Important information about coronavirus
(COVID-19) for Patients
We are closely monitoring the official health advice and guidance from both the WA State and Australian Federal Governments.
You can be confident that we have implemented all of the recommended measures and more to ensure your health and safety when visiting our clinics.
We are continuing to remain open, albeit at a reduced level, and our teams are taking extra steps to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.
You are safe when visiting our clinics and day surgery
Our accredited clinics and day surgery have always maintained the highest infection control standards and provided the best possible care to our patients, staff and our families.
We are proud to say we have not had any of our ophthalmologists or staff test positive for the COVID-19 virus. Nor have we had any patients who have attended our clinics who have been known carriers of the COVID-19 virus.
We started implementing best practice hygiene, cleaning and screening measures at the inception of the COVID-19 outbreak. This was partly because we have had the benefit of learning from our colleagues around the globe, particularly in countries where COVID-19 had an earlier impact than in Australia.
We are screening all patients to discern travel history or known exposure and symptoms to reduce further increasing the risks to our patients and staff of the COVID-19 virus.
We are applying social distancing measures in our LEI clinics
Social distancing wherever possible is an effective way of decreasing the likelihood of transmitting coronavirus. With this in mind, we are:
- We are working on our patient lists to reschedule non-urgent appointments and reduce the number of patients our ophthalmologists will see in a day.
- We are asking that you arrive on time for your appointment, rather than too early, this will minimise the amount of time you spend in our waiting rooms or reception.
- We are asking you not to bring any other person with you to your appointment. If absolutely necessary, only one accompanying adult family member/friend is to attend. Other family members or friends will not be allowed to enter the facility or to wait in lobbies or common areas.
- We have moved seating in our patient waiting areas to approximately 1.5 metres apart.
What to expect when you arrive
We have implemented a risk assessment barrier system at the entrances to our clinics; this process involves temperature checking and a risk assessment questionnaire.
Please be prepared to answer the following questions upon arrival:
- Have you travelled outside of WA in the last 14 days?
- Have you got family or friends that have travelled outside of WA in the last 14 days that are quarantined in your house, and if you have are they symptomatic?
- Have you been in contact with anyone that is sick, can you tell me their symptoms?
- Have you got any flu like symptoms, scratchy throat, cough, fever?
Once our clinic staff have gone through these questions with you and we are satisfied that you are at reduced risk of having coronavirus we will proceed with checking your temperature.
Your temperature reading must be between 35.5 and 37.5 to enter the clinic.
All of our staff are wearing face masks
Please be aware all our staff are wearing face masks. Much of the testing we do as part of our diagnoses puts us in close contact with you, our patients. Our decision to wear face masks is to protect both you and our staff.
We are rescheduling appointments for patients with non-urgent ophthalmic problems
We are rescheduling non-urgent appointments on the basis of clinical need. Our Ophthalmologists and nurses are reviewing each patient’s requirements individually. If your appointment is affected by this, you will be contacted by a member of our team to reschedule your appointment.
For the moment, it is likely your appointment will be rescheduled for some time after the 1st of June. As you will appreciate the coronavirus situation is changing daily. Please be assured we will update you as soon as possible if anything changes.
We want to reassure you that, if your appointment does get cancelled, it is because the risk to your eye health is considered low.
If your appointment has been cancelled and you feel that your eye health is deteriorating, please contact the clinic for advice. We will continue to provide urgent and emergency eye care for everyone who needs it.
In an emergency
If you have a medical emergency, please do not wait for our response. Contact the relevant health hotline or go to your nearest emergency department at Royal Perth Hospital, St John of God or Fiona Stanley Hospitals.
If you need to reschedule your appointment
During this time, things may be a little unusual and we understand if you feel uncomfortable coming to your scheduled appointment. If this is the case, please contact us on 9381 0785 or email CAREcentre@nulllei.org.au to make other arrangements.
If you have returned from travelling overseas
If you have an upcoming appointment but have recently returned from overseas, other states in Australia and/or are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, we ask that you please call us as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
We are deferring routine elective surgeries
The WA State Government has suspended elective surgery in WA for all but the most serious surgical cases deemed medically necessary.
Effective from Tuesday 24th March we will defer all non-urgent routine elective surgeries for all patients (irrespective of age). This applies particularly to cataract, refractive, laser and oculoplastic surgery. Careful consideration will be given to patients who require urgent glaucoma and vitreo-retinal surgery.
We appreciate how frustrating this could be for you; if you are affected and we would like to apologise. We know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried. We will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.
We are no longer accepting payment at our clinics
Cash handling is a concern, with strong evidence to support the fact that the coronavirus can spread easily through touching objects that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person on them. With this in mind, we will no longer be accepting cash or card as payment for appointments.
Please instead expect a phone call from your clinician’s secretary, following your appointment, for payment over the phone by credit card.
If you are receiving regular intravitreal treatment for conditions such as age related macular degeneration, diabetes or retinal vein occlusion please be reassured that your treatment will continue. However, for the immediate period of time your treating clinician is likely to extend your treatment intervals to minimise your exposure to hospital settings.
If this results in your vision worsening then it most often will simply require a short period of intensive treatment once the coronavirus situation has been stabilised. Your treating clinician will speak to you about individualising your treatment program at your next visit. For further information phone 9381 0777 and ask for the clinical care coordinator and explain that you are calling with questions concerning your intravitreal injections.
If you are currently involved in a clinical trial, a member of the clinical trials team will be in touch with you shortly, to discuss how the coronavirus situation relates to your ongoing participation in the trial.
We know these times can be stressful and scary and we appreciate your patience and support more than ever during this time. Please reach out to us if you have any questions and/or to discuss any needs through this period.
We will be continuing to adapt our operations to ensure the safest environment possible. Please stay connected by following us on Facebook, and going to our website where we will be providing relevant and up-to-date information as the coronavirus outbreak.
Our critical research continues
As a leading medical research institute, we are acutely aware of the importance of medical research into the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. And, we are proud to be part of this collective of people responsible for innovations in health and medical breakthroughs.
Nothing changes at the Institute for our research teams at this time, aside from observing COVID-19 operational procedures outlined by our organisational management team. Our researchers continue their work on developing new treatments for eye disease and to prevent and cure blindness.
Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. We appreciate your patience and support more than ever during this time, and we remain as committed as ever to supporting both you and our team members.