Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In January 2020 Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of Coronavirus (COVID-19) which affects the respiratory system. Links to information and resources about the virus are below. PNZ will share any further information with members as it becomes available.

Please be aware that PNZ is currently receiving a high volume of queries largely related to telehealth and essential services. In order to be efficient and effective with our support to members please look out for regular email updates and current information on this web page, that is being informed by our regular contact with the Ministry of Health and ACC. Thanks for your patience at these unprecedented times.


Physiotherapy Board and Physiotherapy New Zealand joint statement: COVID-19 update

This statement is being sent as an email by the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand (current 24 March 2020)

Tēnā koe

We hope everyone is doing OK and taking care of yourself and your whānau as we quickly work through the implications of the recent announcements. 

Level Alert

As you will be aware the Prime Minister has announced New Zealand is now at Level 3 for COVID-19 alert, Restrict - Heightened risk that disease is not contained.

The Prime Minister has also announced New Zealand's COVID-19 alert will increase to Level 4 at 11:59 pm Wednesday 25 March, Eliminate - Likely that disease is not contained. Measures needed locally and nationally include:

  • People instructed to stay home
  • Educational facilities closed
  • Businesses closed except for essential services
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
  • Travel severely limited
  • Major reprioritisation of healthcare services.

Therefore the Physiotherapy Board and Physiotherapy New Zealand require all non-essential services to be suspended immediately to reduce community spread. This includes yourself, your staff and your patients.

The Physiotherapy Board and Physiotherapy New Zealand require all non- essential physiotherapy services to meet all applicable Level 4 measures by Wednesday 25 March.

What this means for you

Physiotherapists employed by District Health Boards (DHBs and other hospitals)

The requirements for your service and practice will be under the direction of your employer. Please follow their advice.

All other Physiotherapists (primary, community, workplace based, private i.e. all non - DHB settings)


Under Alert Level 4 you are no longer able to provide any face to face, clinic based or direct services.

You must close your clinic, remove yourself from the setting that you are working in and go home.

You can, if able to, provide electronic (telemedicine, Zoom, Skype, Facetime, phone call) services to your patients (within contractual requirements). Clinical records must be maintained recording that the consultation was via whatever means.

The Allied health best practice guide for telehealth is here
The Board's telehealth standard is here

Thank you

If you, your family or whānau are on the frontline of the COVID-10 response. You have our sincere thanks.

Noho ora mai,

Janice Mueller
Chairperson (Physiotherapy Board)

Liz Binns
President (PNZ)

Jeanette Woltman-Black
Chief Executive (Physiotherapy Board)

Sandra Kirby
Chief Executive (PNZ)


Telehealth Services

Updated 23 March 2020

As of 5.45pm March 23 2020, ACC has communicated with PNZ that ACC has announced further expansion of telehealth services. Over the next few days ACC will make a detailed announcement that physiotherapy services, initial consultations and follow up appointments, delivered under CoT regulations and all other services will now be able to be delivered via telehealth services. The final details of the expansion of telehealth services are currently being worked through and will be released in the next few days. We will continue to keep members updated with information on this as it becomes available.


Ministry of Health Essential Healthcare Services

Updated 24 March 2020

The New Zealand Government has advised the following regarding essential services on covid19.govt.nz (current 24 March 2020).

“Entities and their workers carrying out the following services are considered essential. This also includes entities in their supply chains (eg those providing IT and data infrastructure to an entity providing an essential service). This list will evolve over time. It was last updated at 8 pm, 23 March 2020."

"Health Lead agency: Ministry of Health

  • District Health Boards (and all of their facilities), Pharmac, New Zealand Blood Service, Health Promotion Agency, Health Quality and Safety Commission
  • Any person employed or contracted as a doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, paramedic, medical laboratory scientists, kaiāwhina workers, social workers, aged care and community workers, and caregivers more generally
  • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities (eg rest homes)
  • Any entity providing ambulance services
  • Any entity involved with the deceased/tūpāpaku (eg funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries)
  • Any entity producing health sector equipment, medicines and PPE”

This advice identifies that physiotherapists not working in organisations listed above should only be engaging with the public over the phone or telehealth services.

PNZ is in ongoing contact with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to be able to inform members if they are working in an organisation providing essential services. We will continue to advocate for physiotherapy to be added to the list of essential services and keep PNZ members updated when more information from MoH is available.


BMS Insurance

A document from BMS on COVID-19 is available here. Please note the following advice regarding BMS insurance and telehealth services.

"Can I practice Telehealth?
Provided it’s considered within the scope of your individual practice, in most cases you can practice telehealth and, where practicable, this is recommended. If your professional indemnity policy is with BMS there is a jurisdictional limitation within New Zealand."

BMS can be contacted at 0800 999 267 and pnz@bmsgroup.com.


Online Resources

The following online resources link to pages from New Zealand and the World Health Organisation. Links are provided to ensure members are directed to the latest information as these pages are updated.

New Zealand Government

The Ministry of Health (MoH) – includes advice for health professionals

The World Health Organisation (WHO)

World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)

ACC

Information on International Travel

Wellbeing


    Businesses Information

    PNZ has a web page with COVID-19 Business Information and FAQs that you may find helpful. This includes information on the Government COVID-19 economic support package.


    Online Courses

    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have teamed up with the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team to offer a new course on COVID-19. Starting on 23 March 2020 and running for three weeks, this online course is being offered at no cost. Read more here.

    Physioplus is providing an online programme of courses on COVID- 2019 at no cost. The aim of the course is to provide a practicing physiotherapist with the knowledge, practices and skills to allow them to play a proactive role in global and local efforts to reduce the impact of this pandemic. Read more here.

    Back In Motion are offering a no cost webinar on 23 March about Overcoming CV-19 TOGETHER. This will provide shared insights into a proportionate response to the COVID-19 impact in Australia and NZ for health practice owners. Read more here.


      Events

      With members of PNZ hosting a number of events across the country, the information below provides links to advice regarding the Coronavirus. This will be updated as any new information becomes available. However, please refer to the links for the most current information and contact pnz@physiotherapy.org.nz if you’d like to talk to the PNZ Office.

      The Ministry of Health COVID-19 - Advice for public events and mass gatherings, updated on 22 March 2020, notes that:

      "Gatherings or events where 500 or more people are together in one place outdoors, or 100 people indoors, at one time should be cancelled. Examples of gatherings or events include concerts, festivals, sports matches, religious and cultural events."

      "New Zealand’s priority is slowing the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings such as concerts, sporting events and the like pose a high risk for transmission of infectious diseases. 

      New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 2. Alert Level 2 will change how gatherings, events and workplaces operate. Alert Level 2 means at-risk people (such as those who are 70 years or older and those who are immune compromised) are advised to stay home and not attend gatherings and events. More information on alert levels.

      Gatherings and events can be a very good environment for infectious diseases like COVID-19 to spread because people often behave in ways that facilitate transmission. This includes sharing food or drinks, sitting or standing very close together for long periods of time and coughing on each other.

      Helping people avoid close contact with others, like you would with the seasonal flu, is an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures will help protect you, your family/whānau and all of New Zealand."


        Member Emails

        PNZ continues to email members regarding COVID-19. For reference these are available here.


        Page updated 27 March 2020