Those bits of paper your GP gives you to get medications from your Pharmacist are changing. Scripts are now DIGITAL!
GPs can now send prescriptions to pharmacists electronically as an interim solution during the pandemic.
As part of the COVID-19 National Health Plan telehealth model, the new interim measure allows GPs to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacists without having to mail out a physical copy of the original paper prescription with a GP’s wet-ink signature.
Patients can then have their script filled and medication delivered to their door, helping to minimise the risk of virus transmission in accordance with social-distancing measures.
‘It’s certainly going to make it easier for practices, because they are being inundated with pharmacists asking them to post prescriptions to them,’
‘I know at my practices it’s causing substantial concern.
‘We’re getting calls every day from pharmacists saying, “I can’t dispense unless you send me the hardcopy paper”, and we’re saying, “We don’t have the resources to keep running out and buying stamps, and it’s just not safe to put staff in that position”.
‘So we’ve had a bit of a stalemate for the last few weeks and this is a great outcome in the short term.’
As outlined in guidelines issued by the Department of Health (DoH), GPs will be required to do as follows:
Create a paper prescription during a telehealth consultation. This will need to be signed as normal or using a valid digital signature
Create a clear copy of the entire prescription (a digital image such as a photo or PDF including the barcode where applicable)
Send via email, fax or text message directly to the patient’s pharmacy of choice
Schedule 8 and 4(D) medicines such as opioids and fentanyl are not part of the interim arrangement.
While not legally required, the DoH encourages practices that are able to continue sending the original script to pharmacies to do so as soon as possible. All other practices must retain the paper prescription for a period of up to two years for audit and compliance purposes.
Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.
Typhoid Mary was a cook who moved from one rich employer to another in New York and Long Island, infecting seven households with typhoid between 1900 and 1907 before doctors traced her as the common cause of the infections. The key point is that she was in good health herself throughout. When confronted, she indignantly refused to submit stool samples for analysis, until eventually imprisoned for this refusal.
After three years she was released while promising not to work as a cook. Unhappy with the low wages of a laundress, she changed her name, resumed cooking and resumed causing typhoid. After a 1915 outbreak in a hospital for women in which 25 people fell ill and two died, Mary Mallon/Brown was again arrested and kept in quarantine for the rest of her life, refusing to have her gall bladder removed. When she died in 1938, an autopsy revealed a thriving colony of typhoid bacteria in her gall bladder. For some genetic reason they had not caused any symptoms in her.
What is the current understanding of the ability to return to work and risk of reinfection/further complications for clinicians who have recovered from COVID-19? The department will determine when a confirmed case no longer requires to be isolated in hospital or in their own home, in consultation with the treating clinician. This will be actively considered when all of the following criteria are met: • The patient has been afebrile for the previous 72 hours, and • At least ten days have elapsed after the onset of the acute illness, and • There has been a noted improvement in symptoms, and • A risk assessment has been conducted by the department and deemed no further criteria are needed. Apparent re-infection has been reported in a small number of cases. However, most of these reports describe patients having tested positive within 7-14 days after apparent recovery. Immunological studies indicate that patients recovering from COVID-19 mount a strong antibody response. It is likely that positive tests soon after recovery represent persisting excretion of viral RNA, and it should be noted that PCR tests cannot distinguish between “live” virus and noninfective RNA. For further information, go to the department’s website and see Advice for clinicians / epidemiology!
Social distancing. Try and stay 1-1.5m away from people. Don’t hug, kiss, shake hands…and DON’T do group meetings / big gatherings. These will soon be cancelled (Monday, if over 500 people) but really, it starts with you!
Cough into your elbow and clean your phone! Both of these will limit spread of those little virus particles!
Now that you’ve cleaned your phone, and are practicing your social distancing, USE the phone. Telehealth is here via your phone, no special equipment needed.
STAY AT HOME, USE THE PHONE
Great advice if you’re unwell, good advice just for day to day. Call PartridgeGP on 08 82953200 for a phone appointment!