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Keeping you safe at level 2 - new procedures at Medplus

May 14, 2020


Keeping you safe at level 2 – new procedures at Medplus

As you will know, Medplus has remained open throughout level 4 and 3, but is looking forward to providing a more familiar level of service in level 2 from Monday 18th May. We are looking forward to seeing more of you face to face.

We are following RNZCGP guidelines closely to ensure that we keep our patients who may have COVID like symptoms separate from everyone else. We want to ensure that you are completely safe when you or your family visit Medplus. Our waiting room and reception area can no longer be used in the way it was, and we ask you to stay in your car when you arrive. This is to prevent the spread of infection within the waiting room. The GP will call you when they are ready to meet you at the front door. Please make sure that we have an up to date mobile number for you, and when booking please give details of the car you will be attending in. If you wish to you can phone 09 489 2011 to confirm you have arrived.

Red and Green Streams

We will have 2 streams – a green stream which is anyone who does not have a cough, or fever, or cold like symptoms, and a red stream – anyone who has a cough, or fever, or cold like symptoms or anyone who needs a COVID swab. The green stream patients will be phoned on their mobile phone when their doctor or nurse is ready for them, collected at the front door where their temperature will be checked and then taken to the consultation room. The red stream patients will be called on their mobile phone in the car park and collected by a doctor in PPE at the ambulance door, then taken to what used to be our treatment room. Red streamed patients will not be able to move through the rest of the building.

Virtual Consultations

Meanwhile we are also continuing to offer virtual consultations, which we know many of you have really enjoyed from a convenience aspect. Our goal is to do about 50% of consultations by phone or video, which helps maintain social distancing at Medplus. Our video consultations are via Doxy.me

GP Phone Triage for on the day requests for appointments

To help separate green and red streamed patients we will have brief GP phone triage to sort this. From Monday, we will have an experienced GP briefly call back all patients who are requesting an "on the day appointment", ensuring you get your health care needs met by the right person, in the right place and for the right length of time. Some issues can be quickly addressed by the GP phone triage doctor on the phone, for example, giving some advice about managing a mild childhood illness, issuing forms, etc. Some issues will be deemed suitable for a virtual appointment (video or phone, your preference) and a time will be given with your preferred provider. Some patients will need or prefer a face to face consult, and the GP on the phone will determine if you can be seen in the green stream or the red stream and will book you accordingly. One very useful feature is that we can pre-empt some issues. For example, if you want an appointment because you are suffering from anxiety or depression, we can ensure you have a 30 minute consultation later in the day and will get you to complete some questionnaires prior to speaking with your doctor. If you only need a COVID swab the triage doctor can do all the online forms and paperwork so that when you turn up the interaction will only be for 2 minutes. Please note we will always be happy to swab those meeting the current case definition. We will have to monitor demand but hope that we will be able to phone you within 1-2 hours. The phone call will be brief – under 5 minutes. This process is following the Health Care Home model of care, designed way before Covid, which has been rolled out very successfully in many areas around the country. It aims to maximise convenience for patients whilst providing a superior level of health care in a way that is sustainable for the practice.

If you need an appointment on the day you do need to phone reception, the portal will have the appointments blocked off and therefore unavailable, to ensure our patients all get GP phone triage. Our templates will look full on the portal, but the GP triage will unlock them for you as needed.

The brief GP phone triage is only for patients who want a same day appointment with a GP. If you are wanting to book an appointment in advance, we presume it is not for an illness that could be presenting like COVID. Appointments you book in advance can be booked on the portal or via reception, and you can determine if it is a phone, video, or face to face consultation. Please note, we will not be able to see you face to face if you have a cough or fever, or any cold like symptoms and you will unfortunately be turned away at the front door. It is essential that we separate potential COVID infections from other reasons to come to Medplus for the protection of other patients and our staff.

If you are booking a virtual consultation, please just consider if we will be able to manage your concerns by phone or video or if we are going to need to see and examine you. For example, if you have injured yourself in an accident, we will need to see you. If you have abdominal pain or chest pain, we are going to want to examine you. Please be careful in your choice of booking, we do not want to cause offense by saying we are going to need to see you in a second consultation.

If this all seems too complex, please phone reception who will assist you to get the appointment you need.

Escorts and children

We need to contact trace everyone entering the building. Whilst you can bring an escort if you need to, please can you leave most of the family at home if possible. Currently the hospital does not allow adult patients to bring a family member or a friend into outpatients – we understand that it is sometimes valuable to do so. We need to wash down anything that has been touched during a consultation, and it is very hard to keep young ones sitting still. Please, if possible, only bring in one child to an appointment and leave siblings at home or chose a video consult rather than a face to face.

Other changes

If you do have to use our bathroom please let staff know, so it can be cleaned after use.

If you wish to wear a mask during your consultation you are very welcome to do so, however, because of the difficulty of getting enough PPE we can not provide you with one. The Ministry of Health does not recommend patients wear masks currently.

From Monday, if you are in the green stream you will be able to pay at reception, contactlessly. Please note we no longer accept cheques and prefer not to handle cash. If you are in the red stream, or if you have a virtual consultation, we will need you to pay with credit card or online.

Please note, to minimise traffic in reception, we do not have the internal access to pharmacy or radiology open currently. To access them please walk around the outside. If you need any special assistance from Medplus Pharmacy, they will be happy to help.

We can send prescriptions electronically to most pharmacies now. Please let us know which pharmacy you want to your repeat prescription to go to.

We continue to offer flu vaccinations – please book and prepay at reception. We can only book more as we receive supplies.

As from Monday 18th May we will be open from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Thursday, and 8am to 6pm on Fridays. We will not yet be opening at weekends, partly because there has been no demand and partly because it will be very hard to separate red and green teams when only one doctor is working. This will be reviewed week by week.

If you do not have a car or a mobile phone, please let reception know and we will find a way of accommodating your needs.