Aspiring Medical and Wānaka Medical are working closely together on a joint local initiative with the Southern District Health Board and Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the local community.
“As an interim step, we have set up a combined, dedicated team and facility to respond to any suspected coronavirus cases. This will function outside our normal practice operations until the Ministry of Health has established community-based assessment centres (CBAC),” said Aspiring Medical general manager, Caroline Stark.
“It is vital for the health of our community that we work together, share resources and utilise our mutual clinical expertise and experience to prioritise testing and management of patients as per Ministry of Health guidelines.”
“All patients are being screened via phone and online portal bookings and again when they arrive for their appointments. At this stage, we have facilities for assessment and testing to help reduce possible exposure to patients in the medical centres. If a patient from either practice meets the criteria for assessment and swabbing, they are asked to remain in or return to their cars, and they will then be seen in the designated area, external to the medical centres” said Stark.
Both practices are offering, where appropriate, alternatives to face-to-face consultations such as phone and virtual consults and taking steps to ensure patients can access their usual medical care - without unnecessary exposure to potential coronavirus cases.
Both practices are also urging the community to do their bit.
“We are asking patients not to come to the practices without an appointment, and this now applies to our urgent weekend clinics that have normally operated as walk-in clinics,” said Wānaka Medical general manager, Michael James.
“If patients have a sore throat, cough, shortness of breath or fevers and have travelled overseas in the last 14 days or been exposed to a known or suspected case, then we’re asking them to stay at home and use their phone”.
“This will not only reduce exposure to other patients but will also ensure that our practices can remain open by decreasing the risk of our staff having to be quarantined at a time when the community needs them most.”