GP calls for calm


Esther Lauaki

A Werribee doctor is asking patients to be “calm and sensible” as GPs work to clear crowded waiting rooms during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Saad Albarki, a GP at Friendly Medical Centre on Watton Street and Truganina’s HealthWest Medical and Specialist Centre, said demand to see doctors had spiked over the past week.

“The community should know the right way to fight and handle the virus and residents should remain calm,” Dr Albarki said.

“Anxiety and stress will not help and could make things worse.

“We are available for all patients and working longer hours to help people in our community.

“We are experiencing more patients coming through and it seems that it is due to the current climate of anxiety over coronavirus.”

He said that medical staff are following very specific conditions.

“We are particularly focussed on keeping vulnerable people safe including [those] who are over 70 years of age, people presenting with symptoms, pregnant women, people with pre-existing conditions as well as those who are in self-isolation and those who have returned positive tests for COVID-19,” Dr Albarki said.

“We are happy to consult those patients over the phone so that they don’t have to come into the clinic.

“Patients who come to the clinic will see posters everywhere with information about COVID-19… chairs are also 1.5 metres apart.

“Those with symptoms of Covid-19 should call first and make an appointment, including fever, cough, shortness of breath will be asked questions at reception, they get a mask and will be taken to a separate room.

“It is important that if you feel unwell or have Covid-19 symptoms, you should stay home and understand that taking healthy measures will keep you safe.

Doctors will refer patients who meet specific conditions for Coronavirus screening to a clinic that has been set up at Sunshine Hospital – the nearest to Wyndham.