Primary healthcare news, information & resources

Code Yellow, Level 3-4 public health alert activation

On this page

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

Go back to our 
main COVID-19 webpage

General practice pandemic plan checklist: 

Code Yellow, Level 3-4 public health alert activation  

Refer to COVID-19 alert levels

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


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]


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).  


Use a source for  resources for getting set up.

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

See 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 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  ) 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.

For more information

Latest News