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Step 2 changes as of September 28th: AHPRA-registered practitioners can now see clients for face-to-face appointments except for ‘routine’ appointments. In terms of our services we interpret ‘routine’ to be anyone coming for health maintenance who is no longer suffering from specific health issues, where failure to treat may result in increased care needs.
Screening: pre-appointment screening is still in place to verify your appointment is not routine and that you meet COVID-19 symptoms/exposure criteria. For further information about criteria, please read our online screening form (you can also fill it in if you’re planning to book an appointment).
Naturopathy update: we are continuing to book clients for Chinese Medicine consultations as Naturopaths are still restricted. As he is qualified in both areas, Scott will always give you the very best of his expertise regardless of the appointment name.
Online bookings: have been updated to include all our new Chinese Medicine appointment types – ‘Standard’, ‘In-depth’ and ‘Comprehensive’, in line with the currently inactive Naturopathy appointment types.
Massage is still closed; Counselling is open
We know not everyone will agree with us, but as small business owners the cartoon above by Johannes Leak tickled our funny bone, in a grim sort of way. We have been relatively lucky compared to many – we have seen two restaurants near the clinic completely disappear over recent months, and we know this is indicative of what is happening across Melbourne and regional Victoria.
We are overjoyed to finally be welcoming back many clients we have greatly missed during the lockdown. At the same time, we also feel protectively indignant on behalf of those clients who, due to either the heavy restrictions on appointments or fear of the virus, have not been receiving the quality face-to-face care they deserve. Enabling and encouraging citizens to be as healthy as possible is something which should be a top priority during a viral outbreak, but this has been obstructed.
Like everyone, we were extremely concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak when it first occurred back in February. We immediately purchased masks for staff, hospital-grade air filters for the clinic and and instituted cleaning protocols, way ahead of any recommendations to do so.
However, as data about the virulence and impact began to be revealed, we were frankly surprised that the government did not alter course and instead continued to pursue blanket draconian measures without providing detailed scientific justification. We have watched, over the months, a largely unjustified over-reaction, egged on by the media, to what was shown early on to be a much less deadly virus for most people than originally feared.
I do say ‘for most people’ because for the elderly and for those with chronic diseases, yes, this is more dangerous than the flu and they do need to be careful. We should support those who want to self-isolate (and respect the wishes of those who prefer to chance the still-small risk of death for the sake of contact with family and friends).
So what exactly is the real risk, now we have many months of data? The Center for Disease Control in the USA, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world, released its latest figures just a few weeks ago. The federal health agency says if you have the virus between the ages of 0 to 70, you have a 99% survival rate. And if you’re over 70, the survival rate is nearly 95%. Keep in mind that this is if you actually get infected.
For those who are in an older age bracket and healthy, you’re highly unlikely to fall victim to this virus. For those who are struggling with their health, this is one of the reasons why health practitioners such as ourselves, who focus on helping our clients create health, need to be able to fully support our clients during times like these. Naturopaths in particular should be one of our most prized health professions during this time.
To look at the stats another way, if you’re under 50, COVID-19 is only about one-fifth as deadly as the flu (0.02% infection fatality rate as opposed to the influenza IFR of approximately 0.1%). Which really makes one question why our workforce is still largely sitting about twiddling their thumbs and watching Netflix.
We know many of you will disagree with our assessment of the government response to COVID-19. We know many have suffered and some have died from COVID-19, and these comments are not meant to discount any of those experiences. However, we equally should not discount the suffering and death caused by the government response, which will likely go on for many years, given future generations will be saddled with massive debt, and research shows that suicide rates in response to cultural traumas normally continue to be elevated for 4 – 5 years.
For those who have the time and are interested, there is an excellent, fully-referenced summary here, written by Belgian doctors, of the problems with the global response to COVID-19 as followed by most countries around the world, including Australia. We really encourage you to read this open letter. Do let us know what you think! We love getting emails from our clients, and we believe wholeheartedly in friendly and respectful freedom of expression.
Again, we are so VERY pleased to be able to welcome most of our clients back to the clinic! If you’ve been holding off making an appointment, please consider whether you are able to do so now by viewing the full screening criteria in our online form.
You can call the clinic on 9876 8786 to make a booking, or use the booking button at the end. If you normally book for a naturopathic consultation, please choose an alternative Chinese Medicine consultation instead (you will see they follow the same naming pattern as our currently inactive naturopathic appointment types, with ‘standard’, ‘in-depth’ and ‘comprehensive’ options available.) We also have phone/Zoom consultations available.
Maintaining a “Covidsafe” clinic
While on a personal level we believe there are many problems with the government’s response to the COVID-19 virus, we nevertheless take our professional responsibilities very seriously.
We will continue to maintain reduced capacity in our acupuncture centre, to keep distance between clients and fulfil government requirements to reduce patrons.
We will, of course, continue to offer phone and Zoom consultations for those clients who would prefer to or need to stay home, as well as an ongoing postal service for medicines.
All clients will be also screened via our online form for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure on their first return booking, and will now be reminded in every appointment SMS to inform us of any new symptoms/exposure. Staff are screened prior to each shift for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure.
Please be aware we have a maximum capacity in our reception area of 7 patrons. We would appreciate you helping us maintain this by checking how many people are in reception when you arrive (not including staff) and waiting in the foyer if your presence puts us over our limit. Please wave hello first though, so we know you’ve arrived!
These measures, along with our ongoing hygiene protocols, will ensure the clinic continues to be an infection-free space for all clients and staff.
Please order 1 week in advance wherever possible!
We are continuing to use Sendle for Melbourne Metro, which in general we have found to be excellent. Most clients receive their packages within 1-2 days. However, we have had one instance (one in almost fifty, I should add) where a client waited a week for their package, because Sendle outsourced to another courier due to being unable to cope with demand. For non-metro, we are also using Sendle until Australia Post return to normal. This is a little more expensive than Aussie Post, however unfortunately due to staffing restrictions, packages are being sent to Sydney for overnight processing, causing major delays! Crazy times!
Open hours going forward
We anticipate returning to our normal hours over the coming weeks, however this will depend on demand. Please call before hand if you are planning to purchase medicines.
Remedial Massage closed, Counselling open
For our clients who also see other practitioners at the clinic, sadly our massage therapists are STILL unable to operate during this time. However, our wonderful counsellor, Travers Holbrook, is still available for appointments and is offering a $50 discount to all our clients, past and present. Contact details are here. Please don’t hesitate to call him if you’re struggling mentally or emotionally under lock down.
Please note the 5km rule does not apply to medical/health appointments. This means you do not need to live within 5km of the clinic in order to come to your appointment. If you are stopped, please have your Appointment Confirmation handy, either on your phone or printed.
The 5km rule does not apply to medicine pickups as per the following government advice: “For some people the nearest goods and services will be more than 5km away. In this situation you may travel beyond 5km to the nearest provider.” Additionally, your medicines are an vital part of your health care, which is exempt from the 5km rule. Nevertheless, we encourage you to have your medicines posted unless you have run out and they are urgently required.
We will do everything we can to make your experience as enjoyable, smooth and easy as possible!
All the very best to you all!
Fiona and Scott Hankinson