Bay of Plenty doctors have expressed their gratitude for people's good behaviour during New Zealand's unprecedented Covid-19 response.

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Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation co-chairman and Fifth Avenue Family Practice doctor Luke Bradford said it was pleasing to see people were "being really sensible".

"The key message we want to get across from general practice is that we definitely want people to stick with the lockdown and not come in unnecessarily. But, we are open and we are all running telephone consults, some of us video consults.

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"It's really important if you have a concern, not just about Covid-19 but normal health stuff, that you are phoning in because one of the dangers is that people say 'oh, I can't do anything about this' and just sit on things that actually could be worrying signs about other illnesses we need to know about."

He said there was a focus on flu vaccinations at present with priority going to those over 65 and those with chronic health conditions.

"We're trying to get the most vulnerable covered first, we're hoping the third week of April will open up to others."

Bradford said there were strict processes in place to ensure the safety of staff at the practice.

"Nobody can come in without a phone call to a doctor. The doctor decides what their risk of having Covid is and if they need to come in.

"Those that do come in are met at the door, we have flow limiting the number of people in waiting rooms and anyone with medium to high risk is being given a mask and put into an isolation room before they're being seen."

Mount Maunganui GP Dr Tony Farrell. Photo / Supplied
Mount Maunganui GP Dr Tony Farrell. Photo / Supplied

Mount Medical Centre doctor Tony Farrell echoed Dr Bradford's opinion that overall, patients were being sensible and well behaved.

"I think people have been very good, our waiting room has turned into the outside car park and they have been very patient, waiting with masks, social distancing and being very tolerant of what they have to put up with."

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He said almost all of the work the doctors were doing was over the phone now.

"If the person needs an examination for urgent reasons, we have a very limited and careful examination with protective gear on.

"Anyone who is worried about respiratory symptoms or feeling unwell that may relate to Covid-19, we won't assess those because we want our surgery to be Covid-19 free," Dr Farrell said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website