Telegraph Rd Clinic News


Information for patients and visitors
Brighton Health Campus
Fact sheet
March 2020

What is Coronavirus/COVID-19?
This new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, causes illness of varying severity spanning common cold symptoms
through to more serious respiratory illness.

Some people may not get sick at all while some may become very ill, very quickly. At present, those in Australia
with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are being treated in hospital. Self-isolation requirements are in place for
some overseas travellers or those who may have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Am I safe attending Metro North facilities?
Metro North Hospital and Health Service is well-prepared to handle COVID-19 across our facilities. Patient and
visitor safety is paramount.

COVID-19 is spread through person-to-person contact like other cold and flu illnesses. The best way to protect
yourself against COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently and properly and to use provided alcohol-based
hand sanitiser

Additionally, you should stand at least 1.5 metres from other people where possible.
You do not need to wear a face mask during your time at Metro North, as masks are not recommended for
healthy members of the public.
Anyone being treated for COVID-19 within a healthcare facility will be in a secure area, with rigorous safety
protocols observed.
How will an onsite Assessment Clinic affect those being treated at
Metro North?

Metro North’s Community Assessment Clinics for COVID-19 screening are located in standalone buildings, providing
convenient entry and exit for attendees without disturbing patients or visitors onsite.
Residents or those being treated at our facilities will not be affected by these screening clinics.
Why has a Assessment Clinic been placed onsite?
Due to increasing demand for COVID-19 screening, the Queensland Government has expanded its assessment
services to allow for prompt treatment of those with symptoms.
Currently, Metro North hospital Emergency Departments are accommodating all COVID-19 screening however the
new Community Assessment Clinics will ease wait times.

Where should I go for more information?
The Queensland Health website remains a central source of information for all members of the public.
Information is continually updated here:
The Federal Government website also contains helpful information for a range of groups, here:



Newsletter 22/03/2020

Dear Valued Patients,

The current Coronavirus [COVID 19] pandemic has presented the clinic with a health crisis unlike any we have seen before. We wish to provide you with information on the Coronavirus and important changes to our appointment booking and infection control arrangements. The measures outlined here are designed to keep all patients who present to the clinic as safe as is reasonably possible from coronavirus infection.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause respiratory tract infections. Symptoms may include fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough and breathlessness. Severity can vary from a mild cold to life threatening lung infections. This new Coronavirus originated in Hubei province, China and has been named COVID 19.

How is Coronavirus Spread?

Coronavirus is spread via droplet transmission from coughing and sneezing. This can occur when in direct contact with an infected person [infectious from 24 hours prior to the onset of their symptoms]. Touching surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus and then touching your face can also allow spread.

Keys to Reducing the Spread of Coronavirus

The three important strategies that we must all practice to reduce transmission are frequent hand washing, cough etiquette [cough into a tissue and dispose tissue/wash hands] and social distancing [staying 1.5 metres from other people]. The government has put in place public gathering restrictions and 14 days self-isolation requirements for returned travellers, COVID 19 cases and case contacts. People who are well are not advised to wear a facemask to prevent infection.

Who is Most at Risk of Coronavirus?

Whilst most people who develop Coronavirus infection will have mild illness [80%], some will have moderate [15%] and severe [5%] illness. Experience in other countries suggest that factors increasing the risk of severe illness include age [elderly / infants], heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, cancer, immunosuppression, pregnancy and indigenous status.

Testing for Coronavirus

The government has provided strict guidelines as to who requires testing. Restraint is required to preserve healthcare resources [test kits / laboratory facilities / personal protective equipment / healthcare workforce]. Patients not meeting the criteria will not be tested.

How is Coronavirus Treated?

There is no specific treatment for Coronavirus. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Symptomatic management may include fluids and fever management [paracetamol / ibuprofen]. Patients will need to self-isolate. Severe infection may require admission to hospital for oxygen and ventilatory support.

Coronavirus Vaccination

A vaccine is under development and testing but will likely be 8-12 months away.

Sick Leave and Medical Certificates

As per normal recommendations for other respiratory infections [such as colds and flu], sick patients should self-isolate to reduce the risk of transmission. They should only return to work or school when the symptoms have fully resolved. We encourage employers not to require medical certificates for minor illnesses currently as this represents an unnecessary use of healthcare resources.

The practice will not provide medical certificates in the following circumstances to avoid unnecessary presentations and use of medical resources.

*Clearance certificates for patients having self-isolated for 14 days after overseas travel. If you have no symptoms after this time you are free to return to work.

*Clearance certificates for well people who have had contact with unwell people who have not been formally diagnosed with COVID 19


Appointment Booking

In order to protect the health of our vulnerable patients and staff the practice has introduced some screening questions at the time of telephone bookings. These questions will relate to whether the patient has any respiratory tract infection symptoms or satisfies any of the travel / occupational [healthcare worker] or COVID 19 contact criteria that would make them a suspect case. Our online booking platforms [Hot Doc / Appointuit] have clear instructions that patients with any respiratory tract symptoms or fever are not to use the online booking system and are to telephone the practice instead. If patients disregard this policy, we may be forced to disable our online bookings system. Any patients declining to answer the telephone screening questions will not be offered an appointment.

The telephone screening questions will also assist in identifying patients who may be eligible for bulk billed telephone consultations. This may include patients self-isolating on medical advice or patients in high risk categories for severe Coronavirus disease.

Patients Identifying as Having Fever or Respiratory Symptoms

The practice has introduced the following policies regarding the management of patients with any fever or respiratory symptoms [sore throat / runny nose / cough / shortness of breath]

  1. Patients meeting both the clinical and situational [travel / COVID contact / healthcare worker] criteria for a suspect case will be asked to present to a government fever clinic [Prince Charles / Brighton / Pine Rivers]. Do not present to the practice.

  2. Patients with fever or respiratory symptoms but without the situational criteria will be offered an appointment in our dedicated infectious symptom review facility in the vacant shopping centre tenancy next door to the practice. These patients are not to enter the main surgery premises. We have provided five dedicated parking spaces outside the front entrance for patients to park on arrival. All patients are asked to weak a facemask [if they have access to one] and to telephone reception on arrival. Patients will be seen one by one by a doctor wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Waiting patients will remain in their car. It may not be possible for the patient to be seen by their usual doctor. All patients seen for infectious symptoms in this facility will be bulk billed. The doctor will not be able to see the patient for any issues unrelated to their respiratory illness due to lack of resources. These issues will need to be addressed later when the patient’s infectious symptoms have resolved.  The practice recognises the cooperation of ISPT, the shopping centre operator for their generous assistance during this difficult time.

Patients Without Fever or Respiratory Symptoms

Patients requiring face to face consultations or ineligible for bulk-                              billed telephone consultations will be offered a normal appointment within the main surgery. Patients are encouraged to present to the surgery alone unless a care giver is necessary.

Patients eligible for bulk billed telephone consultations will be booked for a telephone [telehealth] consultation. We will need to confirm your contact telephone number at booking. The time given for the call will be approximate and may be affected by emergencies. The call from the doctor will be from an “Unknown Number” when it appears on your telephone. If the patient fails to answer after two telephone contact attempts this will be considered as a missed appointment and the patient will need to rebook. Even if eligible for telehealth, the patient may need to be seen in person [if not self-isolating], if a physical examination is required for diagnosis and management.


*The waiting room seating has been rearranged to increase social distancing.

*Practice entrance door to remain open to reduce door handle contact

*Magazines, brochures and children’s toys have been removed from the waiting room. If you require any device to entertain you whilst you wait you should bring it from home.

*Discontinuation of nebuliser use to reduce risk of aerosolization of the virus.

*Discontinuation of care planning for allied health referrals until further notice.

*Provision of alcohol-based hand disinfectant for patients and staff

*Community education re infection control measures

*Appropriate Influenza vaccination utilising off peak times where possible. Private influenza vaccine is now available and is $18. Patients who qualify for government funded influenza vaccination are encouraged to wait for the release of the government stock as most qualifying patients require the higher antigenic potency vaccine that the government supplies.

*Deferring non urgent preventative care activities where appropriate

*Increase in cleaning and disinfection practices


*The practice will endeavour to update our patients on further changes as the pandemic progresses. We are closely following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and relevant authorities.

*It is a difficult balancing act between caring for patients with infectious symptoms and protecting our most vulnerable patient groups and staff from COVID 19.

*We will post updates on our website, practice signage and via SMS. If you have previously declined to receive SMS contact, then you will have to notify reception to consent to this service if you now wish to receive SMS updates. As always, we encourage you all to update your contact details with our reception staff.

*We would like to thank you all for your understanding and cooperation at this challenging time. It is likely that the measures outlined will need to continue for some months until the pandemic is controlled. Further changes to the way that we operate may be necessary and these will be communicated to you. The best outcome will require us all to work together during this unprecedented event in our lives.

Practice Hours


6.00am – 8.30pm


6.00am – 8.30pm


6.00am – 8.30pm


6.00am – 8.30pm


6.00am – 7.30pm


8.00am – 3.00pm



Our opening times may vary in the future if staff absences occur due to illness. We will keep you informed of any changes.

Best Wishes

Dr Lachlan Steffen

Dr Mike Pokarier

Dr Peter Hackney

Elizabeth Sullivan [Practice Manager]


Dear Valued Patients,
Our Practice is being accredited by AGPAL tomorrow Wednesday the 18th of March from 8.30am. We will be maintaining our normal working hours during this time for all your healthcare needs.
Accreditation means that our practice is independently assessed to ensure that we meet comprehensive national standards set by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RACGP). Achieving accreditation demonstrates our on-going commitment to safe and high quality health care.
What does accreditation mean for you?
Visiting a AGPAL accredited practice means you have piece of mind knowing our practice team is committed to:
– Protecting your privacy
– Respecting your rights and needs as patients
– Keeping your records secure
– Being understanding and responsive to cultural needs, and
– Providing you with safe and high quality health care.
Thank you for your co-operation and understanding
Elizabeth Sullivan
Practice Manager


280 Australians develop diabetes every day.

That’s one person every five minutes. This July promote diabetes awareness among your friends and loved ones and urge them to take preventative health measures to prevent this disease.

What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious complex condition which can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing it.

There are different types of diabetes; all types are complex and serious. The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.



Measles Infection can be serious and is very contagious.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) is a combination vaccine.

If you are born after 1966 this can be a FREE vaccine, if you have not had previous vaccines, or can be proven as non-immune via pathology tests.

Before travelling overseas, please discuss with your doctor the need to be vaccinated.

You can book your appointment online via Appointuit or call our friendly reception team at 3261 7000.


With the flu season starting early this year it is very important to get the new flu shot for 2019.

Afluria Quad Flu Vaccine Available Now $17

Afluria® Quad is an Inactivated Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (split virion).

Afluria Quad (Quadrivalent influenza virus vaccine) is indicated for immunisation against influenza in persons aged 5 years and over.


A recent study could change our understanding of the ways in which mitochondria, or the powerhouses of the cells, influence Parkinson’s disease. The latest results fly in the face of current theories.

Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions in the United States, and it affects an estimated 1 millionpeople there, plus 10 million worldwide.

The disease causes a gradual impairment of motor skills, with symptoms including tremor and rigidity. Parkinson’s can also lead to dementia, depression, and anxiety.

The primary changes in the Parkinson’s disease-affected brain occur in a small region called the substantia nigra. These dopamine-producing neurons die off, and the region is infiltrated by so-called Lewy bodies, which are abnormal aggregates of protein.

Despite years of research, the mechanisms that underly Parkinson’s disease are unknown. However, recent research implies that mitochondrial dysfunction might be involved.


WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1  — Heart failure is associated with a loss of gray matter in the brain and a decline in mental processes, according to a new study.

They conducted memory and other mental performance tests on 35 heart failure patients, 56 patients with ischemic heart disease (which sometimes but not always accompanies heart failure), and 64 healthy people. MRI exams were used to assess gray matter volume in different parts of the brain.

In heart failure, the heart muscle is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body, while ischemic heart disease affects the supply of blood to the heart.

Heart failure patients had worse immediate and long-term memory and reaction speeds than healthy people. The brain scans showed that heart failure was associated with losses of gray matter in areas believed to be important for memory, reasoning and planning.


According to a 2016 study that was published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, in the United States, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds.

In total, the study authors note, about 5.4 million adults live with this condition. It is characterized by progressive memory loss and the impairment of other cognitive functions tied to conducting daily activities.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, so treatments focus on managing its symptoms. It is particularly important for people living with this condition to be able to carry out their day-to-day activities for as long as possible, in order to maintain a good quality of life.

A recent clinical trial conducted by specialists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus tested the efficiency of implants for deep brain stimulation in helping people with Alzheimer’s to keep living independently for longer.

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