Important COVID-19 Update

26 March 2020

Like other organisations in this uncertain and rapidly evolving environment, we are continuingly updating our procedures and processes at OPG to ensure the wellbeing of our clients, stakeholders and staff.

As we highlighted in our update on 23 March, our primary focus is on continuing to support our clients, but we have to balance that with our obligation to keep both our clients and our staff safe. For that reason we have taken the very difficult decision to suspend all face to face meetings with clients for the foreseeable future.

Please rest assured though that we are still contactable via phone and email to answer queries and address issues, and we will continue to advocate for the rights and interests of our clients. Our staff are committed to meeting visiting obligations to clients and will use alternative methods such as phone, email and tele-conferencing .

In line with Federal Government social distancing guidelines we are also significantly limiting face to face stakeholder meetings, and wherever possible conducting these meetings through channels such as phone and Skype.

When do I need to contact OPG for COVID-19 related decisions for clients under the guardianship of the Public Guardian?

We know that at this time there may be a lot of uncertainty around when you do and do not need to contact OPG around COVID-19 related decisions for adults under guardianship of the Public Guardian. For this reason we’d like to reiterate our previously released guidance:

  • OPG does not need to approve or consent to any COVID-19 plans for clients, including service-specific emergency/disaster business continuity plans.
  • Where urgent actions are needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of clients, service providers do not need to contact OPG to obtain prior consent - they should take the necessary actions and can advise OPG at the earliest possible opportunity. This would include self-isolating where recommended by Queensland Health.
  • Where a client falls into categories defined by Queensland Health for testing, assessment or treatment for COVID-19, disability service providers should assist clients to do so. Service providers do not need to contact OPG for consent. Health providers should follow the normal consent process for procedures.

Please note this guidance doesn’t apply to Queensland Health in regards to discharging patients from hospital. If a patient is under the guardianship of the Public Guardian for accommodation matters, we must make a formal decision on where an adult can be discharged to, and normal decision making processes apply. If an adult doesn’t have the capacity to make a decision about their accommodation and there is no formal or informal  decision maker in place, an application should be made to QCAT to have a decision maker appointed.

This is an ever-evolving situation and there are many unknowns at this time, but we can assure you that OPG is monitoring the situation closely, following government advice and implementing additional measures as needed to continue supporting our clients and staff.

We will endeavour to keep you updated should any of the above information change.