Important information about coronavirus (COVID-19) for referring GPs, ophthalmologists
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
Important information for referring GPs, ophthalmologists and optometrists
Our clinics remain open, albeit in a reduced form, and our teams are taking extra steps to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.
We would like to reassure you that we are taking all the necessary precautionary and proactive measures to ensure we provide exceptional care and protect the health and safety of patients when visiting our clinics.
You patients 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 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.
What we’re doing to protect patients visiting our clinics
We have updated a number of our operating procedures to minimise the risk to patients of exposure to COVID-19.
- We are continuing to monitor and apply the advice of the Australian Government and the World Health Organisation.
- We are in regular contact with our South East Asian colleagues in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong to acquire the most up-to-date information from this group who are in a more progressed stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- We are deferring non-urgent appointments on the basis of clinical need. Our Ophthalmologists and nurses are reviewing each patient’s requirements individually. Patients that fall into the non-urgent category will be contacted by a member of our team to reschedule their appointment. This measure supports our strict cleaning and hygiene practices as well as best practice personal social distancing.
- We have put into action personal social distancing measures in our clinics, whereby all seats in patient waiting areas are separated at approx. 1.5 metres.
- We have put into place slit lamp microscope shields to protect both patients and our team from risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- We have implemented a risk assessment barrier system at the entrances to our clinics; this process involves temperature checking and a set of questions to determine a patients risk factors.
- We continue to maintain the highest standards of cleaning and hygiene; this includes removing reading material from waiting rooms.
These measures are necessary so that our staff can prioritise the care of critical patients and maintain safe patient care during this unprecedented time.
Referring a patient to the Lions Eye Institute during COVID-19
Please continue referring patients to the Lions Eye Institute, as our referral procedures have not changed. Once your referral has been received, it will be triaged according to urgency. Your patient will be contacted and booked for an appointment in the necessary timeframe.
To refer a patient, simply choose from one of the convenient methods below:
What if a patient requires an urgent appointment for a sight-threatening condition?
For urgent referrals please call 9381 0777 or send the referral via fax 9381 0700 or email to CAREcentre@nulllei.org.au and mark the correspondence URGENT.
Urgent eye emergencies include:
- Trauma to the eye such as chemical liquids splashed in the eye, cuts scrapes on the cornea or other outside layers of the eye. An injury to the eye in which the eye ball or lids are lacerated or objects enter the eye, such as sharp instruments or metal.
- Acute glaucoma.
- Retinal detachment.
- Retinal artery occlusion or retinal vein occlusion.
- A sudden and painful, red, swollen eye, in which vision has deteriorated after an eye operation.
For patients whose eye conditions are unstable and require immediate ophthalmic care outside our regular business hours, please direct your patient to their closest Hospital Emergency Department.
What to include in your referral
When referring a patient to our services, please ensure that the referral includes:
- Ophthalmic history;
- Medication history; and
- Allergies history.
If you have any specific concerns or information you would like us to know, please make sure this is indicated on the referral.
What if a patient requires an appointment for a sight-threatening condition and they have COVID-19?
If your patient requires an urgent appointment but is a confirmed COVID-19 case please call 9381 0777 and we will connect you with one of our clinic nurses for assistance.
We are working to develop telehealth options for triaging patients
It is very likely that your patient will be invited to have a telehealth consultation with one of our ophthalmologists (over the phone or via video-conference). We are setting up this facility at present.
Contact or send through your referral and we will assess if the patient is suitable for a telehealth consultation.
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.
Some emergency surgeries will continue and careful consideration will be given to patients who require urgent glaucoma and vitreo-retinal surgery.
We appreciate how frustrating this will be for patients affected and we would like to apologise. We know many people who are waiting for treatment might be disappointed or worried. We will be contacting everyone affected as soon as possible.