Fifth of NL residents still avoiding the GP when sick over coronavirus concerns
A fifth of Netherlands residents are still avoiding going to the doctor when they are sick because they are worried about catching the coronavirus, or because they don't want to overburden a doctor too busy with coronavirus patients, according to a study by the Patient Federation among 7,400 respondents from a permanent patient panel, NOS reports.
"It does not feel urgent yet, so I don't want to burden the doctor," one patient said. "And I'm also afraid of catching something there." The Patient Federation surveyed its panel to see how regular healthcare is running now that the peak of the coronavirus crisis seems to be over.
Jako Burgers of the Dutch association for general practitioners NHG stressed that there is no reason to avoid your GP. They've all taken the necessary safety measures to protect themselves and their patients, he said. "Calling is always a good idea anyway. A large part of the requests for help can also be handled entirely by telephone," he said to NOS.
He added that these figures are a sign that regular healthcare is up and running. "19 percent, to be precise, who still do not come to the doctor, so that means that more than 80 percent do now. Remember: that was about 10 percent at the height of the outbreak. If I look at my own practice: my assistant is even as busy as before with all the phone calls."
55 percent of the Patient Federation's panel said that they experienced adverse consequences from postponing appointments with their GPs. According to Burgers, it is too early to say how big those consequences will be long-term.