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**IMPORTANT HEALTH UPDATE**

Dear Patients and friends,

The Coronavirus is here and will have impacts on the health system for the weeks and months to come. Please read this email carefully, even if you are not a current patient of our clinic.

The team at The Foot Pod Podiatry Clinic are here to assist the wider community through this time, and will remain open. Plans have been put in place for continuity of patient care, and a number of scenarios planned for in case of Federal, State or Health Department directives which may come in the coming weeks and months.

Pain doesn’t take a holiday, and can increase with stress and anxiety. We have you covered. The good news is that people attend our clinic because they are in pain or have foot health problems not because they are sick.
Current advice is that the risk of transmission of the Coronavirus is small when receiving Podiatry treatment, provided all patients read the below advice and act upon it. We all have a role to play here.

I understand that some may be anxious about attending treatment, so I thought I would answer some questions you may have. “What have we done, and are continually doing to Combat the Virus and keep Staff and Patients safe?”

We have stock of Hospital Grade Antiseptic Wipes, Alcohol Based Sanitiser and Cleaning Products, and have put in place enhanced cleaning measures and processes for the health and safety of everyone within our clinic. I have advised my staff about their responsibilities both at the clinic and away from the clinic, to remain healthy. I have advised them that if they are in any way feeling unwell, to stay home.

The virus is most effectively combated by hand-washing with soap for 20 seconds and frequent cleaning of surfaces, so you should add this to your routine immediately, as we have always done and will continue to do. The virus is surrounded by a layer of fat, and breaks down with soap,  detergents and alcohol-based solutions.

We have removed all but essential treatment items off our shelves, desks and floors so that more efficient cleaning can occur on a more frequent basis. “I am not sure if I should attend treatment. What should I do?”
We ask you to be upfront and honest about your travel history, and potential exposure, to ensure that all staff and patients (especially our elderly and immunocompromised patients) remain healthy.

IF YOU HAVE ARRIVED BACK IN AUSTRALIA FROM OVERSEAS YOU MUST SELF-QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS AS PER CURRENT AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT ADVICE.

If you have travelled Overseas in the past 14 days, AND you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, excessive runny nose, shortness of breath) – please do not attend your appointment. Please seek medical advice which may include getting tested for COVID-19.

If you have had known close contact with a person with COVID-19, do not attend your appointment. Please self-isolate for 14 days as per Australian Government Advice.

If you are not a returned traveller, nor had contact with COVID-19: Current advice is that you are safe. Person-to-person transmission in the community is not yet posing an issue, but this could change rapidly so keep updated with current Federal and State Government advice.

If you are feeling unwell in any way, please contact us for advice about whether you should attend your appointment. If you have a fever, cough, excessive runny nose or shortness of breath, then you will be advised to not attend your appointment.

What’s next?

Australia is in a good position to handle this threat due to our public hospital system, and because we have had more time to prepare compared to other countries. We are also an Island Continent, with fewer people per unit area, so this also slows it down a little.

There is also a chance that there will be directives that schools, public places and businesses etc be required to close for a period, and people instructed to remain indoors at home, should the risk of a large outbreak escalate. Listen carefully to the advice of your state and federal authorities, and do as they say. The business has plans for next steps for patient care should these circumstances arise.

In Conclusion…

We will continue to keep you informed during this uncertain time.
I am not a virologist nor medical doctor, so I am heeding the advice of the experts on what needs to be done to be most helpful at this time. All of the above in this letter is from the advice of the experts. You should listen and act upon their advice too.

Please ask our Staff any questions you may have about the Coronavirus, including ways to keep you and your family healthy in the upcoming months. We are here to help.

(And please don’t steal our Toilet Paper or hand sanitizers !)
If you have any questions whatsoever, please email me at drtimmins@thefootpod.com.au or contact the clinic on (08) 9246 7292