Published: 22 April, 2020


A round-up of the news for primary care

New Zealand’s front-line of attack against COVID-19 severely compromised

Press release from GenPro:

The Government has withdrawn its support for New Zealand’s vital front-line health care workers mid-way through its war against COVID-19 - a move which severely compromises patient care and the sector’s ability to protect communities during the current pandemic. Referring to the Government’s decision to withhold previously agreed COVID-19 funding, Dr Tim Malloy, chair of the newly formed General Practice Owners Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (GenPro) said “I am exceptionally disappointed that the Government has effectively reneged on its previous agreement to support vital General Practice services during the country’s Level 4 Lockdown and is giving the message that health care workers who are knowingly, and regularly, putting themselves directly in harms way are no longer valued".

General Practices across the country have made significant advance commitments in order to maintain vital front-line services on the basis of fortnightly funding support previously agreed with District Health Boards (DHBs) and the Ministry of Health. Those same General Practices have now been told such funding support is being withheld. “In terms of Occupational Health and Safety, there is probably no other group of the New Zealand workforce which is putting themselves more at risk in the battle to protect patients and communities from COVID-19, and yet the Government’s decision to pull the rug on their support means many General Practice owners will no longer be able to afford to maintain those services. I fear for the impact that will have and the backward step it means we will take in this country’s collective action during this pandemic”.

GenPro, whose Vision is Sustainable, viable and high quality General Practice for all New Zealanders, has to-date not been directly involved in the funding negotiations with DHBs and the Ministry of Health but, Dr Malloy goes on to say “The situation we find ourselves in is utter stupidity and GenPro will now be raising this at the highest level on behalf of our members who are running General Practice services in some of the most challenged communities across the full length of the country.”

Read the full statement here: http://genpro.org.nz/docs/Media-Release-21-April-2020.pdf

Estimating the financial impact of COVID-19 and your eligibility for the wage subsidy

Many practices are uncertain about the impact that the lock down measures will have on their financial performance and are unsure whether they’re eligible for the government’s wage subsidy support. South Link Health Group has developed a tool to estimate the financial impact of COVID-19 on your General Practice and help determine if your revenue has decreased by 30% as a result.

They have kindly made this tool freely available for any practice to use: simply download the Excel file and fill in the details to get your predictions.

Populating the tool with your pre-COVID normal practice data and estimating the decreases in activity that you’ve experienced over the last three weeks will provide guidance on whether to apply for the government wage subsidy. The online application form can be found here: https://services.workandincome.govt.nz/ess/employer_applications/new

South Link Health Group stands behind general practices and supports the need for ongoing financial assistance from the Ministry of Health.


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