Dawson MP George Christensen, Health on Central GP Dr Nicole Higgins and Dr Kristiana Pederick at the front desk of the North Mackay COVID-19 testing clinic: Picture: Melanie Whiting
Dawson MP George Christensen, Health on Central GP Dr Nicole Higgins and Dr Kristiana Pederick at the front desk of the North Mackay COVID-19 testing clinic: Picture: Melanie Whiting

Mackay GP says continued doctor visits essential

A MACKAY-BASED general practitioner advises certain health conditions cannot be treated through telehealth conferences during COVID-19.

Dr Nicole Higgins, from Health on Central in Andergrove, said while some patients could be treated from the comfort of their own homes, some conditions make it essential patients visited their doctors in person.

“Checking blood pressure, monitoring heart rhythm, listening to the lungs of patients with chronic lung disease, or treating chronic skin ulcers are just a few of the processes which are difficult to conduct remotely, and patients’ GP might ask those patients to visit in person,” Dr Higgins said.

“A conversation with practice staff when making an appointment will help determine the type of consultation most suitable to a patient’s need – for example, via telehealth phone or videoconferencing, or face-to-face.”

The important things, however, was that patients continued to make contact with their regular GP during the COVID-19 pandemic, either via telehealth appointments or in person, in order to stay well and healthy.

Dr Higgins said this was particularly important for people living with, or at risk of developing, chronic illness.

“The concern with these patients missing their appointment or avoiding making one can mean a deterioration in their condition, or delayed treatment of a complication,” she said.

Dr Higgins said a large proportion of people in North Queensland are living with the burden of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and chronic lung disease, with many more likely living with these illnesses undiagnosed.

Those living with or at risk of developing chronic illness, people with children under 18 months were also encouraged to continue with visits to their general practitioner.

“Early intervention is key for this age group to ensure their health milestones remain on track, which means it’s particularly important for parents to make and keep their appointments.”


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