Sydney GPs have told 9News doctors are getting mixed messages about how to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, leaving the system overwhelmed and underprepared.
The peak body for GPs is pushing for a Medicare-funded service, allowing people with coronavirus symptoms to call their doctor instead of entering a clinic and exposing others, especially the elderly or people with chronic conditions.
"You can go and get a swab, and you get a swab at the pathology centre which is set up to collect these swabs safely," Associate Professor Charlotte Hespe of the Royal Australian College of GPs NSW-ACT said.
Not having enough personal protective gear has generated high levels of anxiety among doctors.
"The biggest fear GPs have is about not having adequate supplies of masks and personal protection equipment," Prof. Hespe said.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the coordination of supplies is a federal responsibility.
"The NSW government runs state hospitals, GPs are in the domain of the federal government," he said.
"Having said that, we are working together."
But GPs say they are yet to see a united approach.
"Each of the states have responded slightly differently, and we haven't had one unified (response) - what does this mean for general practice?" Prof. Hespe said.
"How do we make sure everyone knows what they're doing."
Meanwhile, people are stripping shelves of cold and flu tablets.
Pharmacists, doctors and drug companies say it's unnecessary.
"There is no need to stockpile medicines, we do not want to see what's happened with toilet paper happening to medicines," Liz De Soma of Medicines Australia.
"It's common to keep three months to six months supply of all medicines in the country."
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-gps-slam-uncoordinated-covid-19-response-states-federal-government/57cc6c1f-58d7-41ba-82df-d2f2513d7a6e