Coronavirus impact on our practice
July  23rd  2020


Surgery and Consultations


Weight Loss Surgery

Elective surgery at Epworth continues to be rolled back with the current COVID numbers in Victoria.  It is expected that many or most weight loss surgery cases will be postponed through much of July and August.  High urgency cases will of course be given priority.   

New and review patients are being seen still via Telehealth or face to face as the need arises.   New weight loss patients can generally complete most or all of their preparation for surgery at the current time although dates for the actual surgery are hard to guarantee in the short term.   Elective surgical patients currently can expect to be screened for COVID-19 prior to presenting for surgery.

For any queries relating weight loss surgery or otherwise please be in touch via or call 03 9958 3000.


General Surgery

If you need surgery for conditions such as hernias, gallstones or other such things surgery may be available depending on symptoms and need.

Latest information regarding coronavirus in Australia can be found at



Dietetic Consults

Our dietitian Merril is working remotely during the Covid 19 crisis and is offering consults via Facetime, WhatsApp, Viber or phone. Although we have switched quickly to keep both our patients and ourselves safe, the private health insurance companies have not moved so quickly to embrace remote (telehealth) consultations. At present only Australian Unity, BUPA, Defence Health and Teachers Health are offering the usual rebates on telehealth consultations from Allied Health professionals which includes dietitians. Other private health insurers including Medibank are considering this request and hope to have an answer on this within the next week. However, at present, they are not offering any rebate on telehealth consults, despite having extra’s cover, which is very disappointing. We will update our patients on this situation as the funds make their decisions in the coming days/weeks.

If you have an Enhanced Primary Care plan (EPC) or Chronic Disease Management Plan for dietetic consultations from your GP, as from the 30/3/20 the Government has stipulated that these Medicare funded consults will be bulk billed, hence there will be no out of pocket expense for your consult with Merril. Merril will be offering ½ hour appointment slots which will be bulk billed.

If you are confused about whether you will receive your rebate (remembering that this is usually only a small amount of the total fee) from your private health provider; or if you qualify for an EPC; or if you are experiencing any financial hardship but feel you would really benefit from a consult; don’t hesitate to give Merril a call on 0422 324625 to discuss.