To support the safe management of COVID-positive patients in the community, the Australian Government is making additional personal protective equipment (PPE) available to eligible services through the National Medical Stockpile.
Until 30 June 2022, additional PPE bundles (P2/N95 respirators, either goggles or face shields, full length gowns, gloves, surgical masks and hand sanitiser) are available for:
- GPs, ACCHSs and GPRCs willing to provide face-to-face care to COVID-positive patients
- ACCHSs and rural and remote GPs willing to provide virtual support to COVID-positive patients and face-to-face care to respiratory patients, and where workforce capacity is limited and the GP is serving the community for most or all health needs
In addition, until 31 March 2022, P2/N95 respirators and eye protection will be provided to all GPs and GPRCs willing to provide virtual support to COVID-positive patients and face-to-face care to respiratory patients.
Pulse oximeters (maximum of 5 per practice) will also be made available for suitable patients, i.e. those who are at high risk of developing serious symptoms and need to provide a pulse oximeter to use at home.
Due to the limited supply of PPE, please check that you meet the eligibility requirements:
- You are:
- a GP, ACCHS or GPRC who is willing to treat COVID positive patients face-to-face, and/or
- an ACCHS or rural and remote GP willing to provide virtual support to COVID-positive patients and face-to-face care to respiratory patients, and where workforce capacity is limited and the GP is serving the community for most or all health needs.
- You have a population which may be more likely to have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and/or have unusual numbers of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.
- There is no local supply available commercially or from a State or Territory government scheme.
- You are not receiving free PPE from other sources.
- You are not stockpiling.
- You are only requesting bundles for GPs who are seeing COVID patients at your practice.
Until 31 March 2022, additional pharmacy PPE bundles (P2/N95 respirators and goggles/face shields) will also be made available to pharmacists administering COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses.
For pharmacists wanting to request PPE, please check the eligibility requirements:
- You will provide considered and reasonable requests for stock based on the numbers of eligible clinical staff providing vaccination and the volumes of vaccinations delivered.
- You are applying for stock because there is no local supply available commercially or from a State or Territory government scheme.
- Under no circumstance will you on-sell any items in PPE pharmacy bundle.
- Your pharmacy is not stockpiling or accessing multiple sources of free PPE.
- The pharmacist accepting the PPE pharmacy bundle has been trained to provide COVID vaccinations.
- The PPE pharmacy bundle is not for use by other pharmacists and pharmacy staff who are not involved in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
- You can provide the AHPRA number for relevant pharmacists.
The provision, in some circumstances, of masks to allied health professionals remains the same. Allied health professionals may be eligible if:
- the masks are for staff to use
- there is no commercial supply available
- you are working in higher-risk clinical areas, and with higher risk vulnerable patients.
Allied health professionals are also encouraged to adjust how they practice to reduce risk, e.g. offering telehealth.