Dr Claire Lawrence from Noosa Outlook Medical Centre.
Dr Claire Lawrence from Noosa Outlook Medical Centre.

Drive-through flu shot, telehealth as GPs deal with pandemic

IT's been a whirlwind of a time for general practice doctors during the coronavirus pandemic as they work through day to day no matter the risk.

From their drive-through flu shot service to dealing with the ongoing non-coronavirus matters, Claire Lawrence from Noosa Outlook Medical Centre said she was proud of how her centre had approached the pandemic situation.

"Our priority has always been that of our staff and community's safe well being," Dr Lawrence said.

She said the practice had adopted telephone consults and social distancing measures to help keep patients at ease.

"Patients wait in their car or are socially distancing on the outside benches," Dr Lawrence said.

"We have been able to conduct telephone and video consults as well as face-to-face.

"Influenza vaccines have been administered in a drive through clinic at the back of the premises."

While the wearing of mask continues to be debates, Dr Lawrence said they was vital in her line of work.

"We choose to wear face masks purely because we often have to be close to patients and given that we are exposed to a lot of people during a working day."

"We don't expect our patients to routinely wear one.

"They can be uncomfortable and increase the chances of people wanting to touch their face."

"Like everyone we have had major issues accessing personal protective equipment, it's been heart warming when patients have dropped off masks for us."

>>FACE MASKS: to wear or not to wear

Dr Lawrence said this pandemic had seen a surge in mental illness and reminded everyone to be aware of their everyday health.

"The pandemic … has brought about a surge of mental illness, both anxiety and depression, which can be challenging when you aren't in the same room or can't even extend just a touch on the arm to reassure," she said.

"We do not, however, want people to neglect their health issues at such a time."

"They need to contact their GP if they have medical problems as they need to be addressed."

With family in the United Kingdom, Dr Lawrence knows all to well just how widespread the impact of this disease has been, believes it could be some time before we return to normal.

"I am uncertain of the future and with family living the nightmare of the UK, I do not feel comfortable to breathe a sign of relief.

"I think we still need to be very cautious."



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