With the current progression of the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear that there is going to be a strain placed on the healthcare system. I am in complete agreement with the unwavering position taken by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and the Australian Orthopaedic Association that all non-urgent surgery must be postponed as we prepare to tackle COVID-19.
My team and practice clinics have followed the professional advice enforcing safety measures in regards to distancing, hand washing, cleanliness and above all self-isolation where possible.
To encourage self-isolation, I am able to carry out consultations via Telehealth for any patient in who does not require physical examination. Please call my rooms on +61 (02) 9181 2933 to arrange these appointments.
My reasoning for this position is as follows:● With the current awareness towards community spread, I feel a cautious approach is warranted to minimise exposure to patients and staff who are involved in the care of the patient.● I have concerns about the prospect of a patient undergoing elective orthopaedic surgery and succumbing to COVID-19 during their recovery or possibly performing surgery on a patient who is infected but asymptomatic at the time of surgery and therefore endangering healthcare workers.● Reserves of personal protective equipment (PPE) may run very low given the timeframe is uncertain in carrying out the above safety measures. This equipment may ultimately be needed to protect the lives of healthcare workers whilst treating emergencies.● The continuation of non-urgent surgery is at odds with the principles of social distancing which we know is the key to controlling this pandemic.Although I understand this is upsetting and disrupting for many people I do feel that this is ethically and morally the right decision.
My team and I will continue to contact patients and carers to keep them informed as the situation evolves and to present any new safety measures for my practice and as advised by my associated hospitals as required.Please note that any patients requiring emergency or urgent surgery shall proceed as usual.
For non-urgent patients who are currently booked for surgery, we will continue to hold your surgical dates and pending the timeframe of hospital protocols, will reschedule as needed in a ‘holding pattern’. My team will be liaising with you directly regarding this.
If any patients have any concerns, please feel free to phone or email my rooms.