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Patients presenting to general practice with serious conditions unrelated to Covid-19

Patients are beginning to present with “non-Covid” related illnesses to general practice that require emergency attention in hospital, a Cork GP has warned.

Cork City GP Dr Jim Harty says he is starting to see patients attend in a “delayed fashion”, with patients putting off coming to see him “until things were deteriorating significantly”.

“Luckily, the fact the hospital is working at well under capacity meant they could get assessed rapidly via the medical assessment unit in one case,” Dr Harty told the Medical Independent.

“In another case they need urgent investigations and I have referred back to their surgeon.”

GPs have been expressing concern for weeks that patients were delaying contacting them due to concerns about contracting Covid-19.

Both the IMO and ICGP have reminded patients that practices remain open for business and have urged patients to contact them with any health queries despite the pandemic restrictions.

According to anecdotal reports, some elderly patients are afraid to attend practices out of fear of contracting the coronavirus, resulting in them seeking help when their health issue is more acute.

Meanwhile, Dr Harty says the majority of his patients are still waiting three to four weeks for their Covid-19 test result.

“90 per cent plus were getting results from me without having heard anything from public health.

“None of my patients referred two weeks ago have a result back”.

Efforts are currently underway to streamline the testing process and improve test result turnaround times.

Around 1,500 referrals for Covid-19 are being made daily, with turnaround times  from laboratories now reported at 24-36 hours.

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