September 2021 Update
It has certainly been a very busy time of late with the latest lockdown. Recent advice from both Ministry of Health, and the Royal New Zealand College of GPs, is that as health professions, we need to continue to deliver healthcare in a different way. We have been encouraged to continue –
- Offering where possible telehealth – while many patients want to see their doctor ‘in the flesh’, if your symptoms can be managed without coming into the clinic and being exposed to other potential illness, this should remain an option for you;
- Physical distancing within the clinic – we are staggering appointment times for face-to-face (in-clinic) appointments to minimise the number of people in the clinic at any time;
- Separating patients that have flu-like (respiratory) symptoms & illnesses from those that do not. Answering ‘yes’ to any of our screening questions does not mean you cannot come in, it just allows us to manage the best care pathway and timing for you, so that we can continue to minimise any risk; and
- Ensuring masks are used while patients are in the clinic – please do not be offended if our staff ask you to wear a mask, even if you are not feeling unwell.
Please – do not come into the clinic unless you have to.
Zero tolerance for verbal or physical abuse to our staff
It is so disappointing to hear that during this lockdown our staff are once again suffering verbal abuse from patients.
While we understand that there is a lot of frustration and anxiety in our community, and that when people are feeling unwell they can feel a bit out of sorts, it is not ok to treat our valued team this way.
If you have a gripe then please ask to speak to someone who can help to get it sorted quickly, and please, don’t shoot the messenger. Abuse of our staff, no matter the reason, is not ok, and we will take steps to dis-enrol anyone who is displaying unacceptable behaviour.
We continue to offer Covid vaccinations – click here for latest information. You may not be aware that there are strict logistical criteria around general practice giving these vaccinations, so until the end of October we have repurposed the beach clinic (43 Te Moana Road, Waikanae Beach).
While we do use www.bookmyvaccine.nz for bookings, we also run an internal booking system – so if you can’t find a space on www.bookmyvaccine.nz then give us a call to book. Everyone over the age of 12 is now eligible for a vaccine, should they wish to.
We respect your right to decline a Covid vaccination and ask if you wish to do so, that you contact us so we can put an alert on your file – this means we won’t actively get in touch with you around this programme.
Access to our services
Getting access to healthcare in NZ is becoming increasingly difficult. Demand is rapidly outstripping supply. New Zealand GP practices have had to look long and hard at how we deliver healthcare to our communities. There is a national shortage of doctors, and Kapiti seems to be one of the hardest hit areas. COVID has also added a further layer of difficulty to how we operate.
We are now embarking on the final phase of our planned transformation into a Healthcare Home (HCH) practice. This has slowly been happening for the last 4 years. The object is to improve access to care.
We often hear our community say that if you cannot get an appointment for something non-urgent, then what happens when they suddenly become unwell. Under HCH there are different booking pathways for urgent (or unplanned care), and planned care.
We acknowledge that in the last two years, getting a routine/non urgent appointment with your preferred GP has been challenging. There are many reasons for that: COVID, doctor shortages (and inability to recruit new doctors from abroad) and an ever-increasing level of demand as our population ages and grows.
We also recognize that trying to fit everything into a 15-minute consultation time is not a good fit for everyone – it is not safe for patients or staff.
Over the last two years we have attempted to recruit doctors from New Zealand and from overseas. We have been successful to some degree, but we still do not have enough doctors for our patient base of more than 10 000. Our current doctors are working more hours than what is safe, and are at serious risk of burn-out. The hours currently worked by our GP owners would not be allowed at DHB level.
We recently consulted with other practices that have gone through the same challenges, one in Palmerston North and another in the Wairarapa, also with large patient populations.
They found that splitting their clinical team into workgroups, or pods significantly improved access for their patients to clinical services. While patients are still registered with their preferred GP, some services may be delivered by others in the pod.
It is a reality that some of our doctors work part-time, and even a full-time doctor has at least one day (equivalent) off each week. We also need to cover for sick and annual leave. This adds a further workload across our doctors, as many times those who are covering have no background around the patients they are caring for.
We have now implemented a similar system, where we will have three pods. Each pod will have a lead GP with a number of other GPs, and our locum doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses will work across all of the pods, providing support where required. Our aim is to provide more accessibility, and more continuity of care across a smaller team of doctors.
The workgroups/pods are:
Dr Herman van Kradenburg (lead)
Dr Eleana Earon
Dr Will Huang
Dr Steffen Holmvard (locum for Dr Cook)
Dr Anouk Balster (lead)
Dr Dermot O’Connor
Dr Diane Carter
Dr John Clarke (lead)
Dr Mark Conrad
Dr Hanna Preston
This system will not limit your ability to book with another doctor that may have a special interest.
Telephone assessment for requests for appointments on the-day will be managed by the pod should your GP not be available.
The most significant benefit to the pod structure relates to planned care. Did you know that over 40% of our patients are living with one or more chronic medical conditions that needs regular review (this includes a repeat prescription) and currently these patients are taking up about 70% of our GP appointments? With the pod structure –
- We are implementing specialty clinics for conditions like diabetes, cardiac and heart disease, COPD, etc. These clinics may involve seeing your doctor, or a combination of a doctor and nurse, or they may be nurse-led or in the form of a shared medical appointments (SMA). If you have more than one medical condition, you may be required to come to different clinics;
- We are reviewing each patient’s medical history to develop an annual careplan, outlining when they will be needing review, what that review looks like, and who will be involved;
- Where possible we will be pre-booking appointments at least 3 months ahead for medication and assessments relating to specific medical conditions;
- We will be proactively arranging for any tests required prior to your review appointments
We will start these clinics over the coming months – if you are affected, we will be in touch soon.
At the end of this month we say farewell to Dr Steffen Holmvard, who has been visiting us on a 12-month placement from Denmark. We have so enjoyed getting to know Steffen and his family, and wish them all the best for their next adventure.
We eagerly await the arrival of Dr Maaike Franken from Holland. Originally Dr Maaike was scheduled to be here to take over from Dr Steffen, however due to MIQ voucher restrictions she has been delayed until the beginning of December.
Increase in some of our charges
From Wednesday 8th September there will be a small increase to some of our charges –
- Prescriptions (for adult non-CSC holders) to $25
- Materials used for wound dressings to $10 per dressing **
**Due to the impact of Covid-19 the cost of materials (including shipping) has increased significantly over the last year. While we have managed to keep our costs the same for a long time, we must now pass these costs onto our patients.
- Some procedures (such as ECGs) will also incur a small increase.
Are you registered on MyIndici?
MyIndici is the patient portal we use (we replaced ManageMyHealth (MMH) in October last year). Being registered on the portal is a great way for you not just to keep in touch with us, but for you to access medical information you may need from time to time – for example, immunisations, medications, diagnoses (including dates diagnosed). Our doctors share information about your particular medical conditions, and you can also book appointments, order prescription, message your GP as well as our nursing and admin teams. We use MyIndici to keep you up to date with what is happening in the clinic. It doesn’t matter how often you come to the clinic – there is no disadvantage to being registered.
You can now have your children (under 14yrs of age) and other adult whanau members linked to your MyIndici account. For anyone over the age of 14 to be linked we will need a formal Third Party Consent completed and sent to us.
To do so you can go to our website, or give our reception team a call on 04 2936005 and select option 1 (we suggest calling after 2pm when our phones are not so busy).