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)
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.
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.
If you, your family or whānau are on the frontline of the COVID-10 response. You have our sincere thanks.
Noho ora mai,
Chairperson (Physiotherapy Board)
Chief Executive (Physiotherapy Board)
Chief Executive (PNZ)
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 New Zealand Government website (Govt.nz) links to Unite Against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz) intended as a single resource for COVID-19 information.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) – includes advice for health professionals
- Please visit the Ministry of Health website for the latest information from MoH on COVID-19, including media releases. MoH has pages for current updates and resources for health professionals.
- MoH have COVID-19 - information in multiple languages, including New Zealand Sign Language, and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples has information for Pacific People in New Zealand.
- A MoH poster on how to protect yourself and others is available here. The Canterbury District Health Board have also provided a poster for practices, available in a number of sizes and formats on the Canterbury Primary Response Group website.
The World Health Organisation (WHO)
- The World Health Organisation website also has a page with information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), including advice to people on how to protect themselves and those around them.
World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
- WCPT have a web page linking to information and advice. They have also sent an email with COVID-19 information and resources to member organisations and published a press release as part of the World Health Professions Alliance, which WCPT is a partner of.
- PNZ is in regular communication with ACC and our Clinical Partner Melissa Barry. The ACC website has a pages with important information about novel coronavirus COVID-19 as well as ACC COVID-19 information for providers and ACC Provider COVID-19 updates.
- ACC service item codes and rates for telehealth invoices are available here.
Information on International Travel
- For information on international travel, please refer to updates from Immigration New Zealand, The New Zealand Customs Service and Air New Zealand.
- The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand have a web page on looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19. This includes free call and text numbers to speak with a trained counsellor.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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."
PNZ continues to email members regarding COVID-19. For reference these are available here.
Page updated 27 March 2020