GPs recognised on World Family Doctor Day

Matt Woodley

19/05/2020 1:00:09 PM

The RACGP has called on Australians to give thanks to GPs working on the healthcare frontline.

GP talking to pregnant patient.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the essential role GPs play in Australian communities.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the essential role that GPs play in Australian communities.
‘General practice is fundamental to Australia’s world class health system but its role is not always well understood by the average person,’ he said.
‘The pandemic has highlighted the work of GPs on the frontline – we are a patient’s first port of call when they have a health concern and play a critical role in Australia’s defence against COVID-19.
‘GPs are not only the “first in” when there’s a health crisis, we are also “the last out”, providing ongoing care to patients as they recover in the community and helping them to stay well.’  
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt also acknowledged the ‘critically important work’ frontline healthcare workers perform, and said he is ‘immensely proud’ of GPs dealing with a healthcare system experiencing ‘unprecedented challenges’ due to COVID-19.
‘Our nation’s general practitioners are playing an essential role in protecting the health of our community during the pandemic, and especially those most at risk,’ he said.
‘Medical professionals throughout the nation have swiftly changed their model of care to utilise telehealth for much of their work, combined with face-to-face consultations whenever necessary.
‘It’s pleasing to see clinical professionals working in general practice have immediately risen to the challenge of ensuring testing for their patients who have symptoms, or who are at risk of COVID-19, with many working in GP-led respiratory clinics across the country.
‘These hard-working medical professionals have continued to ensure that their patients receive attention for their acute health problems, ongoing management of their chronic health problems and mental health concerns, and essential preventive care measures.’
Aside from recognising the work of GPs, Dr Nespolon said World Family Doctor Day is also an opportunity to remind people that they should not delay making an appointment if they have a health concern.
‘Since COVID-19 hit we have seen a drop in patient numbers which is very concerning – the last thing we want is people avoiding important medical appointments, as this could cause an increase in health problems,’ he said.
‘In these difficult times it is still important to take care of your health and wellbeing.
‘We want to remind people that it remains safe to visit your GP, general practice has world-class infection control processes. It’s also never been easier to access your GP, with telephone and video consultations available.
‘We also want to remind people why it’s important to have a regular GP. If you have a GP or clinic you go to regularly you will get better healthcare because they will know your health history.
‘Your GP is not just there for you when you feel unwell, they also provide preventive healthcare to keep you healthy and out of hospital.
‘So if you have concern or want to take preventive steps to be as healthy as you can be, don’t turn to Dr Google or social media because you need expert advice – and your GP is there to help.’
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