Ill people not seeking GP care they need

Sir, – My medical colleagues and I have become increasingly concerned at the lack of non-Covid patients presenting to general practice and to the emergency departments. We worry that there are ill people at home who are not seeking the care they need.

We understand there is enormous fear around contracting the virus, especially for older people. However, some serious symptoms must be dealt with promptly or can be more dangerous to an older person than coronavirus.

This is far from being a comprehensive list but chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness or diminishment in strength, sudden changes in vision or balance, pain waking you from sleep, finding a new lump, abnormal bleeding or bruising should all prompt you to seek urgent medical attention. Many GPs are doing initial assessments over the phone and if your condition is less serious you may not need to visit a surgery or hospital.

If you are concerned about a symptom, pick up the phone and seek help. Many conditions can be treated effectively if caught in the first few hours, particularly heart attack and stroke (remember the Fast acronym – face, arms, speech, time) but can be irreversible thereafter.


Don’t delay. Don’t ignore worrying symptoms. We are still here for you. Get in touch. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.