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Doctors concerned patients with chronic illnesses are delaying seeking medical care because of virus outbreak

The IMO said it is important to remember the pandemic does not prevent other diseases from occurring or patients becoming unwell from other infections.

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DOCTORS HAVE EXPRESSED concern that patients with serious ailments or ongoing chronic illnesses may be ignoring their symptoms and avoiding visits to their GPs or Emergency Departments because of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Dr Padraig McGarry, President of the Irish Medical Organisation and a practising GP, said there were concerns from GPs around the country that patients may be delaying consulting their GP about non Covid-19 health issues because of concerns about the virus.

“It is important that patients with medical conditions other than non-Covid-19 are assessed by their GP,” he said today. 

The reality is that other ailments don’t simply go on pause when there is a pandemic and sometimes a visit delayed or cancelled may lead to a more serious issue further down the line.

Dr McGarry urged patients who may be anxious about visiting a doctor’s surgery to call their GP so their situation can be assessed and they can be advised of the next step.

Dr Mick Molloy, Consultant in Emergency Medicine in Wexford General Hospital, echoed these concerns.

“While we are acutely aware of the national emergency COVID-19 has placed on us, it is important to remember this pandemic does not prevent other diseases from occurring nor does it prevent patients becoming acutely unwell from other infections,” he said. 

“The population will still experience heart attacks, strokes, appendicitis, acute viral illnesses, kidney stones, acute psychiatric illness, abdominal pains and acutely unwell children who will need to be seen in emergency departments.”

Dr Molloy said emergency departments are still open for such conditions and others.

“Please do not delay seeking attention for urgent conditions to avoid becoming seriously unwell.”

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