#COVID-19 Beaudesert advises patients to practise "healthy distancing"

STAY SAFE: Dr Michael Rice says most of his patients are taking a sensible approach to the COVID-19 health advice. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

STAY SAFE: Dr Michael Rice says most of his patients are taking a sensible approach to the COVID-19 health advice. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

BEAUDESERT doctor Michael Rice has advised Scenic Rim residents to maintain healthy distancing to minimise their chances of catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Dr Rice said his patients had displayed a significant amount of common sense as health advice became more serious this week.

"We have seen plenty of patients who are concerned but so far no one seems to be panicking," he said.

"Patients in the community are observing the benefits of healthy distancing. Many doctors are encouraging patients to call it that rather then social distancing because it is important to maintain social connection in times of stress."

Dr Rice said people could remain connected by phone and social media as well as by seeing each other.

"If you stretch your arms out and move them around you, imagine yourself in a kind of bubble.

'If you stay in that bubble you are helping to keep yourself safe."

Dr Rice said the Beaudesert Medical Centre had increased the number of Telehealth (video) consultations they performed this week.

He advised people who needed to see a doctor to call 1300HEALTH or their local GP.

"We definitely don't want people just turning up to the surgery, making other people sick or catching something themselves," he said.

"Medicare has provided rebates for phone consultations to be bulk-billed, not everyone is eligible for Telehealth services but this is an evolving landscape and every couple of days Medicare changes the rules."

Keep within your bubble, says Dr Rice.

Keep within your bubble, says Dr Rice.

Dr Rice said so far his practice had managed to cope with the number of patients calling but some surgeries were struggling to keep up during peak times, usually early mornings.

"Patients who call are being asked questions to help us decide if they need to be in hospital or if they need to come in to see a GP," he said.

"We are able to manage all sorts of conditions over the phone.

"High blood pressure and diabetes can be safely managed this way, and face to face consultations can be put off until later in the year.

"General skin checks can also safely be deferred, unless you have a spot that is rapidly changing, then that should be seen by a doctor."