The Continuity of Care Collaboration has published an open letter reminding all Australians not to forget about their mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The collaboration includes a range of member organisations, including Medicines Australia, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and many patient and healthcare professional groups.
"Some health services have changed how they operate during COVID-19 restrictions, but if you have a healthcare appointment coming up or have new symptoms you are worried about, it’s important not to delay getting help," said the collaboration in its open letter.
"Clinics and hospitals are continuing to practise safe distancing measures, regular cleaning and wearing of personal protective equipment. For appointments that still need to be done face-to-face, such as scans and pathology tests, we encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider to find out the best option for you."
Since the early pandemic, there have been concerns that its impact could extend across the health system, particularly where restrictions reduce direct interactions between patients and healthcare professionals, leading to less diagnosis or ongoing care.
"There are COVID-safe measures in place to continue to keep you safe. Telehealth is now widely available, so you can access your healthcare professional through video chat or phone calls," said the collaboration, adding, "Pharmacies are still open, with pharmacists ready to provide advice as well as the medicines you need, and home delivery of medication can also be arranged."
The collaboration said it is encouraging everyone in Australia to be vaccinated against COVID1-9 when they are eligible and get tested if they have any symptoms. It added that even during lockdown people are permitted to leave home to access care for any other health need.
"Your health matters, so please don’t delay; get in touch, make that call, or book an appointment today. Let’s work together to keep you well," it said.