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Doctors in NL offering telephone and video virtual care

Health Minister John Haggie. TELEGRAM FILE PHOTO
Health Minister John Haggie said virtual visits are appropriate for patients self-isolating due to travel or having COVID-19 symptoms and for patients who do not wish to visit their doctor’s office in order to practice social distancing. TELEGRAM FILE PHOTO

The Department of Health and Community Services announced on March 20 that virtual care is up and running in the province.

Dr. Charlene Fitzgerald, president of Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association said in a release that telephone and video visits will allow doctors to continue to provide services, while reducing the risk of exposure of COVID-19 for themselves, their staff and their vulnerable patients.

She said physicians are on the front lines during the pandemic to ensure their patients receive the care they need, and this virtual care will assist with that.

John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services said in the release that virtual visits are appropriate for patients self-isolating because of travel or having COVID-19 symptoms and for patients who do not wish to visit their doctor’s office to practice social distancing.

“Our ultimate goal during this pandemic situation is to keep the people of our province healthy and safe,” he said.

According to the release, some doctors may offer telephone visits or real-time video conferencing, depending on the available technology.

The release said patients booking appointments will be advised if their doctor is offering virtual care; the technologies being used (telephone or video), when the service will be available and if the visit is appropriate for virtual care.

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