Unsettling times in our communities and across the world
It is an unsettling time.
We know young people, their parents and teachers have been preoccupied with school closures for several weeks. We are aware that families in our community are facing new challenges, juggling the responsibilities of caring for family members – young and old. Thousands of people are adjusting to new working arrangements, while others, in casual employment or small business are fearful about future incomes.
And then there are the health professionals.
The GPs and their teams.
The medical and nursing professionals working at hospitals.
The Nurses working in aged care.
The Aboriginal Health Workers reaching out to support communities.
These professionals have been working for weeks to respond to, and prepare for, the spread of COVID 19.
We knew COVID 19 was coming and its impact was to going to be significant. Australia’s leading medical professionals and GPs having been working around the clock to prepare Australia, the health system and GP practices. Thankfully, our politicians have been listening to the medical experts and responding to their advice. But more needs to be done.
As at 3:00pm on 25 March 2020, there have been 2,423 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. This figure is rising I am still hopeful it will flatten in response to the recent restrictions . GPs are on the frontline. Every day, we see patients who need testing or who are displaying symptoms that are causing them to be concerned. As GPs we balance keeping our staff and ourselves safe, whilst also attempting to achieve continuity of care.
There is a long road ahead for each of us and our communities. Our patients look to us as the calm providers of advice. They seek out our guidance and look to us to reassure them. We have the skills and expertise to be at the frontline of the campaign to keep all of us healthy and safe. However, to do this role well, we need open lines of communication with decision makers, access to evidence, timely testing and plenty of PPE.
Australia has more than 26,000 specialist GPs[i]. We are working in communities all across Australia. We want to help our patients and their families through this time. To do this we are going to need our support networks, our leaders and our resilience. I am confident that Australia’s GPs are up to the challenge. Our communities are depending on it.
[i] Medical Board of Australia. Registrant Data – December 2019. Accessed 22 March 2020 https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/News/Statistics.aspx