Doctors back call for rethink of any extension to Victorian lockdown

The Australian Doctors’ Federation (ADF) supports calls by eminent Victorian doctors who are expressing concerns about the Stage 4 lockdown extending past its due date of 14th September.
These doctors, including four professors have outlined their concerns for their patients in an Open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews and offered to assist with ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria in order to limit its negative impact on the physical and mental health of the general population 1 (https://www.coviddoctorsnetwork.com/) .

“A key concern of many doctors not only in Victoria, but across Australia is the tendency for patients to present later than normal with medical complaints,” Director of the ADF, Mr Stephen Milgate said.

Our medical response is built on early diagnosis by general practitioners and appropriate referrals to specialists at the time that symptoms appear. It is correct to point out that delays in this process are known to lead to poorer health outcomes.

The impact of lockdowns on the health of patients who are being treated by psychiatrists is also under-reported. We know that our Victorian psychiatrist members are struggling to maintain the health and wellbeing of their patients who are not in a condition to withstand long periods of social isolation.

The ADF strongly supports greater practising doctor involvement in all levels of health decision-making and information sharing during the COVID-19 restrictions.
It is important that governments at all levels do not lose contact with frontline medical practitioners and that effective patient safety and total health assessments be made in conjunction with any decision that imposes greater anxiety, concern, and insecurity on Australians.

The ADF strongly expresses its support for our colleagues, our families, our friends, and fellow citizens in Victoria and supports any initiative that will improve the general health of patients who are currently suffering hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephen Milgate AM
Director, Australian Doctors’ Federation
0425 283 411
03/09/2020

1 A Doctors’ Open letter to Daniel Andres, Quadrant online, 01/09/2020

Open Letter - Alternative Response to COVID-19 for Victoria