After the Level Three and Four announcements, General Practitioners across the country will be separating services within clinics.
This means that for those who are there for flu vaccinations, general appointments or prescriptions will be isolated from those who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19. This is to avoid the community transmission of COVID-19.
This comes from a statement from the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, who will be enforcing a recommendation that phone consultations are a priority, rather than face-to-face visits with local doctors.
In addition, prescription rules have also changed. Previously available to receive a three-month supply of prescription medication, pharmacies will now only be able to dispense a one-month steady supply at a time. The RNZCGP believes this to be “not unreasonable”.
Like many other industries, General Practitioners are currently facing unsettling times in regard to compensation. Many may lose hours, if not jobs entirely. However, as General Practitioners are self-employed contractors, the water is murky regarding payment and cutting of hours.
The RNZCGP wants all patients, families and communities to know that the industry is on high alert and is working around the issue of self-isolation. There will be more telephone nurses, video-calling will be put in place for many surgeries, and patients should be receiving regular text updates regarding COVID-19.