Current as of 30/03/20:
The developing risk of COVID-19 infections in the Hunter Region is growing everyday and I must do everything I can to protect my patients, my staff and myself from infection.
For that reason, I will be moving to telehealth appointments as of Tuesday March 31st. All patients with upcoming scheduled appointments will be contacted on a week by week basis until it is deemed safe to see patients face to face again.
If you have any questions at all, please ring the rooms at 02 4955 8044 or email email@example.com
I look forward to seeing you,
Dr Niall Jefferson
To all the patients and referrers for Ear, Nose and Throat Newcastle,
I am writing this to try and update you as best I can on the emerging crisis related to COVID-19. Over the weekend data came to light from national and international resources that relate to the impact of this infection, especially its impact on patients with ear nose and throat conditions, as well as the ENT specialists and co-workers that look after them.
As a consequence of that, at a state-wide and national level, we are being advised to cancel all elective surgery where the problem is not life-threatening. This has a significant impact on many people who have been waiting for their surgery. It also impacts people who need to be seen for a consultation in the office.
Despite this, we are aware that many people will continue to need specialist advice. As much as possible, we will be trying to get information from you in advance, in many cases trying a telehealth appointment or a phone-call if felt appropriate. Please understand that this is to protect you, my staff and myself so we can stay well during this challenging time.
If an emergency appointment is required at my request, we will ask that you only do so if you are well and not at risk of infection. Also be aware that both the staff and/or I will be wearing personal protective equipment where an examination is needed.
This will pass, hopefully we all remain healthy and as normality returns we will work to provide surgical care to everyone that needs it.
Stay safe and well. I will continue to update you as information and changes develop
Dr Niall Jefferson
In addition to our already stringent cleaning practices, these are the additional precautions we are taking as a healthcare practice:
- For the limited face to face appointments patients are being asked to wait outside or in their cars for their appointment, to limit patient contact within the practice
- For the limited face to face appointments Dr Jefferson will be doning Personal Protective Equipment.
- All common items (magazines, books, childrens toys etc) have been removed from the waiting room
- All consulting rooms are cleaned and wiped down between each patient
- EFTPOS terminals and counter top completely wiped down between each patient
- The entire practice is cleaned and wiped down multiple times per day – all door handles, chairs, hard surfaces, bathroom
- Hand sanitiser available in the waiting room and patient use encouraged
- Credit card payments are being encouraged from patients to limit handling of cash. Staff will thoroughly wash hands following any cash handled
- For new patients – Patient registration forms are to be done online prior to the appointment to eliminate the use of clipboards and pens
Is your practice still open?
As a medical practice, Ear Nose Throat Newcastle is considered an essential service by the government and will remain open unless otherwise directed. Dr Jefferson will still care for all his patients old and new as well as continue his duties in the public hosptial system.
Will my surgery go ahead?
On 25 March 2020 The Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison and the National Cabinet decided to suspend all elective surgery other than life threatening cases. Unfortunately we will need to reschedule your surgery at a time when the government, the hosptials and Dr Jefferson deem it safe. If you have already paid a deposit we will gladly refund you.
Will my appointment go ahead?
In line with the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS) latest update (26 March 2020) Dr Jefferson will only be providing face to face consultations for patients with an emergency, urgent or time sensitive clinical presentation. We will be providing telehealth services for all upcoming scheduled appointments. Patients with upcoming appointments will be contacted. Please find out more about telehealth here.
Are you still accepting referrals?
Yes, we are still accepting new referrals and will continue to do so. Please be patient with us as we navigate this difficult time. Due to the unknown nature of the COVID pandemic and timeline for recovery both the private and the public health systems will be heavily burdened for many months or years to come. Our staff will be working hard to ensure that we assist our patients however we can until your appointment time.
Can I speak with Dr Jefferson or the Practice Nurse?
Dr Jefferson and Nurse Bridga will be available to assist you. They may not be available everyday but will endeavour to get in touch with you as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that Dr Jefferson will be increasingly busy in his role as the Director of the ENT Departent at the John Hunter Hosptial and John Hunter Children’s Hosptials.