‘So much fear’: Security to patrol fever clinics



SECURITY guards will control panicky patients at Queensland's fever clinics, as doctors warn of aggressive demands for tests and medical certificates.

Queensland's first pop-up coronavirus testing centre will open at a medical clinic in Morayfield as soon as Saturday.

Others are expected to open in existing GP clinics in Nundah and Kenmore over the next month to ease pressure on hospital emergency wards, The Courier-Mail can reveal.

Doctors yesterday blasted bosses for forcing sick staff to get coronavirus "clearance certificates'' to return to work.



Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Queensland chairman Dr Bruce Willett said some patients were becoming aggressive when doctors refused to give them a written all-clear.

He said doctors could only test patients who had been overseas or in close contact with a COVID-19 case in the previous 14 days.

"If you come with a cold I can't test you, so I can't clear you to go back to work and say you definitely don't have coronavirus,'' Dr Willett, a Brisbane GP, said yesterday.

"We have employers asking for that, but we can't do it and it chews up a lot of time.

"Doctors and nurses and receptionists are betting abused because we can't provide patients with clearance.''

Some childcare centres are also insisting that parents get a wellness certificate before sick kids can return to daycare.

Queensland Childcare Services has told parents that "all children and staff who are absent from the service due to illness cannot return without a clearance from their GP stating they are not contagious and fit to return''.

The Brisbane North Primary Health Network, a federally funded agency that supports GPs caring for 1 million patients, yesterday urged childcare centres and employers to stop demanding "fit to work'' certificates.

"Some industries are demanding certificates to say someone is fit and well to go back to work,'' network chairwoman Dr Anita Green said yesterday.

"The industry has to change because GPs are very busy managing patients who are chronically ill.''

Dr Green said it was "practical and sensible'' for anyone crook with a cough or cold to stay home until they feel better.

The network chief executive Dr Abbe Anderson - who will step down in June after 18 years at the helm - yesterday said a worldwide shortage meant tests had to be reserved for people who "really need them''.

She said the federal government had provided funding for pop-up fever clinics to hire security guards to deal with aggressive patients.

"GPs are finding a lot of the public are going in and wanting to be tested when they don't qualify,'' she said.

"The pop-up clinics are likely to get assistance with security.

"There is such fear over all of this and it affects the way some people react.''

Dr Anderson said her departure had been planned before the coronavirus outbreak but she would work beyond June if needed.

"I won't leave anybody in the lurch if there's a problem,'' she said.

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