Novel COVID-19

Update 6 April 2020

This information reflects the most recent developments in relation to COVID-19 and medico-legal matters for our members and clients to consider.

 
It represents our latest advice on this issue and provides answers to some commonly answered questions.
In responding to this rapidly evolving situation, it is critical to have access to the latest, reliable information.  Given this, we encourage you to review our new and updated advice as these issues arise for you. 
 
We include important links to authoritative Government information on COVID-19, and further information prepared by key professional groups which we recommend you use.  Keeping up to date with Government health advice and information remains imperative. These are changing regularly, sometimes daily. 
 
Our information covers:

  • Frequently asked questions – including about insurance, practice, patients, telehealth and your health
  • Other information and resources.

 
Contact MIGA for advice or assistance
 
We encourage you to contact:

  • MIGA’s Claims Department if you need advice about how to manage COVID-19 related issues in your practice (1800 839 280 / claims@miga.com.au), or
  • MIGA’s Client Services Officers if you have any questions about your insurance cover (1800 777 156 / miga@miga.com.au). 

You can also use MIGA’s contact form here
 

Frequently Asked Questions


Below are answers to a range of frequently asked questions that you may have in relation to COVID-19 and how to manage it in your practice. 
 
They are generally categorised as follows:

  • Insurance cover
  • Being ready for COVID-19 cases – guidelines for practices
  • Telehealth
  • Your health – COVID-19 risks, illness and personal support
  • My patients
  • Surgery, procedures and essential medical services
  • Returning to the workforce

Insurance cover

  • Am I covered for treating COVID-19 patients? Updated 25 March 2020

    Yes. Claims and inquiries arising from services provided to patients who may be or are suspected of being infected with COVID-19 are covered by MIGA’s insurance policies *

    We cover you for healthcare services provided within your insurance category / scope of practice or healthcare business irrespective of the patient’s condition.

    If you are being asked to undertake, or are considering undertaking, a new or different role that may be outside your scope of practice and have any concerns around your medical indemnity insurance or any medico-legal implications, please contact us for assistance. We’ll help to make sure that your cover is appropriate for what you are doing and to guide you on potential medico-legal issues involved.

    * Your individual cover is subject to your chosen category of practice and the terms and conditions of your policy with MIGA.  If you are a doctor whose practice entity employs other doctors, eligible midwives or others who bill in their own name, you must ensure that they have their own insurance arrangements in place to cover any disease that they might carry and transmit to others in your practice.

  • Am I covered for providing telehealth? Updated 3 April 2020

    Yes. Claims arising from healthcare services provided to patients in Australia via telehealth consultations are covered by MIGA’s insurance policies *

    Within your scope of practice, our policies do not place limitations on how you provide your care.

    Telehealth is a well-recognised way of providing care in a wide variety of situations and can include consultations via a wide range of video platforms and telephone.

    * Your individual cover is subject to your chosen category of practice and the terms and conditions of your policy with MIGA.  If you are a doctor whose practice entity employs other doctors, eligible midwives or others who bill in their own name, you must ensure that they have their own insurance arrangements in place to cover any disease that they might carry and transmit to others in your practice.

  • Am I covered if I am unknowingly infected and I infect patients resulting in a claim? New 3 April 2020

    Yes. Claims arising from healthcare services provided whilst you are infected with COVID-19 are covered by MIGA’s insurance policies *

    Your policy requires you to ensure that you take adequate precautions to prevent the transmission of a virus, bacteria or disease, which means that the steps that you take to prevent transmission must be accepted as competent practice by your peers.

    This would mean that you follow professional obligations for infection control, keep up to date with the potential signs and symptoms of COVID-19, know when to be tested (including the criteria for healthcare worker testing) and follow government requirements for quarantine and isolation (e.g. following overseas travel, close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case etc.)

    We recommend that you keep up to date with advice and other information on these issues from Commonwealth Department of Health’s COVID-19 advice for the health sector, your local health department and professional college / association (a range of relevant links are provided on MIGA’s COVID-19 web resources.

    If in doubt about any of these issues, seek advice from your local public health unit.

    If you are aware you are infected or suspect you may be, you should notify your hospital / health service, immediately cease practice, follow public health and other medical advice and complete the necessary isolation period before returning to practice.  

    * Your individual cover is subject to your chosen category of practice and the terms and conditions of your policy with MIGA.  If you are a doctor whose practice entity employs other doctors, eligible midwives or others who bill in their own name, you must ensure that they have their own insurance arrangements in place to cover any disease that they might carry and transmit to others in your practice.

Being ready for COVID-19 cases - Guidelines for practices

  • What should my practice do to be ready for possible COVID-19 cases? Updated 3 April 2020

    The Commonwealth Health Department continues to update and provide detailed information and advice to the health profession on managing COVID-19 here.
     
    State and territory health departments and a range of colleges and professional associations (links below under ‘Other information’) are also providing detailed information on managing suspected and diagnosed COVID-19 cases.  It is important to keep up to date with new information from these sources.  

    In a community setting, consider what you need to do around triage and alerts for possible COVID-19 symptoms.The response to patients presenting with symptoms or risk factors for COVID-19 infection (these are identified and regularly updated on government health websites) should be planned and communicated clearly to all staff in the practice so they are clear on what should be told to patients (by, email, practice website or online booking facility).
     
    Things to consider include:
    • Being clear on current health department advice on criteria for a suspected COVID-19 case- Communicable Diseases Network Australia provides updated definitions of suspect, probable and confirmed cases – you should also check your updated local health department criteria
    • How you can have patients alert you to possible COVID-19 symptoms – i.e. when booking for an appointment (whether by telephone or online) or presenting for appointments or walk in visits
    • Consider what presentations may be suitable for telehealth (see Q&A below on telehealth)
    • Information to provide on your practice website, online booking website and on the door outside your practice
    • Preparing all staff  to deal with a suspected COVID-19 case – necessary equipment, caring for the patient, protecting other patients, contacting local public health units, local dedicated COVID-19 clinics and / or local emergency departments
    • Ensuring all staff are aware of what they should do if they are suffering symptoms of a potential COVID-19 illness, have had close contact with a COVID-19 case or have recently travelled overseas – see here for more information
    • Supporting staff who might be more vulnerable to COVID-19 – this may involve considering how to modify their work to limit their risks of contracting COVID-19 – RANZCOG has released information on pregnant healthcare workers and COVID-19 here, and ASCIA has prepared information on COVID-19 and immunosuppression here.
  • What if our practice doesn't feel it can deal with a suspected COVID-19 case? Updated 30 March 2020

    There are situations where a healthcare provider may not be able to deal with a suspected COVID-19 case, or may feel uncomfortable in seeing those patients. 
     
    Doctors should assist where they can in emergency situations, where there is no other appropriate care readily available.  Whether you can assist depends on your own skills and safety, and the impact on other patients under your care.   Your own health and availability of appropriate protective equipment are also relevant considerations.   
     
    Outside an emergency situation, if you do not feel you are able to deal with COVID-19 patients, consider how you can help the patient get the care they need and ensure continuity of care.  You can contact your local public health unit (see contact numbers under other information below), local dedicated COVID-19 clinic or hospital emergency department to find out where the patient can be treated and what you can do to facilitate this.  
     
    In a hospital setting, if you are concerned you are unable to treat suspected COVID-19 cases, you should raise this with your colleagues, head of department or director of clinical services as relevant.   The scope of your role may be relevant in deciding what you can and cannot do.

  • What if I don't have the necessary equipment to manage possible COVID-19 cases? New 30 March 2020

    Health care professionals should not be put in positions where their own health and safety is at risk. It is important that you, your colleagues and staff are appropriately protected, and that patients can still access the care they need, even if via another method or source. 
     
    If you have concerns about personal protective equipment (PPE) availability, these need to be considered and potential responses worked out before there is a shortage.  We recommend you: 
    • Engage with your hospital, local primary health network or other supplier to understand any potential impacts on equipment supply
    • Discuss with your department, colleagues and / or practice what to do if there is an equipment shortage
    • Consider how telehealth can be used appropriately to conserve PPE
    • Have in place procedures to ensure that if necessary PPE is unavailable, patients can still access necessary care in a timely way, i.e. via telehealth, contact with another local practice with sufficient PPE, a COVID-19 clinic or referral to a local hospital emergency department.

     
  • What if I am asked to work outside my usual scope of practice to help my hospital deal with COVID-19 cases? Updated 6 April 2020

    We are conscious that a range of our members are undertaking a broader range of work in helping to respond to the challenges of COVID-19. 
     
    The Medical Board indicates that it expects doctors will “exercise their professional judgement and work within their level of competence to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide appropriate and safe care”. 
     

    We recognise practitioners are often equipped to work across a number of specialties or fields of practice, e.g. critical care specialists, doctors in training. 
     
    You should:
    • Make sure your Ahpra registration does not restrict or preclude new or broader work - if it does you would have to apply to Ahpra for changes to your registration before commencing work
    • Consider whether you have the necessary skills, training and experience to provide the level of care expected in the new context
    • ​Contact MIGA to ensure you have the right insurance category for your new work. 

    If you have concerns about being able to work in a new area, you should raise them with senior colleagues, your hospital or health service.
  • Can I undertake certain practice activities outside or in other premises? New 3 April 2020

    A number of our members and clients are exploring different options for where to provide certain medical services in order to minimise risks of COVID-19 transmission, eg outdoor flu clinics, using separate rented premises for some face-to-face clinical presentations. 
    MIGA supports these initiatives where:

    • They are for reasons of patient and / or staff safety
    • ​You are able to provide the same level of care as you would in your usual practice location.  This includes availability of necessary emergency and monitoring equipment, infection control and privacy / confidentiality. 

    If you are considering running certain face-to-face practice activities from a different physical location (ie new rented premises):

    • Consider whether you should seek a separate Medicare provider number
    • ​Make sure the owner is aware of the nature of what is being done.

    Check your other business insurances (eg workers’ compensation, public liability, business interruption etc) cover these activities.

Telehealth

  • Can I use telehealth for suspected COVID-19 cases? Updated 30 March 2020

    If you are confident that a reliable, secure telehealth system will allow you to provide the same level of care and advice you can in a face-to-face consultation with a patient, it is an acceptable alternative approach to treatment given how infectious this virus is.  

    The Commonwealth Government has confirmed that “telehealth is not appropriate for the management of all health care problems and in cases face-to-face consultations will still be needed”.
     
    A range of commonly used video platforms and landline/mobile telephone services can be suitable for telehealth. 
     
    For telehealth generally, the Medical Board’s Guidelines for technology-based patient consultations also provide valuable guidance.  Both the RACGP and ACRRM have produced practical information on telehealth.

  • How has medicare recently expanded Telehealth? Updated 6 April 2020

    New temporary Medicare bulk-billing only telehealth items for non-admitted patients have been introduced progressively over recent weeks, being:

    • 13 and 16 March 2020 – various telehealth items for self-isolating patients or practitioners, and for vulnerable patients

    • 23 March 2020 – various telehealth items for vulnerable practitioners

    • 30 March 2020 – a ‘whole of population’ telehealth model, allowing a range of GPs, specialists and certain other health practitioners to use telehealth for a range of appropriate clinical situations, irrespective of whether the patient or practitioner has, or is at risk of, COVID-19

    • 6 April 2020:

      • Lifting of a range of bulk-billing requirements on new telehealth items - patients at risk of COVID-19, Commonwealth concession card holders and those under 16 years of age must continue to be bulk-billed - more information is available here

      • Further specialist services have also been included in telehealth billable to Medicare.


    These items are in place until 30 September 2020.   They extend to all Medicare eligible Australians, so long as the requirements for individual item numbers are met. 
     
    An overview of the various items, by reference to individual numbers, is here.   Detailed fact sheets setting out overarching obligations and for various classes of items (GPs, specialists, participating midwives etc) are available here
     
    You do not need to be within your regular practice to provide telehealth.  It can be provided from home.  You should use your provider number for your primary location. 

  • How can I use the new Medicare Telehealth items for my patients Updated 6 April 2020

    In determining whether telehealth is appropriate, Medicare requires the practitioner must:

    • Have the capacity to provide the full service through this means safely and in accordance with professional standards; and

    • Be satisfied that it is clinically appropriate to provide the service to the patient; and

    • Maintain a visual and audio link (or audio only for telephone) with the patient; and

    • Be satisfied that the software and hardware used to deliver the service meets the applicable laws for security and privacy (MIGA considers this would generally include a range of commonly used video platforms and landline / mobile telephones)

    • Only use telephone if video cannot be used.


    A range of video platforms can be used.  The Commonwealth Department of Health indicates that services “can be provided through widely available video calling apps and software such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Duo, GoToMeeting and others”. 
     
    The Department also cautions that “free versions of these applications (i.e. non-commercial versions) may not meet applicable laws for security and privacy. Practitioners must ensure that their chosen telecommunications solution meets their clinical requirements and satisfies privacy laws.”  Given this, it may be preferable to use commercial or ‘paid’ versions of video platforms, where they are available.   You can check with your platform provider directly or on their website about whether their platform complies with Australian privacy laws.  Otherwise, it is a matter of being satisfied that the platform is an appropriate clinical setting for consultation and taking “reasonable steps” to protect a patient’s privacy.  
     
    The Australian Cyber Security Centre provides guidance on web conferencing security.
     
    Before using the new items, you should familarise yourself with the requirements for telehealth use generally and each individual item.   This is very important.  This includes

    • Obtaining informed financial consent before providing telehealth where you are not bulk-billing (See above - How has Medicare recently expanded Telehealth? - for bulk-billing restrictions)

    • Documentation – there are the same record-keeping requirements as for face-to-face consultations – this includes referrals where required

    • Assignment of benefit –for the new telehealth items only, documentation in clinical notes of a patient’s agreement to assign their benefit as full payment for the service is sufficient – other options include posting the completed assignment of benefit form to the patient for their signature and return, or email agreement between the practitioner and patient

    • Multiple attendances on the same day (co-claiming is precluded)

    • Prescriptions – these can be posted or emailed to the patient or their pharmacist, and the paper copy sent to the pharmacy – see here for more information about prescribing, including expected introduction of electronic prescribing.

    The Department of Health provides an email service for questions around COVID-19 MBS items – AskMBS@health.gov.au

  • Can I use Telehealth if it doesn't qualify for Medicare? New 30 March 2020

    Telehealth can still be used if it does not qualify for a Medicare item where clinically appropriate to do so. 
     
    This can include providing care to patients via telehealth from your home if you are self-isolating or otherwise remaining at home.  Your fees for this should be disclosed to the patient prior to consultation.  Ideally this would occur during the telehealth booking process.  

Your health - COVID-19 risks, illness and personal support

  • I'm feeling ill and think I might have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do? Updated 25 March 2020

    Contact the National COVID-19 Helpline on 1800 020 080.  Seek advice from your GP, local public health unit or dedicated COVID-19 clinic.  Familiarise yourself with the latest health department advice.   Alert your hospital or practice. Ensure you follow advice and guidance on isolating yourself and when you are able to return to practice. 
     
    There are also circumstances where you should seek medical advice and be tested for COVID-19 if you have certain symptoms.  Your state or territory health department provides up-to-date information on when you would need to be tested. 
     
    You should also familiarise yourself with health department advice on isolation requirements following COVID-19 diagnosis, close contact or recent travel.

  • I'm worried about returning to work after a period of isolation. Updated 10 March 2020

    If your concerns are health-related, speak to your GP or local public health unit.
     
    For employment or contract issues, the Fair Work Ombudsman has information on COVID-19 related issues here.  Consider raising your concerns with your employer, hospital or practice as relevant. 

  • This is an incredibly stressful time for me. What services are there for personal support? Updated 3 April 2020

    It is important that you seek any professional and personal support you need. 
     
    Doctors can access Doctors’ Health Services 24/7 helplines across Australia to help you find the support you need – contact details are here.  
     
    Midwives can access Nurse & Midwife Support, a 24/7 telephone and online service – contact details are here.
     
    Whether you are a doctor, midwife, practice manager/owner or practice staff member, your college or             association may have its own professional support program you can access. 
     
    Doctors’ Health SA has also prepared ‘Self-care for doctors in a Covid world’, available here.
     
    MIGA’s Doctors’ Health website also provides a range of other resources and links.

My Patients

  • My patient doesn't fit the criteria for COVID-19 testing, but they are demanding a test. New 25 March 2020

    Outside health department criteria for COVID-19 testing, any testing is at the discretion of the clinician. You are not compelled to provide care you believe to be unwarranted or inappropriate. If in doubt about whether a test is warranted contact your local public health unit.
  • Are there restrictions on COVID-19 tests which can be performed? New 6 April 2020

    In South Australia and Western Australia, certain point of care COVID tests are precluded by public health order.  Financial penalties apply for their use.
     
    The RCPA has also issued guidance on these issues.  

  • My patient refuses to follow advice for COVID-19 testing or self-isolation. What should I do? New 25 March 2020

    These situations may pose a risk to public health and safety.  Contact your local public health unit for advice.
  • A patient wants a medical clearance certificate for COVID-19. Can I give this? Updated 10 March 2020

    NSW Health has indicated there is no testing to predict whether a patient will become infected with COVID-19 and it is not possible to give a medical clearance certificate.  You can provide information within the limits of what you know, i.e. history given and your clinical assessment.  Be clear about the advice you can and cannot provide.
  • I've had patients not be honest about their symptoms in order to see me. This puts me and our practice staff at risk. What can I do? New 3 April 2020

    Health care professionals should not be put in positions where their own health and safety is at risk. 

    It is important that:

    • You, your colleagues and staff are appropriately protected
    • ​Patients can still access the care they need, even if via another method or source.

    We encourage you to consider what you can do to minimise the chance of this happening as part of your practice’s COVID-19 response (see our Q&A ‘What should my practice do to be ready for possible COVID-19 cases?’

    You may wish to consider emphasising on your website / via telephone booking / triage / practice signage:

    • The responsibility you and your practice have to ensure the health and safety of staff
    • ​The need for accurate reporting of symptoms, as otherwise your practice may not be able to treat the patient and need to refer them elsewhere.

    If a patient has deliberately misreported symptoms to you, outside an emergency situation MIGA considers that this can provide appropriate grounds to terminate care.  It is important to ensure that you take steps to ensure the patient can still access the care they need, eg providing other care options or any necessary referral.

  • Are privacy and confidentiality affected by COVID-19? New 25 March 2020

    Obligations of privacy and confidentiality continue to operate for patients with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19. 
     
    COVID-19 is a notifiable disease to state and territory health departments.  This is not a breach of privacy or confidentiality. 
     
    There may be other situations where it is necessary to disclose the occurrence of COVID-19. 
     
    For example, it would be necessary to disclosure certain information within a hospital or workplace to potential close contacts of the COVID-19 case.  Disclosure would be limited to what is reasonably necessary in the circumstances.  Before doing this, advice should be sought from your local public health unit, which would be involved in and guide this process. 
     
    The OAIC has prepared a useful resource here on privacy obligations and COVID-19.

Surgery, procedures and essential medical services

  • Are there limits on what the health profession can do during this time? New 3 April 2020

    Given Government restrictions on elective surgery and certain other activities, we have had questions from our members and clients wanting to make sure they are complying with any restrictions on medical services.

    MIGA recognises that both the medical and broader health professions are very busy providing a broad range of essential medical services, both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related, which must continue, both face-to-face and via telehealth.
     
    If undertaking surgeries or procedures, you should review our Q&A on these issues below.

    The Government’s social distancing restrictions recognise the need for a broad range of medical services.  Given these restrictions and peak body advice, consider whether what you are providing is an essential medical activity. 

    If in doubt about whether what you do is essential, we encourage you to engage with your professional college or association. 

  • What are the restrictions in relation to elective surgery outside South Australia? Updated 6 April 2020

    From midnight 25 March 2020 at all public and private hospitals and health facilities the position is as follows:

    • Category 1 and urgent Category 2 elective surgeries can continue
    • ​Semi-urgent Category 2 and Category 3 elective surgeries at private hospitals can continue until 11:59pm on 1 April 2020 – after that they cannot be performed until further notice by the Australian Government
    • Non urgent Category 2 and Category 3 elective surgeries cannot be performed until further notice by the Australian Government.


    Elective surgery categorisation is:

    • Category 1 - Needing treatment within 30 days. Has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point where the patient’s situation may become an emergency
    • ​Category 2 - Needing treatment within 90 days. Their condition causes pain, dysfunction or disability. Unlikely to deteriorate quickly and unlikely to become an emergency
    • Category 3 - Needing treatment at some point in the next year. Their condition causes pain, dysfunction or disability. Unlikely to deteriorate quickly.

    The Australian Government’s decisions on this are available here and here

    Information on elective surgery categorisation from Australian Governments is available here

    You should consult your professional college or association and hospital/s where you work if in any doubt about categorisation for individual surgeries.  RACS has made available elective surgery recommendations from various specialty societies here.

  • What are the restrictions in relation to surgery in South Australia? Updated 6 April 2020

    Restrictions now apply on ‘appropriate surgery’ during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Australia.   Details are available here.

    These restrictions cover surgeries and procedures, which include procedures such as endoscopy, bronchoscopy, interventional radiology and cardiology.  They impose different thresholds for emergency and urgent to proceed.

    The restrictions do not include:
    • Procedures using local anaesthetic undertaken in community settings by primary health practitioners (i.e. general practitioners)
    • Procedures to complete IVF treatment which began prior to 3 April 2020
    • Certain procedures to preserve eggs for future IVF
    • Surgical termination of pregnancy. 

    The direction appears to rule out any performance of cosmetic surgery, irrespective of setting.
    Not complying with these directions could lead to significant financial penalties for individuals and corporate bodies. 

    In summary the only surgery which can be performed if no alternative, non-surgical or procedural intervention exists, are:
    • Emergency surgery and procedures performed for conditions where failure to do so expediently and safely will lead to loss of life, loss of limb or permanent disability
    • ​Non-emergency but urgent surgery and procedures performed for conditions where failure to do so in a clinically appropriate timeframe will lead to a predictable and evidence based outcome as follows:
      • Loss of life or permanent disability where surgery or a procedure would otherwise have prevented this
      • Clinical evidence supports an increased risk of loss of life or permanent disability should surgery or a procedure be significantly delayed.

    Although various colleges and associations have released their own guidance on what surgeries are urgent (see above question - What are the restrictions in relation to elective surgery outside South Australia?), in South Australia these can only be used to determine within the above directions what are emergency and urgent surgeries or procedures.
  • What if I am uncertain about the degree of urgency for surgery? New 3 April 2020

    If there is any uncertainty about whether surgery you propose is an emergency or otherwise urgent within the framework applying in your state or territory, you should consider:

    • Second opinions from experienced colleagues
    • ​Liaison with your college or professional association. 

    You may wish to consider things such as communication with patients about signs and symptoms to watch out for, or arranging clinical reviews as needed.

  • What steps should I take to ensure I am aware if my patient's elective surgery becomes an emergency or otherwise urgent? New 3 April 2020

    If your patient had been booked for, or is likely to need, elective surgery which has now been suspended, it is important you have a process where any deterioration or other changes in your patient’s condition which may create a need for urgent surgery are brought to your attention so you can consider any necessary re-categorisation.

  • Can I undertake non-surgical cosmetic procedures? Updated 6 April 2020

    On 24 March 2020 prohibitions were announced by Australian Governments on beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas and massage parlours. 

    The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons has advised “no cosmetic injectables, laser or “medispa” procedures should be provided”.

    The Australasian College of Aesthetic Medicine has advisedAfter last night’s announcement of further restrictions to services, we now believe it would be wise for all our members to consider the possibility for closing their doors for all but essential medical services … Physical distancing is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and even with the best protection, our work involves close patient contact.
    The Cosmetic Medicine Alliance advises “Non-medical aesthetic services have been closed and the public expectation is that only essential medical services should continue to be performed. Consequently, it is inappropriate for medical services performed purely to improve appearance to continue to occur”.

    Given social distancing measures, significant pressures on equipment stocks, potential risks to patients, doctors, nurses and staff, preclusions on elective surgeries and significant penalties for not following public health requirements, you should very carefully consider ceasing unnecessary procedures and limiting practice to essential medical services.  In particular, consider whether anything you undertake in South Australia could be considered a restricted ‘procedure’ - this includes cosmetic surgery. 

    You may choose to or need to close your practice. If you do, ensure this is communicated to your patients and that they can be monitored and followed-up as necessary. 

    If you decide to close your practice make sure you speak to MIGA to address cover for run-off i.e. for claims that may be made or matters that may emerge in the future, against you or your practice.
    We recommend you engage with your local health department, public health unit and college / association to discuss issues around non-surgical cosmetic procedures. 

    It is important to keep up-to-date with further Government announcements and decisions on these issues.

Returning to the workforce

  • I am returning to practice as part of Ahpra's pandemic sub-register. Are there limitations on what I can and cannot do? New 3 April 2020

    Similarly to your practising peers, you are required to follow your profession’s code of practice (doctors or midwifery) and work within your scope of practice. 
     
    Although the Medical Board has indicated does not define scope of practice for those with unconditional general registration, it expects doctors will exercise their professional judgement and work within their level of competence to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide appropriate and safe care.
     
    Midwifery scope of practice is defined in the Nursing and Midwifery Board’s Midwife Standards for Practice.

     
    Outside other conditions you may have on your practice, you are not restricted by the pandemic sub-register in the location or context of your work. 
     
    Ahpra provides a range of FAQs about returning to work under the pandemic sub-register.
  • I am only going to return to work in the public sector. Do I need cover from MIGA? New 3 April 2020

    Doctors employed in the public hospital system will usually have cover for civil damages claims from their employer, but this does not normally include cover for legal expense or assistance with responding to other issues, such as professional disciplinary matters (i.e. a Medical Board / Ahpra notification) or workplace disputes.  Assistance available in relation to coronial investigations and inquests may also be limited.
     
    Before starting work, you should confirm the nature and extent of your insurance cover or indemnity with your hospital or health service.  We recommend you consider insurance cover from MIGA for matters for which you are not covered.

  • If I return to private practice will I lose eligibility for Commonwealth Government run-off cover scheme? New 3 April 2020

    A special exemption has been agreed to allow doctors and midwives to return to private practice and not lose their eligibility for the Commonwealth’s run-off cover scheme (ROCS).  

    This is a temporary exemption for the COVID-19 pandemic.  It ceases one month after the pandemic ends.  If you continue in private practice after that time, the special ROCS exemption will no longer apply and you will need to obtain run-off cover for past practice at your own expense. 

    Practitioners returning to public practice only do not lose ROCS eligibility.

Other information 

Updated 6 April 2020

A range of professional groups have been assisting the profession respond to the challenges of COVID-19, including AMA, RACGPACRRM, RACP, ACEM, ANZCA, ASA, RANZCOANZICS, RANZCRRACS, RANZCOG, AOAASIDGESA, ACM and ANMF.  

Peak clinical groups, with the support of Australian Governments, have put together the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce.

Our government health departments are important sources of information and advice to the profession, updated regularly - Commonwealth, SA, NSW, Victoria, Queensland, WA, Tasmania, ACT and NT.  


We encourage you regularly check information from health departments and professional bodies as it is updated frequently. 

Contact details for State and Territory Public Health Units

ACT

02 5124 9213 or 02 9962 4155 after hours

NSW

1300 066 055

NT

08 8922 8044

QLD

13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

SA

1300 232 272

TAS

1800 671 738

VIC

1300 651 160

WA

08 9328 0553


For workplace issues relating to coronavirus, the Fair Work Ombudsman and Safe Work Australia provide a range of information. 

Ahpra is also providing information around a range of registration and other regulatory issues here.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration also has Covid-19 information for medicines and medical devices here.
 

Insurance policies are issued by Medical Insurance Australia Pty Ltd.  MIGA has not taken into account your personal objectives or situation.  Before you make any decisions about our policies, please review the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (which can be found here) and consider your own needs.