Against a backdrop of a rapidly changing and challenging environment, general practices are busier than ever.
Many practices are involved in delivering COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations, and all have had to put new procedures in place to manage infection risk. Yet others are feeling the impact of staff shortages due to COVID-19 infection.
Some patients may be missing out on or putting off routine checks for chronic conditions due to concerns about exposure to COVID-19 while visiting the practice. Others may be unsure about how best to access their GP, and if they should be making routine appointments at this time.
Additionally, as WA moves into its first winter living with COVID in the community, it is more important than ever to remind patients of the importance of having an influenza vaccination.
WA Primary Health Alliance has developed a self-service campaign for general practices to inform, reassure, and encourage patients to keep their health on track. It is also intended to relieve some of the pressure GPs and practice staff are facing in a rapidly changing and challenging environment, where they are busier than ever.
See your GP – Keep your health on track provides practices with communication tools to remind patients of the importance of looking after their health, and to understand why their care may be delivered a little differently at the moment, yet still safely and effectively.
WAPHA CEO Learne Durrington said given this campaign had been informed by GPs and consumers, she is confident it will hit the mark and get an important message across.
“As we learn to live with COVID-19 in our community, it is critical people continue to see their GP for ongoing care for chronic and other conditions, as well as screening and immunisations. Our aim in developing this campaign for general practices is for them to reassure their patients that while a visit with their GP may look a little different, they will still get the same high-quality care.”
Topics covered in the See your GP – Keep your health on track include information on the importance of screening and other routine care, what to expect when coming to the practice, including the need to wear masks and respect practice staff, the availability of telehealth, e-prescriptions, and winter influenza vaccinations with or without concurrent COVID-19 vaccinations.
It is an excellent opportunity to promote the benefits of telehealth (where clinically appropriate), e-prescribing, and COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.
Practices can self-serve from the suite of materials, some of which are customisable, such as the patient information sheet and website text, with others being widely applicable, such as the suite of animated videos and social media tiles.
The campaign was informed by members of the WA GP Advisory Panel run by WA Primary Health Alliance in partnership with RACGP WA and Rural Health West.