New Zealand’s 5,500 general practitioners are working hard to sustain excellent community health care across the country but are finding the second wave of COVID-19 challenging.
"Fighting a global pandemic is relentless for a GP who has been on the frontline of the fight for months now and of course they carry that weight; they have their own worries, families, and health conditions but still front up every day in a professional, calm manner to serve New Zealanders," says Dr Samantha Murton, President of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (the College).
Eighty percent of GP practices are swabbing patients, or have their doctors working in community-based assessment clinics (CBACs) alongside the routine care they do that usually keeps them fully occupied.
Dr Bryan Betty is the medical director of the College and says, "GPs are really under the pump with this community transmission in what can be tough and distressing situations.
"GPs will continue to front up because that’s the kind of people they are and that is their job. But working at such a level of heightened stress and anxiety long-term needs to be sustainable," he says.
The College has provided mental health and counselling support and advice to GPs but also encourages patients to show kindness and compassion because what effects New Zealanders also effects their doctors.
"Appreciating the GPs and their practice teams with a ‘thank you’ or message of hope can go a long way to ensuring GPs are feeling valued for the work they’re continuously fronting up for," says Dr Murton.