The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is desperately urging Greater Sydney patients to consult with their GP for any health concerns.
It comes following news that the city faces at least two more weeks of lockdown after 97 locally acquired cases were reported today.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price appealed to people in Greater Sydney to take care of themselves and avoid putting additional pressure on local hospitals by letting health concerns escalate.
“If you have a health concern, including mental health issues, please do not delay or avoid a consultation with your GP,” she said.
“There is the risk that your condition will worsen and that you will end up in a hospital bed for a condition that could been addressed earlier in a GP’s exam room.
“The pressures facing paramedics and hospital healthcare workers in Victoria right now are significant. That is due to a range of factors; however, a key part of the problem is that patients put off medical care during the last lockdown.
“We have a high number of COVID-19 cases in Greater Sydney and now an extended lockdown. I can understand why some people may be hesitant to consult with their GP in these uncertain times, but please don’t cancel or postpone a consultation.”
Dr Price’s plea to Sydney-siders comes after living through the post-lockdown experience in Victoria.
“In Melbourne, Victoria’s Ambulance Union Secretary Danny Hill has warned that paramedics and hospitals are operating under enormous pressure in the aftermath of the last lockdown,” she said.
“He has said that when restrictions eased, the workload for paramedics soared due to people delaying medical treatment during the lockdown. In one case, a patient with serious spinal injuries has been left waiting outside Sunshine Hospital in an ambulance for 14 hours.
“So please, learn from our Victorian experience and take care of your health for your own sake and to ease pressure on the entire health system.”
Dr Price said that the challenges facing Melbourne hospitals could be even worse in Greater Sydney.
“The Greater Sydney lockdown has been extended by two weeks today and we cannot be sure when it will end,” she said.
“That makes it even more important to take good care of yourselves and your loved ones and have health issues seen to right away.
“A timely consultation with your GP can make all the difference between staying on top of a health condition or ending up in hospital.
“So please once again I urge all people in Greater Sydney, do not be a stranger to your GP - we are here to help. For any health issue, whether that be management of a chronic disease, mental health concerns or anything else, please consult with your GP.
“Remember that telehealth services, including over the telephone, are available as well as e-scripts. GPs are ready and enabled to keep on delivering health care even under these trying circumstances.”
More information on electronic prescriptions can be found here and accessing care via telehealth here.
Last year, the RACGP launched an Expert Advice Matters campaign to encourage the general public to address all health concerns during the pandemic and consult with their GP. In August 2020, the college expanded the campaign to better target people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.