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Sydney GP says some patients ‘waiting a week for coronavirus test’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A Sydney GP says patients are having to wait up to a week to be tested for coronavirus – as the government announces a $2.4b boost to health services amid the crisis.

A Sydney GP says patients are having to wait up to a week to be tested for coronavirus - as the government announces a $2.4b boost to health services amid the crisis.

Dr Daniel Chanisheff, who owns Green Square Health in Alexandria which has six GPs, said he is facing a "nightmare" situation, with politicians yesterday admitting there had been "rush" on testing this week.

Dr Chanisheff said pathology testing labs he and his doctors are trying to send patients to have been turning them away.

And he cannot test more than a few urgent cases at his own clinic because he does not have enough masks and gowns.

"It is a nightmare. The public is rightfully worried," he said.

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He said if, after a phone consultation they believe a patient could have COVID-19, they're sent for a test at a pathology lab, which have dedicated times and locations for virus testing.

But Dr Chanisheff said his patients are being told they have to wait.

They're then in danger of infecting others he fears, if they do have the virus.

"The problem we're getting now is the labs are turning people away, saying they're overwhelmed and they need bookings, and nowhere on the government or lab websites does it say you need a booking, so people are then getting frustrated and coming back and sometimes rocking up into the clinic which we're trying to avoid," he said.

Venice, Italy

"All day Monday, we couldn't get through to anyone, to say 'how can we send people here?'

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"We got through to one, and they said 'next Monday is the first test we can do."

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Pathology firm Laverty has five dedicated coronavirus centres according to its website, at Randwick, Westmead, Ingleburn, Earlwood and Bankstown.

But all are open only in the afternoons, with the Randwick clinic open only 2pm-4pm.

Douglass Hanly Moir has almost two dozen locations across Sydney, but coronavirus testing is only done from 10am-3pm at most, the company says in a statement online.

Dr Chanisheff said he has been told by colleagues the coronavirus clinic at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown is also "overwhelmed" and he has heard they're turning people away unless they are extremely unwell.

And he said while he can tell patients to self-quarantine just in case, they want to know if they have the virus or not.

But Dr Chanisheff said people simply want to know if they're at risk

"What we're saying is, if you're mildly unwell, stay home, which, from medical point of view makes sense but from a 'I've come back from overseas and I need to get back to work, can I visit my family, and I allowed to look after my kids?'

"All those questions can't be answered until you have a test.

"We're getting the brunt of it."

He said he can't risk testing more than a few urgent cases as he only has a limited number of masks and gowns.

"If we don't have a mask and that person comes back positive then I can't work for two weeks," he said.

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"They might do what they did to that doctor in Melbourne - close us down. That's the nightmare a lot of GPs are facing at the moment."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced the extra $2.4b for health services, including new 'pop up' clinics.

Yesterday medical bosses said the response to the outbreak is being 'upscaled', including adding more testing labs and private pathologists.

Free telehealth services will also be set up this week.

Health bosses have recently clarified information, saying only people who have travelled overseas and have symptoms, or who have been in contact with somebody confirmed to have the virus should be tested. has contacted Douglass Hanly Moir and Laverty, as well as NSW Health, for comment.

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Source: 9News

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