Visitor restrictions update:

As required by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, we have restrictions in place at our hospitals to limit the number of people that enter our hospitals to ensure our patients and workforce stay safe. These rules allow for visitors when there are exceptional circumstances, refer to full list of exemptions below.

Visitors who fit these exemption categories will also need to show their vaccination status upon entry to our hospitals and to wear a hospital-supplied mask. Guidance on how to obtain your vaccination certificate can be found here - https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/get-your-covid-19-digital-certificate

Those who are not vaccinated will be asked to show proof (via a date stamped photo of result) of a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result, that was undertaken on the day of their visit.

Exceptional circumstances (subject to approval at each site)

Exceptions apply for:

  • those visiting critical or palliative patients. In these cases, two visitors are permitted at a time. They do not have to be from the same household and there are no time limits.
  • in our maternity units:
    • One person is allowed in our birth suites (a support person or partner). Support people cannot be swapped and this designated person is encouraged to have undertaken a COVID-19 test and isolate as directed.
    • One partner/support person is allowed in the postnatal ward for the duration of the patient's stay.
    • Two parents are permitted in the special care nursery.
  • those supporting patients with cognitive impairment.
  • providing support necessary for a patient's emotional or physical wellbeing.
  • if they are the parent or carer of a paediatric patient.
  • a nominated person under the Mental Health Act, interpreter or carer of a patient with a disability.
  • if necessary, visitors are also permitted to accompany a patient attending Emergency or outpatient clinic.
  • those in a group visiting in exceptional circumstances may exceed the 'two visitors at a time' rule if they are dependants of a visitor (or hospital patient) who are unable to be cared for elsewhere.

We kindly request that you adhere to all instructions provided by our entry staff. Thank you for your understanding.

Elective surgery update

The Department of Health (DH) has confirmed that elective surgery restrictions will be implemented across Victoria, effective Thursday, 6 January 2022.  Elective surgery is restricted to urgent elective surgery procedures, including Category 1 admissions.

Cases already booked until, and including, Sunday, 9 January 2022 may proceed.  All other existing cases booked from Monday, 10 January 2022 onwards must be reviewed in line with the new surgery restrictions.  Please contact your treating doctor.

Protocols for pre-admission/surgery testing remain unchanged. Testing requirements ahead of your surgery remain in place. If you have any questions about your care, please contact your treating doctor.

In case of emergency, please call 000.


Daily Attestations and QR Codes

Upon entering our sites, patients, visitors and contractors will be required to scan both the Service Victoria QR code and Epworth attestation QR code, on the designated poster at entry points.

It is important that Epworth is able to retain a connection to the Victorian Department of Health QR code system to ensure we will be contacted if any of our patients, visitors or contractors have been to a Tier 1 exposure site, prior to visiting Epworth.

If you are unable to register with a mobile device, please ensure you complete a manual check in. Our staff at any of our entry points will assist you.

We appreciate your understanding, as we continue to ensure we keep our patients, employees and doctors safe.


Pre-operative COVID-19 testing update

All elective procedures undertaken at Epworth will continue to require a negative test within 72 hours of the procedure. 

While the preference is a PCR (swab) result, we can now accept a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result that has been undertaken up to 72 hours ahead of admission.  A RAT result screenshot or image with a date stamp must be provided on admission.

All patients, regardless of whether they are submitting a PCR or RAT result, should:

  • be tested within 72 hours of their admission
  • isolate after the test.

Any patient who is unable to obtain a RAT should undergo PCR testing.  If the result has not returned in time for surgery, additional screening and testing will be considered to avoid delay/cancellation and will be provided as part of our admitting process.

Epworth is unable to provide pre-admission Rapid Antigen Tests to patients.  A patient can present a RAT they have obtained in the community or at a public testing site, in place of a PCR, but it must meet the criteria outlined above.  

All patients will undergo the usual COVID-19 screening questionnaire.

Pre-admission testing is required for:

  • All elective surgery
  • All procedures including those performed under local anaesthetic
  • All planned elective medical admissions including mental health and rehabilitation
  • ECT
  • All direct-to-ward admissions
  • All interhospital transfers
  • Elective caesarean sections and all other maternity admissions (including natural delivery)
  • Paediatric admissions.

Patients will be required to return a negative swab result within 72 hours of their admission to hospital.

If you have any questions, please speak to your treating doctor about your individual requirements.

Getting your pre-operative COVID-19 test

A negative result is required for all admissions from Monday, 30 August 2021 onwards, with COVID-19 testing to occur 48 - 72 hours prior to the planned procedure. Patients will need to isolate from the time of testing until they are admitted for their procedure.

All patients are strongly encouraged to attend a testing centre closest to them to have their test.

Melbourne Pathology (MPS) has several available collection sites for pre-operative (ASYMPTOMATIC) patients. Please see the following link: MPS: Testing of asymptomatic pre-operative patients

In addition, Melbourne Pathology (MPS) has three dedicated ‘drive-through’ testing sites that patients can attend with the complete request form: MPS COVID-19 dedicated collection sites

If it is not possible to attend your local testing centre, patients can attend Epworth Testing Clinics located at:

  • Epworth Richmond:
  • Patient Swabbing Clinic
    34 Erin St – entrance is 10 metres from Emergency Department entry
    Open 8am to 4pm, 7 days a week 
    Last booking appointment is 3.45pm daily
    Bookings required phone: 03 9426 0666

  • Epworth Eastern:
  • Drive through pre-operative COVID-19 Testing Clinic
    Main carpark of Salvation Army building, access via 17 Bank St Box Hill
    Open 8am to 6pm, Monday - Saturday
    Bookings required phone: 03 8807 7811

Isolating after testing

It is important that patients self-isolate after their test, until the time of their admission to hospital (no matter what the test results are).

Please don’t put yourself and others at risk by going to work, school or public places, unless you need medical help or in an emergency.

If you are unable to self-isolate prior to your admission to hospital, please discuss your situation immediately with your specialist.

If you are dependent on a carer, your carer should also get tested and then isolate with you, prior to your admission to hospital.

We advise against using public transport, taxis or Ubers during your isolation. If you have no alternative transport options, please wear a mask.

You can find more details about isolating at: Isolating before your surgery (PDF, 50KB)

Telehealth

Outpatient appointments for rehabilitation and mental health services are being held via telehealth. Some of our acute clinics will also hold telehealth appointments, where possible.



Wearing masks

  • Anyone entering our sites will need to wear a mask upon arrival, register their attendance and complete an attestation.
  • Patients who are already in our hospitals will wear masks, based on clinical circumstances.
  • Patients and visitors must change into a hospital provided mask when entering the hospital.
  • Anyone who may have a mask exemption is advised to bring their exemption to show entry staff. We ask for your cooperation with any requests made by our entry staff.

To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe, regularly wash your hands, keep at least 1.5 metres from other people, and stay home if you feel unwell.

If you have any symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties or wheezing or any other signs of respiratory infection, however mild, seek advice and get tested.

For more information about COVID-19 go to the Victorian Department of Health.