20/3/2020 

Dear Employers/ School Principals /Day Care Managers

Doctors are unable to provide patients with COVID-19 clearance.

As per government advice and guidelines, resources must be conserved for patients who are both unwell and fit strict testing criteria.

This is to preserve precious healthcare resources, such as testing kits and protective equipment. 

Currently, doctors are unable to:

  • Provide clearance for people who have from returned overseas. These patients need to self-isolate for 14 days. Once 14 days have passed, if the person shows NO symptoms, they are fit to return to work. 
  • Provide clearance for well people who have had contact with unwell people (if the unwell person has NOT been formally diagnosed with COVID19). Our advice is to self-isolate only if they develop symptoms. 
  • Provide testing for patients with MILD illness symptoms, with no COVID19 contacts or travel risk factors. These people are to take β€˜Sick leave’ as usual for a cold or flu and can return to work once their symptoms have fully resolved. 

As an Employer/ School, you can do your part to help during this difficult time by:

  • Allowing employees/students to self-isolate for 14 days if they meet the current government criteria (The most up to date criteria will be found on your local state government website)
  • Allow any and all employees who can work from home to do so
  • Allow employees/students who develop viral illness symptoms to take sick leave as required, without requiring a medical review or clearance from already overstretched clinics. 
  • Make changes to how your business operates to be flexible for those staff who are high risk, such as immunosuppressed, to adjust their risk of exposure. 

I would implore and recommend that you consider the need for requesting Medical Clearance / Certificates as it leads to well people presenting to GP Practices and stretching of our services.

Other measures that you can assist as per Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC):

  • Encourage and facilitate good hand hygiene.
  • Limit non-essential organised gatherings to as few people as possible, ideally less than 10.
  • Limit non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforce.
  • Encourage all Australians to exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures.
  • Initiate measures to protect vulnerable populations.

Kind regards,

Dr Cath Hester

General Practitioner