The McGowan Government is urging Western Australians to maintain regular contact with their GPs for the sake of their health.
In line with national trends in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some WA general practices are seeing a significant fall in the number of patients attending their clinics for regular check-ups and appointments.
This may lead to critical health conditions being undiagnosed and untreated, resulting in life-threatening complications for some patients.
Health Minister Roger Cook today launched the #SeeYourGP campaign with the WA Primary Health Alliance, to draw attention to the important role in community health played by regular visits to GPs.
The campaign, to be undertaken through social media and digital ads, will be shared through general practices and key organisations with links to consumers.
Diagnostic tests, screening tests, immunisations and regular health check-ups are essential tools to ensuring the population remains healthy and well.
Some patients may be fearful about attending clinics, while others may be concerned about placing additional pressure on the health system at this time.
The best thing they can do is to maintain their regular health appointments and stay as healthy as possible.
Peak medical bodies including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian Medical Association have confirmed lower numbers of patients seeking treatment in recent weeks.
This could have the unintended consequence of hospitals and the wider health system being put under even greater pressure, dealing with critically ill patients who have neglected chronic conditions or symptoms of heart disease or cancer.
The WA Primary Health Alliance is working with the Health Consumers Council (WA), Carers WA and a wide range of community groups to encourage Western Australians to visit their local GP.
For a range of medical appointments which do not require a physical examination, patients can now speak to a doctor or medical professional by videoconference or on the telephone.
A media kit is available at https://thesocialpresskit.com/seeyourgp
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“As we grapple with the ongoing threat of COVID-19, it is important that Western Australians continue to stay healthy – that includes seeing their GP if they need to.
“It is important that people keep their regular doctor’s appointment and maintain treatment regimes, particularly if they suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma.
“Looking after your mental health is also important at this time. The State Government’s Be Positive. Be Connected. Be Active. campaign focuses on self-care and wellbeing strategies and provides practical ways people can support each other.
“Remember, people can also visit a GP Urgent Care clinic across the metropolitan area and in regional WA, if their usual GP can’t see them and it is urgent.”
As stated by WA Primary Health Alliance chairperson Dr Richard Choong:
“Your GP is your most important link to maintaining good health and now, more than ever, you need to stay in touch with your doctor.
“Our message is clear – we are here to help and we will keep you safe.
“You can now visit your doctor online, on the telephone or in person and we will ensure that your health is our number one priority.
“Please, don’t put off visiting your doctor. If you maintain your regular doctor’s appointments, you can stay as healthy and well as possible.”