Local GP speaks about her experience during COVID-19
FROM not having enough to personal protective equipment to patients being fearful of going to the hospital, the coronavirus pandemic has bought some challenges for a local general practitioner.
Doctor Elizabeth Prictor from the Chinchilla Medical Practice has been on the frontline working through the pandemic still assisting patients with their healthcare needs.
The GP who has been at the practice for the three and half years said the biggest challenge for her was how fearful patients were to access healthcare.
“I did have a patient come in over the weekend who had symptoms of a stroke, and I would usually send them to the hospital,” she said.
“However, they didn’t want to go for fear of picking up infections from a bigger town.
“Even when I work at the hospital once a month, most people seem to come in at night rather than during the day because they don’t want to be around other people.
“People are trying to avoid hospital situations, but if they need it, then there is no better place to be.”
Having limited access to personal protective equipment, the practice has been relying on people telling them if they symptoms and wearing a mask if they need to, which leaves Dr Prictor feeling exposed.
She said she has been trying to juggle the fine line of not becoming a patient herself and a way of transmitting to others while still providing the best service she can, and it’s changed the way she has worked.
“It’s affecting our general duties, and we are now double-checking everything and asking ourselves do we have to check that mole today or can it be done in two months.”
“The voices in the back of your head always remind you of the risks of being at work.
“I am happy in the way that we are stilling patients, and we are still examining ears and throats and skin and whatever the patient needs.
“However, I am also glad that we do some things over the phone.
“If we can be managed over the phone then it useful for the meantime.”
Dr Prictor originally became a GP because she liked variety, interacting with people and feeling like she got something out of her day.
However, with social distancing and health policies in place, she is struggling not to be there as much as she can for her patients.
“It has made an impact on how we do treat patients because we are used to being very closed contact and share the high and lows what they are going through,” she said.
“Now we have to be separated, so it’s hard when someone is going through a tough medical situation or passing away, and you can’t be there for them.”
Despite the coronavirus forcing the practice to adapt the way they do things, the GP is proud of how the community has come together to look after each other.
“The highlight for me is that we haven’t had a crisis and been able to manage the situation,” she said.
“I would encourage people to continue to follow all of the guidelines, make sure they are looking out for themselves, families and other and if they need to go and see a doctor, then they shouldn’t be afraid to.”