The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners has welcomed the Government’s $500 million for health, announced today in the COVID-19 rescue package, and is looking forward to hearing the detail of how it will be rolled out.
GPs are particularly pleased to see the significant financial commitment cover increased testing, more personal protective equipment (PPE), and support for those primary health care workers that may need to self-isolate.
Measures such as employing doctors to establish community-based clinics and boosting Healthline’s services will ensure large numbers of suspected COVID-19 patients can be triaged and seen away from the general practice clinics dealing with everyday medical needs of the community.
College President, Dr Samantha Murton says, "one of the great concerns with COVID-19 is ensuring a sustainable frontline of general practitioners; we just can’t afford to have health workforces and businesses falling over.
"I look forward to seeing the detail of these measures but am optimistic that what I’ve heard today will support general practices in New Zealand in unprecedented times.
"We are particularly mindful of small, sole-operated practices in rural areas where there is no back-up if those doctors need to self-isolate."
"Additional support like improving video conferencing and telehealth consultations and boosting the winter energy payment for beneficiaries will likely also support GPs to keep manageable workloads as New Zealand hits wintertime."
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners takes direction from the Ministry of Health and will be working through the detail of the announcement in the days to come. Part of the College’s remit around the announcement will be clear communication to its 5,500 GP members.