General Practice Plus is urging the Kingborough community to look after their health and well-being by not delaying GP appointments because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr John Kruimink, who works out of the General Practice Plus clinic in Kingston Plaza, said many patients are putting off making an appointment, even for serious medical issues.
“People with chest pain, wound infections, abdominal infections and even a patient with a fracture, have been presenting to clinics later than usual,” said Dr Kruimink.
“Some patients think we are so busy with coronavirus that we don’t have time to deal with their health needs.”
Dr Kruimink refuted this idea and worried that patients with chronic conditions may find their health deteriorating if they avoid speaking with their doctor.
“We see people with chronic issues, such as cardiovascular problems or diabetes, put off having those things looked at,” Dr Kruimink said.
“This is not the time to be letting yourself become more unwell.
“Please stay on top of your health and general wellbeing.
“Don’t delay your GP visit because of COVID-19.
“There are lots of avenues to engage with a medical professional or GP.
“At General Practice Plus we are offering free telehealth appointments to all patients right now
and if you do need to come in, our clinics are clean and safe.”
Dr Kruimink said all General Practice Plus clinics were taking strong measures to protect the public, including regular cleaning, physical distancing during appointments, having patients wait in their vehicle for an appointment instead of the waiting room, frequent hand sanitising and multiple checks about respiratory symptoms before seeing patients in person.
Anyone with respiratory symptoms or a fever is encouraged to contact their GP for a referral for COVID-19 testing.
This includes mild symptoms such as a runny nose and any degree of sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and upper respiratory tract issues.
Dr Kruimink said it was important not to just turn up at a clinic, especially with any form of respiratory symptoms but assured the community that patients would be assisted to access the treatments they need.
Many health professionals are worried about the long term affects that delays may have on the health care system and the community, particularly for patients with undiagnosed issues that benefit greatly from early detection such as cancer.
“Cancer diagnoses have roughly halved,” said Dr Kruimink.
“It’s not that coronavirus has had a positive effect on cancer, it’s that people not being tested or checked out.
“Being diagnosed earlier is preferable, especially with chronic conditions.
“We don’t want to miss the opportunities to help people early on.
“Don’t delay your GP visit because of COVID-19.”
General Practice Plus operates five clinics across the Greater Hobart area, including Kingston and has seen a dramatic decline of 43 per cent over the past month when it comes to in-clinic appointments.
Members of the community are allowed to leave their homes for all medical care, including treatment of existing conditions, both physical and mental, as well as for health checks and investigations into new symptoms.
Dr Kruimink and General Practice Plus urge everyone to keep on top of their general health and well-being during the pandemic and to see their GP as needed.
Pictured above: Dr John Kruimink of General Practice Plus in Kingston is urging the community not to put off having their physical and mental health needs addressed, assuring people that GP’s are still available to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. (PS)