Information for primary care
Recommencement of Scheduling Category 3 referrals
On 5 September Queensland Health Chief Operating Officer Dr David Rosengren wrote to general practitioners to provide an update on non-urgent (Category 3) outpatient appointments. The letter outlines that those services who suspended scheduling of Category 3 referrals will resume scheduling in line with normal processes.
Queensland COVID-19 model of care
The model of care (PDF 241 kB) for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive consumers isolating at home is continuing, to ensure Queenslanders are receiving the right type of care within an appropriate time frame.
When consumers suspect they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (without necessitating a positive RAT/PCR), they are encouraged to seek advice about what type of clinical care they may require (if any).
Each of the following support tools will risk stratify a consumer using the national risk stratification framework. Based on the results, consumers are allocated to an appropriate care pathway and provided with advice. There is an emphasis on identifying consumers with a higher risk of disease progression for potential admission to a Queensland Health hospital.
- the National Coronavirus Helpline (1800 020 080), accessible 24/7 with interpreters also available by selecting option 8
- completing healthdirect Australia’s COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker
Outcomes from the risk stratification generally are:
- Low risk: self-care at home.
- Medium risk: self-care at home supported by a GP or other healthcare worker
- High risk: admission to a COVID-19 virtual ward (confirmed RAT/PCR positive) and monitored remotely.
- Very high risk: consumers are advised to phone Triple Zero (000) or present to their local emergency department.
Community management resources
In order to assist GPs to manage COVID-19 at the point-of-care in the community, a set of HealthPathways have been developed (please see below for information on how to access HealthPathways). Although the core content of the clinical pathways have been developed to be applicable across the state, each Hospital and Health Service (HHS) will have specific referral points and processes for escalation of care. These local aspects are detailed on the COVID-19 Requests (or referrals) page in HealthPathways.
- These pathways have been authored by GPs for use by GPs and their primary care teams.
- They have been endorsed by the relevant state authorities for consistency with state and national guidance.
- They continue to be maintained and updated regularly and are considered the single point of truth for primary care management of COVID-19 in Queensland. Feedback on any aspect of HealthPathways can be sent directly from the page being viewed (press the blue dialogue button at the bottom of the screen).
As outlined in this escalation diagram (PDF 380 kB), primary healthcare providers will be notified by Healthdirect Australia if their patient has been triaged as ‘medium risk’. If a COVID-19-positive person does not have a regular GP, they will be referred to the Healthdirect Service Finder to find one. This discharge diagram (PDF 483 kB) outlines what primary healthcare providers can expect if their patient is discharged from a virtual ward or hospital-managed COVID-19 service.
Call Triple Zero (000) or advise a patient to go to an emergency department if they:
- difficulty breathing even when moving around your home
- suddenly find it hard to breathe or your breathing has gotten worse
- coughing up blood
- significant chest pain
- collapsing or fainting.
- feeling cold and sweaty, with blotchy skin
- have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it
- feeling agitated, confused or very drowsy
- stopping peeing or peeing much less than usual.
When a patient is identified as suitable for escalation, healthcare providers should phone their local hospital-managed COVID-19 service to discuss referral and admission (contact details can be found in HealthPathways) and then provide an electronic referral. Where possible, referrals to hospital-managed COVID-19 services should be submitted via existing referral channels (i.e. Smart Referrals, Medical Objects, fax).
This discharge process outlines what primary healthcare providers can expect to occur when a patient is discharged from a hospital-managed COVID-19 service.
A series of frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 model of care including monoclonal antibodies, isolation requirements and long COVID can be found on the COVID Care and Pathways page. Additional resources for primary healthcare providers are available including key messages for patients and recommended on-hold messages for practices. To obtain a copy, please email CEQ-Engage@health.qld.gov.au
Other COVID-19 resources
- HealthPathways Sites
- Queensland Health
- The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce
- RACGP – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for GPs
- Caring for patients with COVID-19 (Brisbane South Primary Health Network)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for the health and disability sector (Australian Government Department of Health)
- Fever, testing and respiratory clinics in Queensland
- COVID-19 Test & Isolate National Protocols
This fact sheet provides information about COVID-19 Test & Isolate National Protocols from 1 January 2022
- COVID-19 Resources – Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
These resources include guidance on setting up and conducting telehealth consultations, infection control principles, information for patients, clinical care of patients with COVID-19, and supports for GPs providing care for ongoing health issues and advocacy resources.
- Keeping your patients COVIDSafe – Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
This resource provides practices with a list of infection prevention and control measures to consider and implement throughout the course of the current COVID-19 pandemic in order to maintain a healthy work environment.
Access to HealthPathways
HealthPathways is password protected as it is written as clinical guidance for clinicians, not consumers.
A single-access statewide site is available. The generic login and password is available by emailing a request to your local HealthPathways team. A region-specific login and password can also be obtained from the local HealthPathways team, your region’s GP Liaison Officer (GPLO) or Primary Health Network. HealthPathways is a web-based application, so the password can be saved in your browser history.
The suite of HealthPathways that have been developed includes:
- COVID-19 Vaccination
- COVID-19 Vaccination Requests
- COVID-19 Vaccination Resources
- COVID-19 Clinical Care
- Suspected COVID-19
- COVID-19 Case Management
- COVID-19 in RACF
- COVID-19 End-of-life Care
- COVID-19 Mental Health
- Post-COVID-19 Conditions
- COVID-19 Mental Health Support for Clinicians
- COVID-19 Practice Setup
- COVID-19 MBS Items
- COVID-19 Practice Management
- COVID-19 Services and Requests
- COVID-19 Requests
- COVID-19 Community Supports
- COVID-19 Recent Changes
- COVID-19 Resources.
From the HealthPathways home page, the relevant page can be found by either using the search bar at the top of the screen or the table of contents on the left-hand side. As each page has a unique URL, pages that are frequently used (e.g. COVID-19 Requests) can be bookmarked in the browser or saved to a desktop for quick one-click access. For further information on navigating HealthPathways – click “How do I use HealthPathways?” on the home page.
- There are more than 1,000 pathways to assist with the management and referral of conditions presenting to general practice. Each region will be at a different stage of localisation of these resources.
- Pathways that have not yet been adapted for the local context are clearly marked. Health services available in the local area are listed in the Request section at the end of each specialty area. The management section of the clinical pathways link directly to these request pages.
- Where the assessment or management of other conditions has been impacted by the pandemic, a “COVID Note” will have been added to the top of the pathway to indicate what the impact is.
For more information please email COVID19_PC@health.qld.gov.au.