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Don't put it off: GPs urge patients not to delay in calling their doctor if concerned about other illnesses

If you have a testicular lump, or a lump on your breast, get it seen to.

(File photo): Women getting a breast exam
(File photo): Women getting a breast exam
Image: Shutterstock/ALPA PROD

WHILE THERE IS A lot of talk about Covid-19, GPs are urging their patients not to put off any other concerns they might have about their health.

If you have a testicular lump, a lump in your breast or any other concerning illness, you are not to delay in contacting your doctor, according to Dr Mary Favier, President of the Irish College of GPs.

“We need to hear about that, we need to see that, that doesn’t have any less urgency in a Covid-19 scenario,” she said when asked if there were concerns that members of the public were putting off calling their doctor about other health issues for fear of being a nuisance. 

Speaking at a Covid-19 press briefing today, she said patients are trying to judge what is and isn’t appropriate to contact their GP about in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Dr Favier said they are asking patients to think twice about whether they need to call their doctor, but they don’t want people to put something off either.

“General practice has been exceptionally busy. We’ve really tried to move everything to the telephone, but that’s not going to be realistic,” she said, stating that some patients will need to be seen. 

Speaking about one patient, she said they called about a concerning rash yesterday. The patient said it probably wasn’t important. Dr Favier said she very quickly asked what type of a rash it was, and it was fine. Her patient made the right decision to call and query the rash, she said.

Irish Medical Organisation president Padraig McGarry said:

“We want patients to ring because every call that comes in, we will triage them, we will call them back, we will discuss the symptoms and discuss whether there is a need for them to be seen. And certainly if there’s any, any issues that come up in those conversations, we will be seeing them as usual.

“Certainly with reducing the number of cases that might be seen this face-to face, but we  certainly we would expect that we’ll pick up anything that would of significance that might need further evaluation,” he said.

Mental health issues are also of concern to GPs said Dr Favier, stating that there are particular concerns and anxiety about the virus, about job losses, and about childcare. 

She said it is important that people feel that they can still reach out to their GP. Those sort of consultations and chats are usually carried out in person, but with the current circumstances they will take place over the phone in most cases.

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