The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is reminding people that face masks still need to be worn in general practice as rules are relaxed across Australia.
New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria all relaxed requirements for face masks last week, so they are no longer required in most indoor settings.
However, face masks still need to be worn in healthcare settings, including general practice.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price urged people to remember to bring their face mask when visiting their GP.
“With the rules for face masks easing across the country, it’s easy for people to forget they still need to wear a face mask when visting their GP,” she said.
“Face masks still need to be worn in healthcare settings including general practice because we have to maintain strict standards of infection prevention to protect the health of all our patients and staff – including those who are immunocompromised.
“While we are celebrating case numbers declining in many states, it’s important to remember we are still living with COVID-19 in the community, and we will be for a long time.”
The RACGP President also called for more support for general practice, which is under unprecedented pressure after two years of pandemic.
“The pandemic has exacerbated cracks in Australia’s health system that were already evident,” said Dr Price.
“It has been a challenging time for everyone, but especially our nation’s hard-working GPs.
“General practice has been the at frontline against COVID-19 from day one and the backbone of the vaccine rollout. We’ve delivered over 62% of all COVID-19 vaccines across the country to date. On top of this we’re continuing usual care for patients, including managing increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and mental illness exacerbated by the pandemic.
“With rising rates of chronic disease, an ageing population and a mental health crisis, we need urgent reform now to improve patient health outcomes and ensure no one in Australia misses out on care they need.
“This is why the RACGP is calling on the federal Government to invest in a series of initiatives to improve patient care and health outcomes. GPs are ready for the challenges ahead, but we need a strong commitment now to make sure that GPs are available where patients need them, and can meet the challenges of the future.”