NSW and COVID-19

Information for private practitioners – 15 October

NSW Health has updated its advice on managing and accessing the risk of exposure of vaccinated and unvaccinated healthcare workers to COVID-19.

This information is now available on the NSW Health website and can be applied to private practices. The risk matrices considers whether the healthcare worker is vaccinated or unvaccinated, the PPE they are wearing and the type of exposure.

The Chief Allied Health Officer of NSW has clarified that the current Public Health Order only requires mandatory vaccination for health workers for speech pathologists working in private practice in the following settings:

  • aged care (including community based)
  • disability (including disability-related health services, irrespective of whether they are funded by the NDIS)
  • home care.

The public health orders relating to these sectors are Public Health (COVID-19 Care Services) Order 2021 and Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021.

Please also note that From 8 November all workers who attend an early childhood education and care setting for their work will also be required to be fully vaccinated.

The Department’s COVID-19 guidance for ECEC services web page provides more information on vaccination requirements in NSW and is regularly updated with the most current advice.

The Association's web page about COVID-19 vaccination requirements is regularly updated.

Clarification to Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (PHO) 2021 – 13 October

The following is further clarification in relation to Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (PHO) 2021 from the Chief Allied Health Officer (CAHO).

Asking clients about vaccination status

“Private allied health providers have a right to ask people if they are vaccinated. It is then reasonable for the provider to make suitable alternative arrangements if a would-be participant is unvaccinated and that presents a risk to the individual provider or employee of that provider (e.g. if someone has compromised immunity) or it involves an indoor group.

Suitable alternative arrangements’ might mean, if practical, seeing the unvaccinated person at the end of the day or when people at most risk aren’t there, or using telehealth i.e. it’s about service planning.”

Members must be aware of issues around discrimination and privacy obligations when discussing vaccination with their staff. More information about this can be found in the Association’s FAQ about Vaccination status and the NSW Health handout COVID-19 vaccinations and your business-what you need to know.

New handout: COVID-19 vaccinations and your business-what you need to know

The NSW Government have produced a handout COVID-19 vaccinations and your business-what you need to know. It provides guidance around key considerations a business will have around vaccination for staff and customers/clients. 

Changes for Allied Health in NSW from Monday 11 October 2021

The Department of Health has released Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order (PHO) 2021.

Below is a summary of some details of this PHO noting the Association is seeking clarification of several items form the Chief Allied Health officer.

Unvaccinated clients visiting health premises

Unvaccinated patients/visitors are permitted to attend allied health premises. 

Working from home

  • An employer must allow an employee who is fully vaccinated to work from home if it is reasonably practicable to do so.
  • An employer must require an employee who is not fully vaccinated to work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.
  • An employee who is not fully vaccinated must work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to work from home.

Please note: Further advice regarding unvaccinated staff attending workplaces is being clarified with Public Health Response Branch.

Fitted Face coverings

A person who is over 12 years of age must wear a fitted face covering while the person is in an indoor area of premises other than a place of residence.

A person may remove a fitted face covering the person is otherwise required to wear if the person is

(a) eating or drinking, or

(b) engaging in physical exercise except in an indoor area as part of a gym class or dance class, or

(c) communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, or

(d) engaging in work if—

(i) wearing the covering is a risk to the person’s, or another person’s, health and safety, or

(ii) enunciation or visibility of the person’s mouth is essential, or

(iii) the work is in an indoor area and no other person is in the area, or

(iv) the work is at a school, or

(e) requested to remove the covering as part of an identity check, or

(e) requested to remove the covering as part of an identity check, or

(f) required to remove the covering—

(i) because of an emergency, or

(ii) for the proper provision of goods or a service, or

(g) in a vehicle and no other person is in the vehicle other than—

(i) a member of the person’s household, or

(ii) the person’s nominated visitor, or

(h) in a hotel, motel or other accommodation facility as a guest and is in the person’s own room, or

(i) in a school as a student, or

(j) in a public hospital or private health facility as a patient, or

(k) in a residential aged care facility as a resident, or

(l) in a correctional centre or other place

Group therapy

  • Group activities are high risk activities and therefore all participants over 16 years, including the clinician, must be fully vaccinated.

Note: The PHO does not specify group therapy / healthcare activities, however, as a generally guide the requirements for the “maximum number of persons entering a business premises for personal services” should apply. This states that a maximum of 5 fully vaccinated people over 16 years or 1 person per 4 square metres of space is allowed in the premises (whichever is the lesser). The maximum of 5 people does not include the therapist / clinician, however, everyone participating in the group activity, including the clinician must be fully vaccinated. Children and people under 16 years accompanied by a fully vaccinated adults are not included in the 5 person cap.

Advice to Speech Pathology Australia is that the maximum density in an enclosed outdoor space such as a courtyard is one person per 2 sqm.

NSW Health is seeking speech pathologist to join the COVID-19 response

NSW Health is asking allied health professionals to join the COVID-19 response (Watch video). NSW urgently needs experienced healthcare professionals to join the COVID-19 response. Retired speech pathologists or those currently working in private practice can view more information on the NSW Health website. Members should also read the announcement dated 19 August relating to roles in NSW Health as COVID-19 vaccinators.

Vaccination requirements for people who work in or enter aged care facilities – September 03

From 9 am on 17 September 2021, employees of operators of facilities or a person who provides services for the facility for one or more residents (whether or not they are engaged by the facility) must not enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility unless they have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or provide evidence of a medical exemption.

Note: This does not include maintenance contractors, service providers engaged directly by individual residents, or students.

From 9 am on 31 October 2021, a health practitioner or a student who is not included in the categories listed above must not enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility unless they have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or provide evidence of a medical exemption (in a form approved by NSW Health).

The obligation does not apply to a health practitioner who enters a residential aged care facility to respond to a medical emergency.

Vaccination requirements for disability and early childhood care workers – September 03

From 6 September 2021, disability and early childhood care workers who live or work in a LGA of concern must have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or evidence of a medical exemption to enter the workplace.

Advice from the NSW Public Health Response Branch is that this would include allied health professionals providing services to people with a disability.

Vaccination requirements for allied health professionals working in private practices – September 03

Vaccination for COVID-19 is now mandatory for many health practitioners, including allied health professionals working in various health settings and patient groups (as noted above).

Currently there is no mandatory requirement under the NSW Public Health Order for allied health professionals who only work in a private practice to be vaccinated if they do not provide services in healthcare or aged care facilities or live or/and work in a LGA of concern. It is strongly recommended that all health practitioners are vaccinated including those where vaccination is not mandated.

Evidence of vaccination or exemption – September 03

Allied health professionals who are required to be vaccinated must:

  • carry evidence of vaccination or medical exemption and their address
  • produce the evidence to their employer, the occupier of their place of work, a police officer or an authorised officer, if requested.

Evidence of a medical exemption must be from a medical practitioner in the form approved by the NSW Chief Health Officer.

Evidence of vaccination can include an:

NSW healthcare workers vaccination update - 03 September

NSW healthcare workers are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue working in the state's public and private hospitals. More details can be seen in the Priority COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers document.

Under the public health order, workers must have a first dose of the vaccination by 30 September (or have evidence of medical exemption) and be fully vaccinated by 14 November to continue to work.

The mandatory vaccination requirement will apply to all staff* working in connection with a health agency, including:

  • Public Health Organisations (Local Health Districts, Specialty Health Networks (SHNs), Pillars and Affiliated Health Organisations**)
  • NSW Ministry of Health
  • Health Administration Corporation (HAC) entities, Ambulance Service, NSW Health Pathology, HealthShare, Health Protection, Health Infrastructure, Health Professionals Councils Authority (HPCA)
  • All staff working at a Private Health Facility (licensed under the Private Health Facilities Act**) both private hospitals and day procedures
  • Students in clinical placements in private facilities.

Note: *Staff includes employees, Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs), volunteers, contractors, and students. Work is defined broadly to cover employees, contractors, VMOs, visiting practitioners, volunteers and students undertaking clinical placements. The Order does not include private primary care providers such as GPs. Disability workers and aged care workers are covered by different public health orders and have different requirements.

Please note that disability workers and aged care workers, including those people working in private practice, are covered by different public health orders (see update from 3 September) and have different requirements about vaccination.

More details about these orders can be found at COVID-19 vaccination for workers.

Workers who live in a LGA of concern but need to leave for work - 31 August

The NSW Government has altered its requirements for authorised workers who are employed outside an area of concern, removing the need for Rapid Antigen Testing to be made available (and paid for) by employers.

In order to work outside their area of concern, authorised workers must now have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday 6 September, instead of Monday 30 August. Rapid antigen testing will no longer be an alternative to vaccination. Authorised worker permits are now mandatory in areas of concern.

Travel and vaccination update - 27 August

Travel permits
Access the authorised worker travel permit through Service NSW. This is required for allied health professionals who live in an LGA of concern and need to travel outside their LGA for work, or need to travel into an LGA of concern for work.

Proof of vaccination
Allied health professionals, as authorised workers, may be asked to provide evidence of their vaccinations. Go to the Services Australia website to obtain your vaccination certificate.

Border restriction direction - 26 August

The Queensland government have provided the following direction around restrictions about movement across the NSW/QLD border.

Please note that currently speech pathologists are not counted as prescribed health practitioners. The Association through Allied Health Professions Australia is currently advocating with Queensland Department of Health as a matter of urgency regarding this issue.

Vaccination update for NSW – 25 August

The NSW Chief Allied Health officer has provided the following advice:

Allied health professional providing services to a person with a disability who live or work in an LGA of concern, are required to have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (unless medically contraindicated) in order to continue to provide that service.

New protections and compliance rules to support NSW vaccination targets – 24 August

NSW Government’s announcement about new Public Health Orders

As of 23 August surveillance testing every 72 hours for authorised workers who live in an LGA of concern and work outside their LGA is no longer required.

From 12:01 am, Saturday 28 August 2021:

  • Authorised workers who live in an LGA of concern and work outside their LGA are only permitted to work if they have had their first vaccination dose by 30 August or rapid antigen testing is implemented at their work-site;
  • Authorised workers who live in an LGA of concern and work outside their LGA are also required to carry a permit from Service NSW declaring that they are an authorised worker and cannot work from home; and
  • Anyone entering an LGA of concern for the purposes of work must carry a worker permit issued by Service NSW - information about permits will be available soon on the Service NSW website.

In relation to mandatory vaccinations and rapid antigen testing:

  • Vaccination, rather than rapid antigen testing, is the preferred mechanism for authorised workers who live in LGAs of concern to comply with this Public Health Order.
  • Authorised workers from an LGAs of concern have been offered priority bookings for vaccination and more recently there has been a targeted drive for those in the 16-39 age group. There should be no barrier to authorised workers getting access to the vaccine.
  • The Premier and Chief Health Officer have announced additional appointments available for authorised workers across a range of vaccination hubs. 300,000 have already been booked and there is capacity for a further 200,000 vaccination appointments.
  • In regard to rapid antigen testing, this has been in place across many Australian industries for some time, and its regulation is controlled by the Commonwealth’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Employers, industries and government agencies who implement rapid antigen testing screening for their workforce, may engage a third party provider to manage this process.
  • NSW Health has established guidance for workplaces conducting rapid antigen screening onsite. This can be found on the NSW Government website. This guidance is to ensure NSW businesses are aware of the TGA requirements for kit supply, use and supervision, and the NSW public health requirements in relation to action taken for a positive test. The guidance also provides a model process which is endorsed by the Chief Health Officer to help guide how the process works.
  • It is important to note that the TGA sets out regulations that apply to the sale of rapid antigen test kits and conditions of supply. Refer to the TGA website to ensure any implementation is compliant with these regulations. The TGA has registered a number of devices for use under the supervision of a health practitioner. Devices that have not been approved by the TGA cannot be used in Australia.
  • The TGA Q&A is quite helpfulAnd they have also included contact details for more information - [email protected] or 1800 141 144.
  • It is the expectation that private providers and industry remain responsible for the procurement of their own test kits in line with the TGA regulations, and cover the cost of testing implementation.
  • To reiterate, vaccination is the preferred mechanism for authorised workers who live in LGAs of concern to comply with this Public Health Order.

The Association is working with Chief Allied Health Officer to get further clarity around role of speech pathologist under TGA’s current guidance for use of antigen tests.

COVID-19 related jobs for health professionals in NSW – 19 August

There is an exciting opportunity for a range of health professional and students to be employed by NSW Health to contribute to the COVID-19 response in the state.

As NSW continues to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination program, NSW Health are establishing dedicated COVID19 Vaccinator roles from a range of allied health professional groups including: Nutrition & Dietetics, Oral Health, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiation Therapy, Radiography, Speech Pathology.

Note: As of 28 June 2021, the Chief Health Officer has authorised specified allied health professional and student cohorts to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Other conditions and further information about the specified student cohorts are included in the Authority.

The Randstad Recruitment Team will be able to answer any role related queries via email.

Successful applicants will be required to complete relevant NSW Health and Commonwealth training as well as the Sydney University COVID-19 Vaccination Administration Training. This training will be paid for by NSW Health and consists of an online and practical component. You will need to be assessed as competent before you are able to vaccinate.

Further information about the specified vaccination workforces are included in the Statewide Protocol for supply or administration of COVID-19 vaccine.

NSW to enter full lockdown – 14 August

As of 5pm Saturday 14 August, ‘stay at home’ orders have extended to regional NSW with a full lockdown now applying for all of NSW

NSW Lockdown announcement – Delta outbreak

Important NSW health information regarding additional restrictions for Delta outbreak.

Tamworth and Penrith NSW lockdown update – 9 August

Latest updates about restrictions announced in Tamworth and Penrith is available on the NSW government website.

Information about current restrictions and rules for workers can also be found on this webpage.

Hunter Valley region lockdown

From 5 pm on 5 August the Hunter Valley region will go into lockdown.

Practices may remain open, but advice from the Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant provided earlier for Greater Sydney applies (see letter below).

Allied health professionals are advised to minimise movement and contact, use telehealth where possible, and ensure they use appropriate PPE.

Read the letter from Chief Health OfficerThis graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

NSW Government are advertising for allied health providers

NSW Government are advertising for allied health providers, including speech pathologists, to support roll out of COVID-19 vaccination program. Current roles include:

NSW Worker Screenings and Testing – 30 July 2021

The screening advice for residential aged and disability care facilities, and home care service providers has been updated as at 28 July 2021 on the following web pages:

The key messages for this update are:

  • For residential aged care facilities the requirement for COVID-19 testing every 72 hours is required for staff living in the City of Fairfield (Fairfield LGA), Canterbury-Bankstown LGA and from 31 July 2021 the Cumberland City (Cumberland LGA).
  • From 31st July 2021 COVID-19 testing will be required every 72 hours for residential disability care facility and home care service provider staff living in Cumberland City (Cumberland LGA).
  • Residential aged care, residential disability care facilities and home care service providers should consider COVID-19 testing every 3 days for staff in Greater Sydney who have a medical exemption for wearing a surgical mask.
  • Disability Day programs located in the Greater Sydney region are advised to cease all activities in group settings from 27 July 2021 until 10 August 2021 unless non-attendance at a day program would result in a risk of harm to the person with disability or others.

Financial support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 in NSW

Information and how to apply for grants, loans, and financial assistance for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in NSW is now available.

Canterbury-Bankstown aged care and health worker COVID-19 testing

From the 23 July, people living in or are staying in the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area but work outside this area, must have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (3 days) in order to be allowed to go to work as an aged care or health worker.

People can go to a COVID-19 testing clinic near their home or work.

An aged care worker is a person who works in a residential aged care facility. A health care worker is a person who:

  • provides health services within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1997 (whether public or private sector)
  • is a registered health practitioner
  • works for a registered health practitioner or
  • provides ancillary services to a health practitioner, such as cleaners, cooks and security providers at hospitals.

Further information available online.

Update NSW members 20 July 2021

Members living in the three NSW LGAs: Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown: The Public Health Order permits only essential workers to leave these LGAs for work. The Association has confirmed that self-regulated health practitioners, including speech pathologists, working in both the private and public sectors are considered to be essential workers under this Public Health Order.

Non-clinical staff who work in a health clinic are also considered essential. Further information about authorised workers online.

COVID – 19 Testing requirements

The following advice has been received from the South-West Sydney Local Health District regarding their recommendations for health services in the affected LGAs.

  • LGAs now impacted include Fairfield (as previously announced) along with Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown.
  • For staff living in Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown LGAs and working outside their own LGA, compliance commences from Wednesday 21 July. This allows staff to get tested over the next 72 hours.
  • Testing can occur at any testing location.
  • Managers should ensure that they have a system in place where compliance is being monitored.
  • Staff in the identified LGAs who are working from home do not need to be tested, it is only if they move out of their LGA for work.
  • Staff who work and live in the same LGA do not need to be tested.

It is expected the NSW Health website will be updated to reflect this information.

PPE

View Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) guidelines noting where health condition allows, all patients should also wear a mask [dependent on other exemptions such as age] where this isn’t possible, clinician should use a shield as well as a mask. NSW mask rules are available online.

Working from home

NSW Health have indicated “all employees must allow an employee to work from home if the employee is reasonably able to do so”. More detail available online

NSW lockdown update – request from Chief Health Officer

The Chief Health Officer (CHO) has made the following requests of allied health professionals. Members are requested to familiarise themselves with CHO's letters contents

Read the letter from Chief Health OfficerThis graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

Public Health orders relating to COVID-19 tests for Greater Sydney workers - 15 July

From 12:01 am on Wednesday 14 July 2021 members may need to get a COVID-19 test if they are leaving your home to go to work. Further detail available online.

Masks

Speech pathologists should be wearing mask as well as their patients and adhering to the requirements outlined by the NSW Government. Updates are available online.

In person services

The NSW Chief Allied Health Officer has indicated that “all health practitioners encourage their patients to stay at home and where possible avoid face to face services and contact.” In person services are appropriate “only if not providing the service is likely to result in a deterioration in someone’s health and it cannot be delayed or provided via telehealth should a face to face service be provided as a last resort. Practitioners should also be particularly vigilant and limited face to face contact in areas where there is high community transmission such as in parts of south west Sydney.

Face to face group classes and group therapies should also be suspended until the lockdown orders are eased.”

Update for NSW members – 13 July

The Association is aware that concerns are being raised from members about allied health practices operating “as usual” after the announcement of the NSW “stay at home” orders.

Andrew Davidson, Chief Allied Health Officer, NSW has shared with AHPA today that while specific restrictions have not been placed on allied health businesses, the expectation is that health professionals will support the letter and spirit of the restrictions by doing everything in their power to restrict movement of people and unnecessary contact.

Current guidance is that if the care cannot be delayed, then it should be able to proceed. Where care can be delayed or be delivered via telehealth this should occur.

The Chief Allied Health office has said that wherever possible telehealth should be used or treatment delayed unless absolutely necessary.

In many practices it is therefore unlikely that all allied health services can be delivered in person.

The Association recommends that members use the Speech Pathology Australia Risk Assessment Tool to support decision making around delivering in person services.

There are also an array of resources on the SPA website to support delivery of services via telepractice.

If you have concerns about the work you are being asked to carry out at this time, you can contact WorkPlacePLUS or Fairwork for advice about your workplace.

Access to PPE

Minister Hunt has announced that the Commonwealth will be providing supports for PPE to allied health practitioners.

Surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves, gowns and goggles will be delivered to the seven primary Health networks across Sydney.

NSW ”stay-at-home” orders and their impact on allied health professionals and their patients

The stay at home order was extended on 26 June 2021 to all of Greater Sydney, extending across Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour. Additionally masks are mandatory in all indoor areas that are not your home for all of NSW. There are explanations of exemptions regarding mask wearing in the face mask rules.

NSW ”stay-at-home” orders and their impact on allied health professionals and their patients - clarification for allied health from the Chief Allied Health Officer.

The following information should be considered general practical measures for clinicians based on advice received and understanding of the Public Health Order (PHO).

It is important for all health practitioners to support the aims of the PHO which is to limit face to face contact in the suburbs where there is community transmission. This will reduce the risk of further transmission and also people (patients and clinicians) unknowingly becoming close contacts of someone with COVID-19, which would further restrict their practice and require additional self-isolation.

With regards to allied health services, the understanding is that if the care cannot be delayed, then it should be able to proceed. Where care can be delayed or be delivered via telehealth this should occur. Circumstances of where care should not be delayed is where it would result in the deterioration of the person’s health.

Other considerations:

If a service is provided, the 4m rule should apply to waiting rooms and clinicians and patients should wear masks as per the PHO. (Note: NSW Health remains on amber alert which requires all NSW Health staff to wear masks).

Response to specific questions:

  • Small group classes – advice is to avoid these during the stay-at-home period and provide 1:1 care if it cannot be delayed.
  • What is meant by working on a ‘regular basis’ eg: does a clinician need to stay at home if they have provided home visits in the affected suburbs in the past 14 days but practises outside the area – this would depend on whether it was 1 or 2 visits/clients or if most of their clients are in the affected areas. (More information will be provided as it becomes available)
  • Guidance for gyms is already provided in the PHO and wouldn’t be permitted in the affected LGAs as part of the stay-at-home order. If a gym is part of an allied health clinic, advice is to delay providing the service. If the service cannot be delayed (as above), group classes should be avoided, but if proceeding, the 4m rule should, apply as well as masks.

There is also further advice on the NSW Health website for RACFs, residential disability providers and home care service providers which some allied health clinicians may fine useful.

NSW Government directive relating to COVID-19 - 23 June

The NSW Government’s directive relating to COVID-19, including information about wearing face masks is available. Read more…

NSW COVID-19 update - 6 May

The NSW Chief Allied Health Officer has advised that the most recent COVID-19 order has no direct impact on allied health services at this stage.

Summary as follows:

  • The Health Ministry is waiting for more information about the new public health order.
  • At this stage there is no impact on health and medical services, other than the need to wear masks in public venues which wouldn’t include private practice clinics.
  • There are restrictions on the number of visitors to a home (max 20) and while there are no specific details, it is anticipated that would apply to home businesses.
  • There are no changes to the social distancing rules at this stage.

COVID-19 Update – 1 April 

Easing of Restrictions for New South Wales

Temporary restrictions in the Byron, Tweed, Ballina and Lismore areas have been lifted. All of NSW now has one set of COVID-19 rules 
The following will apply (full list available here):

Members should keep a close watch on the Risk Monitoring Dashboard. As of the 1 April, the overall status is in the GREEN risk category.
Read more about:

It is recommended members find out the current arrangements in place for any facility before visiting these locations.  

Businesses owners must have a COVID-19 Safe plan and continue to keep accurate records of all attendances, including through QR Codes, to enable fast contact tracing in the event of any community transmission. 

Further  information is available here: COVID-19 (coronavirus) | NSW Government 

NSW Risk Monitoring Dashboard status updated to green

The Risk Monitoring Dashboard provides an assessment of transmission risk in healthcare settings. As of 24 February 2021 the overall status is green.

For advice on PPE, social distancing and allied health practice during risk levels download the COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Response and Escalation Framework.

Face mask wearing in NSW (21 January 2021)

Information regarding face masks has changed over the past months. Outlined below is the most recent information to hand and is to be used as a guide for members to make decisions in their practice.

For the most up to date NSW information look at NSW Health website.

On the NSW Health COVID-19 page isupdated advice for health professionals as of 22 December 2020, members should note:

  • NSW Health staff must follow the advice of local infection control staff and the Clinical Excellence Commission guidance in the Response and Escalation Framework.
  • When there is active community transmission, general practitioners and other primary health care professionals should wear a mask for all clinical encounters.
  • The NSW Government has distributed masks to health workers to meet current demand and is monitoring the supply of masks across the state.

Members should keep a close watch on the Risk Monitoring Dashboard. As of the 21 January, the overall status is in the AMBER risk category.

For advice on PPE, social distancing and allied health practice during risk levels please see the COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Response and Escalation Framework. (NB. On page 3 of this document is an outlineo the Risk matrix Model.

Face masks are mandatory in certain premises in Greater Sydney:

  • Effective 3 January 2021 – In Greater Sydney (including Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains) face masks are mandatory in specified indoor settings. For more information see the NSW Government Face Masks page.

A person may remove their mask if they are:

  • eating or drinking; or
  • communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing; or
  • at work and the nature of the work makes the wearing of fitted face covering a risk to the person's, or another persons' health and safety, or means clear enunciation or visibility of your mouth is essential; or
  • asked to remove their mask for identity purposes.

All of this should be considered as part of a member’s Risk Assessment.

For more details view NSW Government: who needs to wear a mask.