By Dr Sally Shaw*
SUMMER is here and we are all breathing a sigh of relief that we can have Christmas with our friends and family and all the celebrations that go with it. The last two years of COVID has had terrible implications on our businesses, our health and our mental state, this is all over. Or is it?
Everyone seems to think that is the case and it is commonly thought there is no difference in the common cold and COVID and, for some people, this is true.
At the Rosebud Respiratory Clinic, we have had a very steep decline in the number of patients being tested. We know that only a small percentage of people with symptoms are actually being tested and government estimates this to be roughly 10 per cent. However, these patients who are coming to our clinics for testing are the ones who need our services the most. Of these patients, more than 50 per cent are testing positive to COVID, 25 per cent are testing positive to another respiratory virus like influenza and 25 per cent have a negative result despite having symptoms, sometimes quite serious.
Our doctors treat these patients and monitor their symptoms to keep them out of the hospitals and GP settings.
For many people, the destruction to our lives from COVID continues and the government seems to have dropped the ball. I am sure it is a bad election topic and has been shelved for votes. I am also sure that most people have a personal story about someone had to cancel their trip, their wedding, or their 60th birthday.
It’s great that we can now go to work with a full complement of staff and know that we’re not going be stressed out of our brains, or that our businesses will not fold.
Absenteeism continues to be an enormous strain on the community. Despite the amazing resilience and courage of Victorians especially, we are not winning this battle.
The federal government has no policy to keep our clinics open next year or to do any marketing or medical support for patients with COVID.
I am sure those who are unwell with COVID at the moment are feeling very neglected.
I hate masks, isolating, not kissing, not hugging. I don’t know what the answer is, but closing all the testing clinics, stopping vaccinations, not wearing masks, not isolating doesn’t seem very smart.
There is a portion of our community who still get very unwell with COVID. In Australia we had 36 deaths last week. There are 81 people in ICU right now and 2689 patients hospitalised with COVID.
The government has spent billions of dollars in the past two years for these clinics and in protecting the most vulnerable and to now close them down doesn’t seem to be a sensible approach. Where will these patients who we currently treat go after 31 December?
Last month our clinic treated 465 positive patients and 210 required antiviral scripts. These patients are sick and are unable to see their GPs.
GPs remain totally under the pump, and it is very difficult to get an appointment at short notice. All our casualty and emergency departments are struggling already with 2600 COVID patients to treat.
*Dr Sally Shaw is a doctor at Rosebud Respiratory Clinic, 1079 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud, phone: 0436 033 507.