RACGP Foodbank Appeal 2021
Prominent GP Dr Nathan Pinskier announced today he was donating up to $100,000 to Foodbank as part of an RACGP campaign.
Onsite Doctor founder and director Dr Nathan Pinskier said he had agreed to match any donations made by GPs to the cause, dollar for dollar up to $100,000.
Dr Pinskier said the donation reflected his determination to support an organisation that was doing so much to battle food insecurity at a time when so many were in dire need.
“The College is doing the right thing in supporting this wonderful organisation. When my doctors were going into the housing commission towers in Melbourne during the second lockdown I saw first hand the work being done by Foodbank to support the needs of those affected.
“When those on student visas lost work because of lockdowns and were ineligible for benefits it was Foodbank that helped.
“And when tens of thousands of people that had never thought they would need help feeding themselves and their families found themselves in trouble. Foodbank was there, no questions asked, filling up the boots of cars and delivering truckloads of food to other charities for distribution,” Dr Pinskier said.
Dr Pinskier urged his many friends and colleagues from his almost 40 year involvement with the College to also give generously.
The latest Hunger Report issued by Foodbank found that one in six adults were food insecure and more than 1.2 million Australian children. Foodbank is by far the largest food charity in the country providing food for more than 800,000 Australians each and every month.
“Foodbank desperately needs our support to fight the Pandemic of food insecurity. It is also highly aware of the relationship between good food and health,” Dr Pinskier said.
“It is important as we approach the holiday season that as a profession we remember that caring for our communities does not stop at the clinic door,” he said.
“Food insecurity is associated with increased risks for chronic illnesses including type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases and mental health issues. In children, it often results in poorer general health as well as developmental and academic outcomes.”
Dr Pinskier, in urging his fellow College members to give generously, said it was one more way they could demonstrate their commitment to the most vulnerable in the community.
Donations can be made through the following link:
For Further Information Contact:
Ph: 0419 581874
Rapid Antigen Testing Averts Foodbank Covid Outbreak
A potential Covid outbreak at Foodbank Victoria’s main distribution warehouse in Yarraville was averted last week after a staff member tested positive to a rapid antigen testing (RAT).
Foodbank is currently participating in a trial of at-home testing where staff test before coming to work and then send an image of the result along with a QR code to OnSite Doctor, the medical services company conducting the trial.
The positive result came on the first official day of the trial which ensured the staff member did not attend work and other close contacts were isolated and told to have a PCR test – which is the gold standard.
Foodbank CEO Dave McNamara said the organisation was grateful that OnSite Doctor was available to help the organisation work through the complexities of containing the incident.
“Rapid Antigen Testing really proved its worth as we were able to react immediately, whereas it was only several days later that we got the PCR test result for the employee that tested RAT positive on Monday”, he said.
He said the early warning provided by the Roche rapid antigen test was crucial to protecting other staff members who have since all tested negative.
Director of OnSite Doctor, Dr Nathan Pinskier said the company was conducting the trial at Foodbank as part of an evaluation of employees self-testing at home prior to coming to work.
“Given at home rapid antigen testing will be permitted from next week we wanted to discover if companies could have staff test at home and have the results independently confirmed and have a greater level of assurance around the result.
“What we discovered almost immediately is how important it is for organisations to have expert support when introducing RAT.
“After the positive we were able to pivot and adjust the trial protocols to increase the testing, advise on which staff were close contacts and needed to get a PCR test, and when it was taking too long to get the PCR test result for the first RAT positive, we contacted the lab to accelerate its processing,” Dr Pinskier said.
“The difficulty for companies is that if companies have a RAT positive result it is likely to be days before they receive any guidance from a local health unit which realistically is too late,” he said.
Mr McNamara said it was reassuring to the staff and the organisation to have the backing of a Covid-focused medical services company in dealing with what could have been a more serious incident.
“We’re almost fully vaccinated, but even then, there will still be the risk of breakthrough infections. Regular surveillance testing may be required until this Covid-19 crisis recedes,” Mr McNamara said.
Further information on Rapid Antigen Testing please contact OnSite doctor: Tom Skotnicki on 0419 581 874
Foodbank Victoria, please contact Matt Tilley on 0434 951 838
COVID-19 rapid antigen tests 'to be sold in supermarkets'
Home testing kits for COVID-19 will be available from supermarkets from next week, but some doctors are keen to know how they might be used to screen patients in general practice.
From Monday, Coles and Woolworths will offer the Hough Pharma COVID Antigen Nasal Test, one of nine self-tests for home use approved by the TGA last week.
A spokesperson for Coles says the tests will be sold in packs of two and five — both online and in-store “from next week” — but did not disclose a price.
Woolworths says its digital health and wellness business HealthyLife will ship two-packs and five-packs to customers for $30 and $50, respectively, but is yet to set a date for when they will be available in-store.
Pharmacies and convenience stores are also expected to stock the tests, which do not require oversight by a health professional, over the coming months.
GPs, however, say it’s still unclear what role the rapid antigen tests might play in screening patients when they arrive at clinics.
Melbourne GP Dr Mukesh Haikerwal says there is a case to be made for requiring all patients attending clinics in areas of high community transmission to have a rapid test, but cost remains a significant issue.
He wants health authorities to urgently address the issue.
“You can’t pass that cost on to general practice, and you won’t recover it from patients very often,” Dr Haikerwal told Australian Doctor.
“If the states and feds don’t pay for it, it will become a fee-for-service.”
He added that, if screening became a requirement for face-to-face consults in areas of high transmission, health authorities should supply self-testing kits in the same way that PPE is provided.
Dr Nathan Pinskier, also a GP in Melbourne, said general practices should be supported to screen symptomatic patients before consults to avoid COVID-19-related closures and furloughing staff.
“It is inevitable that, as we open up, there will be an increase in all sorts of respiratory viruses … and we need to be able to ensure patients who do not have COVID can still face care without placing practices in jeopardy,” he said.
Australia also needed to transition to a UK model of testing, Dr Pinskier suggested, where point-of-care tests were used for screening while PCR was reserved for close contacts and confirming positive rapid antigen results.
Rules around reporting results also remained unclear, but the TGA chief suggested that chief health officers could “mandate” people to report positive tests.
“It is possible that some states and territories will put in a public health order that legally requires an individual to get a PCR test rather than just asking them nicely,” Professor John Skerrit told the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 last month.
The Hough Pharma self-test kit label stated: “If your result is positive, you must immediately isolate, contact the authorities in your state or territory and arrange to have a laboratory PCR test.”
The TGA said false-negative and false-positive results were more likely “in community settings that have a low prevalence of COVID-19”.
Performance requirements set by the regulator stipulated that home testing kits must have a sensitivity of at least 80% for samples collected within seven days of symptom onset and a specificity of at least 98%.
The products must also have clear instructions with a “straightforward” specimen collection process and be able to detect predominant SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating globally.
St Kilda Football Club Gets The Jab
The St Kilda Football Club has stepped up to meet the Covid-19 challenge today (Friday) with more than 20 players vaccinated in an initiative organised by OnSite Vaccinations director and longtime Saints tragic, Dr Nathan Pinskier.
The opening of vaccinations for the 16-39 age group has seen the Saints take the lead and start the process of getting their players vaccinated. Dr Pinskier said Onsite Vaccinations was proud to be involved in assisting the St Kilda squad to help in the fight against Covid-19.
The vaccinations took place at the Medi 7 Bentleigh clinic on Thursday 2nd September. Dr Pinskier said that as role models it was important that players be vaccinated at a time when it is young adults that are most at risk of catching and spreading Covid-19.
“The supply of vaccine is now increasing, and we need our sporting leaders who are also role models to be out there setting the right example.
“All the players are in the 16-39 year old age group and they are exactly who we need to be coming forward now that they are eligible,” he said. “At a time when the community is sacrificing so much to try and keep everyone safe and healthy it’s terrific that AFL players can lead the way by protecting themselves and the rest of the community,” Dr Pinskier said.
The Melbourne GP who was also involved in arranging the vaccination of some Sydney Swans officials prior to last week’s final in Tasmania said it was essential the AFL and other sporting codes took a leadership role on vaccination.
“As a doctor on the frontlines of this fight the disinformation and hesitancy has been discouraging. It is important that our sporting and cultural institutions are actively involved in reinforcing the message that the path out of lockdowns is through vaccination,” Dr Pinskier said. “Now that St Kilda has broken the ice, I hope other sporting teams follow suit and assist their players to be vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Onsite Vaccinations is a division of Onsite Doctor a Melbourne based group that specialises in providing surge medical services, including qualified vaccinators to general practice, vaccination hubs, in community settings and to business.
Australian Olympian and Member of the Onsite Doctor Team Carries The Olympic flag at the Opening Ceremony
Onsite Doctor is proud of Dr Elena Galiabovitch who was recently honoured at the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Games in recognition of her work in the fight against COVID. During her preparations for the games, Dr Galiabovitch was engaged at Onsite Doctor working at community COVID testing sites across Metro Melbourne.
AlfredHealth COVID antiviral trial (VIRCO)
This new trial is studying whether taking an antiviral that has been used to treat influenza and also has activity against COVID will also help people recover from COVID and clear the virus.
Eligible people with COVID-19 will have to take an oral medication antiviral medicine called Favipiravir twice a day for 14 days.