The COVID-19 crisis has caused a reduction in patients and disruption to practices across the Peel region, with fears it could have a ripple effect on the training of new doctors.

In response, WA’s GP training provider WAGPET has launched a campaign asking patients to ‘Stand by your GP’.

WAGPET chief executive Janice Bell said she understood some patients were too scared to go back to their GP but to choose not to go was putting their health at risk.

“Leaving home to access necessary healthcare is still encouraged across Australia, but GP patient numbers have reduced across Perth and some parts of regional WA during COVID-19,” she said.

“General practices that are accredited to train GPs of the future are of the highest standard, safe to attend and run by highly experienced medical professionals.”

Murray Medical Centre, one of the oldest general practice clinics in the Peel region, has trained young doctors for about 20 years.

Senior partner and GP Supervisor Dr Frank Jones said the coronavirus meant the practice had to adapt to challenges but was continuing its training.

Dr Jones said without the next generation of quality trained GPs, health care costs would go up.

“If this disruption continues for the next two or three months, we will see a deterioration in income, there is no doubt about that,” he said.

Dr Alison Soerensen, who trained at Murray Medical and returned to work there, said there had been a decrease in patient numbers across the practice.

“We have telehealth, phone, our cleaning processes have been stepped up, we have the capacity for patients to wait in their cars rather than the waiting room and I have duct-taped lines in my room as a visual clue for social distancing,” Dr Soerensen said.

“It’s about keeping people safe, so I’m giving them choices.”

Source: Perth Now