Clinic staff cop vile abuse over COVID test delays
GOLD Coast clinics are considering hiring security guards to protect staff from raging patients upset by delays in COVID testing.
General Practitioner Gold Coast president Katrina McLean said colleagues had reported increased abuse by people frustrated by the turnaround of some results. In some cases, results have ballooned from 24 hours to 72 hours because of demand.
"Patients are turning up upset, demanding results to the point where practices have spoken about employing security," Dr McLean said.
"We are asking people to be patient and recognise frontline healthcare professionals are doing their job as best they can.
"We collect the samples in the clinic, the testing is undertaken in a number of different laboratories, sometimes private, sometimes public.
"Wait times will vary depending on how laboratories not clinics are dealing with the workload."
Dr McLean said to hear the cases of abuse had been disappointing at a time when the community had been asked to pull together.
"For GPs, we have been working incredibly hard for the last six months to keep people safe, so have our reception teams.
"While we understand there is a lot of stress and frustration it is really inappropriate to be directing anger to practices.
"We shouldn't have practices looking at employing security guards.
"Lots of patients are grateful, but a small number really make a challenging job all the more difficult."
Medicross Helensvale Dr Nikki Yates said she had seen similar frustrations at her clinic.
"We aren't discussing security guards but there is backlash from people not wanting to follow guidelines," Dr Yates said.
Anyone who shows respiratory symptoms, however mild, is asked to get a test and self-isolate until they are well.
"People are obviously calling us for advice, they are told they need to get tested and they then get upset or refuse to do so.
"It is taking up a lot of our time. Reception staff are getting complaints over the phone.
"I think people still think 'no, it can't happen to me'.
"We understand having to isolate for days is a big barrier to getting tested, but even if your test comes back negative the guidelines are if you are sick stay at home.
"This avoids a knock-on effect to the rest of the workforce."
Originally published as Clinic staff cop vile abuse over COVID test delays