COVID-19 Pandemic Communique – 26 March 2020

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic Colleges meet via video technology. This is a Communique from the discussion and decisions made at the 26 March 2020 meeting.

Department of Health (Chief Medical Officer) Dr Andrew Singer AM, Principal Medical Adviser Department of Health is an invited regular member of the meeting to provide access to the decisions and processes occurring by the Australian Government. The following were noted and discussed:

  • Implementation of a National Procurement Plan to increase the PPE stockpile
  • Development of Pandemic sub-register of health practitioners by AHPRA
  • Jurisdictional health workforce officials discussion on impact COVID-19 is having on College‚Äôs training programs and the expected effect on trainees.

CPMC noted it had access to the National Incident Room reports and whole of government situation reports, as provided by the CEO. Direct 2-way communication had commenced between the Deputy Chief Medical Officers and CPMC members.

The focus by all of the stakeholders in the Australian health care system was on capacity building to areas expected to surge in demand and to development redeployment plans to maintain continuity of care for the non COVID services.

Critical Care Update Surge plans, scope of practise guidelines and upskilling as part of a redeployment plan plus the importance of ensuring doctor wellbeing were discussed. Australia has 2,229 ICU beds across Australia and a capacity of 8 beds per 100,000 people but increased equipment was expected. The critical care Colleges have issued guidelines to upskill doctors to undertake airway training, available https://www.cicm.org.au/COVID-19/Resources-for-Critical-Care-Professionals.

New Zealand Update The Ministry of New Zealand national infection rate and information on potential peak date was noted. The country had entered into lockdown.

Primary Care Update The RACGP and ACRRM discussed the impact on primary care with PPE, the planned staged implementation of Medicare subsidised Telehealth items to enable enhanced access to general practice but with a reduced risk. The issues for rural and regional Australians and capacity to manage acute COVID presentations were discussed.

Specialist Medical College Training all Colleges had increased its communications in relation to training, exams, COVID websites, guidelines and advisories. A common communication platform was established to provide a common platform for CPMC members to share information and articles, advisories and issues.

Released by Dr Kym Jenkins FRANZCP, Chair CPMC.

Contact Ms Angela Magarry, CEO CPMC, email: ceo@cpmc.edu.au