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A Dunedin medical centre under ‘‘extreme pressure’’ is imploring people not to clog up primary care with bureaucracy.
Aurora Health Centre director and doctor Jill McIlraith said the centre was experiencing high demand for its services, not only from patients who were unwell, but anxious people who were after reassurance regarding Covid-19.
‘‘This is particularly so in South Dunedin, where we have many elderly and vulnerable people.’’
A doctor and a nurse had been rostered at the centre to be on the phone all day to manage demand and answering queries.
Online bookings had been cancelled so all patients could be asked screening questions by reception staff.
‘‘This is the only way we can manage the flow and get sick patients seen appropriately while protecting others in the waiting room and our staff .’’
While the centre was triaging the work flow, she said it would greatly help if less necessary appointments ceased.
Issuing a plea to employers and education facilities, Dr McIlraith said those wanting a letter for their employer were not a group the centre had capacity to see at present.
‘‘ If ACC and Winz can accept phone consultations and are being flexible . . . so should employers be.
‘‘We do not think it is a good use of health resources to rubber-stamp what is now official advice — if you are unwell, stay home.’’
Patients coming in asking the centre to phone their workplace and explain why they should be home from work should not use up health resources, she said.
Other requests for appointments the centre could not accept included those wanting to be tested for Covid-19 in order to return to work early, not because they were at risk, and parents of children with minor colds who needed a letter.
‘‘We will see the child if the parent is concerned, but not just to provide documentation for the child care centre or school.’’
She requested the public’s assistance in keeping vulnerable members of the community safe.
‘‘Seeing patients with mild viral illnesses uses up valuable appointments and has potential to waste personal protective equipment . .. meaning it will not be available to protect staff and other patients when it is really needed.’’