Short-term Respiratory Clinic at Athelstone Uniting Church

Short-term Respiratory Clinic at Athelstone Uniting Church

We are pleased to be in partnership with Medical HQ for the well-being of our local community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a church community we have a heart for connecting with God, our community, our world and each other.  
Connection in these strange times has become even more important.
We now want to share with you a new way that we have been called to connect with our community.

An opportunity has eventuated through an approach that has been made by Medical HQ, the medical practice that is located in the Athelstone Shopping Centre. We have agreed to make part of our church facility available as a Federal government funded GP Respiratory Clinic for COVID-19 testing.

This is part of the Federal government’s call to medical centres throughout Australia to play a part in the strategy to ‘flatten the curve.’ 

At a time when we are not able to use much of our church building for worship services or activities, we see this as an opportunity to offer it for the wellbeing of the community we are called to serve.

We are pleased to be able to partner with Medical HQ as they serve the community in this way.

About the Respiratory Clinic

Click here for specific information and bookings:
https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/athelstone-SA-5076/athelstone-respiratory-clinic/doctors

Click here for more information about GP Respiratory Clinics:
https://adelaidephn.com.au/covid-19-provider-update/gp-respiratory-clinics

Further details follow:

  • The Respiratory Clinic are operating initially between 1.30 and 5.30pm from Monday to Thursday. This will soon be extended to Friday afternoons.
  • Medical HQ have exclusive access to the ‘top hall’ and section of the car park adjacent the hall and shed.
  • Our top hall has been fitted out with appropriate testing booths and hand hygiene facilities.
  • Portable toilets have been located on the site.
  • Temporary barriers have been erected in the car park to designate the required area.
  • We have signed off for an initial 3 month period with a right of extension by negotiation.

Please direct any enquiries about the Clinic to the Medical HQ Athelstone reception:
Medical HQ Athelstone
320 Gorge Rd, Athelstone South Australia 5076
8336 7333
https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/athelstone-SA-5076/athelstone-respiratory-clinic/doctors

Please read on for more details from Dr Nathan Lam, Medical HQ
and a copy of the email announcement sent to our congregation on the 29th of April.


Letter from Dr Nathan Lam, Medical HQ to local residents

Dear Resident,

GP Respiratory Clinics are a public health initiative being established by the Australian Government Department of Health to assist in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical HQ Athelstone and the Commonwealth Government will be running a GP-led COVID-19 testing clinic in Athelstone. This will be run from a building on the Athelstone Uniting Church property that is separated from the main church building. Bollards will be placed on the church property to prevent unauthorised access to the clinic.

This site has been chosen due to its safety for staff and the community because it is isolated from main public areas. This letter is to assure you that the operation of this clinic should not place your household at increased risk of COVID-19 because it can only be spread by close face-to-face contact with infected individuals.

The objective of the clinic is to diagnose patients with COVID-19. Many patients coming to the clinic do not have COVID-19; they are attending in order to be tested and have COVID-19 excluded. It is not a treatment facility and patients will not be staying there overnight for ongoing care.

The clinic is expected to be operational from 5th May 2020 at the earliest. If you have any questions or queries, please contact the Medical HQ Athelstone reception, and one of the doctors will be happy to get back to you.

Thank you for your support of this initiative to help defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr Nathan Lam
Athelstone Respiratory Clinic Manager
Dr Nathan Lam
5067814Y

Medical HQ Athelstone
320 Gorge Rd, Athelstone South Australia 5076
8336 7333
0497 157 346


Email sent to Athelstone Uniting Church congregation

To Members of the Congregation

We are certainly living in difficult times at the moment as we all deal with the presence of COVID-19 and find everything familiar to us has changed.   Each one of us faces the ‘unprecedented situation’ in our own individual way as we deal with the many issues confronting us that impact on our family, our employment, our leisure time  and our church involvement.  At this time it so important that our faith remains strong and steadfast and we seek God’s guidance which brings us hope.

God calls us to worship and serve him in many different ways and as a church community we have a heart for connecting with God, our community, our world and each other.   Connection in these strange times has become even more important.

  • Connection with God through worship (self guided resources and zoom options) prayer and devotions. 
  • Connection with one another as we encourage and build each other up on the good days and the challenging days.
  • Connection with the wider community.

It is in this connection with the wider community that we have felt God calling us to for some time. It is why we started Stay and Play, Spirited Sundays and Threads.  In this strange time we have not been able to run these activities.  (Although we have been able to give generously from our hearts to Uniting Communities).

Our God works in mysterious ways and we now want to share with you a new way that we have been called to connect with our community. An opportunity has eventuated through an approach that has been made by Medical HQ, the medical practice that is located in the Athelstone Shopping Centre.   

Several weeks ago Church Council received a request from senior management at Medical HQ to consider a proposal to make our church facility available as a possible Respiratory Clinic for COVID-19 testing in response to the Federal Government’s call to medical centres throughout Australia to play a part in the strategy to ‘flatten the curve.’ 

At a time when we are not able to use our church building for worship services or activities, this was seen as an opportunity to offer it for the wellbeing of the community we are called to serve. Church Council spent considerable time prayerfully considering this request, taking in to account the significant implications for our church community and a sense that God is calling us to give sacrificially at this unprecedented time in history.

After several weeks of not hearing anything (and assuming the proposal was not going to eventuate) we received a phone call late on Friday evening 24 April from Dr Nathan Lam from Medical HQ to advise that the Federal Government wish to go ahead as soon as possible.

This past weekend many hours of discussion have occurred between our Church Council representatives, Congregation Chairperson, Medical HQ senior management and Synod Property staff (as the property owners of our facilities).

At the Church Council meeting last night an invitation was issued to Medical HQ Principal Dr Rod Pearce and Dr Nathan Lam, Synod Property Management team – Matt Wilson and Trish Johnston and Allan Amber – Chair of Congregation to discuss this matter so a final decision could be reached. 

Having considered all the information Church Council has put their trust in the medical team along with the support and endorsement from Synod. The professional manner in which Medical HQ presented their passion and commitment to this important community service which will ultimately help save lives and create a brighter future for us all, showed Council that this was a way we could demonstrate ‘our heart for our community’ and as such approval was given on behalf of our congregation.

Late last night an agreement has been signed off by all parties for an initial 3 month period with a right of extension by negotiation with all parties.

The critical elements of the agreement are as follows:

  • The Respiratory Clinic will initially operate between 1.30 and 5.30pm from Monday to Thursday commencing on Tuesday 5 May 2020 at the earliest.
  • Medical HQ now have exclusive access to the top hall and section of the car park adjacent the hall and shed
  • The top hall will be fitted out with appropriate testing booths and hand hygiene facilities
  • Portable toilets will be located on the site
  • Temporary barriers will be erected in the car park to designate the required area

We have the full support of the Uniting Church Synod who have advised of these conditions:
While the Respiratory Clinic is in operation,

  • the designated areas used by Medical HQ, are out of bounds, and
  • there should be no interaction with anyone from the Respiratory Clinic, if they are at the premises, for the office (not even in the car park) or with patients who may be waiting in the cars.

Medical HQ have chosen our property for this testing clinic because the site provides safety for staff and the community as it is isolated from main public areas. They have ensured the operation of the clinic should not place any resident or person attending church activities at increased risk of COVID-19 because it can only be spread by close face-to-face contact with infected individuals. The objective of the clinic is to diagnose patients with COVID-19.  Many patients coming to the clinic do not have COVID-19; they are attending in order to be tested and have COVID-19 excluded. It is not a treatment facility and patients will not be staying there overnight for ongoing care.

The most significant aspect for our church community is that the remainder of our property will not be impacted, therefore once the restrictions are lifted we can resume our normal church activities, apart from the need to restrict access to the designated areas being used by Medical HQ.

We are so excited to be able to work with Medical HQ for the well-being of our community. The purpose of this letter is to update you on what has taken place and how this will impact on us a church community. We also seek your support of our decision by complying with the conditions specified above and praying for this new venture and for the health and safety of the Medical HQ team.  

If you have any questions please contact Jeff Dry on 0408 254 489 or jeffdry@bigpond.com and he will be happy to discuss this with you further.

Jeff Dry
Church Council Chairperson

Allan Amber
Congregation Chairperson

Rev Linda Driver
Minister in Placement