The ICGP has asked patients not to attend their GP practice or out-of-hours service without an appointment.
In a statement yesterday evening, the College said GPs may not be able to facilitate walk-in visits in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection to GPs, staff and other patients in the practice.
Dr Mary Favier, President of the ICGP, said “We are requesting the public to help us keep frontline healthcare staff as safe as possible from the Covid-19 virus. We know that the cases of community transmission are increasing and therefore we are asking that particularly those people with acute respiratory symptoms, eg, fever, cough, shortness of breath, or flu-like symptoms to contact their GP practice in advance, and take advice from the staff there.”
Dr Nuala O’Connor, Lead Adviser on Covid- 19 with the ICGP, said: “The Irish College of General Practitioners would like to remind the public that any patient who has been to, or in contact with, someone who has been to an affected area and has symptoms, including a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, should not go to their GP surgery, A&E department, or out-of-hours co-op, but stay at home and call their GP or out-of-hours service. Those without a GP, or in an emergency, should call 112 or 999.”
Dr O’Connor added: “The key to stopping the spread of the virus continues to be regular handwashing and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the bend of your elbow when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of infection and to keep hands away from your face.”
She further stated “illness due to Covid-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness; about one in every five people who catch it may need supportive care . It is quite normal for people to worry about how the Covid-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.”
“Keep informed and follow the advice on www.hse.ie including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings. For travel advice go to www.dfa.ie,” Dr O’Connor added.
Further information for the public is available on the HSE website. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html#Protect-yourself