Wagga doctors are wary of a potential spike in health problems after patients put off visiting their GP during the coronavirus lockdown.
Local GPs saw a drop in patient numbers of about 25 to 30 per cent in April and March, which has already led to a number of delayed diagnoses as people return to their appointments.
Wagga GP Tracey Purnell, of Central Wagga Medical and Skin Clinic, said patients were returning saying they hadn't wanted to "bother" their GPs during the height of the outbreak.
"They didn't want to come with their blood sugars high, for example, because they didn't think it was urgent," Dr Purnell said.
"So things they would normally just make an appointment for they've delayed.
"I think thinking we're all really busy doing infectious disease COVID type stuff when we're not really, we're just doing what we always do."
Dr Purnell said some GPs had already picked up on patient problems that could possibly have been diagnosed earlier if they had presented for an appointment.
"We never stopped doing skin cancer checks, but as we've started to do more there have been three melanomas that we picked up in the first few weeks that the practice got busy again," Dr Purnell said.
"Or it could be a pap smear that's due and then gets overdue and there's actually a problem with the cervix ... Those kinds of delays are going to then impact on the treatment that someone's able to receive."
Dr Purnell said preventative healthcare remained essential for managing chronic conditions.
"If someone has a long-term illness like asthma or emphysema we do actually need to see them because they're at risk for many of these viruses," she said.
Most GPs, she said, were in June reporting a return back to normal patient numbers.
"The message that GPs want to get out there is that it's safe to go to the doctor," she said.
Dr Purnell said the pandemic in Wagga brought together the community of health care workers in a way she hadn't seen in her 25 years-long career.
"Even though [patients] weren't coming here we were still thinking about how we could care for people and encourage people to be looked after," she said.
"We're safe and open for business."