General Practitioners urge public to follow Level 3 guidelines to reduce high risk of increased COVID-19 cases in the community
GPs see concerning rise in numbers of older people seeking COVID-19 tests as numbers of over 65s with COVID-19 double in the past week
GPs urge people to take steps to manage & acknowledge mental health pressures
The Irish College of General Practitioners, the training & professional body for Irish GPs, has warned of growing pressures on the health services as the level of COVID-19 increases across the country. There is increased concern amongst GPs at the serious implications of the rise in cases for the healthcare system, both in primary care and in hospitals.
The ICGP’S COVID-19 Clinical Lead, Dr Nuala O’Connor, said: “ It’s now up to everyone to absolutely adhere to Level 3 restrictions by restricting their social contacts, and maintaining social distancing as much as possible.
“The big increase in cases week-on-week is very worrying. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and community care has been increasing rapidly with a 30% increase in hospitalisations last week alone, and sadly 36 people have died of COVID-19 in September.”
The ICGP’S COVID-19 Adviser Dr Mary Favier, said: “We as GPs see the impact that the COVID-19 measures are having on people’s mental health, particularly those in vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.
Dr Favier added: “People living or working in crowded conditions are particularly vulnerable, and general stress levels are high. It is much more difficult to manage a COVID-19 outbreak in a crowded household, and people working in retail and service industries are at particular risk of stress.”
People with mental health worries are urged to contact their GP for advice, and to take steps to reduce stressful situations.
Dr Nuala O’Connor said: “We as GPs can give advice to patients who are feeling overwhelmed by this. In general it is very helpful to take regular exercise and maintain regular sleep routines. Avoiding excess alcohol is helpful and setting a limit to the amount of digital media you consume is important. We know old and young can feel stressed at this time. Keeping active and sticking to routines does help.”
HSE-funded partners who deliver mental health services can be accessed at www.yourmentalhealth.ie
The ICGP reiterated that GP surgeries continue to remain open during the current restrictions, even if there are no “walk-in” appointments. People with any medical conditions or worries about possible symptoms of cancer should phone their GP first and make an appointment.
Please continue to restrict social contacts, wear a mask and wash your hands regularly.
Consult www.hse.ie for COVID-19 advice and updates.
ISSUED BY Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant, ICGP.
Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @ICGPnews