A television and radio campaign is underway to get Dubbo and Western NSW residents back into GP surgeries, hospitals and pharmacies during winter and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
It follows the launch of seven GP-led COVID-19 respiratory clinics in the region for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms. The federally-funded clinics are reported to be busy.
Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) chief executive officer Andrew Harvey is now telling regional residents it is "safer than ever to visit" their regular healthcare providers.
He tells of a "notable downturn" in consultations and visits, prompting concern for the physical and mental well-being of people putting off seeking help for existing and new conditions.
Mr Harvey is urging regional residents to return to their usual healthcare providers "right now".
"The infrastructure that is now in place with the region's fever and respiratory clinics, the infection- control measures and the extensive training that's been undertaken by healthcare professionals across the region to counter COVID-19 means they are perfectly prepared to respond to all appeals for assistance," he said.
Mr Harvey said people who required regular check-ups should maintain contact with their doctors. "But even those that are suffering from little niggles should seek advice as they have the potential to become much bigger problems if left untreated," he said.
Dubbo GP and chairwoman of the WNSW PHN's Western Clinical Council, Dr Ai-Vee Chua, is the face and voice of the region-wide campaign.
Residents needing a "relevant and local" healthcare provider should visit the WNSW PHN Healthcare Service Directory at HealthServiceNearMe.com.au