During COVID we saw a definite reduction in how often people went for their various check-ups. Many didn’t see it as an essential need and put it off to a time they thought was safer.
Well now is that time and people will be surprised how General Practices have changed.
If you haven’t been to your GP in a while, I suggest you take a fresh look. Modern primary care is taking over many of the roles traditionally offered through hospital or medical practice visits.
AMTAN Medical Centres recently trialled and introduced a heart scanning device used to obtain results that to date required a trip to a specialised cardiac centre or hospital.
With the use of a handheld ultrasound scanning device a General Practitioner can scan a patient’s heart and see a picture of it on their smart phone. The equipment provides instant views of the heart working.
To date General Practitioners could only hear a heart through a stethoscope and scans required more time and cost for the patient. The outcome of such technology is quicker awareness of heart disease and the ability to save more lives.
So next time you go to a GP you could have the traditional blood pressure test, and also a heart ultrasound scan instead of a quick listen with a stethoscope.
During COVID-19 General Practices took on more roles in supporting patients including pregnant women.
In 2020 AMTAN employed a midwife, introduced antenatal classes and education programs, and launched a postnatal care program including a baby clinic and home visits.
What was once just a local GP facility began offering antenatal care; pregnancy and birthing education; postnatal care including home visits and feeding assistance; infant massage instruction teaching baby massage, settling techniques and sleep support; nutrition plans; mental health and wellness; health checks; and postnatal depression support.
Whilst your GP is not an expert in everything, they can diagnose when you need a specialist. It is good to check how many allied health services your General Practice offers. That is, if they offer access to specialists at their facilities, saving you time driving around to different centres. And ensuring information about your health is shared between your GP and the allied health specialist.
Common in many General Practices are Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Psychologists, Dietitians, Diabetes Educators, Speech Pathologists and more.
They can work collaboratively with other professionals such as nurses, dentists, and pharmacists, or independently as specialists in exercise and fitness, nutrition, speech, and health education.
It is quite possible you can be visiting your local medical practice for advice on nutrition-related matters; help in restoring, maintaining and improving your mobility; or even seeking assistance with feet and limb conditions.
One area we have seen an increase in since COVID-19 is the need to help patients with psychological or mental, emotional, and behavioral issues.
The pressure of life has been building for decades but COVID took it to a higher level by triggering more working from home, home schooling, financial pressures and insecurity about our future.
Many homes are effectively becoming pressure cookers and it is affecting the health of parents and the children.
There is no shame in discussing this with your local GP. We are increasingly providing advice and support plans for our patients who are all feeling pressure.
COVID testing and vaccinations
I am very proud of how General Practitioners support the COVID-19 testing program. Drive Through testing, with no appointments, make it safe and easy for everyone, and providing results over the phone means the patient does not need to revisit the Doctor.
Our next important role of course is to support the roll out of the vaccines to protect us against COVID-19. And General Practices are stepping up to help there too.
Dr Tanya is a Director of Amtan Medical Group and Skin Lab & Beauty. Amtan Medical Group recently launched a new service model for expecting and new mothers which includes antenatal care; pregnancy and birthing education; postnatal care including home visits and feeding assistance; infant massage instruction teaching baby massage, settling techniques and sleep support; nutrition plans; mental health and wellness; health checks; and postnatal depression support. Dr Tanya is also a busy mother of two.