The Prime Minister has announced that New Zealand has entered Covid-19 level 3 in preparation for level 4 within 48 hours. At that time, only “essential services” will be given approval to continue. These extraordinary circumstances require that the Board provide you with certain and clear direction during this Covid-19 pandemic.
At present, there is some uncertainty about what services will be characterised as ‘essential services. There is currently no definition of ‘essential services’ in the context of the Government’s Covid-19 alert system. There is nothing specific in the Epidemic Preparedness Act. There is also no suggestion as yet, that the definition of essential services found in the Employment Relations Act will apply – although this might well be the template that the Government follows and relevantly this includes ambulance services, hospitals, and a “service necessary” for the continued operation of hospitals consistent with the wording Ms Ardern used today.
Commencing no later than 12pm Wednesday and until the Government further clarifies the definition of essential services, The Board strongly recommends that as primary care providers, you only provide care to those patients in intractable pain or those serious chronic patients who will otherwise rapidly deteriorate or be compelled to seek alternative urgent care. This is so these cohorts can avoid attending facilities for urgent medical care or hospitals.
The Board expects that if you are required to provide the above service, that you do so by adopting triage procedures and proceed with critical care as advised by the Ministry of Health to avoid putting yourself, and other practice members or patients at risk. This is considered an exception to the level 4 self-isolation regime and you are expected to return to that status as soon as practicable.
The Board is acutely aware there will be significant impact on individual Chiropractors and the wider profession as it will all New Zealander’s and humanity as a whole.
The Board’s primary responsibility is to ensure public safety and in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak this now includes ensuring that chiropractors adhere to safety measures imposed by the Government.
In the coming days, the Board will further consider and provide advice to you with regard to the current APC renewal process
As always, the Board will continue to provide you the best information we have available, in as timely a manner as is practicable. The above information remains subject to change pending on advice from the Government.
Kristin Grace, Chair
New Zealand Chiropractic Board