Paediatricians and general practitioners are receiving an increasing number of requests for consultations as respiratory viruses increase with the start of the new school year and autumn weather.
Some practitioners fear an even higher workload as winter approaches and all kinds of diseases proliferate.
“Many general practitioners and paediatricians are currently facing a heavy workload due to an epidemic of pharyngitis and sore throats, the majority of which are known not to be caused by the new coronavirus,” Philippe Devos, president of the Belgian Association of Medical Unions (ABSyM), told Belga News Agency.
For example, many panicked parents whose children have been kept out of school or day-care centres for “simple colds” or “mild sore throats” have recently called doctor Emilie Poitoux. Exasperated, this doctor specialising in children has launched an appeal on Facebook.
“I remind you that it takes ONE major symptom (fever or cough or respiratory distress or agueusia/anosmia) or the combination of TWO minor symptoms (cold, muscle aches, diarrhoea, …) to be expelled from school/day-care centre,” she wrote.
“A simple runny nose is not enough,” she stressed, as the profession says it is overwhelmed with calls. “If we’re already overwhelmed now, how are we going to deal with the situation in the middle of winter, when the viruses are there?”
Poitoux is therefore asking the authorities to inform schools about the Covid-19 protocol to be followed and urges them to respect it.
In addition, Absym noted a doubling, compared to last year, of the demand for flu vaccination among the elderly, which further increases the workload of doctors.
Absym is therefore asking the health authorities to optimise the sorting centres so that a visit to the GP is no longer necessary to carry out a Covid-19 screening and thus relieve some of the congestion in doctors’ surgeries.
The professional association also calls for the communication on quarantine to be clarified with employers and school headmasters so that they comply more fully with the protocol.