We are aware that many people feel anxious about the idea of having to visit the GP during the Circuit Breaker. Dr Neil Forrest from IMC Camden answers a few common questions which we hope will put your mind ease:
Is it still safe to visit the GP if you are unwell?
Absolutely! We have put many measures in place to make sure patients are protected. We have separate clinics for anyone with a cough, fever, respiratory infections or any other symptoms which are suspicious for COVID-19. Staff wear protective equipment, and social distancing protocols for staff and patients are maintained. Most private clinics in Singapore are less busy than usual which should minimise the time it takes to complete your visit. In my opinion visiting our clinic is as safe (if not safer) than visiting a supermarket. Due to the effectiveness of the circuit breaker so far, we are seeing very few suspect COVID-19 cases in the community at present.
Doctors wear protective equipment as needed – scrubs and face masks for regular patients and full PPE for anyone with respiratory symptoms or deemed to be ‘higher risk’. Consultation rooms are disinfected between consults and the cleaning of general clinic areas has been enhanced. Unnecessary room furniture, magazines etc have been removed from the clinic.
Is it possible to get a same day appointment?
Yes, we will be able to see you on the same day if required. We encourage patients to call us first to discuss their problem. This will allow us to decide on the level of urgency and to allocate you to the appropriate clinic to be seen. Some routine issues (medical screening, check-ups for long term conditions) would be postponed until after the circuit breaker period. We are increasingly using video consultations (telemedicine) to address less urgent problems during this time.
Why is is important to seek medical advice if you notice something unusual rather than waiting till the circuit breaker is over?
There is a concern among GPs in many countries that we are not seeing the usual volume of patients, probably due to people feeling anxious about accessing medical care or being reluctant to burden the healthcare system at a challenging time. We worry that this will result in many problems being missed in the early stages, resulting in poorer outcomes for our patients in the future. If you are unsure, give us a call so we can advise on the best plan of action. This may be to see you more urgently, wait until after the circuit breaker, or to do a video consultation as an alternative to seeing you in the clinic.