Members of a general practice team report that they experienced the effects of COVID-19 in different ways.
All staff are faced with concerns for their own safety, as well as the safety of their loved ones, which they balanced with the need to do their job and provide care to patients.
Practice owners and practice managers take on significant responsibility to ensure that safe processes and procedures are in place to protect their staff. Early in the pandemic, constantly changing guidelines around appropriate use of PPE, new Medicare item numbers, COVID-19 testing criteria and social distancing were all added stressors for an already difficult time.
The role of receptionists changed due to the pandemic. Receptionists rely on practice owners and practice managers to assist them to implement safe practices in the workplace. Many receptionists effectively provide health and safety advice to patients and the community, including quasi-triage and referrals to appropriate services. Member feedback has highlighted that receptionists face significant concerns about contracting COVID-19 due to their close proximity to unwell patients in clinic waiting rooms.
In a poll of more than 1000 primary care nurses about the impact of COVID-19 on their employment, almost one-third said their paid hours had been reduced, and 7% had lost their jobs.36
General practice staff faced concerns for their own safety, and the safety of their loved ones, but continued to provide care to patients