November Update

Dear friends. I hope this brief note finds you well. Thanks for your patience, it has been some time since I last wrote.
I am afraid the COVID story is not over. We are up to our eighth wave and live with an uneasy truce of sorts. Omicron variants still dominate and yes, the virus does indeed still cause many deaths, and yes in Berry. The combination of vaccines and infections have blunted the disease. However, please, if you contract COVID and are over 70, start antivirals as soon as possible. They make a difference. Contact the surgery, we have doctors available so you can start within 12 hours. In general, there is still a place for isolation with any infection, for masks and clean air.
UPDATE: we have JUST heard of the release of the newest COVID VACCINE XBB.1.05 Omicron variant. We are unclear how many doses we receive, but please contact the surgery from 2 weeks before Christmas and we should have a reliable update. We would like to provide clinics in the week before Christmas, if possible
You may not be aware, but if you are a patient with a chronic illness, you can access Medicare assistance to attend allied health professionals. 5 visits per year. This is accessed through your GP and involves us creating a GP Management plan for you. There is no charge to you for this service and it starts with a visit with one of our nurses, to work up a summary of your health needs and a plan moving forward. Allied health services may include a physiotherapist, a dietitian, a podiatrist, and others.
As we move forward to receive this service and some other services, you will need to register as a patient with Berry Medical Centre. This is a new Government initiate, it is called voluntary patient registration model and can be completed through the ‘MyMedicare” portal. We can help you with this, or if you want to brave negotiating the site yourself, you can do it directly through your MyGov. I have to mention, as doctors we take the doctor/ patient relationship very seriously and we are loathed to have any third party intrude. However General Practice is part of a team managing your primary health care needs and negotiating Government assistance and working with other professionals, is part of the deal for both of us.
Lots of publicity about the new Shingles vaccines, Shingrix. Shingles can be awful and ongoing, and this vaccine is far superior to the old version. It requires 2 shots, 2 -6 months apart. Unfortunately, this a bit like COVID where we are yet to receive enough government vaccines. Please place your name on our practice list and we will contact you soon.
The world feels fraught and uncertain, we recognize the trials of the last year. This translates to physical and mental hardships in the community, and we are here to help as best we can. I hope it’s not too early to extend to you “compliments of the season”. Enjoy the longer days and peaches when they come.
Cheers, Neil Donovan on behalf of Berry Medical Centre