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Covid-19 public health messaging ‘gone off the boil’

Former President of the IMO and North Dublin-based GP Dr Ray Walley has raised concerns that the change in Government has resulted in public health messaging around Covid-19 “going off the boil”. 

Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Dr Walley said he believed people had become more complacent about social distancing and other vital measures to prevent spread of the coronavirus. 

He added that patients presenting at his surgery were delaying immediately contacting their GP about the development of Covid-19 symptoms, some by as much as five days. 

The Government, he advised, needs to “re-emphasise the message among the public that patients with any symptoms should contact their GP immediately”. 

“The Government needs to get the message out that the virus has not gone away.”

Dr Walley stressed the highly infectious nature of the novel coronavirus, which is much more transmissible than influenza. 

The GP also called for guidance from the HSE and Department of Health on the management of the febrile child in the context of Covid-19 ahead of winter. 

“We need guidelines on how to manage the febrile child. Should all children be tested? Or just some?”

Monaghan-based GP Dr Illona Duffy said she has noticed an increase in the number of people travelling abroad on holidays and looking for tests before they travel. 

“Some patients are coming to us requesting tests before they travel, but this is not the role of the GP.”

Due to the requirement to quarantine on return from abroad, patients are also looking for “Covid leave” sick certs for work, said Dr Duffy, a request she has refused to accept. 

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