Doctors in B.C. are asking patients to continue booking regular appointments despite the pandemic, as more virtual care options are now being offered to maintain physical distancing measures.
A statement from Doctors of BC released on Friday warns against the misconception that people dealing with medical issues not related to COVID-19 should avoid making doctor’s appointments altogether.
Instead, physicians across the province are increasing the number of telephone and video call appointments in order to continue providing access to medical care while still protecting themselves and patients during the pandemic.
“Family doctors know their patients best — they know their medical histories, their families, and understand their needs. Many medical issues can be assessed and treated by phone and video,” said Doctors of BC President, Dr. Kathleen Ross, in a statement.
“There is a misconception that patients shouldn’t contact their doctors for routine appointments or non-COVID-19 related illness right now — absolutely they should.”
These appointments are covered under the BC Medical Services Plan and there is no additional fee for virtual consults.
Further, doctors and health care staff will continue to make arrangements for in-person visits wherever necessary, and patients will still be referred to specialists as needed.
Those who wish to book a virtual appointment should call their doctor’s office as they normally would, after which staff will provide information on how to prepare for the phone call or video conference.
This announcement comes after over 700 Greater Victoria physicians pleaded with the public to forgo the usual ‘drop-in’ system at clinics and instead book appointments online.
If you have questions about the virtual care system, email Doctors of BC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 1,312,628.
Over 72,600 people have died from the illness and 275,087 have made a full recovery.