The statement from the peak professional bodies, representing general practice, urgent care and emergency medicine, highlights the need to continue learning and implementing best practices from the lessons learned from New Zealand’s first wave of COVID-19, as well as from other countries experiencing a resurgence.
Key themes and measures addressed in the statement include:
- Telehealth and the need to adjust healthcare services triage, evaluation, and patient care methods so we do not solely rely on in-person services;
- The need to be vigilant, and maintain and improve stringent infection controls to limit healthcare worker infections, which have been of such concern elsewhere in the world;
- The use of masks among the public and the recommendation that masking is applied more broadly across the country, beyond Auckland;
- Protecting vulnerable populations; and
- Recommending a drastic increase in surveillance swabbing, stricter border control, including managed isolation and quarantine facilities testing, swift contact tracing, and the COVID-19 Tracer App already in place.
The full joint statement is available here.
ACEM President Dr John Bonning said: “While New Zealand had done very well in its suppression of COVID-19, the identification of community transmission is concerning and it’s important we keep doing everything we can to limit its spread and additional burdens on our healthcare system.”
RNZCGP President Dr Samantha Murton said: “Experience elsewhere around the world has shown us how quickly the spread of COVID-19 can escalate, and it is crucially important that we remain ever-vigilant and continue to act quickly and firmly, in accordance with our own experiences and international best practice.”
RNZCUC President Dr David Gollogly said: “Our three Colleges commend the Government’s strong response to the new outbreak of COVID-19, and in our joint statement, highlight the importance of protection of sick and elderly populations, mass masking, and effective PPE for healthcare workers to minimise the effect of the pandemic in New Zealand.”
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
RNZCGP is the professional body and postgraduate educational institute for general practitioners (GPs). www.rnzcgp.org.nz
RNZCUC is responsible for training doctors and maintaining professional standards in urgent care. www.rnzcuc.org.nz