NATIONAL NEWS - Doctors have experienced an alarming drop in the number of patient visits since the lockdown commenced in March, a recent survey has found.
This trend, researchers say, is potentially deadly for thousands of chronically ill patients who may be opting out of visits to the doctor out of fear of catching the coronavirus and developing Covid-19.
Drug company Pharma Dynamics spokeswoman Nicole Jennings said doctors participating in the survey raised concerns that patients with cardiovascular illnesses, in particular, may be risking their lives by not visiting their general practitioners regularly.
“We conducted a poll … and we had 40 respondents [who] noted a 90% drop in consultation for those in the cardiology or related fields compared to previous years. And this might be as a result of Covid-19, because people may be too scared to see their doctors at the moment.”
Jennings stressed that doctors were taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their patients.
It was important, especially because the virus was more lethal for patients with such conditions, for them to have regular checkups.
South African Medical Association spokesperson Dr Akthur Hussain said the decline in use of private healthcare services could also be ascribed to the financial crisis brought on by the lockdown.
Prices in the private sector were no longer affordable to a high number of patients, he suggested.