Kiwis 60+ need to keep seeing their GP to stay well

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

Kiwis over 60 need to keep seeing their GP during lockdown because their long-term health depends on it.

That’s the message from The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners who are keen to see older New Zealanders calling their GPs during lockdown so they can keep on top of health issues.

College Medical Director Bryan Betty says, “Healthline has reported to me that they’re seeing an upswing in chronic care issues because people are waiting too long to ask for the medical help they need.

“Delaying making an appointment with your GP is not good for anyone and delaying or ignoring minor issues can cause them to escalate and require more significant treatment, possibly in hospital.

“This is not helpful for patients or the hospital during a pandemic so it is paramount that patients seek advice early and a phone call to their GP is easy.”

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners says its ‘business as usual’ at general practices, which are open and safe but are working differently during the lockdown. Always call your GP before you visit, and they’ll advise you on what you need to do.

“Now is not the time to ignore symptoms and hope they’ll go away,” says College Medical Director Dr Bryan Betty.

“While Covid-19 has a huge effect on the country it hasn’t taken out your other health needs and taking the attitude that you’re somehow inconveniencing your GP during the pandemic is short-sighted thinking.”

“Skin conditions, lesions that are changing, and that scratch that you got gardening that is now red and itchy won’t magically cure themselves and need to be seen by a GP,” says Dr Betty.

Dr Samantha Murton, President of the College says, “New Zealand’s GP clinics are open, safe and just a phone call away.

“Give your GP a call as you normally would and they’ll book an appointment, which may be by phone first.

“We have trusted relationships with our patients, so we know by talking to you whether you need to come into the clinic and if that’s the case you’ll be safe when you’re seeing us.

“The lockdown is a stressful time for many and we’d rather you called than silently worried at home, particularly as we can help too with any mental distress you’re experiencing that may be effecting your mood or heightening anxiety.

“You’re not in this alone – please call us,” says Dr Murton.

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