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General practice pandemic plan checklist


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  • Code Yellow, Level 3-4 public health alert activation
  • Shift to virtual health service delivery
  • Staff communicaiton
  • Practice closures

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Code Yellow, Level 3-4 public health alert activation 

Refer to COVID-19 alert levels (PDF) 

Purpose: identify, develop and implement business continuity steps for general practices during L3 and L4 pandemic phases.

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Shift to virtual health service delivery

Review existing bookings

Amend templates if required to accommodate your virtual consult plan.

Identify future planned care consultations , reschedule to virtual consultation if appropriate.

Telephone system (reception)

Review automated phone responses - arrange redirection to CBAC testing facilities for respiratory infections, or designated general practice sites (depending on geographic location) if available otherwise redirection of calls based on clinical / admin issues.

Patient communications

Inform patients regarding the change in approach to care - use portal, text, phone message, website, Facebook, and door poster.

Patient portal

Offer opportunity to migrate patients to the portal using 'known to me' function in PMS*. [i]

Workforce

Offer clinical staff older than 70 years, those with pre-existing health conditions, or with family members who have underlying health concerns a role on the virtual health team or home-based admin role for non-clinical staff.

Consider how staff can be rostered in a manner that gives time off - especially when running on skeleton staff.

Identify a virtual health service team including clinical and admin:

  • ensure all team members have remote access
  • administrative team member to monitor incoming communications, resources (PHO, MOH, GPNZ etc.) and appointment scheduling support
  • telephone triage (GP, nurse practitioner, clinical pharmacist or nurse) for non-booked consultations
  • telephone planned care (booked) consultations / video if valuable
  • identify local practices or practices to partner with to offer shared clinical services (GP triage, immunizations, etc)
  • if a single GP provider or small GP team - consider implementing practice collaboration for sharing of  clinical / admin resources.

Implement email / fax technology for prescription refills (e-prescription not currently live).  

Technology

Use https://www.telehealth.org.nz/covid-19/as a source for  resources for getting set up.

Ensure up-to-date virtual consult technology is installed through your PMS provider where possible. (www.doxy.me is a useful platform to get started.)

See https://www.healthcarehome.org.nz/hch-moc-overview for more resources.

In-person consultations/referral pathways activated

  • Identify essential services to be provided face to face/in practice (notably immunisations, palliative care etc).
  • Identify a staff member to monitor the stock levels of Personal Protective Equipment and order via agreed process.
  • Confirm staff rosters for swabbing services (inhouse / swabbing center / CBAC ).
  • Identify at risk or highly vulnerable patients and develop team process for remotely monitoring, keeping well at home or in aged-care facility if practical.
  • Develop flu vax process keeping well / unwell patients apart, and prioritise groups to be vaccinated.
  • Create dirty/clean areas in the practice to separate sick and well patients in long term.
  • Socialise referral pathways for ED / CBAC for infants; respiratory disease presentations; LTC and vulnerable patients (immunosuppressed patients).


Staff communication

Instigate a morning huddle if not already in place (contact your practice support person for advice).

Ensure usual communication channels can be accessed by staff working from home - consider WhatsApp/Microsoft Teams/Closed Facebook group.

Remember culture is everything, keep it kind and respectful to each other.


*If you are designated general practice for pandemic assessment and testing*

  • Confirm referral pathways from primary care to designated general practices or preferably, CBACs.
  • Identify person to manage PPE stock supplies and liaise with PHO as required.
  • Identify staff required to assess, swab and complete public health notification requirements.
  • Develop plan to give staff time away from assessment and testing.


Practice closures

If you have to close the practice (on advice from Medical Officer of Health) after a confirmed case

  • Inform the PHO CEO (phone 021 925 812  / email helen.parker@pinnacle.health.nz) as soon as you know this is a necessary step.
  • Instigate your business continuity plan ( c.f. Foundation Standards).

To include:

  • inform staff of pending closure and process to follow
  • inform patients of impending closure
  • notify neighbouring practices / services of impending closure and agree process for practice patients during closure period
  • continue to provide virtual services wherever possible
  • arrange thorough cleaning of practice
  • advise regarding potential length of closure and re-opening protocol.

If you have to close the practice due to workforce issues

  • Inform the PHO CEO (phone 021 925 812  / email helen.parker@pinnacle.health.nz  ) as soon as you think this may be necessary.
  • Inform staff of pending closure and process to follow.
  • Inform patients of impending closure.
  • Notify neighbouring practices / services of impending closure and agree process for practice patients during closure period.
  • Continue to provide virtual services wherever possible.

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