The vital work general practitioners in our region in protecting the health of communities will be recognised around the globe today as part of World Family Doctor Day (May 19).
At a local level, the day represents an opportunity for the community to understand the broad range of responsibilities that their General Practitioners undertake, according to Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network's (MPHN) Board Chair Jodi Culbert.
"During this time of pandemic, our doctors are playing a crucial role in keeping people well, particularly those who are most vulnerable," Dr Culbert said.
"GPs have quickly adjusted to using telehealth, but have also remained available for face-to-face consultations with patients who have existing conditions or general health concerns.
"The World Family Doctor Day theme this year acknowledges the pivotal role of GPs being 'first, in last out' which is relevant in 2020 more than ever.
"We are seeing dedicated GPs stepping up to support immediate needs and at the same time preparing to care for patients and the community's future when the longer-term consequences of this crisis are experienced.
"It is worth reflecting on this special role that they play in supporting the health and well-being of our communities."
MPHN Chief Executive Officer Melissa Neal said World Family Doctor Day provides a timely reminder of the ongoing availability of medical services in the region.
"Recently we launched a campaign to reassure the public that their local health service providers are still open, and to encourage people to continue attending their regular appointments," she said.
"GPs in our region have been working particularly hard to keep consulting their patients over the phone or via video; as well as ensuring their medical practices are safe to visit in person.
"We've also seen a number of local GPs serve their communities by working in designated COVID-19 respiratory clinics."
COVID-19 respiratory clinics are already operating in Wagga, Deniliquin, Gundagai and Young, with additional clinics to open in Griffith and Tumut in the coming days.