Urgent - changes to GP COVID care coming

14 Jan 2022

Image of GP with patient


AMA Queensland and the Queensland GP Alliance have been advised that from Monday 17 January 2022, HealthDirect Australia will begin managing the treatment of COVID cases in the community.

We remain concerned at the lack of communication to GPs and the community from Queensland Health about this rollout will work.

We understand that this rollout will initially involve the introduction of a national adult consumer hotline, with the GP-led care pathway commencing on 24 January 2022.

To date, there has been no communication with our sector about the rollout. We find this very concerning, especially given the key role that GPs are expected to play and the management of COVID cases in the community.

Most GPs and practices remain unaware of the proposed changes, and have limited time to prepare for their new and important role.

Dr Maria Boulton, the Chair of AMA Queensland’s Council of General Practice, will continue to represent the needs of GPs and practice staff at the highest levels of government.

Practices should be on standby. We are in a disaster response situation and must be prepared to take all actions necessary.

We have written to Queensland Health and the Health Minister calling for urgent communication to general practices about the implications of this new pathway, including the increasing role of general practice in caring for COVID patients in the community, and its anticipated role in providing care to high and medium risk groups.

We have also called for urgent communication about how the system manager/s are responding, and what Commonwealth and State support will be provided to general practice to carry out these new roles.

We have previously called for a dedicated hotline for GPs to call when needing advice on how to manage COVID cases, including how to escalate care should patients deteriorate quickly.

We are calling for escalation pathways for each Hospital and Health Service to be available for GPs to access before this new pathway is implemented, with this information clearly communicated to GPs.

GPs and their staff have played a critical role in managing the pandemic over the past two years, including the vaccination rollout. They are over-stretched and exhausted, and fed up with responses from all levels of government that put more pressure on practices without offering the PPE and other resources that are needed to carry out this vital work.

Published: 14 Jan 2022