Dear Valued Adelaide Obstetrics Patient,
For many of us 2021 has been a difficult year due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and on 23rd of November 2021, South Australia has opened its borders to all States and Territories.
As many of you have concerns about the impact of a Covid-19 outbreak in our state and on your medical treatment.
We take this opportunity to outline the likely plans for your management in line with SA Health Guidelines. It is difficult to make definitive plans and unfortunately current recommendations may change in the future depending on the circumstances in the medical health care system over the next 3-12 months.
Should you be vaccinated before pregnancy, fertility or gynaecology treatment?
Yes, it is imperative that you are vaccinated to protect both your own health and the health of others. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to complications from Covid-19, so it is extremely important that if you are considering becoming pregnant to get vaccinated. Anti-bodies generated from vaccination will cross the placenta providing your baby with significant protection from the virus.
Recent Social Media posts have suggested Covid-19 vaccinations can negatively effect egg and sperm quality and even cause infertility or miscarriage. These reports are factually incorrect. Covid-19 has now been given to 10’s of thousands of pregnant women and have been proven to be safe for both mother and baby with no increased risk of infertility or miscarriage. Contracting Covid-19 infection during pregnancy is associated with a significantly increased risk of complications for both baby and mother.
Do you need to be fully vaccinated to be treated at Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility?
Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility will continue to treat only unvaccinated obstetric patients while it is legally possible to do so. SA Health do not require patients undergoing non-emergency care, such as gynaecology or fertility treatment, in hospitals and day surgeries to be vaccinated, provided they have a negative Covid-19 test prior to admission.
However it is possible that such a directive could be made in the future, as such because of this, we encourage all patients to become vaccinated to ensure that access to obstetric, fertility and gynaecology 2022.
Do you have to provide evidence of being vaccinated against Covid-19 to Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility?
No, currently you are not legally required to provide evidence of your vaccination. However in the interest of patient and staff safety we will be asking for proof of your vaccination status. If you decline to provide this information, which you are entitled to do, we will manage your care as if you are unvaccinated.
Why are you being asked to provide proof of vaccination?
Vaccination not only reduces your likelihood of contracting Covid-19 and becoming severely unwell, but it also reduces your chance of passing on the virus to other patients and Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility staff. Given we have a duty of care to both our patients and staff there will be added precautions, testing and restriction of clinic visits for unvaccinated patients undergoing treatment with us.
What steps are being put in place to minimise Covid-19 transmission at Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility?
Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility has already has significant experience in minimising the risk of virus transmission from earlier outbreaks which occurred in 2021. These precautions and enhanced protections will include the following.
- Symptom screening prior to entry.
- Regular cleaning of surfaces.
- Staff and patients wearing appropriate masks and social distancing within the clinic.
- Consistent with Repromed policies, all IVF patients will be required to undergo a Covid-19 PCR test on Day 8 of their treatment cycle (usually the day before their first ultrasound).
- Patients with a positive Covid-19 result will have their IVF cycle cancelled to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus to others. While we understand this may delay treatment and may cause stress, it is an unavoidable restrictions necessary to minimise the risk to other patients and staff.
- Gynaecology patients attending theatre will need to have a Covid-19 test at least 72 hours before their surgery and have a negative result.
- Patients attending for tracking ultrasound or blood tests are not required to have a Covid-19 test before attending Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility unless they are unvaccinated or unwell.
- Unvaccinated male patients will have additional restrictions. To reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to other patients and staff, unvaccinated partners will be unable to attend consultations or ultrasounds at Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility. Partners will need to be double vaccinated to attend Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility appointments with their partner.
- Unvaccinated obstetric patients will be required to wait in the carpark and will be called in for their appointment to minimise risks to other patients and staff within the clinic.
- Where possible we will try to minimise the number and or duration of our patient visits to our clinic. This may include an increase use of phone consultation for Doctor and Nurse appointment, where appropriate.
If you do contract Covid-19 will it impact your management?
Yes. Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility is not in a position to provide treatment for patients with active Covid-19 (or suspected Covid-19 in isolation awaiting clearance), as we have neither the facilities nor the equipment to safely manage your care. If you develop Covid-19 during your episode of care, we may need to delay your treatment until you are fully recovered or refer you to Flinders Medical Centre for ongoing management, particularly if you are pregnant.
If you have upper respiratory tract symptoms or other Covid-19 symptoms, what should you do?
As per SA Health guidelines you are required to self-isolate until you have received a negative Covid-19 test result. Do not come to Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility until you have received a negative test result and notify our staff by phone so that we are aware of your situation.
If SA Health removes the current legal restrictions on rapid antigen testing we may consider rapid antigen testing for patients and allow them to undergo treatment upon a negative result. We are waiting to hear from SA Health whether this option will be available in the future.
Can you bring your children to Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility?
All of us at Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility love having children involved in your management. Unfortunately we cannot have children Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility under any circumstances. This is because children under 12 years are currently unable to be vaccinated and their presence at Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility is not of critical part of your management. We know this is not a popular decision, however we ask for your continued understanding regarding this decision. Please be aware that we will need to defer your appointment if you cannot find appropriate babysitting as there can be no exemption to this policy.
What will happen if there is a case of Covid-19 at Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility?
If the clinic is exposed to Covid-19, SA Health has stated that in the event of an exposure, businesses will not be required to shut down for a few days and undergo a deep clean. As a worst case scenario if we are deemed to be an exposure site we may need to close at short notice for an overnight clean, however we would expect to be able to return to normal activity the following day.
How long will the restrictions last?
It is impossible for us to know how long these restrictions may apply but it is likely to be for several months at a minimum. Please be reassured that as soon as it is safe to remove these restrictions, Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility will do so. We understand that the transition to an essentially Covid-19 free environment to living with the virus in our community will be a difficult and stressful time. SA Health and Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility policies will likely require adjustments depending on the activity of Covid-19 in the community. We request your patience and understanding as we navigate the time ahead.
Please know that we are here to support you and if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We anticipate that some of you will be unhappy that Adelaide Obstetrics and Fertility has placed additional restrictions and screening on unvaccinated patients. We wish that this were not required but we take our duty of care to our patients and staff seriously and we must make these changes to minimise risk.
Rest assured we are regularly reviewing new information as it comes to hand and discussing how we need to adapt to ensure our patients and staff safety at all time.