OUR COVID-19 POLICYUpdated January 2022The evolving COVID outbreak in Queensland has necessitated increased protections for our patients and team members. As a healthcare provider caring for patients across two clinic locations – hundreds of which are undergoing cancer treatment or are immunocompromised – we have a duty of care to protect vulnerable patients and team members who are at a high risk of serious illness. As such, only fully vaccinated people are able to enter The Sharp Clinics. As always, the safety of our team and patients is paramount; we continue to adapt our policies to exceed best practice standards and operate in compliance with Queensland Government directives to ensure this.We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.What are the Sharp Clinic vaccination requirements?– All people aged over 12 years old must be fully vaccinated to enter our clinics; this includes patients, family members and support people.– All individuals aged 12 and over must check in using the Check In Queensland app when entering the clinic. Please show the green tick – or a screen shot/hard copy of your vaccination certificate – confirming your vaccination status at our front desk.– This requirement applies to patients having both surgical and non surgical treatment with us, as well as people accompanying them to their appointment.How to prepare for your visit to the clinic:In advance of your appointment, please ensure the Check In Queensland app is on your phone and your vaccination certificate is linked. If you cannot link the certificate via MyGov, please screen shot a copy of your vaccination certificate and bring this with you instead. If you have issues doing this, please call us well in advance of your appointment – please do not attend your appointment without this preparation in place.What if I don’t have a smartphone?Bring a hardcopy version of your vaccination certificate.What if I am not vaccinated but intend to be?Please get in touch at least 2 working days prior to your appointment. We can reschedule your appointment to a later date, after you are vaccinated.What if I am not vaccinated and do not intend to be?Provided we are notified 2 working days prior to a consult or non surgical treatment – or 4 weeks prior to surgery – we can reschedule your booking to a later date, where vaccination requirements may not be in place. If you wish to cancel altogether, we are also able to do so. Booking deposits can be refunded under these circumstances provided the aforementioned noticed periods are given.Can I bring an accompanying person to my appointment?Yes, provided they are fully vaccinated. Please note that we have a persons-per-square-meter rule in place, to help reduce the risk of transmission between patients and team members. Hence due to room size, only one accompanying person per patient can be accommodated in some of our consult rooms. Please keep this in mind when planning your visit.Do I have to wear a mask?Yes. Please ensure your mask covers your mouth and nose – when our team members have to leave their desks to remind people in the waiting room to wear their mask properly, it distracts them from providing the optimal patient care that we strive for. If you can’t wear a mask please let us know prior to your visit so we can arrange for a face shield to be available for you at reception. Patients must wear a mask or face shield while in the clinic. These can be removed to receive treatment, examination, surgery or suture removal.Update: 21st May 2020 All surgery resuming in Queensland…including cosmetic surgery!Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has advised that operating can return to ‘normal’ in our hospitals. Our hospitals have advised us that they have adequate levels of PPE and are well resourced for normal resumption of theatre operating. During the shutdown, due to the low numbers of COVID in Queensland, the hospital we operate from remained COVID-free.At Southbank Day Hospital and St Andrews Private Hospital Ipswich, our lists are returning to normal capacity effective immediately, and we are in touch with our patients to organise the rescheduling of their procedures. Dr Sharp and his surgical team love operating and can’t wait to get back to theatre!Our operating lists at Greenslopes Private Hospital is still restricted due to the COVID agreement they have with the public system, to make a percentage of private theatre time available for public patients. This means we cannot return to full, normal operating there, just yet – and therefore some of our patients have had to wait a little longer for their procedures to be rescheduled than they’d hoped.We know it’s been a difficult time for many patients having large operations, with long awaited surgery cancelled, and now a further wait for it to be rescheduled – and we are very grateful for their understanding and patience. When operating at GPH returns to normal we will be able to utilise our lists as per usual and will be in touch to offer any earlier spaces to those on our waiting list.Our thanks as well to our diligent patient care team, who have astutely managed hundreds of patients waiting for surgery, consultations and treatments during the suspensions and resumptions. Under difficult circumstances they’ve been working hard to ensure our patients still receive the same stellar standard of care and compassion. What to expect in our clinics…The week prior to your visit, you will receive a digital COVID screening questionnaire to submit via your phone, which takes about 30 seconds to complete. On the day of your consult, your temperature will be taken at the door, hand sanitiser applied and you will be asked some further screening questions before being seated in a private waiting area, where each patient is sectioned off to ensure optimal physical distancing.If you are coming into close contact with any of our team members during a consult, treatment or check up, they will be wearing a mask. Patients are welcome to wear masks during their visit if they wish; please let us know upon arrival, if you would like us to supply one for you to wear.We appreciate your assistance with these measures, to ensure our patients and team members remain well at this time!Update: 21st April 2020 Cabinet announcement regarding private surgery in Australia: plastic surgery to resumeCabinet has just announced that it will resume some selected surgery procedures (approximately 25% of procedures performed in private hospitals) from next week.Remaining category 2 procedures (semi-urgent skin cancers) and breast reconstruction procedures were the only two plastic surgery operations to join the category 1 urgent list of operations we are allowed to perform at this time. With PPE levels now restored, the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons had recommended resuming surgery, as most plastic surgery procedures do not pose an unusually high risk of transmission – or utilise complex PPE.However the government chose to only resume a small and specific list of procedures, most of which do not include the reconstructive or cosmetic procedures that most of our patients are currently waiting for.Our thoughts are with our patients – we understand the uncertainty around your surgery is causing strain and stress. We are also thinking of the hospital and nursing staff in private hospitals today, who will be most significantly impacted by this decision. The Prime Minister indicated that Cabinet will consider further easing of restrictions after May 11.Which procedures can now be performed under COVID surgery restrictions: Ecategory 1 and 2 procedures (urgent and semi urgent skin cancers, reconstructive procedures etc) Emedically required surgery for children under 18 Ein some cases, procedures such as breast reduction and implant removal is permitted, if it meets the criteria of significant pain or disability – and the patient is healthy, with no specific COVID risks.If you’ve had surgery cancelled in the past month:We will be in touch when restrictions are eased further, to organise your surgery rescheduling, as a priority. We hope this might be considered next month.If you’ve had a consult with Dr Sharp and are waiting to book your surgery or wish to bring your existing theatre date forward:You’re still able to book your surgery on a date that suits you in the coming months – we are recommending that those hoping for surgery this year book a tentative date from June onwards. If you’ve been waiting to book a consult:We can assist with a video consultation in the coming weeks so you can progress your surgical journey. Please get in touch on 3202 4744.Update: 2nd April 2020 Plastic surgery video consults with Dr Sharp: what to expectIn response to the number of enquiries we’ve received from patients using their iso-time to research procedures, Dr Sharp has opened up additional video consultations in the coming weeks.Video consults provide an opportunity to have your questions answered and learn more about the options available to you.Conducted with the discretion, in depth information and individual attention provided during clinic consults, patients receive the same information pack, time with Dr Sharp, 3D simulation technology (if applicable), estimate of fees and complimentary second consultation in our clinics, before going ahead with surgery.With elective theatre lists currently paused in private hospitals, patients who have had a video consultation with Dr Sharp and wish to proceed with surgery, are then able to go on our priority waiting list for their preferred procedure date and in-clinic consult, once operating resumes as normal.If you’d like more information about the video consultations available in the coming weeks, please call 3202 4744 😊…or read more about our video consult process here.🙏 Thanks again to our wonderful patients, for their patience and understanding at this time. We’ve enjoyed your ‘virtual’ consults over the past few weeks, and look forward to seeing your smiling faces in our clinics again soon!Update: 25th March 2020As we move into the next phase of the response to COVID-19, the Prime Minister today advised that all elective procedures in private hospitals have been paused, with exception to Category 1 (and some Category 2) urgent procedures.This decision has been made due to the shortage of masks and other PPE in public hospitals. The suspension comes into effect tomorrow at midnight.We appreciate that this has been devastating for many patients, who have been preparing for major surgeries for some time now. But we also appreciate that at this time, extraordinary sacrifices are required for the greater good of our community.We have been working today and this evening to contact all patients impacted by this surgery ‘pause’ in the near future. Despite receiving unwelcome news, the kindness and understanding our beautiful patients have shown our team has been humbling, and extremely appreciated.</p.Any patient who has their surgery plans paused, due to this situation, now has a place on our surgical queue – based on when their surgery was originally scheduled. We know this ban will eventually be lifted, when the situation has improved – and when this happens, you will be contacted immediately to be offered new theatre dates, as a priority. Dr Sharp and our team will be working hard at that time to ensure all patients have their surgeries performed in their ideal time frames, and we will go above and beyond to make this happen.Our team is here to support youWe are still here to support you and assist with any research regarding your surgery options, once life returns to normal. From all the enquiries we continued to receive today, it seems many patients are using this downtime to investigate procedures and get informed about the cosmetic and reconstructive procedures available to them! We are still online and available by phone to chat, if you have any queries. As our patients know, we love talking about surgery and value every opportunity to assist during the research/planning process.Post operative appointmentsPost op appointments are not impacted by these changes. As an essential service, we will continue to remain open. We look forward to seeing all of our lovely post op patients in the clinic to receive our usual high standard of post op care – albeit with lots of extra safety precautions in place to ensure everyone stays well at this important time!When will elective surgery recommence?We don’t have a definitive answer to this as yet but our patients will be advised as soon as we receive any updates or advice regarding this. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will directly advise upcoming patients or those visiting our clinic for necessary post operative checks as needed. We will be in regular contact with all of our patients in the coming weeks to ensure they are updated as new information comes to hand.Skin cancer surgeryAs always, our clinics in Brisbane and Ipswich continue to offer skin cancer consultations and surgery. While there will be some wait for non-urgent skin cancers, those that are fast growing, invasive or suspected/diagnosed melanomas will be prioritised for fast tracked consults and surgery. Over 2,000 people per day are treated for skin cancers in Australia (750,000 per annum, of which over 12,000 are melanomas) – so it’s important to ensure that critical skin lesion services are not interrupted.Update: 23rd March 2020Telehealth: Video consultOur clinics are equipped with teleconference technology and open for video consultation; this is something we have been offering for many years, particularly for our regional and remote patients. Your health and safety are our absolute priority – and we have a very rigorous process in place to keep you and our team well. We appreciate that most of our patients have waited some time to see our clinicians, and don’t wish to postpone their consultations – but we also understand you might have concerns about attending your appointment while practicing social distancing. To change your face-to-face consult to a video appointment, please call 07 3202 4744. It’s a very simple process and involves the same gold standard of clinical care and assessment tools as an in-clinic consult! For patients having 3D simulation ahead of their surgery, in most cases we can still also offer this service via video consults. All patients who are consulted via video also receive a second, complimentary consult before proceeding with surgery to ensure you have been examined by your clinician face-to-face before undergoing any treatment.If you have been unwellIf you have returned from overseas – or been unwell – in the past 14 days and have a scheduled consult or surgery, please contact us to reschedule. We will always do our best to accommodate your preferred time frames.Prioritising patient safety: our precautions to reduce risksWe want our patients to feel reassured that when they visit us, they are in a safe space. We are very fortunate to have two clinics with size and layouts that enabled us to put strict social distancing measures in place some time ago, and we have further measures in place to keep patients and our team members safe – from when they exit their car through to exiting the clinic.Although we are a medical facility with strict hygiene procedures, we are not a general practice clinic, with any unwell patients on premises. We will continue to maintain an exceptionally safe clinical environment.Our patient arrival procedure:As an essential service, we are still open, but to keep our team and patients safe, have changed our waiting room process and appointment schedule to ensure you do not wait alongside other patients in our waiting rooms. If you anticipate being early or late to your appointment, please call ahead to let us know so we can create a separate additional space for you.From your car to our front door, patients are not required to touch any surfaces to access our premises – as patients park outside our front doors, on the ground level of our building.Upon entering the clinic, you will be asked to use the hand sanitiser station provided before being checked in.Your clinicians will be wearing a mask for any contact within a 2 meter radius of your personal space.We are very grateful to our patients for their understanding during these extraordinary time; these measures will not only keep our team members and patients safe, but they are enabling us to retain our staff, who are providing important services to patients in Brisbane and Ipswich at during this difficult period. Please call us if you have fever, cough/shortness of breath, sore throat – or if you have returned from overseas travel within the last 14 days. Likewise, if you have had contact with a diagnosed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Please call 07 3202 4744 to reschedule or convert your appointment to a video consult. The health, wellbeing and recovery of our patients and team is of upmost importance.