New campaign encouraging Australians not ignore health concerns
Medibank is proudly backing the Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC) - a group of more than 30 peak medical bodies, industry and healthcare organisations – all advocating for people to continue with their health management during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The #dontwaitmate campaign raises awareness of maintaining routine healthcare, and ensuring consumers feel safe doing so. The ongoing campaign seeks to re-engage Australians with the health system.
Recent data from the CCC reveals worrying health trends during this pandemic. Research highlights a reluctance of some people to engage with healthcare professionals, pathology collection centres, and diagnostic imaging in 2020.
During the first few months of lockdown in Australia, the pathology sector saw a 40% drop in testing – equivalent to over 60,000 Australians per day not getting tests vital to manage their healthcare.
There has also been a noticeable reduction in screening, diagnosis and early treatment for cancers. Earlier this month, Cancer Australia reported a 40% reduction in cancer referrals than was usual at this time of year.
The Victoria Government recently reported visits to emergency department visits have fallen by at least 25% compared to the same time last year. Emergency department presentations for heart attack are down by 18%, and strokes by 24% compared to the same time in 2019.
Medibank Chief Medical Officer Dr Linda Swan said the risk of missing routine health appointments, can be more dangerous than catching COVID-19.
“The medical community is concerned about people ignoring new symptoms, putting off check-ups for pre-existing conditions or routine blood-tests during this pandemic. There is a real chance that we’ll see an increase in cancer diagnoses over the next 12 months, with more patients presenting with later-stage incurable disease,” said Dr Swan.
Despite COVID-19, healthcare can still be safely accessed. Prioritising your health matters, regardless of a pandemic.
Dr Swan said this includes keeping up to date with your child’s immunisations, as well as your regular check-ups and screenings. Your mental health is important too, with telehealth a good alternative for face-to-face appointments.
And if you need emergency assistance, call 000. Our ambulance services and emergency departments are always there to help.
“Not engaging in regular health checks could put Australians’ long-term health at risk. We also don’t want the healthcare system to be inundated post COVID-19. We all want a healthy Australia now and into the future.”