We live in extraordinary times. As a nation we have given up so much to protect our people. The lockdown has had a huge impact on us all for a number of reasons, including the fear of falling ill, the economic uncertainty and the inability to see loved ones. Humans are social creatures and this feels unnatural for us. Things we have taken for granted in life – such as grabbing a coffee with friends, going to the gym or going out for a meal, were put on hold.
This being said, our sacrifices have helped, and will continue to help to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
What we need to remember, however, is that making a doctor’s appointment should not be a luxury. Maintaining good health is imperative to wellbeing, whether that be mental or physical. The term ‘be kind’ has been used a lot during this pandemic. We must not forget to be kind to ourselves. Amongst other things, this includes seeking medical advice when needed.
Yes, things will have changed when you book an appointment with your doctor. You may be able to speak to your doctor remotely on the phone or via video link. If you need to come to the clinic, you will be assessed at the door by a nurse. You will be required to use hand sanitiser. Social distancing practices will be in place within the clinic setting. These are all measures to keep you safe.
One other thing you most likely will see is staff in full PPE (personal protective equipment) outside the clinic. This may seem scary to some. It is quite daunting being approached by someone wearing a mask covering their face, a full gown and a visor. Please be reassured that this is for your protection. At Silverdale Medical, for example, all patients who have any of the Covid-19 symptoms are seen in a specified area. They are assessed in their cars, and kept completely separate from the rest of the patients. Yes, our Covid-19 numbers are low in this country, but we want to keep them that way, and this is the reason for staff wearing PPE during the pandemic.
Many health professionals worry that people are not seeking medical advice who should, due to fears around coming to clinics and hospitals. If your diabetes readings are high, if you have an unusual mole on your arm or if you feel anxious and low, please ring to make an appointment with your doctor. Here at Silverdale we are also still managing patients who have had accidents. If you are uncertain as to whether or not you need to be seen, please ring ahead and there will be a nurse available who will be able to give you some guidance.
During these challenging times, many aspects of our lives are on hold. As health professionals, we encourage you to try not to forget your physical and mental health. The last thing we want to see is a large peak in 6 months’ time of preventable illnesses, such as heart attacks, or late presenting cancers. Please do not ignore your symptoms. We are here to help, as we always have been.
Hibiscus Matters welcomes Dr Isabelle Duck to our Health columns. She is a General Practitioner and Urgent Care doctor. Originally from the UK, Dr Duck has lived in Auckland for 10 years. She has experience in many aspects of community medicine including the management of acute accident and medical presentations and chronic medical conditions. She loves the educational role her work can offer, and enjoys getting to know her patients and their families. Outside of work, she enjoys running. She lives with her husband, young daughter and their rescue dog.