Health and wellbeing blogs

Continuing to get access to health care during COVID-19

It is important to remember that essential health care services continue to be available as we start to see the easing of some COVID-19 precautions in some Australian states. Our Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Shane Kelly explains why it is important that you continue to seek health care when you need it during this time.

20 May 2020

Like all private hospital providers, we have recommenced offering non-urgent elective surgeries, in addition to offering emergency and urgent care.

While the number of surgeries we are doing on a day to day basis is reduced from our normal levels, we are still delivering care to our communities, and patients can continue to see their specialist and schedule in surgery for the coming weeks and months.

Australian hospitals remain prepared for a potential surge in demand from the coronavirus, but it’s important to remember that there are other health care needs in the community that continue to require treatment and care.

People will not stop giving birth, getting sick, having accidents or needing treatment for a range of conditions just because we have an emergency. Private health insurance is as important as ever to ensure access to timely, high quality specialist health care.

St John of God Health Care choosing private hospital care

Care and support available

If you have put your regular health checks on hold during the pandemic, or have avoided going to your GP, we recommend you book an appointment with your GP to discuss your health concerns. Appointments can often be done over the phone or via video.

If needed, your GP can refer you to one of our specialists for additional care.

Maternity care: 

We are continuing to provide maternity care to women and their families – including antenatal care throughout pregnancy, care and support during birth to safely delivery babies, and postnatal care on our maternity wards.

  • Parent education classes are now offered online
  • Restrictions: one visitor for the duration of your stay and temporary cancellation of face-to-face parent education classes (online alternatives available and pregnant women booked to give birth at our hospitals will be emailed about these options during the pregnancy)

Elective surgery:

We are once again providing care for patients needing non-urgent elective surgery, in addition to emergency and urgent care.

  • Speak to your Specialist to discuss booking in your surgery
  • You can continue to attend Specialist appointments for new, emerging or pre-existing conditions
  • Restrictions: one visitor for the duration of your stay and screening for patients and visitors to reduce the risk of COVID-19

Specialist medical care:

Beyond surgeries, specialists who provide care at our hospitals continue to look after patients in partnership with us. Of course, not all ailments need surgery and ongoing medical care for chronic and acute conditions such as heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes and cerebrovascular disease continue to be important.

  • Additional options for phone and video call consultations (telehealth). Find out more about our telehealth services.
  • Restrictions: one support person for your appointment

Mental health care:

Our mental health care in hospitals and in the community is continuing.

  • Additional options for phone and video call consultations
  • Smaller group therapy programs, as well as remote group therapy options
  • Restrictions: some visitor limits apply to our hospital care. Find out more.

Although there are some changes that we all need to make at this time, we are here for you if you need medical or surgical care, or need ongoing care and support.

If you have any questions, call the hospital or speak with your specialist including asking if there are any alternatives available instead of face-to-face care where this is appropriate. 

Shane Kelly
Dr Shane Kelly St John of God Health Care Group Chief Executive Officer

About the Author

Dr Shane Kelly has more than 30 years’ experience in healthcare including more than 16 years as chief executive officer at hospitals and health care organisations in Western Australia and Queensland. He was appointed St John of God Health Care Group Chief Executive Officer in 2018 and was previously St John of God Subiaco Hospital Chief Executive Officer (2005 to 2013).