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Why doctors fear Australia’s health services may soon be overwhelmed

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Doctors fear Australia’s health services may be overwhelmed in coming years as a result of people avoiding vital health screenings due to COVID-19.

A survey from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) found a 24 per cent drop in face-to-face consultations in June, compared to last year.

Medical professionals are concerned that when COVID-19 is over, there will be a surge in people seeking health services, which may overwhelm the system.

Chair of the RACGP, Dr Cameron Loy, said he’s concerned that people aren’t accessing the services they need.

“We are concerned that the undiagnosed illnesses, the undiagnosed cancers, and all the consequences of not engaging in all of your health monitoring, is going to hit the health services all at once,” Dr Loy told Ross and Russel.

“It is safe to go to your doctor. It is safe to go to hospital.”

Dr Loy said some concerning statistics suggest cancer detection rates are down as a result of reduced visits to doctors.

“We saw some data from … the Cancer Council, that showed there is a 13 per cent reduction in the number of cancer pathology diagnoses,” he said.

“That tells us that 13 per cent of the expected cancers haven’t been found yet.”

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