For appointments please phone 6224 5779.

After an 8-week closure to contribute to the "flattening of the COVID curve", we are now back in business.

We are still contacting our patient base, but if you have not heard from us then please fee free to ring and enquire about appointments.

For all patients please read further for details of the systems we have put in place to allow resumption of practice with as high a level of safety as possible in a community medical practice.

DETAILS of Clinic re-opening:

We are progressively reopening our clinic in 2 stages. There will be some overlap. We have implemented a number of changes to protocols and conditions, with regard to COVID infection control, to make the clinic as safe as possible for Patients and Staff. Your co-operation and good humour will be crucial in these matters.

No.1 safety issue is to conduct a one-off Telehealth (phone) consultation a few days before you are seen in person in the Clinic for treatment. This phone consultation will be bulkbilled. There are 3 reasons for this: to assess your safety for attendance, to update your history and the symptoms, and to assess if you present with a new problem. All this is done to reduce face to face contact time when you come for treatment, given the need for us to be as close to best practice in physical distancing. We will contact you with a time for this.

Social or physical distancing has THREE components: it is about

1. time spent near someone,
2. the physical distance, and
3. the time spent talking

Clearly with acupuncture treatment there is a very short time when the doctor is nearer than 1.5m, so talking will be very limited while treatment is done.

It is most important that patients keep to time for their appointments. If very early, please wait in your car, but we need you to be parked and ready at the door at 5 minutes before your appointment (no sooner, because we can only have 1 person waiting inside at a time). Once at the door on Macquarie St (which will be locked) we request that you read any instructions and then phone Will on 6224 5779 to be admitted inside, where you will hand sanitise carefully and wait at the spot (marked X) to be greeted by Will (at Reception).

There is no access from Davey St and, if parked there, you will need to come through to Macquarie St via the lane next to the Church. Please be inside before your appointment time. The usual waiting room will be closed. There will only be plastic chairs (for sanitising) in the corridor and one in each consulting room.

Only one person can attend the appointment, but if there are special considerations e.g. mother bringing the child as PATIENT then we will discuss this beforehand. We are sorry we cannot accommodate for babysitting, if it is the parent who is the patient.

As far as possible, please use the toilet* at home or work before you come to the Clinic. Please bring minimal belongings, only purse/wallet, mobile phone credit card, (no shopping, no hand bags, computers, camping gear etc.).

*Of course, if it is urgent you can request use of the toilet, which will otherwise be locked.

As for the fees for consultations and treatment, payment must be made by CREDIT/debit card with tap/wave. (There may be exceptions with certain cards needing pin, but NO cash and NO cheques please.)

A "sneeze screen" will surround the reception area, there will be no blankets, sheets or cups of tea, (joke) and the beds and pillows will be covered with vinyl for easy and effective sanitising. All surfaces used will be sanitised after each patient and there will be protocols for you to read before you are invited into the building.

St Helens Hospital does not allow anyone in with any symptoms at all suggestive of COVID, no matter what the patients believe they have. As tenants we must apply these conditions. All patients will be temperature tested by the doctor on arrival inside and the sanitiser must be thoroughly applied by each patient.

If you are not well (with any fever, even mild, cough, sore throat, or even "I think it's just a cold, Doc") we cannot let you proceed according to the Hospital's criteria and best practice. At the door please read the instructions and when inside SANITISE hands, wait on the first cross on the floor for Receptionist to greet you and wait till temperature is taken.

I reiterate, arriving 5 minutes before your appointment is very important, and remember that traffic and parking are very different and less predictable than 3 or 4 years ago. Once again, it is a trying time, BUT we thank you in advance for your good humour and wonderful co-operation.

Tim Begbie