COVID-19 response

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COVID-19 response

The HPCA and NSW health professional Councils understand the current widespread concerns regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As a health regulator, we are considered an essential service at this time and are continuing to operate.

However the way we operate is changing in a rapidly evolving situation.

We have taken steps to help contain and manage the risks associated with COVID -19 for our people, while continuing to fulfil our key responsibility of protecting public health and safety through the regulation of health practitioners in NSW.

We are committed to working in a flexible and fair way. This is particularly important at a time when the community needs to be confident in the standards and professionalism of health practitioners, especially when these practitioners face intense pressure to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

Complaints about health practitioners can still be lodged online and you can continue to call the HPCA if you would like to discuss your concerns.

The changes in our work arrangements and prioritisation of serious matters may lead to some delays in our response times, or action may take longer than usual.

We have moved to conducting business online via conferencing (video and teleconferencing) and remote work arrangements as far as possible instead of face to face meetings, interviews, hearings and panels.

We continue to promote precautions including good hygiene, cleaning, social distancing and containment of those who are unwell or need to self-isolate.

National Coronavirus Helpline

Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 1800 020 080

If you need public health guidance and information on COVID-19, please refer to the NSW Health website.

 

Message for Health Practitioners

The HPCA and Councils appreciate the added pressures on many health practitioners as they respond to COVID-19. As such, Councils will consider the individual circumstances of practitioners. If you require special consideration please contact the officer listed in our correspondence to you ASAP or phone the HPCA.

Medical practitioners – 02 9879 2200

Other health practitioners – 1300 197 177

Upcoming hearings or assessments for practitioners, where possible, are being conducted by video, teleconference or on the papers.

Any case requiring a face to face component will require all parties to answer the questions:

  1. Have you returned from overseas travel within the last 14 days?
  2. Have you been in close contact with a person with COVID-19?
  3. Do you have any cold or flu-like symptoms?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above, you must not participate in any face to face to face activities. Please be proactive in notifying us immediately if any of the above situation apply to you so that we can make alternative arrangements.

As well as changed work arrangements for the HPCA and Councils, some of the people and organisations that we work with have been affected by the pandemic. In particular, some drug testing collection centres, education providers, supervisors and mentors, and health and performance assessment facilities are affected.

 

Practitioners with conditions

Practitioners are expected to comply with requirements as stated in your conditions. If you become aware of, or are informed by any of your Council approved practitioners that they are unable to perform their role on behalf of the Council, please advise your monitoring officer immediately. 

 

If you need to self-isolate

Please follow NSW Health guidelines for self-isolation and management of COVID-19 and do not attend for drug and/or alcohol screening or any face to face meetings such as mentoring, education/courses or supervision.

On the first day of your self-isolation, please email your monitoring officer and indicate if you are not working or engaged in remote work such as telehealth while self-isolating. Conditions still apply to any practice during self-isolation. If you are:

  • employed – include written correspondence from your employer(s) confirming the date you began to self-isolate and your expected return to practice date.
  • self-employed or not working – include any supporting documentation which confirms the date you began your self-isolation and your expected return to practice/study.
  • a student – include written correspondence from your university confirming the date you began to self-isolate and your expected return to study date.

If you cannot attend screening or are required to work onsite with other practitioners or require onsite supervision (for example category A or category B supervision) you must not practise in any form.

On the last day of your self-isolation please email your monitoring officer to inform them of this and include written confirmation from your employer(s)/university that you are returning to practice/study the next day. If you are self-employed or not working within 48 hours of your self-isolation ending, please email your monitoring officer supporting documentation such as a statutory declaration confirming the date your self-isolation ended. If you are subject to urine drug and/or alcohol screening conditions you must also attend for screening no later than the next business day.

If you have any concerns about meeting the requirements of your conditions or have any questions please contact your monitoring officer by email:

Medical practitioners – medicalcouncil.monitoring@mcnsw.org.au

Other health practitioners – HPCA-Monitoring@health.nsw.gov.au

 

Services temporarily affected by COVID-19

Drug and alcohol screening collection centres

Some Council approved collection centres are temporarily closed because they have been designated as coronavirus testing centres. We have been advised this currently affects only a small number of centres but this may change at short notice.

For up to date information about centres affected by these closures please check the collection centre’s website before attending for screening.

If you do not have an accessible collection centre please contact your monitoring officer as soon as possible to discuss.

Medical practitioners – medicalcouncil.monitoring@mcnsw.org.au

Other health practitioners - HPCA-Monitoring@health.nsw.gov.au

Course providers/education training

Some courses and education training programs are temporarily not offered because of the social distancing measures put in place to minimise the transmission of the coronavirus.

If you are affected by these circumstances, please contact your monitoring officer as soon as possible to discuss.

Medical practitioners – medicalcouncil.monitoring@mcnsw.org.au

Other health practitioners – HPCA-Monitoring@health.nsw.gov.au

Conditions which require face to face meetings with Council approved practitioners and Council appointed delegates

Some conditions require practitioners to meet face to face with Council approved practitioner(s) such as supervisors, mentors, psychiatrists, senior medical practitioner or Council appointed delegates, for instance auditors or reviewers. You may not be able to meet with your supervisor face to face because of the social distancing measures put in place to minimise the transmission of the coronavirus.

We are exploring ways for such meetings to proceed while still meeting social distancing requirements. For example, supervision in some circumstances may be possible via video or teleconference. If you are affected by these circumstances, please contact your monitoring officer as soon as possible to discuss.

Medical practitioners – medicalcouncil.monitoring@mcnsw.org.au

Other health practitioners – HPCA-Monitoring@health.nsw.gov.au