Despite COVID-19 control measures being in place, it is essential that individuals attend important medical appointments and have pathology tests performed to avoid poor health outcomes and potential hospitalisation, says the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.
“Up to 40% of private and community pathology testing is currently not being done due to people not visiting their medical practitioner and thus not having their pathology samples collected. This equates to over 60,000 Australians every day, with a similar proportion of patients in New Zealand too. Smaller reductions have also occurred in the public sector.
“Maintaining good health, particularly during this time, is vital. Pathology tests are an essential medical requirement, therefore if someone has a health condition that requires a pathology test, it is important they visit their healthcare provider. This is particularly important for chronic disease patients who require regular pathology tests to manage their condition, and for those with symptoms who require testing in relation to possible cancer diagnoses,” President of the RCPA, Dr Michael Dray said.
The RCPA says the health and safety of all individuals who visit their health care practitioner, and for those who require tests, is a top priority, therefore stringent measures are in place at General Practice and Pathology Laboratories across Australia.
“Pathologists and their laboratories are experts in detecting infectious diseases and ensure that all parts of the organisation follow best practice guidelines to minimise coronavirus infection risk,” Dr Dray said.
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Australia and New Zealand have delivered an exceptionally high level of testing and are amongst the world leaders in diagnostic pathology testing for COVID-19, per 100,000. To cater for this, dedicated collection centres have been set up to provide COVID-19 testing. In general, routine pathology testing collection centres do not carry out COVID 19 testing, minimising risk for patients.
“Collection centres are accredited to national quality and hygiene standards and are safe for patients to attend. Social distancing and other stringent hygiene measures are practiced within these centres to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure that patients can access their tests safely.” said Dr Dray.