Worrying decline in patients contacting GPs
The Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation and local general practices are strongly urging people to get in touch with their family doctor and health service providers with any health concerns as they usually would.
Since the lockdown there has been a decline in patients contacting their local practices, a trend that is concerning says General Manager of Practice Services at WBOPPHO Phil Back.
“It is concerning because it likely means that people are holding back from making contact with their doctor about health matters, which could result in conditions worsening.
“Practices are open, offering normal services and available to deal with all health issues. We need to be looking after ourselves through this lockdown and beyond, so putting off calling the doctor isn’t the answer.”
Some practices are now calling patients they know to have chronic health conditions to ensure they are doing okay.
Practices are operating based on advice and health guidelines designed to keep patients safe.
All are asking patients to get in touch by phone in the first instance so that that doctors can triage cases. Next steps are then advised.
“General practices are there to attend to all health concerns and wellbeing issues - whether they be acute or exacerbated long-term conditions,” says Phil.
“We are also urging people to apply for a Community Services Card from Work and Income if their financial circumstances have changed, such as loss of income.
“This card will ensure your healthcare is subsidised and therefore cheaper for you.”
Click here to find out more about the Community Services Card: