Illawarra GP’s ‘dramatically overworked’ in evolving pandemic | Illawarra Mercury

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The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Illawarra and the “rapidly constant evolving situation of this pandemic” is creating much more work and stresses for Illawarra doctors. Dr Jacqueline Sloan from Gerringong Medical Practice said trying to keep up with all the changes as well as manage the day to day operations of a GP was “overwhelming”. “It has just been quite an overwhelming year for GPs. The workload has increased dramatically,” Dr Sloan said. Read more: COVID cases jump to 71 in Illawarra Shoalhaven “I could go home tonight and spend hours and hours on the childhood vaccinations that are coming up on the 10th of January so I’m really confident in giving parents good advice on ‘yes you should vaccinate your five to 12-year-old, and this is the reason why’. “I could also do a lot more reading in managing my low-risk COVID patients in the home environment. “That is on top of doing all my other general practice, dealing with suicidal patients that walk in your door, telling people that they’ve got cancers or dealing with really difficult medical presentations that turn up at your practice.” Dr Sloan acknowledged GPs hadn’t been helped when changes to vaccine rollouts were announced. “I do feel we haven’t been given a lot of notice quite often,” she said. “As an example, the change in the booster dosing from six months to five months, that affected us really significantly over the last two weeks since that was announced because we weren’t given any warning or inkling that that was going to happen. “We order our COVID vaccines weeks in advance. “We had hundreds of patients calling us trying to get booster shots earlier, and had we known that we may have been able to order double our normal fortnightly order to cope with that. “That would have made my receptionists’, nurses’ and GPs’, and patients’ lives much easier. “It is very frustrating for them for the government to announce ‘yes you can all get your boosters now at five months’ but actually getting into your GP for that tomorrow when patients want to get them done is a bit more of a challenge.” Read more: Emma McKeon’s Wollongong Christmas plans dashed after catching COVID Meantime, the number of daily COVID infections today rose to 71 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven – up from 24 on Monday and 48 on Tuesday. Fifty-three of those cases were from the Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA), with 11 linked to known cases. Seven reside in the Shellharbour LGA, with two linked to known cases; eight cases were from the Kiama LGA (two linked to known cases) and three are from the Shoalhaven. There have now been 3023 community-acquired COVID-19 cases reported since June, when the first case in this outbreak was reported. The Illawarra Mercury newsroom is funded by our readers. You can subscribe to support our journalism here. Sign up for breaking news emails below …


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