Nutritionist Lea Bumpstead, pharmacist Jane Cameron, Megan Atkinson (The Quay Family Healthcare), Jenny Feery (Torquay Pharmacy) and Dr Caroline Taylor-Walker (Surf Coast Home Doctor) have teamed up to educate the Surf Coast community on COVID-19. Photo: MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Shared care: Surf Coast medical minds join forces

March 26, 2020 BY

THE Surf Coast’s medical leaders have banded together to offer regular advice and updates on the coronavirus pandemic via an online platform.

Health practitioners and pharmacists from Torquay to Anglesea are among those involved in @torquay_covid19_support, a Facebook and Instagram handle set up by Dr Caroline Taylor-Walker of Surf Coast Home Doctor.

Dr Taylor-Walker said the account offered people a sense of connection to their local area; something that could not be achieved in the delivery of information from the federal and state governments.

She said it also served as a place where people could interact and ask questions they felt had not been answered.

“The hotlines are national and state hotlines and wait times can be up to two hours. People feel disconnected from that because they can’t ask questions.

“Everyone’s scared and fearful of doing the wrong thing.”

Dr Taylor-Walker said the weekend’s announcement of venue closures across the country was a positive outcome in slowing down the virus and that practitioners had been advocating for this result for some time.

As of Tuesday this week, the Department of Health and Human Services recorded 10 cases in greater Geelong and two on the Surf Coast.

Dr Taylor-Walker said it was not yet clear where the virus was contracted.

“As far as I’m aware, it’s not related to any local practices in Torquay or Jan Juc.

“It’s really sensible to isolate and we’re in a great position at the moment. Our numbers are really low compared to other countries.

“The most important thing is social distancing. You have to assume you have the coronavirus and you don’t have symptoms and that everyone else has the coronavirus and doesn’t have symptoms – that’s the way we’re going to protect ourselves.”

Dr Taylor-Walker said local clinics and pharmacies who have jumped on board with @torquay_covid19_support include Surf Coast Home Doctor, Surfcoast Pharmacy, Pharmacy Torquay, The Quay Family Healthcare, Surfcoast Medical Centre, Torquay Medical Health And Wellness Clinic, Anglesea Medical and Karuna-Maya Medicine.

She said it would be used to communicate information regarding self-isolating and handwashing to clinic closures and opening hours.

“We want it to answer questions for the community. We’d really like to know from the community what they want to know, rather than assuming what they want to know,” she said.

“By working together, we felt we could collate our resources and distribute them to those who are in need.”