I’m sure you are aware of the health crisis that Victoria, and Australia as a whole, is facing right now.
Yet, after another day of being verbally abused by a patient, it seems to be lost on some people.
Watch: Dr Melissa Kang - 'Dolly Doctor' - shares her experience growing up. Post continues below
Over the past two years, General Practice has been hit hard.
During the height of the pandemic, telehealth protocols were enacted. This was a much needed and well-received initiative, but it's time to rein it in. Patients now expect telehealth, and expect it to be bulk-billed.
It is assumed that General Practice should absorb the costs, keep the doors and phone lines open for patients, and keep their business afloat, all at once.
Oh, and while we try our best to keep our doors open and look after our patients, we are expected to do so without PPE provisions from the government, while simultaneously being informed we must follow PPE protocols.
As frontline workers during the pandemic, General Practices were at high risk of becoming infected. We couldn’t access Rapid Antigen Tests, much like the rest of the state.
During this time, however, our reception staff have been screamed at, degraded, and made to cry by inconsiderate individuals complaining about these same issues - the difference being that General Practice was there to help, and instead we were berated.
As I sit here and write this letter, I am chasing 18 months’ worth of arrears - patients stating that they won’t pay for telehealth and how ridiculous it is to expect them to pay when it’s ‘just a phone call’.
They also expect us to be available for telehealth consultations, and our phone bills to pay themselves.
Then came the Covid vaccine roll-out, amongst all the ever-changing rules and regulations about who stays home, who can work and disagreements about ‘is it 7 days, is it 14 days?’.
We received delayed deliveries on all vaccine types. Our consumables didn’t come with the vaccines either, but thankfully our store room had the needles, syringes and alcohol wipes required to run a Covid Vaccination Clinic, because our clinic was also being advertised online to anyone and everyone and our phones often rang out as we didn’t have enough staff to answer them.
It was around this time that we received our PPE goggles, almost 12 months later. Now I have three large boxes of goggles that are no longer required.
It was also at this time that we received daily emails advising that the expiry dates of the vaccine shelf life had changed again.