Primary care response during COVID-19 in Australia. The key messages presented by Dr Emily Kirkpatrick at GP20 included:
COVID has had a significant impact, especially on GPs and primary care practitioners, and also on the viability of practices.
The overall health of the community has been significantly affected by COVID, especially from a mental health perspective.
Less people are coming into practices and a tele-health model has been rapidly adopted. This has been vital in ensuring continuity of care; and has made it safer for GPs.
GP practices have moved to a pod approach ie 2 alternating workforces to decrease the risk of transmission.
The role of the nurse has adapted and changed to be more of a tele-health triaging consultant rather than face-to-face.
With a decrease in the number of skin checks being conducted an emerging issue will be how to maintain and increase diagnostic screening.
The has been a significant focus of getting PPE into General Practice, especially during the second wave, to ensure the safety of primary care workers.
General Practice has the overall skill set to manage COVID patients in the community; and the majority of patients in SA are being managed by GPs – highlighting the vital contribution that primary care is making in managing the pandemic.
GPs are at the forefront of patient education (including preventative measures and encouraging testing).
Primary care has been vital in managing hotel quarantine programs.
Primary care in the post-COVID world will utilise more technology, more tele-health, and a much stronger focus on mental health.
Thanks to the presenter: Dr Emily Kirkpatrick, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, SA Health
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