by vaccination will continue to be monitored and additional booster doses may be recommended in additional groups in the future.

All people aged 16 years and older are recommended to receive a first booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine after completing their primary course. For most people, this will be a third dose. The booster dose is important to maintain protection against COVID-19.

For any person aged 16 and older who has not received their first booster yet, ATAGI recommends they receive it as soon as possible.

Protection against infection wanes after the first booster dose. However, protection against severe disease (rather than all infection) is relatively well maintained, especially in young healthy populations.

EFMC to hold last Covid vaccination clinic this week

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Thanks to the efforts of Queenslanders, the Edmonton Family Medical Centre will be holding our last Covid 19 vaccination clinics this week.

As vaccination rates increase steadily, Far North Queenslanders have rolled up their sleeves for the jab.

More than 180,000 doses have been administered by GP clinics and the Cairns Hinterland and Hospital Health Service since February.

As of March 13, 93% of our region’s residents aged over 16 years have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

78% of our First Nations residents over 16 years have had two doses and 40% of our children aged 5-11 years have had one dose and 6.6% have had two doses.

Across the state, 91.5% of Queenslanders aged over 16 are fully vaccinated.

If you still require a Covid 19 vaccine, you can still get vaccinated at the Pier Shopping Centre or check with your local pharmacy for availability.

With more Australians travelling, EFMC will be running flu clinics for local residents.

How we can help you as borders open

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With Queensland’s borders reopening in December 2021, we are serious about helping you, our team and the community help combat the spread of Covid-19.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the community, it is critical that we pay attention to scientists and health care providers at the front line working to solve immediate problems for the benefit of all.

We know you have many questions: How does the virus spread? The virus is changing so much, are vaccines effective? Why can vaccinated people still get Covid-19? How can I protect myself? What do I do if I get sick? What is the risk of my child becoming sick?

We know that fear is a natural response in the face of the pandemic and there may be no way to prevent a COVID-19 pandemic in this globalised time, but verified information is the most effective prevention against the disease of panic.

This is an update on what our practice is doing in order to help you.

So, to keep our promise to do everything in our power to deliver the best health care, our doctors are embracing technology to help you manage your health with both video and telephone consultations available to eligible patients.

You can still see us face-to-face.

You might be thinking no masks are needed outside, most of us are vaccinated, it’s not really a problem up here in Far North Queensland, everything else is opening up or it’s not safe to come in but the reality is we do know that some things still work when it comes to helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Here’s what we can all do:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Cough in a tissue or into your elbow.
  • Keep your distance – Social distancing.
  • Clean surfaces.
  • Do not touch your face.

So we will be operating as follows:

  • We will limit time inside the surgery for our patients by offering video consultations and telephone consultations if you don’t need to see your doctor face-to-face.
  • If you are vaccinated or unvaccinated, we will ask you to wear a mask while in the practice. Our doctors will also take precautions while seeing unvaccinated patients.
  • If you have any respiratory symptoms, we’ll ask you to wait outside or in your car.
  • We’ll ask to see your vaccination passport.
  • We’ll be cleaning our practice twice a day.
  • Our doctors will be cleaning their rooms after each patient.

So to keep our promise to do everything in our control to deliver the best health care, please be fully prepared for your visit and make sure you have a mask and vaccination passport on hand.

We have seen the mental health effects of extended social isolation for many vulnerable people and some people are more isolated than ever, in more or less self-imposed quarantines.

The everyday life of most people changed from normal to extraordinary around the world.

The current COVID-19 crisis is a unique situation. Not in the history of mankind has a widespread pandemic been met with such extensive and invasive action from political authorities and the health care community.

The scale of the crisis and governments’ responses have been matched by a colossal flow of information about COVID-19 with 24/7 news coverage, televised press conferences provided by both political leaders and health authorities, prime time speeches to the people by kings, presidents, prime ministers and religious leaders, as well as news analyses, debates and social media posts.

But we have also seen Australians come together and our collective actions have ensured we are all in it together.

FACTS ABOUT COVID-19

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  • What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’ The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

  • What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19.

  • How does COVID-19 spread? 

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person who is coughing and sneezing. Individuals can also be infected from touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (eyes, nose and mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

  • Who is most at risk? 

We are learning more about how COVID-19 affects people every day.  Older people, and people with chronic medical conditions,  such as diabetes and heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer appear to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.  As this is a new virus, we are still learning about how it affects children.  The data internationally has consistently reports the lowest rates are in children. Pre-school and primary school age children in particular appear less likely to acquire the infection and make up less than 5% of reported cases in Australia and elsewhere.

  • What is the treatment for COVID-19?

There are several safe and tested vaccines for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and getting early care from a healthcare provider can make the disease less dangerous. Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention.

  • How can the spread of COVID-19 be slowed down or prevented?

As with other respiratory infections like the flu or the common cold, public health measures are critical to slow the spread of illnesses. Public health measures are everyday preventive actions that include:

  • Staying home when sick;
  • Covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately;
  • Washing hands often with soap and water;
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.

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International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

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Each September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and we’d love you to ‘Go Gold and Give’ by getting your family, friends or business involved.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month was first proclaimed by former US President Obama in 2010. Since then it has become a global initiative, raising awareness for childhood cancer.

The Gold Ribbon is the International Awareness Symbol of Childhood Cancer, with gold being the international colour of childhood cancer awareness.

Childhood Cancer Statistics:

  • Each year, more than 1,000 children and adolescents in Australia – and 300,000 children worldwide – are diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia.
  • When a child dies from cancer, an average 70 potential years of life are lost.
  • Every week, about three children and adolescents in Australia – and 1,500 children worldwide – die from cancer.
  • 70% of children who survive cancer suffer long-term effects from their treatment.
    Source: Children’s Cancer Institute 2021

Locally, in South Australia, the Childhood Cancer Association receives an average of 55 referrals each year, for children newly diagnosed with cancer. In addition to this an average of 10 children relapse and 11 children pass away from cancer every year.

At present, the Childhood Cancer Association supports more than 400 families affected by childhood cancer.

Go Gold & Give! You can help the Childhood Cancer Association help more families more often by checking out the Childhood Cancer Association website for more information or making a one-off tax-deductible donation here.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

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August is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Australia.

Did you know that prostate cancer is the most common men’s cancer in Australia? With a whopping 230,000 Aussie men currently impacted, a further 45 men diagnosed a day and 9 deaths a day from prostate cancer! Also, if your father or brother have ever been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk of prostate cancer DOUBLES!

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is a broadly-based community organisation and the peak national body for prostate cancer in Australia. They are dedicated to reducing the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men, their partners and their families. Check out the information flyer below from the PCFA or check out their website to learn more about Prostate Cancer.

Be proactive about prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about PSA Testing and/or call PCFA on 1800 220 099 for more information and a free info kit.

Prostate Cancer Information

 

Cairns & Yarrabah Lockdown Update

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Lockdown bannerEdmonton Family Medical Centre will remain OPEN for all patient’s throughout the duration of the lockdown (unless you have been to one of the identified hotspots and/or have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19).

Our clinic will be implementing extra precautions during this lockdown to ensure the safety of our staff and community. These are as follows:

  1. As per QLD Government instructions, masks are to be worn by all patients while inside and outside of the clinic – patients are to bring their own masks.
  2. Telehealth appointments will be the preferred appointment type, if reasonable. However, face-to-face appointments are still an option if required.
  3. A concierge (nurse/reception) will be at the front door taking temperature checks and checking symptoms to regulate whether patients will be allowed to wait inside the clinic or be required to wait in their car / on the seats outside the clinic.
  4. Patient’s with cold and flu like symptoms are NOT to enter the clinic without the treating GP’s consent as the GP may prefer to do a car consult with a mask / face shield if required.
  5. Only the patient and their carer (if applicable) will be allowed into the clinic and into consultation rooms. Extra family members will be asked to wait outside / in their car (Exceptions will be made for small children who cannot be left unattended).
  6. COVID-19 vaccination clinics will continue – with closer monitoring of social distancing.

It is vital that Queenslanders follow the lockdown procedure for the next three days to ensure we can suppress any spread of this variant.

Click here for more information on the Cairns & Yarrabah lockdown or if you have any questions about your upcoming appointment, please call the clinic on 4055 4556.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

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Due to the current limited supply of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Queensland Health needs to prioritize vaccination for people who have a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 and those who are due for their second dose. The vaccination program will continue to be expanded as Queensland receives more supply.

Who is currently eligible for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

  • Any adult aged 16-59 years
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 and over
  • People aged 12-59 with a specified underlying medical condition, including those with a disability and their carers
  • NDIS participants, their carers and support workers (aged 12 and over)
  • Pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy
  • Any worker in the following industries:
    • Residential aged care and disability care workers
    • Healthcare workers and support staff including students on clinical placement
    • Workers at airports that receive international and domestic flights
    • Queensland-based international and interstate air crew workers
    • Border workers
    • Freight workers who cross domestic borders
    • Fly-in-fly-out mining workers based in Queensland who fly or drive to work and are then accommodated on site at a mining operation within Queensland or other parts of Australia or Papua New Guinea
    • Volunteers at a COVID-19 testing or vaccination clinic
    • Maritime industry workers
    • Critical and high risk workers e.g. emergency services, corrective services, youth detention centres and meat processing businesses.
  • Household contacts (aged 12 years and older) of quarantine workers, border workers and healthcare workers who are at a higher risk of having contact with COVID-positive patients

 

PLEASE NOTE: Patients aged 60 years and over can only have the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. They are NOT eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine unless they have one of the following medical condition(s):

  • Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST)
  • Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia (HIT)
  • Idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal or splenic) venous thrombosis
  • Anti-phospholipid syndrome with thrombosis
  • Anaphylaxis, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia or other serious adverse event attributed to the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
  • History of anaphylaxis  to a component of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
  • Other approved medical contradiction to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Please note that HHS vaccination clinics may require further information to assess eligibility and patient’s may not be vaccinated on the day of presentation if this is unavailable.

If a patient does not have any of the above medical condition(s) and/or are unable to provide relevant documentation, they will NOT be able to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at our clinic and instead will be referred to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

More eligibility information for the COVID-19 vaccinations can be found on the QLD Health website .

 

COVID-19 Vaccination Consent Form – For patient’s who are booked in to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with us, please complete this consent form prior to your vaccination appointment.

Tradies National Health Month

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Tradie Health Month StatsTradies – classified as technicians and trade workers, labourers, machinery operators and drivers – represent 58 per cent of workers’ compensation claims, despite making up only 30 per cent of the workforce.

Did you know that Australian tradies make 190 serious workers’ compensation claims every day? That’s three times the national average – according to a Safe Work Australia analysis of data from 2010-11 to 2014-15! In addition, research has uncovered that despite 86% of tradies agreeing that their job is physically demanding (and around a third of tradies finishing off the work day stiff and sore), 38% of tradies never stretch or warm up before work. It has also been uncovered that two-thirds of tradies agreed that they would be more inclined to stretch or warm up before starting work if their employer prioritised it. Furthermore, 60% of tradies often have aches and pains as a result of their job.

Back pain is one of the most common injuries suffered by tradies, with three million Australians (14 per cent of the population) suffering from lower back pain, according to a 2015 report. It is most common in 30 to 39 year old males. The report estimates indirect costs associated with lower back pain to be $8.15 billion due to lost earnings and productivity.

August each year is Australian Tradies National Health Month (TNHM), a campaign to bring awareness to tradies’ health and encourage them to look after their wellbeing. In a bid to drive awareness of, and encourage a healthy workplace and injury prevention or management, TNHM provide a number of resources across their website and social media channels. Employers and tradies can access case studies, workplace posters and general advice on common workplace issues or injuries such as ankle sprains, knee injuries, hydration, mental health and workplace bullying.

The TNHM campaign, which is driven by the Australian Physiotherapist Association and Steel Blue Boots has successfully put tradies’ health on the mainstream media agenda every August, sponsoring celebrities including comedian, Dave Hughes, cricket legend Dennis Lillee, and ex AFL stars Glen Jakovich and Glenn Archer.

Check out the tips and resources from the Australian Physiotherapy Association to help better health outcomes for tradies on their website.

With your help, we can help spread the word of Tradies National Health Month!