#256 Communications and Advocacy Update
21 January 2021
Here’s an update on a few of the issues AMA Victoria’s Communications and Advocacy team is working on for our members:
COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out
On Thursday 6 January, members of AMA Victoria’s Section of General Practice met to discuss the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Members strongly expressed the view that the medical community is frustrated by the lack of information provided by government.
A/Prof Julian Rait, President of AMA Victoria briefed members that the Federal Government’s cautious approach is primarily over concerns regarding deployment, rather than supply, of vaccines; that the Government is trying to ensure its logistical planning and supply chains are in place to appropriately secure distribution and avoid wastage of the vaccine.
Feedback received from members on the roll-out included:
- the need to push the DHHS to mobilise general practice;
- the necessity for mobile delivery of the vaccine for at risk and vulnerable communities;
- that general practitioners must to be able to continue to see patients as per usual while administering vaccines;
- the need for a coordinated national message around vaccination;
- the importance of being able to scan barcodes and upload to the AIR; and
- that the vaccination rollout needs to be medically led, and there must be clear messages around capacity, capability and logistics.
We will update members on the roll-out of the vaccine through our communication channels and more meetings are planned to discuss this issue in the weeks ahead.
Travel between Victoria and regional Australia for visiting specialists
We have recently written to the Victorian Health Minister on behalf of members seeking assurance from the State Government that cross border travel (without the need to subsequently quarantine upon re-entering Victoria) is permitted for the purposes of providing speciality services.
There are directions from the Chief Health Officer that allow some exemptions on medical grounds. However, with the border situation as fluid as it is, we believe it is prudent to seek written assurance from the State Government that such cross-border travel is unambiguously permitted.
We are awaiting the Minister’s response.
Recommendations for improved prevention and management of COVID outbreaks in residential aged care facilities
After a series of meetings with our expert advisory group (comprising general practitioners, geriatricians, emergency care physicians, and palliative care specialists), we are finalising a lengthy report on recommendations for improved prevention and management of COVID outbreaks in residential aged care facilities.
Key recommendations include:
- Approval and funding for a RACF General Practice Liaison Officer (GPLO) to improve coordination of care and medical services;
- Upskilling the aged care workforce;
- The development of clear guidelines on the care location for COVID-19 positive residents; and
- Asymptotic testing of residents and staff in certain situations.