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Dr concerned people avoiding doctor due to Coronavirus

Dr concerned people avoiding doctor due to Coronavirus

Posted April 03, 2020

Dr Martin Mikaere, a doctor at Te Korowai clinic in Thames is concerned people with serious medical conditions are staying away from their doctor due to Coronavirus.

He is anxious patients are avoiding treatment for fear of contracting Coronavirus, or because they don’t want to be a burden to medical services at this time.

General Manager of Primary Care at Waitemata District Health Board , Matt Hannant said, “Although this is a busy time for the health system, it is important that people still reach out to their GP with any health concerns, ideally via their practice’s patient portal. Care for normal health issues will still be provided and practices are open, although they have moved to phone and video consultations wherever possible.

“It is also important that the public understands hospital emergency departments still have capacity to help people in genuine need of emergency care. “Over recent days, we have seen a pattern of people presenting to EDs at a very late stage when they are seriously ill. The message we want people to hear is that it is still okay to access the hospital ED before health concerns become critical.”

Dr Mikaere has worked at his clinic, which is the only COVID-19 testing centre in the Thames Coromandel region for nearly four weeks without a break.

He has tested 70 people and recorded 10 positive results. One of these needed hospital treatment but has since recovered.

The regulations restricting mourners at funerals and tangihanga has been a difficult process for his Maori community, Dr Mikaere said. He is concerned about grieving family having to leave the burial of their loved one to strangers.

And with people being isolated due to the rules over staying in a bubble during this lockdown period mental health is another problem area.

Dr Mikaere fears those who need support will miss out due to family members not identifying issues early.

He is encouraging people to use the 1737 national helpline number, and for people to check in on each other regularly using available technology.

Photo: Dr Martin Mikaere - Te Korowai o Hauora