Updates from the Practice Team

Changes to service provision

Apr 03 2020

To our much valued patients

 

In these most challenging times, we have been forced to drastically alter the way in which we provide our services.  On most occasions, we will now be doing phone and, in the near future, video consultations instead of seeing you in the surgery.  There will of course need to be exceptions to this, in particular instances where face to face assessment is required.

In order for the practice to remain viable we need to continue to charge for our services, as we have previously done, and this will include charges for phone and video consultations.

Our team is endeavouring to continue to provide you all with the highest possible standard of care during this time.  We are constantly looking at ways to improve how we operate and will update the website if changes are made. 

We would greatly appreciate prompt payment of accounts to assist us with our cash flow and, as in the past, there will be a reduction of $5.00 for consultations if payment is made on the day.

The fee for prescriptions – all of which are now being faxed to pharmacies – remains $28.00 with no discount applicable.

We currently have no influenza vaccine in stock but as soon as we do we will announce this on our website.  Please check it regularly for updates.

Wishing all of you the very best as we all struggle with the new normal in the effort to beat Covid19.  We have very much appreciated messages of support from many of you.

Drs Harris, Gibson and Foster

 

Influenza vaccines 2020 update

Apr 03 2020

You may be aware that the Ministry of Health has announced that the 2020 Influenza vaccines will be available early for those in the FUNDED groups.  It looks as if the Ministry might extend the period for giving only funded vaccines, in light of the current supply difficulties.

1.  We received our first influenza vaccines on Friday 20 March but are unable to source any further supplies until further notice. We have no stock at present.

2.  When we have stocks of vaccine we will continue offering appointments ONLY to those patients who are funded for Influenza vaccination, until further notice.

3.  Please see www.influenza.org.nz for more information and a list of funded conditions. 

4.  We'd be grateful if you would please refrain from ringing to book for influenza vaccination at all until we update our website. 

5.  A reminder that the influenza vaccine does not protect against Covid-19, but is recommended in order to protect against seasonal influenza.

 

Covid Alert Level 4

Mar 24 2020

We will be open throughout the nationwide lockdown, from Monday to Friday 8am - 5pm.

Please ring us before coming in.  We will see people only by appointment.  All repeat prescriptions approved by your doctor will be faxed to your choice of pharmacy.

Access to 50 The Terrace will be via the side door of 44 The Terrace (NO access at the front doors - there will be notices explaining how to find the entrance).  There will be a security presence, allowing one person in at a time.  When you reach us on Level 1, our door will be locked.  Our receptionists will check you in if you have an appointment and do not have any symptoms of cold or influenza, or any history of recent overseas travel.  A nurse will triage you by phone if you arrive outside our door with respiratory symptoms.  Please use the hand gel outside our door on arrival.

Our priority will be giving Influenza vaccine to those with eligible conditions (65+ years of age, pregnant women, those living with certain long-term conditions) and those needing a face to face appointment with a doctor.  Many of our appointments will be via phone.  To make an appointment please call us and we will assess whether a phone consultation is appropriate. 

If you develop symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, headache, or shortness of breath, or if you think you may have been exposed to Covid-19,  please ring us before coming in for any reason, including  for pre-booked appointments.

PRESCRIPTIONS

We have had exceptionally high demand for prescriptions.  Many requests have been made earlier than required.  We are advised that there is no need for you to get prescriptions earlier than one month before you will run out.  The high demand is creating delays in processing prescriptions.  Please make a request only when you are down to your last month of medication. Pharmacies will be open throughout the lockdown, and we don't anticipate any significant supply problems if you request as you normally would. 

MANAGE MY HEALTH (MMH)

Nationwide the portal has been under strain from a huge increase in use.  This has created difficulties in getting messages through in either direction.    MMH is NOT for urgent or life-threatening situations.  We are aware that there have been delays in reaching us by phone too, partly due to increased call rates, and also because the exchange has been overloaded at intervals.  We appreciate your patience while we work through the issues and catch up with all your requests.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) update

Mar 22 2020

The Royal NZ College of General Practitioners has today  issued the following advisory:

"To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 GPs have been asked to rapidly move to doing more of their consultations by phone, email and video. Patients requiring in person GP appointments will still get them, but non-urgent, routine appointments will be done via other means if possible".

The Terrace Medical Centre will implement this starting tomorrow, 23 March 2020.  We will be open but everyone will be assessed first by phone before a potential face-to-face appointment can be made.  We will temporarily suspend the MMH appointment making facility. 
Until further notice, PLEASE DO NOT VISIT US: PHONE US FIRST INSTEAD

We intend to provide all repeat prescriptions via fax to your pharmacy rather than your collecting them from us.  The fee for faxed prescriptions is $28.00

Please consider having a thermometer at home if possible: an accurate temperature recording is useful if your consultation with your GP is not face to face.

Healthline has set up a number to manage enquiries: 0800 358 5453 24 hours, 7 days a week - International SIMs +64 9 358 5453 

The Ministry of Health website is updated daily: MoH coronavirus (COVID-19)

Prevention – how to protect yourself and others

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19.

Influenza vaccination 2020

Mar 02 2020

We'll update this website with any updates to vaccine availability.

https://www.influenza.org.nz/: "The Influenza Immunisation Programme starts from 1 April each year, subject to influenza vaccine being available for distribution. New Zealand influenza surveillance data shows that in recent years the peak of influenza activity has been in August. A start date from 1 April for influenza vaccination provides better protection for our vulnerable population during the expected peak of influenza activity". 

A quote from Radio NZ on 28 February 2020:  'Health officials have urged people to get winter flu vaccines this year. The Ministry of Health said the flu shot would not stop people getting Covid-19, but it would help prevent them getting seriously ill.

Director of public health Caroline McElnay said it would not be easy dealing with cases of the new disease and the flu season at the same time.  "That would be a challenge and we acknowledge that as a challenge," she said.  "What we can do with flu season is make sure that as many people as possible get vaccinated with the flu vaccination and that at least will hopefully reduce the impact that we have from flu."'

Face Masks

Jan 31 2020

We routinely ask those who have symptoms of fever, cough, runny nose or sneezing, to put on a mask at the door before entering our medical centre, and to use the hand gel provided.  These masks are designed for short term use (e.g. the duration of your visit), and need to be worn correctly to provide benefit in reducing the spread of respiratory infections.  Instructions for proper use are at the door. 

We have received information from the World Health Organisation about the use of masks in health care facilities, at home and in the community (WHO/nCov/IPC_Masks/2020.1). To quote:

"Wearing medical masks when not indicated may cause unnecessary cost, procurement burden and create a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures such as hand hygiene practices. Furthermore, using a mask incorrectly may hamper its effectiveness to reduce the risk of transmission".

Please ask us if you have any questions or concerns about medical masks or the current Coronavirus situation.

Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Jan 24 2020

31 January 2020 update:  From 30 January,  2019-nCoV is notifiable to the Medical Officer of Health

General public health advice on novel coronavirus

Updated: 12pm 30 January 2020.

This advice is under active review and is updated daily. 
Advice updated as of today includes:

  • Information and advice for people who have recently travelled from Wuhan and the Hubei province.
  • Information and advice for people who have had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

Specific advice under current review includes:

  • Information and advice for people who have recently travelled from China.

What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have 2019-nCoV. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. We don’t yet know how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but current WHO assessments suggest that it is 2-10 days. 

Health advice

The Ministry is taking this evolving situation seriously and is working closely with other Government agencies, DHBs and emergency management teams throughout New Zealand, and with Australia.

The World Health Organization does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers but is continuing to review the situation.

Everybody should follow the basic principles of hygiene and cough etiquette to reduce the risk of getting an acute respiratory infection or passing it onto others. This includes:

  • regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  • covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
  • staying home if you are sick
  • avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • if you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.

Travellers recently returned from Hubei province

Recognising the evolving nature of the evidence and data for transmission of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health advice for people who are at high risk of exposure because they have recently been to Wuhan or Hubei province is that they should self-isolate for 14 days after leaving Hubei province. 

This means you should avoid situations that could facilitate the transmission of the virus such as social gatherings and events where you come into contact with others in particular, child care/pre-school centres, primary and secondary schools (including staff and students), aged care, healthcare facilities, prisons, public gatherings.

People who have had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case

If have been in close contact with a confirmed novel coronavirus case you should self-isolate for 14 days. If you develop symptoms including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing you should ring Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 or your doctor. 

This means you should avoid situations that could facilitate the transmission of the virus such as social gatherings and events where you come into contact with others in particular, child care/pre-school centres, primary and secondary schools (including staff and students), aged care, healthcare facilities, prisons, public gatherings.

We are closely monitoring the development of cases outside of Hubei province and will regularly update this advice.

What do I do if I am sick right now?

If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116.

 

WHO advises people follow the basic principles to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infection. These are:

  • avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections
  • wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment
  • avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals
  • people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette:
    • maintain distance
    • cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing
    • wash hands.

As always, travellers who become sick within a month of their arrival are encouraged to seek medical advice and contact Healthline (for free) 0800 611 116 or a doctor. It is important to mention recent travel to Wuhan and any known contact with someone with severe acute respiratory illness who has been in Wuhan.

For further information , go to https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/novel-coronavirus-information-for-travellers-arriving-to-new-zealand_0.pdf

Measles in New Zealand and Pacific Islands

Jan 15 2020

Update as at 15 January 2020:

From 1 January 2019 to 15 January 2020 there have been 2191 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand. 1734 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region.  Management and vaccination advice remains the same as in November 2019. (Ministry of Health website)

Update 20 November 2019:  Current Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccination Priority groups within the Wellington region have been expanded today to cover Pacifica families and others travelling to Samoa, Pacific Islands and the Philippines.  If you and your family are travelling to these countries, especially over the Christmas period, please let us know.  We will check your immunisation status and offer a free MMR vaccination if you do not have documented evidence.  We will also give you an Immunisation Certificate to take with you in case Boarder Control requires the documentation.  It can take up to two weeks to get protection from the vaccine, so please contact us as soon as possible if you are planning to travel.

Priority groups are:

  • all children on time at 15 months  and four years to maintain the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule

  • susceptible close contacts within 72 hours of first exposure to measles when possible
  • babies aged six months to 11 months who live in Auckland or who are travelling to Auckland or overseas to a country that has an active outbreak of measles

  • children and adolescents aged 15 and under who have not had a single dose of MMR

  • people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji

  • People travelling to a region where there is an active outbreak of measles – regions with measles outbreaks can be found at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/measles-global

 

We're continuing to work with our DHB and PHO to coordinate the availability of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR vaccine).  We're focusing on offering vaccination to the established priority groups (see above), which include our 15 month and 4 year old children. 

We have a waiting list for others who wish to be vaccinated, and will be in touch with these people as soon as sufficient stocks of MMR vaccine become available. 

We've had many enquiries for details of individuals' MMR vaccination status, and are very happy to provide information from our files.

If you suspect that you or your child or family member may have measles*, please call us: our nurses will discuss the situation, and if we feel that you need to see a GP, will make you an appointment.  We ask that you call us when you've arrived on The Terrace, and wait outside the medical centre until we have a room ready.  This is so that you won't spend undue time in the waiting room.  Measles is a highly contagious disease and we want to do all that we can to contain the outbreak.  We'll be grateful for your understanding.  Please always cover your nose and mouth with a mask (available at our front door) when you have a cough.

* The illness begins with fever, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis (inflammation in the eyes), which lasts for 2–4 days. It may be possible to see small white spots (Koplik spots) inside the mouth. A rash appears 2–4 days after the first symptoms, beginning on the head and gradually spreading down the body to the arms and legs. The rash lasts for up to one week.

For more information you can go to www.immune.org.nz

Copyright : Compass Health 2020