During COVID-19 it might be more difficult than usual to get to your doctor’s appointments or regular health checks. Whilst it’s understandable that you want to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home, it’s still important to manage your ongoing health and wellbeing.
In some cases, this may mean that you need to see you GP, specialist, an allied health professional, or need to go to the emergency department. You might also need to have routine scripts filled or continue with ongoing tests or appointments to help you manage physical and health conditions.
It’s important that you don’t wait to get help if you’re worried about your health or delay any ongoing treatment as this could be detrimental to your health down the track.
Putting off important healthcare checks and treatments could lead to ongoing serious health issues, so don’t ignore any red flags when it comes to your health.
A recent study from Italy1 showed that children were suffering from negative health outcomes due to delayed access to care. The study also suggested that the risks associated with delaying hospital care could be more harmful than the COVID-19 virus itself.
Furthermore, when it comes to mental health, getting support during this time is more important than ever. Currently Australians are experiencing more feelings of stress and social isolation due to the COVID-19 shutdown measures2.
Your GP is here to help you if you need some extra support with your mental health and wellbeing.
It may be a bit challenging to leave your home for a face-to-face appointment during this time, so check with your GP clinic if you may be able to conduct some appointments via a telehealth consultation.
How can I stay safe whilst attending appointments?
It’s best to see your usual GP if you can, however, if you cannot see your GP virtually, need to find a new GP, or require an out of hours appointment, telehealth is now an option for a range of healthcare appointments.
If you do need to see your GP in person try to keep in mind that your GP and other health service staff have training in place to keep their spaces clean and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Whilst GP clinics already follow precautions such as cough etiquette, infectious waste disposal and hand hygiene, they will also have extra measures in place such as PPE and social distancing to keep you safe. All healthcare practitioners have access to an online module to train workers in infection control and COVID-19 prevention, so there’s no need to put off an essential health check during this time.
If you’re feeling unsure, you can always ask your GP or Allied Health service what measures they are putting in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, or request that your appointment take place online, if that is possible.
Booking an appointment with your GP or Allied Health Service
- Call your GP or Allied Health Service to book an appointment for any regular tests or check-ups you may need. They’ll be able to advise whether these can be conducted via telehealth or in person.
- Make sure you call ahead before attending an appointment and make sure to mention to your GP if you’ve been exposed to, or think you may have contracted COVID-19 so they can advise on how to proceed.
What to expect if you’re expecting
It’s understandable to feel some anxiety during this time if you’re pregnant, especially considering that you may have to see your doctor more often than usual in the run up to welcoming your little one.
It’s important that routine check-ups and vaccinations continue as usual during this time, however the way that these appointments and treatments are delivered may have to change. You might find that your antenatal classes are cancelled or take place virtually, or that visitors must be limited in hospital. Whilst this might feel unsettling, these measures are being put in place to keep you and your baby safe.
For more information on what you can expect if you're pregnant during COVID-19, check out this article.
24/7 Medibank Nurse Phone Service We’re here to support you and help you get the care you need, at all times. If you have health-related questions and are not sure of next steps, Medibank members with hospital cover* can call the 24/7 Medibank Nurse Phone Service on 1800 644 325, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mental Health Phone Support If you need mental health and wellbeing support as well as information about mental health issues, Medibank members with hospital cover* can also call Medibank's Mental Health Phone Support on 1800 644 325, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
*Overseas Student Health Cover members should contact the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.