Podiatry Board of Australia - COVID-19 update to podiatrists and podiatric surgeons
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COVID-19 update to podiatrists and podiatric surgeons

27 Mar 2020

The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak is a rapidly changing situation.

The Podiatry Board of Australia (the Board) acknowledges the important role of podiatrists and podiatric surgeons in containing the spread of the virus.

The Board also recognises the additional strain on practitioners, many of whom are anxious and concerned as COVID-19 becomes more widespread.

What does COVID-19 mean for podiatrists and podiatric surgeons?

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, there will be new and regular updates from many important sources, including governments, local health departments and professional organisations, with advice about the emerging needs of the public and how to best meet them.

We remind you that you must comply with the Commonwealth and your respective state and territory jurisdictional health directions and guidance about COVID-19. Please regularly check www.health.gov.au and your local state/territory health department’s website for updates.

You would be aware that Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced that non-essential gatherings are suspended to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Australian Government has described a healthcare setting as an essential indoor gathering.

While services provided by podiatrists and podiatric surgeons currently fall within this category (an essential indoor gathering), you should consider the risk environment and public safety when making decisions about whether to defer non-urgent podiatry or podiatric surgical services.

Podiatric surgeons should note that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has recently recommended cancellation of all non-urgent elective surgery due to concern for the national supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Check the AHPPC statement for more information.

Please continue to comply with the Board’s Guidelines for infection prevention and control, available on our website.

As noted in these guidelines, podiatrists and podiatric surgeons must be familiar with and practise within the recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare (NHMRC guidelines) as they apply to the practice setting(s) in which they work. You must continue to comply with the NHMRC guidelines, especially with regard to:

  • risk management in infection prevention and control
  • standard precautions
  • transmission-based precautions, and
  • personal protective equipment.

Resources to help you manage COVID-19

The Board is working with Ahpra to provide helpful information, including answers to common questions, which is being regularly updated on Ahpra’s website.

Some useful resources to help you manage COVID-19 include:

If this information doesn’t tell you what you need to know, you can send your questions directly to Ahpra by email: [email protected].

Please keep abreast of these updates and respond accordingly to support ongoing access to safe podiatry services, including for those who are most vulnerable.

We also urge you to take care of your own health during this pandemic. These are unprecedented times, and it is important that podiatrists and podiatric surgeons look after themselves and each other. Information about general support services is available on the Ahpra website.

Cylie Williams
Chair, Podiatry Board of Australia

Page reviewed 27/03/2020