General Practices are open for business. This is the message THINK Hauora Chief Executive Chiquita Hansen wants to share with communities across the MidCentral districts.

"People can stay connected with their General Practice team during lockdown and anyone who really needs to be seen should get in touch to make appointments.

This is particularly important for people who are unwell, those who are due for flu vaccinations, and parents and caregivers of babies and toddlers due for scheduled child immunisations."

Over the last week, General Practices locally experienced a significant drop in consultations in line with a national downward trend. Chiquita Hansen says this is not surprising given the impact of lockdown and Level 4 protocols.

Advertisement

"At the same time, our local General Practices have achieved tremendous change over the last few weeks and are in a strong position to deliver and manage health services to their patients.

"GPs, Nurse Practitioners, nurses and other health professionals are using more telephone and video consultations and connecting with people through patient portal messaging.

Face-to-face visits are available for people who need them and people will be advised by their GP, Nurse Practitioner or nurse if a visit to the clinic is the best option."

"General Practices have made a stellar effort to help people stay connected at a distance," THINK Hauora Chair, Dr Bruce Stewart says.

"Some General Practices in the MidCentral district had begun to offer telehealth services such as phone, video, email consults and patient portal services prior to the pandemic. Others have had a rapid adoption to these modes of service delivery."

"Again, we want people to remember that General Practice teams across MidCentral are still available for face-to-face consults when these are deemed necessary."

Three good reasons to visit your General Practice team in person are:

•If you are unwell and have been advised by your GP, Nurse Practitioner or nurse to come to the clinic.

Advertisement

•If you have been notified that your flu vaccination is available and you are over 65, live with a long-term condition, or you are pregnant.

•You are a parent or caregiver of an infant or toddler who is due for or who has been recalled for child immunisations.

General Practices have put protocols in place to keep patients safe during face-to-face visits.

These may include scheduling vaccinations clinics at separate times of the day to seeing unwell patients, using separate entrances or waiting rooms, vaccinating in cars or alternative premises and minimising wait times.