The director of Gold Coast Private Emergency Care Centre (ECC) is encouraging the community not to neglect their own health. Especially during concerning times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Less People in the Emergency Care Departments
Emergency medicine specialist Dr Anthony Padowitz works across the public and private sectors. Dr Padowitz said there has been a big drop in emergency department presentations across the board. He wants to remind people of the dangers of ‘putting your health on hold’. Dr Padowitz wants to reassure people that it is safe to visit a hospital.
“In recent months, we have observed a drop-off in the number of people presenting at our emergency departments for treatment, a trend also noted among GPs and allied health professionals,” Dr Padowitz said.
“Based on feedback from those patients who do present, we think that the trend is driven by two factors – people are concerned about catching COVID-19, or do not want to be a burden on the system during the pandemic.
“It may come as a surprise, but not seeking treatment until the last minute actually puts a strain on the system – if we can treat something earlier, it is better for everybody.
“We want to reassure the community that it is safe, and advisable, to visit a hospital, should you be experiencing a medical emergency.
“We have plenty of protocols in place to ensure people are kept safe and away from those presenting with respiratory symptoms.”
Always Seek Medical Advice and Emergency Care
Dr Padowitz said Queenslanders had done an outstanding job maintaining social distancing and dramatically reducing the spread of COVID-19. However, warned it was still vital that people sought medical advice and treatment should a health concern arise. He said ignoring or postponing medical attention for what may be a critical undiagnosed health issue was dangerous.
“All too often we see individuals present at our emergency department with a complaint that, had it been ignored, might have led to serious longer-term repercussions,” said Dr Padowitz.
“At the height of the pandemic, presentations to Gold Coast Private’s ECC were down 30 per cent.
“Even now, we are still treating about 15 per cent fewer people than before the pandemic – a trend that is being experienced across both public and private sectors and one that is dangerous for public health.
“Fortunately, the number of patients presenting with chest pain remains normal, and we are seeing an understandable drop in injuries due to restrictions on sport and outdoor activities.
“The worrying trend is the drop in patients presenting with things like abdominal pain and chronic illness. This is especially evident in diabetic patients and we have seen some cases where the patient is very ill by the time they arrive at hospital.”
Protecting People During COVID-19
Gold Coast Private acting general manager David Seton said the hospital had taken a number of steps to protect patients, staff, doctors and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are conducting patient screening and temperature checks on everyone who presents at our hospital,” he said.
“We’ve also implemented strict social distancing protocols in line with health authority advice.
“We urge anyone who may be putting off seeking medical advice or treatment, please contact your appropriate health professional, and if it’s an immediate concern, Gold Coast Private Emergency Department is open, safe, and here for your care.”
If you are unsure whether you need medical attention, contact Gold Coast Private’s Emergency Care Centre on (07) 5530 0800. You can also visit Gold Coast Private Hospital’s website.
Worried that you’ll have to seek emergency care for a fall? Read our article about the fall intervention rehab program at Gold Coast Private Hospital.
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast