Cork GPs are concerned about the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the region and the impact it is having on non-Covid concerns.
Midleton doctor Dr Mike Thompson urged people with non-Covid concerns to contact their GPs.
Against a backdrop or rising Covid-19 cases in Cork and across Ireland, Dr Thompson said GPs are worried other issues will slip through the cracks.
More than 100 cases of Covid-19 have been reported on several days in Cork alone in the past week.
Speaking to The Echo, Dr Thompson said:
“People still get sick, there’s crohn’s disease, mental health issues, childhood illnesses and vaccinations that must be done, pregnancy check-ups and much, much more.
“All that just doesn’t suddenly stop because of Covid-19.
“The challenge at the moment is to ensure all that stuff is being seen in parallel with the pandemic,” he added.
“We’re juggling at the moment which is an issue for general practice.
“There is a concern that GPs will start going down with the virus as cases increase and then staff will be pulled out because they’re close contacts and clinics will have to close.
“That would further condense the problem.” One of the main concerns for GPs, Dr Thompson explained, is ensuring that patients with non-Covid concerns are seen, even as the pandemic rages on.
“We as GPs are still much more concerned about non-Covid, which is still the vast majority of my day,” he said.
“But the more Covid that comes into my surgery, the less capacity I have to deal with the non-Covid issues.
“That important non-Covid stuff is then being displaced either because I can’t give an appointment or because people are reluctant to come into the surgeries amid rising cases of the virus,” he added.
“I would encourage people to contact us, whether it’s virtual or face to face appointments.
“I think we’re all back to face-to-face appointments for the majority of cases but if people are concerned about coming in, they can write to us, email us, send photos, call us, whatever works.
“But a lot of the time, we may have to see a patient in person, to put a hand on a sick tummy to see if it’s appendicitis or any other issues that require that face-to-face contact.
“The face-to-face aspect is also important from a mental health perspective, because in the current climate, who knows what we’re storing up for later down the line.”