Personal protective equipment
PPE should be used in accordance with existing guidance for standard and transmission-based precautions, as specified in the Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare.
The Department of Health and Aged Care’s Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health workforce during COVID-19 webpage contains the latest guidance on PPE usage in healthcare settings in the context of COVID-19.
Use of face masks in general practice is no longer nationally mandated. However, the RACGP strongly encourages all practices to continue mask use for the practice team, patients, and visitors especially during the colder months.
To help enforce mask use at your practice, you can:
- display RACGP developed posters at practice entry points to inform patients of mask requirements
- update your practice website, online booking system and phone holding messages to confirm that masks are required on site.
This requirement should also be outlined in your practice’s infection prevention and control policy and COVID Safety Plan (a COVID Safety Plan template is available here).
Please note that processes must be in place to facilitate access to care for patients who are not able to wear a mask, or who are deaf or hard of hearing and who cannot communicate with clinicians who are wearing a mask. These processes will depend on capacity within the practice and may include:
- use of telehealth (telephone or video)
- temporary removal of mask during face-to-face consultations with those who are hard of hearing (in the absence of respiratory symptoms, with social distancing in place and noting the clinicians own risk factors and comfort)
- use of written notes to communicate.
You must have equipment that enables your practice to provide comprehensive primary care while minimising transmission between staff.
General Practice PPE Order Forms are available via your PHN, who will continue to be your point of contact for submitting orders.
The Department of Health has published information on the new process, which also outlines the eligibility criteria for accessing the different PPE bundles. These bundles include the supply of pulse oximeters to practices. These bundles include the supply of pulse oximeters to practices, including the Sa02 monitor which can be used to guide GPs in their decision making while caring for unwell COVID-19 patients.