The #DontWaitMate campaign was recently launched by the Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC) to encourage Australians not to delay vital healthcare.
During Australia’s first COVID-19 wave and subsequent restrictions, we mostly did the right thing and stayed at home to help slow the spread of the virus. However, many of us did so at the expense of our ongoing health management. Pathology testing rates were down 40 per cent on average across Australia (and are currently down by 25 per cent in Victoria). Our attendance rates for regular health checks and scans were also much lower than normal.
Even though attendance rates have started to climb since then, they are still low enough for health professionals to be very concerned about the implications for our long-term health.
About the Continuity of Care Collaboration
The CCC is a unique and first of its kind communication collaboration of over 30 Australian peak bodies, industry and healthcare organisations coming together to stress the importance for people to continue with monitoring their health status and conditions to ensure optimal long term health outcomes are achieved.
Research results from a consumer survey by the CCC found the most common reasons patients are delaying health checks. Over half of survey respondents (59 per cent), had delayed health checks due to fear of catching COVID-19. 36 per cent were worried that health services would be too busy to see them, and 23 per cent thought they would be breaking the rules to leave their homes to receive healthcare.
Ongoing healthcare covers a broad range of areas including:
- Cancer screening
- Adherence to medicines
- Pathology testing
- Mental health
- Clinical trials
- X-rays and scans
- Dentistry/oral health
Those of us with chronic conditions tended to put off contacting our doctors when our symptoms worsened or we needed new medication scripts. We also suffered from having reduced access to the allied health professionals in our care team. People with acute issues such as injuries and signs of heart attack or stroke delayed seeking emergency care.
About the Don’t Wait Mate Campaign
The purpose of the Don’t Wait Mate campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of continuing regular healthcare and to ensure that Australians feel safe and confident to access care during the pandemic.
Our Federal and State Governments and healthcare organisations have been working hard since the arrival of this coronavirus to adapt and develop new health resources to ensure our safe and continuous access to care. These include:
- An expansion of our telehealth services
- New e-prescribing services (we’ll have more information about these in the coming weeks)
- Home delivery of medicines and other ‘at-home’ services such as blood tests.
- Separate pathology testing centres
- Increased personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals
- Free face masks for many people who are disadvantaged or have chronic conditions.
Another campaign key message is that a healthy Australia will ensure a stronger economic recovery on the ‘road out’ – we don’t want the healthcare system to be inundated post COVID-19.
What health checks did you miss?
Don’t leave it too late – #dontwaitmate.
The CCC will continue this vital work and will revise their timelines as the pandemic evolves. You can get involved by watching their series of webinars, sharing the #DontWaitMate campaign posts and resources on social media and encouraging those around you to maintain their usual healthcare practices as much as possible. Find out more on the Continuity of Care Collaboration website.
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