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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Disrupted access to medical care and elective surgery impacts health of NSW residents

Health Industry Hub | May 20, 2022 |
[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

COVID-19 has left no healthcare system untouched. COVID-19 resulted in widespread deferment of scheduled medical procedures and appointments for New South Wales (NSW) residents, according to new research commissioned by Janssen and Johnson & Johnson MedTech.

The survey of over 2,000 NSW residents found almost half delayed a medical appointment, test or procedure because of COVID-19 with the majority of those not rescheduling all of the skipped appointments. Three in five (60%) of those said high COVID-19 cases still deter them from attending medical appointment or accessing care.

Biljana Naumovic, Managing Director of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in Australia and New Zealand, said there must be a greater push to get people back to their GPs and undertaking important health checks.

“We have campaigns to encourage people back into the CBD, incentives for them to explore cultural attractions and return to life as normal, but there’s no incentive to get people back to their doctor,” Ms Naumovic said.

“It’s 2022, and we still have a large number of NSW residents delaying important medical care. At Johnson & Johnson we know prevention is the best course of treatment, and these simple, fundamental health checks can be the difference between life and death.”

The research found 60% rated waiting times for elective surgeries as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, making it the lowest-performing aspect of the healthcare system that was evaluated. In fact, the majority (55%) opposed the NSW Government’s decision to suspend elective surgery during the Omicron outbreak, with only a quarter (24%) supporting it.

Sue Martin, Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson MedTech Australia and New Zealand, said “There has never been a more important time to get your health checked. In fact, people have told us that they’ve delayed their healthcare treatments. It is so important for every individual to make sure that they are getting their health checked because their health can’t wait.”

As a way to inspire people to reprioritise their health, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in Australia and New Zealand has launched My Health Can’t Wait New South Wales, a new resource hub designed to help patients and caregivers focus on their wellbeing and book an appointment with a healthcare professional. The hub aims to help consumers understand the urgency of addressing their health needs and recognise the potentially detrimental impact of delaying care.

According to the research, a large majority (85%) felt COVID was currently impacting the availability of health services they need, with over half (52%) saying it was having a moderate, or a significant impact.

Almost a third (32%) of those who have delayed a medical appointment reported worse mental health, with one in five reported that this delay has caused additional physical pain or worsened their condition.

Ms Martin added “As the largest healthcare company in the world, we have a responsibility and that responsibility is to to ensure that patients are accessing timely healthcare. That’s why we’re so passionate about putting our support behind this campaign.”

The Australian Medical Association (NSW) is also urging people to reprioritise their health.

“We know that delayed health checks lead to a greater risk of late-stage diagnoses, and increased morbidity and mortality down the track,” Dr Danielle McMullen, AMA (NSW) President, said.

“That is why it is vital that people reprioritise their health and come forward to get the care and the checks they need without delay. Health checks are such an important part of disease prevention and not only help you stay healthy but can improve your overall health and wellbeing.”


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