COVID-19 Support and Vaccine Management
The CESPHN COVID support team continues to support general practices in COVID-19 resources and initiatives. Reflecting this, 423 general practices within the CESPHN region continue to participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
Ongoing support for general practice includes transfers of COVID-19 vaccines, newsletters, bulletins and resources such as ensuring continuance in updating pandemic plans, emergency and business continuity plans.
Some challenges the community and general practice faced were the closure of GP Respiratory Clinics at the end of 2022, the end of the PPE distribution, workforce shortages and some general practice closures. We continue to support general practice and the community in managing COVID-19 and the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine and booster program.
Programs that supported the community during 2022/23, include the Vax at Home Program (current), Sutherland Shire – COVID Respiratory KIDS Program, COVID at Home Program, Nurse Winter Vaccination Program, Multilingual COVID-19 Vaccination Program (current) and the Building Community Vaccination Awareness Program (current).
Shire Kids program
During a peak in COVID-19 and the flu season in 2022, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN identified high numbers of children were presenting to the local Sutherland Hospital Emergency Department (ED) with COVID like respiratory symptoms.
Along with collaboration with the local hospital an innovative solution was sought. Expressions of Interest were sent to local General Practices to participate in a local program to provide increased medical care for children experiencing COVID like respiratory symptoms. This program operated for eight weeks, to support the local hospital emergency services who were managing a high volume of patients.
CESPHN provided additional funding to support practices to extend their practice hours to see children 0-16 years, experiencing COVID like respiratory symptoms in their practice.
Two local general practices were successful and extended their hours to support this important initiative and as a result of this, 285 children were seen in general practices in the extended hours of operation, avoiding attendance at the local hospital Emergency Department. Thank you to Kirrawee Family Practice and Bethany Medical Practice for supporting this local initiative.