With the state’s healthcare system under pressure, two of Bendigo’s GP and allied health service providers are calling for understanding from the community.

The high number of Covid-19 and influenza cases across the region has resulted in healthcare providers not only seeing a significant increase in demand for GPS, but also a reduced workforce.

Bendigo Community Health Services CEO, Gerard José, says the organisation is experiencing high demand for GP and other allied health appointments.

“We empathise with our Bendigo Health colleagues and understand the pressure they are under in our hospital’s emergency department,” he said.

“We know there are many in our community who are unwell and unable to access on-the-day appointments to see their GP.

“Added to that, is the impact of Covid-19 and influenza on our workforces – which means we often have to cancel appointments for patients if our staff or their families are unwell.

“The entire healthcare system is under pressure.”

Bendigo Primary Care Acting General Manager, Callum Wright, says the medical centre has a reception team large enough to answer 350 calls, manage the 450 people who visit the clinic each day for an appointment and deal with other health-related correspondence.

“Routinely we are now finding we are receiving in excess of 900 phone calls per day, many looking for one of about 50 on-the-day appointments,” he said.

As a result of demand, some patients are becoming frustrated if they cannot get help when they’re seeking it.

BCHS and BPCC are calling for understanding from the community, and asking them to please respect those working hard at all medical clinics across the city to respond to calls.

They’re also reminding people to continue to do all they can to limit the spread of Covid-19 and influenza – including wearing face masks, physical distancing and staying up-to-date with vaccinations.

It is also advised to plan ahead to renew scripts, or make appointments in advance to see a GP for routine or regular consults