COVID-19 News and Information

Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

Read the very latest alert from the Australian Government Department of Health.

 

18/9: Queensland Health has updated PPE guidance and LGA information

Queensland Health has updated PPE guidance and has advised that the risk assessment threshold has now reduced for a number of local government areas. Read more…

17/9: Advice for speech pathologists working in Education in Victoria

Advice has been received from the Department of Education and members are encouraged to review relevant departmental guidelines regarding completing assessments for school funding purposes. Read more…

17/9: Slight easing of restrictions for speech pathology services in metropolitan Melbourne

Following the Victorian Premier's recent press release regarding some slight easing of restrictions for Allied Health during Step 2 of the roadmap from the 28 September, the Victorian Chief Allied Health Advisor has provided further advice. Read more…

15/9: Updated: Victoria Student Clinical Placements Guidance

DHHS has released a guidance note that provides specific advice to education providers, students, Victorian public health sector entities and aged care providers on student clinical placements scheduled during the current First Step restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Second Step restrictions in regional and rural Victoria. Read more…

14/9: Continuation of telehealth for TAC clients

TAC has announced they will extend funding of temporary telehealth services previously scheduled to end on 30 September until further notice. Read more…

11/9: Further update: Victorian COVID-19 roadmap to reopening

Speech Pathology Australia, and other AHPA members, today (10/9) met with the Victorian Chief Allied Health Officer and representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to seek further clarification in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) reopening roadmap for Metropolitan Melbourne. Read more...

7/9: UPDATE – Victorian COVID-19 roadmap to reopening

The Victorian Premier yesterday (6 September) formally announced Victoria’s COVID-19 roadmap to reopening, providing a four-step return to ‘COVID Normal’ from Stage 4 to Stage 3 restrictions. What does this mean for speech pathologists in Victoria? Read more… 

7/9: nib announce extension to rebates

nib have announced they are extending rebates for speech pathology telehealth consultations until 31 March 2021. Read more…

31/8: Next COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar

The next Department of Health COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar is on Wednesday 2 September from 11.30 am – midday (AEST). The panel will provide key updates and answer participants’ questions. The panel for this webinar will feature Dr Anne-marie Boxall, Chief Allied Health Officer, Department of Health, and Dr Catherine Kelaher, General Practitioner and Principal Medical Adviser, Department of Health. Read more…

31/8: Queensland Health: Pandemic Response Guidance on PPE in Healthcare Delivery - UPDATED

Queensland Health have released the first edition of the ‘Pandemic Response Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Healthcare Delivery’. The Guidance has been developed by a panel of infection control and public health experts and is intentionally drafted to be applicable to all healthcare settings, not just Queensland Health facilities, and not just hospitals. NB. Gold Coast Local Government Area has been added to moderate risk categoryRead more…

26/8: DHHS (Victoria) has released a new information/guidance: Protecting our healthcare workers

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in Victoria has released a new information/guidance: Protecting our healthcare workers. This document presents the latest understanding COVID-19 and how it can spread within healthcare settings – including across hospitals and aged care facilities. It outlines the additional steps that will be taken in order to help address these challenges. While relevant to Victorian health care workers, including speech pathologists, this is useful information for health care professionals across Australia. Read more…

25/8: DHHS (Victoria) resources/information for people with disability - COVID-19

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has put together a range of resources and information for Information for people with disability during COVID-19. This includes Auslan videos on face masks, Easy English fact sheets explaining Stage 4 restrictions, and information about how people with disability living in metropolitan Melbourne can get tested COVID-19 at home. Read more…

24/8 DHHA warning in relation to the use of 'BYD' brand N95 respirators

The Department of Health and Human Services have published an alert in relation to the use of 'BYD' brand N95 respirators. These respirators have a risk of tearing when certain adjustments to fit are made. Members are advised to be cautious if using this brand of respirator, and to follow the guidance. Read more…

21/8: Statement from NSW Department of Education – Wearing masks while visiting schools

Schools are required to follow the AHPPC guidelines. The guidelines do not require schools to conduct widespread temperature screening or for anyone to wear masks. Staff members who feel strongly about wearing a mask should be accommodated by the school. Read more…

21/8: Aged Care Worker restrictions in South Australia – clarification for allied health professionals (including speech pathologists)

Allied health professionals can continue to work across multiple aged care homes. Only personal care workers are restricted to one aged care home from 27 August. Read more…

21/8: DHHS COVID-19 - Psychosocial Support Response for Allied Health Clinicians working in public health services and private hospitals

The Department of Health and Human Services has engaged Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria to provide time-limited psychosocial support for frontline Allied Health clinicians engaged in Victoria’s COVID-19 response. Read more… 

19/8: COVID Safe Plans

The Department of Health has recommended all allied health practices have a COVID Safe plan. Visit the Safework Australia website for links the state/territory based supports and templates. Read more…

18/8: Victoria: Health care and social assistance restrictions under metro Melbourne stage 4 restrictions

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website has now been updated with corrected information for 'Health care and social assistance restrictions' under metro Melbourne stage 4 restrictions, and frequently asked questions pertaining to the ability to access allied health services. Updated information is available from DHHS: Health care and social assistance stage 4 restrictions and DHHS: Stage 4 restrictions summary.

18/8 Speech Pathology in Education – Program for Students with Disability Guidelines

Following representation to the Victorian Department of Education with regard to the Program for Students with Disability Guidelines, the following response has been received. Read more…

17/8: Next COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar

The next Department of Health COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar is on Wednesday 19 August from 11.30 am – midday (AEST). The panel will provide key updates and answer participants’ questions. The discussion for this webinar will feature Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, Rural Health Commissioner. It will also provide an overview of the current situation, particularly in Victoria and NSW. Read more…

17/8: UPDATED Student Clinical Placements (Guidance note as at 14 August 2020)

DHHS has provide updated guidance on 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Student Clinical Placements (Guidance note as at 14 August 2020)' UPDATED. Read more…

14/8: Student Clinical Placements (Guidance note as at 12 August 2020)

DHHS has provide updated guidance on 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Student Clinical Placements (Guidance note as at 12 August 2020)'. Read more…

14/8: Speech Pathology and COVID-19 Consumer Fact Sheet

The Association has developed a fact sheet to assist members discussing with clients whether ‘face to face’ services can continue and when telepractice is appropriate during COVID-19 restrictions. Read more…

13/8: Victorian: DHHS requests assistance from Allied Health Professionals in Residential Aged Care Facilities

The Victorian Chief Allied Health Officer has made a request for qualified allied health professionals to provide support and care to people residing in residential aged care facilities where DHHS / public health services are coordinating the response during the COVID19 pandemic. Read more…

13/8: The importance of mental health and wellbeing

The Department of Health stresses the importance of looking after one’s mental health and wellbeing. The department has some suggested websites to assist. Read more…

13/8: Cleaning and disinfecting PPE guidelines.

Guidelines from the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) on cleaning and disinfection of reusable face shields and other protective eyewear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more…

13/8: NEW Call-to-Test service: information for health providers and clients

The Victorian Government has established a new Call-to-Test service. The service provides in-home testing for COVID-19, conducted by a clinician, to people who can’t easily access other forms of testing. Read more…

12/8: COVID-19 response update for Primary Care and Allied Health Practitioners webinar

Professor Michael Kidd, Frances Rice and Anne-Marie Boxall provided updates in a number of areas. A recording of the webinar and responses to questions is available online. Watch now...

12/8: Free reusable face masks for Victorians with disability

Free reusable face masks for Victorians with disability in accessible format for people with disability. Read more…

12/8: Decision-making tool for members practising where Stage 4 restrictions

The Association has produced a decision-making tool for members practising where Stage 4 restrictions are in place. Read more…

12/8: Medibank and ahm by Medibank announce telehealth extension

Medibank and ahm by Medibank have announced they are extending the ability for customers to claim for virtual consultations for speech pathology until further notice. Access to these telehealth services was due to end on 30 September 2020. Read more… 

11/8: COVID Safe Workplan required in Victoria (UPDATED)

Members with a business that has a workplace that is still permitted to operate in any part of Victoria, from 11:59 pm on Friday 7 August must have a COVID Safe Plan. Read more…

10/8: Next COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar

The next Department of Health COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar is on Wednesday 12 August from 11.30 am – midday (AEST). The panel will provide key updates and answer participants’ questions. The discussion for this webinar will focus on the situation in Victoria and wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more…

10/8: Movement of healthcare workers and health service employees during coronavirus – Victoria

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services have produced guidance on minimising the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as healthcare workers and health service employees move across and within health services, while continuing to provide essential services to patients and to maintain the operations of the health service. This has been provided in context of recent decisions around COVID=19. Although this guidance is specific to health services, it contains a number of general principles which allied health private practitioners may find useful to guide their decision-making re operating and/or working across multiple practice settings. Movement of healthcare workers and health service employees during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF..

7/8: Expressions of Interest from Speech Pathologists – NSW COVID Testing Clinics

The NSW Ministry of Health is seeking assistance from qualified speech pathologists with CPSP status to provide support for NSW COVID testing sites. COVID testing sites are located across NSW including metropolitan, regional and rural locations. In the event of outbreaks, testing sites may be opened at short notice and may operate for extended hours. Specific tasks may include the taking of oropharyngeal and/or nasopharyngeal swabs and general duties. These will be paid positions. Register interest by completing a survey…

6/8: Business and industry stage 4 restrictions- advice for speech pathologists in Melbourne

The Permitted Work Premises for the purposes of the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) instructions, provides the information about health professionals, including speech pathologists, who can provide services during the stage 4 lockdown period. Read more…

5/8: Work permits for essential workers in Victoria

Essential workers, including speech pathologists, in Melbourne will be required to carry a permit under the state’s tightened Stage 4 lockdown restrictions from 11.59 pm on Wednesday 5 August. Read more…

3/8: Next COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar

The next Department of Health COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar is on Wednesday 5 August from 11.30 am – midday (AEST). The discussion for this webinar will focus on wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Webinar link...

3/8: Bupa commits to rebates for speech pathology services

As a result of strong advocacy by the Association, Bupa has announced that they have made a long term commitment to providing rebates for speech pathology services delivered via telehealth. Read more…

3/8: Updated PPE guidance for all healthcare workers – Victoria

Due to an increased risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) the Victorian PPE Taskforce has updated its advice for all healthcare workers in Victoria. The updated Guide to the conventional use of PPE is available for download. Further information is available online from the Department of Health and Human Services. Read more…

31/7: ALERT: Update on PPE use: face shields in areas of significant community transmission

The Department of Health, through the Minister has just announced new advice advising the wearing of face shields in addition to face masks in all clinical settings in areas with significant community transmission. Read more…

31/7: New allied health and telehealth guidance from Safe Care Victoria

Developed with the Department of Health and Human Services, this new guidance includes considerations for best practice application, as well as practical examples of how telehealth can be used for allied health services. Read more…

30/7: Temporary changes in NDIS funding guidelines – Victoria and NSW

Temporary changes have been made in NDIS funding guidelines to support participants in Victoria and New South Wales in claiming the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) via their plans. Read more…

27/7: UPDATE for NSW providers about wearing of surgical masks

The escalation to Amber Alert – Moderate Transmission by NSW Health applies to surgical mask use within 1.5 metres in all healthcare facilities and community health services, including hospital in the home, operated by NSW Health. Private and independent health care providers may refer to our advice for guidance and to inform their own local risk assessments. Private and independent health care providers may refer to this advice for guidance and to inform their own local risk assessments. Read more…

24/7: NSW Health – Surgical mask use for all health workers within 1.5 metres of any patient

NSW Health Department have issued a COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control: Amber Alert - Moderate Transmission for surgical mask use for all health workers caring/working within 1.5 metres of any patient. Read more…

23/7: Summary: COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health Practitioners webinar - 23 July

The Association has produced a summary of the main points from today’s Department of Health COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar. Read more…

21/7: Next COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar

The next COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar is on Thursday 23 July from 2:30-3 pm (AEST). The panel will provide key updates and answer participants’ questions. The discussion for this webinar will focus on “wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic”. Professor Michael Kidd AM (Principal Medical Advisor and Deputy Medical Officer) will be joined by Dr Anne-marie Boxall (Chief Allied Health Officer – Department of Health) and Frances Rice (Senior Nursing and Midwifery Advisor – Department of Health). Webinar link...

20/7: Updated revised Victoria PPE Guidance and Private Practice Allied Health

Following the upgrading of DHHS PPE guidance for healthcare workers (17 July 2020), the following guidance pertains to allied health private practitioners and/or community sector practice in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, as well as regional and rural areas not currently under stage 3 restrictions, and states that ‘healthcare workers must wear a level 1 or type 1 disposable surgical mask in public-facing areas ... patients should also wear face masks in these same environments’. Professor Andrew Wilson (SCV Chief Medical Officer & PPE Taskforce Chair) confirmed that the guidance should be interpreted in the context of the type of patient interaction, and is therefore not limited to specific practice settings. Read more…

20/7: Face mask in Victoria video translated

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has translated the Chief Health Officer’s video on wearing face masks into 14 different languages. Read more…

16/7: Use of face masks in the community (consumer information)

Wearing a face mask is now recommended by Australian health experts in areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is high, if physical distancing is not possible. In response, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed new resources to provide guidance to consumers on the use of face masks to protect against COVID-19. Read more…

15/7: Advice for residential aged care staff – Greater Melbourne

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for residential aged care staff and visitors in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire has been received from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Download advice from DHHS This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF..

14/7: Speech pathologists and face masks in Victoria

Speech Pathologists and other health professionals in Victorian locked down areas (Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire) are advised by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer to use a surgical mask for any procedure/treatment where they unable to maintain a safe physical distance. This is not a legally enforceable directive, but it is strong precautionary advice, and supports public health measures aimed at reducing the transmission of the virus. The advice remains that health professionals should maintain good infection control procedures including frequent handwashing, maintaining physical distancing and cleaning of surfaces that have been exposed to clients. Allied health professionals are reminded that the risk of transmission of COVID19 is higher indoors than outdoors. Speech pathologists can contact their local PHN to apply for an allocation of face masks and PPE, noting your profession, as speech pathology is within a high priority grouping.

This advice is consistent with the updated guidance on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

For Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire health services, it is reasonable for:

  • staff to wear a level 1 or type 1 surgical mask in public facing areas – particularly where adequate social distancing is not possible.
  • Patients to wear face masks in these same environments.

In addition:

  • approved visitors must wear a face mask upon entry. Visitors have the option to wear their own face mask, subject to approval by the health service.

Staff in all other regional and rural areas should continue to adhere to the existing published guidance. This advice will be reviewed on a regular basis by DHHS, with updated guidance to be provided as appropriate.

Speech Pathology Australia reminds speech pathologists to also refer to the revised version of SPA Guidance on Service Delivery document for specific guidance on PPE during specific speech pathology tasks/ procedures with higher risks, and ensure that training in appropriate use of PPE has been undertaken. It is also advised to consider, where clinically appropriate, that telehealth consultations be utilised.

7/7: Attention: Speech pathologists practicing in Victoria

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has provided specific advice regarding PPE use for all client interactions when providing home-based care or conducting home visits in ‘hotspots’. Read more…

6/7: Victorian members only – Register to assist with COVID testing

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services is seeking assistance from certified speech pathologists with CPSP status (and speech pathology students who have completed appropriate clinical placements, and have the requisite background knowledge and skills to complete oro/naso-pharyngeal swabs) to provide support for Victoria’s COVID testing sites. Read more…

30/6: Update for members delivering services in Victoria

The Victorian premier has announced a stay-at-home order will be imposed on some Melbourne suburbs experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases from 11.59 pm tomorrow 1 July 2020. The Association is aware that this announcement will impact some of our members and decisions around service delivery over the coming weeks. Please note: Speech pathology is considered to be an essential service. Read more…

25/6: Q&A session: The new normal: returning to in person service delivery

The Association is aware that members have many questions as they move back towards delivering in person services to clients. For this reason, the Association is bringing together a panel of speech pathologists to answer members’ questions and to support them re-engaging with clients in private practice and community based settings. Read more…

19/6: Next Primary Care and Allied Health Webinar

The next Department of Health Primary Care and Allied Health Webinar is on Thursday 25 June from 2:30-3 pm (AEST). The panel will discuss the transition back to the 'new normal' of living with COVID-19 and how to adapt. Professor Michael Kidd, Principal Medical Advisor and Deputy Medical Officer will be joined by Alison McMillan (Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer) and Catherine Turnbull (Chief Allied and Scientific Officer – SA Health). Read more…

18/6: Telehealth guide for allied health professionals

Allied Health Professions Australia has produced a guide addressing technical, privacy and security, and clinical assessment aspects of telehealth for allied health professionals. This resource was produced in response to the expansion of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic but the document provides an overall introduction to telehealth. Read more…

17/6: Guild Insurance provides COVID-19 update

Guild Insurance, who provides professional indemnity insurance for many members of Speech Pathology Australia, has released a COVID-19 update. Read more…

12/6: Access to Surgical Masks through PHNs (updated)

The Association announces that after significant advocacy work, speech pathologists are now eligible for limited access to surgical masks from the national Medical Stockpile. View the Updated Information. 

11/6: Webinar: The Road to Recovery during COVID-19

This free webinar is for members who are business owners (including sole traders). The webinar covers what members will need to be thinking about as they re-engineer their business to meet the new market conditions following the pandemic. See the tab “COVID-19 and its impact on business” on the Association's Learning Hub. Read more…

10/6: New Speech Pathology Australia-Risk Assessment Tool (COVID-19) This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

The new Speech Pathology Australia-Risk Assessment Tool (COVID-19) is designed to assist members assess the number and type of risk factors for transmission of COVID-19 that may be present in any “in person” clinical scenario. The tool supports members in making a decision about whether they see a client/consumer in the context they have described. Read more…

4/6: Letter to Allied Health Professionals from CMO

Professor Brendan Murphy, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), has written a letter thanking allied health professionals “for continuing to operate and provide allied health services to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Read the CMO’s letter… This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

4/6: COVID-19 advice for people with disability

The Department of Health has developed a series of resources to help protect people with disability from coronavirus. Read more…

2/6: WHO survey on the health and safety of health workers

WHO and the ILO are undertaking a data collection about risk factors and controls for the health and safety of health workers in COVID-19. The data collected through this survey will inform high level actions and recommendations through an expert group. More information online. Read more…

26/5: HICAPS and telehealth

HICAPS has extended its telehealth support by enabling telehealth services for speech pathology services (in addition to the new temporary MBS item codes) via the HICAPS terminal. Read more…

26/5: Watch a video on how to wear personal protective equipment

In this video, Alison McMillan, Australia’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, demonstrates how to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for allied health professionals during COVID-19. Watch now…

26/5: State and territory information, grants and assistance

Each Australian state and territory is providing different financial help, restrictions and assistance for businesses affected by COVID-19. Keep up-to-date. Read more…

26/5: COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar

The next Department of Health COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar to update practitioners from primary care and allied health on the COVID-19 response is on Thursday from 2:30-3 pm (AEST). Read more…

22/5: Access to Surgical Masks through PHNs – Updated Information

The Association is pleased to announce that after significant advocacy work, speech pathologists are now eligible for limited access to surgical masks from the national Medical Stockpile. Download the Updated Information This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.. This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

22/5: NEW webinar: The Road to recovery during COVID 19

The Association in conjunction with Realise Business is conducting a webinar relevant to members who own or run a business, including sole provider. Read more…

22/5: COVID-19 allied health checklist for receptionists

The Department of Health has produced a checklist for allied health receptionists to keep everyone safe from COVID-19. Read more…

21/5: Speechies in schools – NSW Department of Education advice

The NSW Department of Education has provided advice that impacts speech pathologists who work in schools and are considering a return to work. Read more…

21/5: Update to Private Health Funds - HBF

Private Health Fund HBF has produced a number of resources to promote their support for speech pathology and telehealth. Read more...

20/5: Returning to work soon This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

The Association is aware that with government announcements regarding easing of COVID-19 restrictions many members will be returning to face-to-face work. View a range of new resources to help members returning to work. Read more…

18/5: UPDATED Speech Pathology Australia guidance for service delivery, clinical procedures and infection control during COVID-19 pandemic This is an amimated Gif that flashes the word updated in black out of a yellow background.

The Association recognises that speech pathologists and authorities are seeking guidance regarding speech pathology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. This updated statement (Version 3: 18 May 2020) aims to provide in-principle guidance relating to speech pathology service delivery, clinical procedures that pose particular risks, and infection control to minimise transmission of COVID-19. This guidance is provided in the context of a rapidly evolving health care emergency and is subject to change as new data and information becomes available. The Association will continue to provide important updates to members on these critical clinical management decisions. Read more…

15/5: Safe Work Australia resources

The Safe Work Australia website provides a hub of work health and safety guidance and tools that Australian workplaces can use to manage health and safety risks related to COVID-19. Read more…

13/5: National initiatives offering online resources for health workers to support their mental health This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

There are several national initiatives offering online resources for health workers to support their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more…

13/5: UPDATED: Redeployment of speech pathologists during the COVID-19 pandemic This is an amimated Gif that flashes the word updated in black out of a yellow background.

Speech Pathology Australia is aware that members may be required by their employer to re-deploy to an alternative area of practice. This direction may result from increased demand for clinical care staff, changes to staffing levels and the need to maximise the available number of skilled health professionals. Read more…

12/5: COVID-19 Primary Care and Allied Health webinar – Thursday 14 May

The next Department of Health webinar is on Thursday 14 May from 1-1.30 pm. The panel includes Michael Kidd (Principal Medical Advisor), Alison McMillan (Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer) and Catherine Turnbull (Chief Allied and Scientific Officer – SA Health). The webinar will provide a brief update specific to primary care and allied health professionals and answer as many questions as the panel can from participants. Read more…

9/5: Department of Health privacy checklist for telehealth

The Department of Health has prepared a checklist to assist allied health professionals to comply with privacy obligations when delivering telehealth services. Read more…

7/5: WorkSafe item codes for temporary telehealth sessions

WorkSafe has, as part of its response to COVID-19, introduced temporary item codes for speech pathologists to deliver services via telehealth. WorkSafe expects providers to be aware of all the telehealth considerations. Read more…

7/5: IAHA Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Professionals

Indigenous Allied Health Australia has developed a resource toolkit that includes posters on important contacts, tips and information. Read more…

6/5: New Resource: Break the Chain of Infection poster

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has produced a new resource to illustrate the chain of transmission in the context of COVID-19 and to highlight what measures can be implemented to interrupt the spread of this infection. It is for both clinician and non-clinician audiences. Download the poster…

5/5: UPDATED: Guidance for access to available supplies of PPE  This is an amimated Gif that flashes the word updated in black out of a yellow background.

Information about guidance for access to available supplies of PPE (masks) for allied health in the community through PHNs has been updated. Read more…

4/5: APHA encourages members to familiarise themselves with COVIDSafe app

Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) and its member organisations (including Speech Pathology Australia) are keen to ensure the safety of healthcare and medical workforce, and that they are supported in their efforts as frontline workers delivering essential services. To this end, members are encouraged to make themselves familiar with the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app. Read more…

1/5: Important guidance for access to available supplies of PPE This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

Following strong advocacy by the Association, there is important guidance for access to available supplies of PPE (masks) for allied health in the community through PHNs. Read more…

30/4: Update to Private Health Funds and telehealth billing

Further updates relating to Private Health Funds announcing that customers who have extras cover for speech pathology will be able to make a claim for speech pathology services delivered via telehealth. Read more…

30/4: Next Department of Health Webinar for Allied Health Practitioners

The next ‘COVID-19 response update for Allied Health Practitioners’ webinar hosted by the Australian Department of Health is on Thursday 30 April, from 2.30 pm – 3.10 pm. A panel of experts will provide an update as well as answer as many of the participants’ questions as possible in the time. Read more…

29/4: REMINDER: Flu vaccinations for members working in aged care facilities

A reminder that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has recommended all residential aged care staff and visitors – including external workers - be vaccinated by 1 May 2020. Read more

29/4: 20% discount for members to use Coviu telehealth platform

The Association has secured a 20% discount for members who choose to use the Coviu telehealth platform. This is a member-only benefit. Read more… This is an animated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

28/4: Purchasing telepractice equipment under NDIS

The NDIA has temporarily broadened the flexible approach to purchasing low cost AT items to help participants continue to receive their NDIS funded supports and services during this period. Read more… 

27/4: Telepractice checklist for speech pathologists

The Association has produced a telepractice checklist for speech pathologists. The checklist is designed to assist speech pathologists commence service-delivery via telepractice. Read more… 

24/4: Five new webinars on delivering complex disability services

Five new webinars on ‘Delivering Complex Disability Services via Telepractice’ are available on the ‘Learning to Use Telepractice’ web page. Read more…

24/4: TAC announces telehealth item codes now available for speech pathologists

The TAC have provided details regarding TAC item codes and rates for telehealth services provided by speech pathologists. Read more…

22/4: Next Department of Health Webinar for Allied Health Practitioners

The next ‘COVID-19 response update for Allied Health Practitioners’ webinar hosted by the Australian Department of Health is on Thursday 23 April, from 2.30 pm – 3.10 pm. A panel of experts will provide an update as well as answer as many of the participants’ questions as possible in the time. Read more…

22/4: New ADHA toolkit – including telehealth

The Australian Digital Health Agency has developed a toolkit to support health professionals and provide advice regarding the security aspects of health technology – including telehealth platforms. Read more…

21/4: Flu vaccinations and COVID-19

The Department of Health recommends that Australians have a flu vaccination to avoid the possibility of infection by both flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Further information regarding flu vaccination is available for staff and residents of aged care facilities and for flu vaccination requirements for visitors to aged care facilities.

20/4: Speechies no longer required to bulk-bill COVID-19 telehealth

Speech pathologists are no longer required to bulk-bill COVID=19 telehealth (video conference) and telephone consultations where the service is provided to children under 16, concession card holders and those vulnerable to COVID 19. Speech pathologists may continue their usual billing practices and use the new telehealth item codes. Read more…

20/4: JobKeeper Payments

The JobKeeper payment supports businesses significantly affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). The ATO have released comprehensive information regarding the administration of this payment including details about eligibility requirements. Applications open on 20 April via the ATO website. Read more…

20/4: Questions relating to government support? Contact Realise Business

Association members are able to contact Realise Business with questions about recently announced government supports and/or for advice about business sustainability during COVID 19. Read more

17/4: UPDATED Speech Pathology Australia guidance for service delivery, clinical procedures and infection control during COVID-19 pandemic

The Association recognises that speech pathologists and authorities are seeking guidance regarding speech pathology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. This statement aims to provide in-principle guidance relating to speech pathology service delivery, clinical procedures that pose particular risks, and infection control to minimise transmission of COVID-19. This guidance is provided in the context of a rapidly evolving health care emergency and is subject to change as new data and information becomes available. The Association will continue to provide important updates to members on these critical clinical management decisions. Download the Updated Guidance Document This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF. This is an amimated Gif that flashes the word updated in black out of a yellow background.

17/4: New FAQs Information Sheet: Telepractice and the public

The Association is aware that interest in the use of Telepractice (Telehealth) has increased in response to the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. In response, it has produced a new FAQs Information Sheet to provide guidance and resources to members of the general public for understanding and successfully participating in Telepractice services for speech pathology. Read more…

17/4: Working from home during COVID-19

Members working from home during COVID-19 should be aware that the Australian Taxation Office will accept a temporary simplified method (or shortcut method) of calculating additional running expenses from 1 March 2020 until at least 30 June 2020. Read more…

17/4: National Tour 2020 rescheduled

The Association's 2020 National Tour has been rescheduled to 2021. Read more...

16/4: New FAQ on Zoom telehealth platform and security

Aware of concerns raised by members regarding the security of meetings conducted over the ‘Zoom’ IT platform, the Association has published a FAQs Information Sheet on ‘Zoom telehealth platform and security’. Read more…

15/4: Next Department of Health Webinar for Allied Health Practitioners

The next ‘COVID-19 response update for Allied Health Practitioners’ webinar hosted by the Australian Department of Health is on Thursday 16 April, from 2.30 pm – 3.10 pm. The webinar, hosted by Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd AM, is specifically for Allied Health practitioners. Michael will provide an update on the COVID-19 response, and answer questions from participants. Read more…

14/4: Private health funds and rebates for telehealth sessions update

Following advocacy work by the Association, private health funds are announcing that customers with extras cover for speech pathology will be able to make a claim for such services delivered via telehealth. Read more…

10/4: NDIS announces participants can use budgets to purchase equipment for telehealth

NDIS has announced participants can use budgets to purchase equipment for telehealth. More details are expected to be released next week. Read more...

9/4: Announcement from HiCAPS

HiCAPS has announced that it is waiving merchant terminal rental fees for three months, from 1 April to 30 June 2020, for all customers. Other transaction fees and charges will remain the same. Read more…

9/4: Temporary Telehealth Medicare Items for COVID-19 updated

The MBS telehealth items as result of COVID 19 Information Sheet that provides a summary and links to important information from the Department of Health about the new temporary telehealth items introduced as a result of COVID-19. Read more…

8/4: TAC introduces telehealth item codes for speech pathologists

Speech Pathology Australia provided a submission to TAC last week to support the introduction of item codes for speech pathology services delivered via telehealth. TAC has today confirmed introduction of these new codes. Read more…

8/4: Cochrane healthcare library temporarily unrestricted

Cochrane conducts systematic reviews of healthcare evidence and is currently undertaking various activities relating to COVID-19. Access to the Cochrane library is temporarily unrestricted. There are also a number of projects in the exploratory and planning stage that will be relevant to speech pathologists. Read more…

8/4: COVID-19 resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities

The Australian Department of Health has a collection of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities about coronavirus (COVID-19). These resources include a poster, audio, digital and video materials. Read more… 

8/4: Webinar: COVID-19 response update for primary care and allied health practitioners

Another webinar in a series hosted by the Australian Department of Health to update primary care and allied health practitioners on the COVID-19 response will commence at 2:30 pm AEST on 9 April. A panel of experts will answer participants’ questions. Read more… 

7/4: Member event- live Facebook Q&A session via Private Practice Facebook community

From 6 pm AEST on Wednesday 8 April 2020
'Government supports for small businesses as a result of COVID -19'
Jacqui Attard, CEO Realise Business

For more details email the Association’s Manager Professional Practice,

3/4: More support for members about the Job-Keeper Package

Realise Business Chief Executive Officer, Jacqui Attard (see item from 2/4 on Job-Keeper Subsidy), has shared the following clip with the Association that includes information and advice about the Job Keeper package for business owners, including sole traders. Watch this video…

3/4: Guide for Home Care Providers

The Department of Health Aged Care Update has released a guide on their website for providers of in home support to older people (via CHSP or Home care package funding. "This guide provides information and guidance on how to stay safe from COVID-19 including how providers can prepare their organisation, equipment and resources, and how staff and clients can manage COVID-19". Whilst much of this guide is written for a care worker perspective, members may find useful information and resources to relate to your own practice. The Association has written to the department asking for further advice and specific clarification regarding access to PPE for speech pathologists supporting these older clients at home. Read more…

2/4: COVID-19 Employer Alert: New Job-Keeper Subsidy

As part of the Federal Government’s “Economic Response to the Coronavirus”, a new JobKeeper Payment has been announced. Businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access the JobKeeper subsidy to continue paying their employees. WorkPlacePLUS have provided some information for employers: Read more…

2/4: Telehealth resources available for speech pathologists

The Association has a range of resources relating to Telepractice, including a general FAQ on Telepractice, an FAQ on Technology, Privacy and Security, and an informed consent form template. Read more…

2/4: DVA updates to fee schedules to allow clients to access allied health services via telehealth

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, consultations and clinical assessments may be delivered by speech pathologists to all eligible DVA clients via telephone or video conferencing attendance for the period 1 April to 30 September 2020. Read more…

31/3: Government Stimulus packages for business owners

Realise Business recorded a webinar last week “Recovering form business interruption due to the Covid -19”. Read more…

31/3: Series of webinars on COVID-19

The Department of Health is now running regular webinars on COVID-19. Read more...

31/3: Temporary Telehealth Bulk-Billed Items for COVID-19

More information has been released by the Federal Government around CDM items (along with items AHPs can use with people with autism and people with an Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander background that were announced yesterday). Read more...

30/3: Update: BUPA and rebates for telehealth sessions

In discussions with the Association, BUPA has confirmed they would like to continue to support their customers to access speech pathology services through COVID-19. BUPA has announced that customers who have extras cover for speech pathology will be able to make a claim for speech pathology services delivered via telehealth as of Monday 30 March 2020. Read more...

30/3: COVID-19 Bulk Billed MBS Telehealth Services for Allied Health Providers

The Association has put together some information relating to Bulk Billed MBS Telehealth Services for Allied Health Providers. Read more...  

30/3: Overseas trained qualification and competency assessments and re-entry program members

The Association has updated information on the impact of COVID-19 on overseas trained qualification and competency assessments and re-entry program members.

26/3: Professional Education Events

All face-to-face workshops have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. The Association is working to contact all speakers and put in place plans for workshops to be online. Read more...

26/3: Letter to Allied Health Practitioners from the Government

The Association has received a letter from the Australian Department of Health specifically direct to allied health practitioners. The letter outlines the government’s current and future support for the central role allied health practitioners are playing in the national response to COVID-19. As the letter states: “Allied health professionals are fundamental in meeting community needs in this evolving and complex challenge.” Read more… This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.

25/3: Risks associated with speech pathology procedures: transmission of COVID-19

Speech Pathology Australia is aware that many members undertake procedures with clients that involve potential exposure to oral, nasopharyngeal and/or laryngeal/tracheal secretions. Members are seeking information and guidance to support safe practice and reduce the risk of transmission of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more…

25/3: Social distancing update

National Cabinet has asked the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee for advice on options for the progressive scale up of social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more…

24/3: Allied health considered essential services during COVID-19

Breaking news from Federal Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt. In light of some states shutting down ‘non-essential services’, the Minister has confirmed that ALL allied health businesses nationally can continue working and are encouraged to do so. The Minister has also indicated that the Department of Health is now developing full allied health telehealth options, along with other health and medical services, within the week. This will be part of a staged plan and he encourages providers to continue vital face-to-face services where possible. Read more...

23/3: COVID-19 and Easy English

The Association has identified a range of Easy English resources to explain COVID-19. Read more...

20/3: Telepractice resources

The Association is aware that telepractice is increasingly being considered for the provision of clinical services. A range of resources have been located in one place to assist members considering telehealth. Read more....

18/3: Infection Control

Members are reminded to know and utilise infection control procedures appropriate to their clinical setting. Information is available from many sources including the Australian Government Department of Health and the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission. Read more...

18/3: Webinar for member who own/run their own business

Registrations are open for a webinar on recovering from business interruption due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The webinar is on Thursday 26 March from 12 pm AEDT. Read more…

18/3: Coronavirus (COVID-19) campaign resources

A collection of COVID-19 campaign resources from the Australian Department of Health for the general public, including videos and posters.

18/3: NDIS Coronavirus Information

NDIS has a newsletter with information on the COVID-19, including material in Easy English.

18/3: Coronavirus and workplace laws

Association members (including practice owners, employees, contractors and casual workers) can contact WorkPlacePLUS (Anna Pannuzzo 0419 533 434) regarding workplace obligations and entitlements.

17/3: Use of telepractice (telehealth) - UPDATE

The Association is aware that interest in the use of telepractice (telehealth) has increased in response to the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. The Association has created an FAQ document to provide guidance and resources to members for responsibly implementing and maintaining clinical standards through telepractice. Read more...

Further, for members considering changing their service delivery model from face-to-face to telepractice it maybe appropriate to consider how they would answer the questions on this ‘telepractice’ decision tree. Where there is no evidence published regarding delivering a service via telepractice, clinicians should utilise the same decision-making process for other treatments or methods that do not yet have published evidence. View the Ethical decision making: Should I use this therapy approach? guide for members This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF.This is an animiated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

17/3: Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managers

A range of resources, including -information for health care and residential care workers, guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities, and information on work attendance and testing for health and residential aged care workers is now available from the Australian Department of Health website. Read more...

16/3: Dedicated page on COVID-19 as it relates to membership

A new page has been created on the website to keep members up-to-date on matters relating to their membership of th Association and related matters (e.g. National Conference, professional development, travel, etc.). Read more...

16/3: Business Continuity: COVID-19

The Association is aware that private practice owners may be facing an uncertain financial situation at present and wish to provide as much support as possible. Attached is some information regarding supports practice owners can use to address the risks for their business. Business Continuity: COVID-19 Information Sheet This graphic is associated with the hyperlink that precedes it and indicates the document is in PDF..

13/3: Support for business from the Australian Government

The Australia government has provided information about financial assistance, eligibility and timing of the new government support for businesses impacted by corona virus. Small business owners may be eligible for additional assistance. For details about the instant asset write-off threshold, cash flow boosts, employer obligations and travelling. Read more...

12/3: Letter from the Chief Medical Officer regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Residential Aged Care This is an animiated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer has written to Residential Aged Care Providers regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The letter addresses the importance of infection control and health emergency planning in residential care. View the letter.

6/3: Primary Care COVID-19 Preparedness Forum - Communique 6 March 2020 This is an animiated Gif that flashes the word new in red out of a yellow background.

On 6 March, the Australian Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy convened a primary care forum to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Forum was attended by a number of general practitioners and other members of the primary care workforce as well as members of organisations representing doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, pathologists, pharmacists, practice managers, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector and other members of the primary care sector.

Outbreak of coronavirus

Speech Pathology Australia is aware that members are seeking advice regarding appropriate actions to take to minimise risks associated with the recent outbreak of coronavirus.

Members should access current advice and information provided (almost daily) by the health department in their state or territory and follow the recommended actions.

In addition, the Australian Health Department has a ‘Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)’ page on its website, which provides up-to-date news, advice and information. There is also a link to information from the Chief Medical Officer.

Members who employ or contract staff need to manage their communications, policies, practices and employer obligations regarding this new public health issue. This includes ensuring any Infection Control policies are current and that staff follow appropriate infection control procedures . WorkPlacePLUS have provides more information regarding employer obligations. For further advice or support member can contact WorkPlacePLUS.