Dr Preshy Varghese, Kiat Cheng and Josiah Manteit are looking forward to next weeks opening of the respiratory clinic.
Dr Preshy Varghese, Kiat Cheng and Josiah Manteit are looking forward to next weeks opening of the respiratory clinic.

GP-led respiratory clinic set to open in Bundaberg

RESIDENTS with respiratory concerns can breathe a sigh of relief, with a GP-led Respiratory Clinic set to open in the region next week.

Different from a fever clinic, respiratory clinics are assessing patients with mild-to-moderate respiratory symptoms, collecting specimens where appropriate, and providing clinical guidance.

On March 11, the Australian Government announced $206.7 million to support the establishment of up to 100 GP-led Respiratory Clinics across Australia as part of the $2.4 billion National Health Plan to protect Australians from COVID-19.

A Department of Health spokesperson said there were 75 GP-led Respiratory Clinics open across all states and territories as of noon yesterday, with contracts for numerous additional sites, including a site in Bundaberg, also executed.

Grace Family Practice's Dr Josiah Manteit said the local clinic would operate in a separate section of their Skin & Vein Centre on Princess St.

Dr Manteit, who will work at the clinic, said anyone who has any cold or flu-like symptoms can attend the clinic for free.

He said their clinic submitted their expression of interest and went through a screening and

assessment process before becoming an accepted site.

In applying for the respiratory clinic, Dr Manteit said they wanted to "make sure there was somewhere safe [patients] could go and be looked after".

Dr Manteit said in the current climate with COVID-19, assessment and testing was vital.

"In terms of safety there's also the risk of deterioration," he said.

"Prior to coronavirus, it was a good idea for people who have other chronic medical conditions to be seen by a doctor if they are unwell, but now that need is probably even higher because if they have COVID-19 the situation could be worse.

"The respiratory clinic is designed to allow people to be seen, without increasing the risk of others in the community, who are visiting their GP for other reasons."

Dr Manteit thinks that as restrictions are relaxed there would be an increased risk of community spread, putting anyone with respiratory illness at risk.

"Treatment in the clinic will start with vital signs and then discussion around symptoms and possibly auscultation of lungs," he said.

The Department of Health spokesperson said the 31 Primary Health Networks, covering Australia, have been tasked with working with local hospital networks and general practices to identify the best sites, in the context of other hospital and state-led fever clinic services, and to develop mobile models where appropriate.

"All PHNs have submitted recommended sites to the Department which are being assessed and rolled out rapidly with assistance from Aspen Medical," the spokesperson said.



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