COVID-19 & Its Economic Impacts

If you have a loan or know someone who does (i.e probably everyone) then this blog I’ve penned is worth considering. I am not a financial analyst or specialist as a disclaimer, but am very much concerned about my communities and the people within them. It will affect us all.

What’s ‘it’?

The COVID-19 virus and it’s ongoing impact is and will affect us in many and far reaching ways. We are seeing this on one level with the distress contributed to by mass media and the circulation of misinformation: scare-mongering instead of simple truth telling to support our populace.

Our health and healthcare systems is another significant impact.  Yes, you have probably seen by now snippets of horrific footage or stories about the impacts about hospitals and their workers globally. These scenes show us how unprepared we are for something of this magnitude. And it’s not just the preparation, but the collaboration (or lack thereof) once it has happened that is also being exposed.

Amongst the problems of our hospital systems there are also the very real chances that our local GP’s business may not survive… most General Practices are privately owned – meaning they are funded by the fees that get charged through the practice and the doctors are paid from this from the central owner (in a nutshell). We are not paid salaries by the government as the doctors you see in emergency or the public hospitals are. I don’t complain about this model, as it gives practices the autonomy to run how they feel they need to with their specific locations, rent costs and community needs and are not restricted or dictated to completely by central/government funding (don’t get me started about the inadequacy of Medicare rebates…or maybe do…probably another blog in there 😉 ).

We all rely on businesses and probably most General Practises have loans (eg to own the premises they work in, or for cash flow) to allow them to run. The financials that go into owning and running a practice are often not the glamour people may think a doctor’s life is. In fact many General Practice owner doctors sell out to large corporations as the profitability in owning a General Practice at least is certainly not the motivating factor for people to own them currently.

I have nothing against those that do sell or work for medical corporates, but for me I find larger companies, especially when it comes to healthcare tend to lose the personal and very needed caring aspect, not just for the patients but the employees (reception staff, nurses, cleaners etc) and contracted doctors. More disconnection in healthcare – we certainly do not need that!

I would love to own a practice one day, and I know many gorgeously loving doctors who currently do so and work their butts off to be able to have a practice that supports their community and provide an environment for people to heal, not just churn in and out. The economic playout we will see in the coming months/years will have big impacts and are unpredictable at present.

If your doctor can’t bulk-bill you, it’s not because they’re being greedy (in general) but because their wage also supports the overall business, rent fees, wages for staff and their own. If you need to be bulk-billed or have your fee reduced due to financial hardship, please talk to your practice to see what can be arranged. By and large doctors want to be able to service their communities, and have their ears open. Medical practices are businesses just like grocery stores and real estate at the end of the day, all necessities of our life and need funds to be able to keep their doors open that Medicare rebates may not be able to sustain alone (ok there is definitely another blog here).

What has made me get churned up is how the banking sector will or won’t respond to this. Many people will take a blow to themselves income wise in the next few months as their sector is reduced through mandate. Banking is not one of them. Many skilled people will be without work in their area due to this. But we, including those that work in these institutions, will presumably still want to access that friendly doctor or dentist they have always known when the dust so-called settles. It may not be possible if they sell out or burn out due to financial distress…. then there may be complaints about how crappy the health system is when we don’t understand or appreciate the love, effort and financial requirement that goes into a beautiful one that can run efficiently and smoothly…

This is also of course not to mention the many other local, small and family owned businesses we adore that our current situation will potentially cripple. Like your morning coffee, local takeaway, or weekend brunch cafe owner…

The intention of this post is not to scare, or add further the feelings of sorrow that abound presently. Moreso, what I would suggest is making your voice count wherever it can.

I have signed the following petition with all of the above in mind.

‘Stop Bank Interest Charges On Hardship Applications Covid-19’

If it is something you feel strongly about, you could contact your bank via their contact page and look up the CEO/board of director names to address it to them directly. Even if you don’t have a loan, or think you will directly experience financial hardship with this pandemic, you can express on behalf of others who do and as a concerned member of community and explain your concerns about the impacts of reduced business working capacity. Another option is with your local member or other politicians to move this at a political level. Most often locals members (the good ones) do listen, and will move based on what their community needs, and at worst what they think what their voters will want, if our voices and movements speak loud enough…

I wish you all the best in this trying time. Do not lose your foundations and day to day rhythms that support you and your vitality. Reach out for support around you if you need it. Know that you’re awesome 🙂 it can be the antidote to a lot of things.

 

See you when I see you.

Which will be more likely when I’m out of quarantine 😛

 

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or Facebook: @drameliastephens
for more frequent updates

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