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Doctors frustrated by patients refusing COVID test

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Hundreds of doctors have had patients refuse to be tested for COVID-19.

The College of GPs surveyed 800 members about their experience with testing and half of them said they had patients decline a test when one was recommended.

Reasons included not wanting to put children through the discomfort or not thinking one was necessary.

The college's president Samantha Murton says doctors are fighting complacency from people used to living in places free from the virus.

Samantha says testing is an important part of the strategy to keep COVID-19 from taking hold again by making sure it's not spreading in the community.

"If we're offering a test it's not because we're doing it for fun, it's because we want to make sure nothing is happening."

Testing rates are increasing again after a drop off over the past few weeks but are not yet at the goal of about 4000 a day.

Samantha says people need to listen to the advice of their doctors and play their part.

They could have an insight patients are not aware of - like a sudden local spike in coughs and colds, or an influx of overseas arrivals, she says.

"If there is a breach and we don't know about it, then it can cause trouble quite quickly without us being aware of it until it has got out of hand. So, it is a matter of us all being vigilant."

Doctors told the college they are keen to take part in a surveillance testing programme but they wanted clear direction from the Ministry of Health about it.

As well as borders, a key surveillance focus should be cities with isolation hotels, says Samantha.

The Ministry of Health says it's working with both GPs and emergency doctors to encourage them to test anyone who turned up with symptoms.

-RNZ/Rowan Quinn.

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5 Comments
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@Yadick

Posted on 29-07-2020 14:14 | By morepork

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s good to know that the test is not so bad...

@Slim Shady

Posted on 29-07-2020 14:13 | By morepork

I hear you on the $50. I normally keep pretty good health with very infrequent visits to the Doctor for mainly routine checks. But recently I acquired a problem that needs more visits. I simply couldn’t afford to pay $50 a time and I told them that. The answer is to go to MSD and get a Community Services card. There is a 15 page form to fill out but they are friendly and helpful and my visits now cost $19. Much more manageable.

Been There, Done That . . .

Posted on 29-07-2020 08:22 | By

Had the test. It doesn’t hurt at all but is a little uncomfortable for about 3 seconds. Well worthwhile. That few seconds has the potential to save hundreds of lives including your own. Would I take the test again if required to - yes, definitely.

Common sense.

Posted on 28-07-2020 12:40 | By morepork

They are not requiring a test for the fun of it, as noted in the article. Maybe a different, less intrusive test, should be devised that won’t bother kids or adults. But to spare your kids the momentary uncomfortability of the test, only to expose them and the community to a higher risk, is not sensible. If I am asked to take the test I certainly would. I advise you to do likewise.

Money grabbers

Posted on 28-07-2020 11:30 | By

They are just after the money they get for the test referral. I get frustrated every time I go to the GP and they steal $50 off me for providing nothing but a fob off.