The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is calling on Australians to give thanks to their family GPs on the frontline on World Family Doctor Day on Tuesday 19th May.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said the COVID-19 pandemic had put a spotlight on the essential role that GPs play in our communities.
“General practice is fundamental to Australia’s world class health system but its role is not always well understood by the average person.
“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."
The RACGP President said World Family Doctor Day was also an opportunity to remind people that their GP was there to help and if you have a health concern, don’t delay making an appointment.
“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.
“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 health care because they will know your health history. And your GP is not just there for you when you feel unwell, they also provide preventative healthcare to keep you healthy and out of hospital.
“So if you have concern or want to take preventative 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.”
The RACGP is running a nationwide campaign, Expert Advice Matters, to encourage people to keep taking care of their health and see their GP for any concerns.
The campaign website, www.expertadvicematters.com.au, has practical advice for patients on how they can see their GP on the phone or using videoconferencing platforms, as well as in-person. The advert can be viewed online at: https://youtu.be/xdv-dYMpwmQ