Greenwood Medical Centre Newsletter
Welcome to the first newsletter of 2022 – the Omicron Edition. We hope that you had a break over the summer, and a chance to recharge in advance of what we hope will be the final stretch before a return to normality.
We expect that the next few months will be extremely busy from our end, and we ask for your patience over what is likely to be a frustrating and perhaps scary time. Please keep an eye on our website where we will have the latest information on how to best access our practice if you need help.
Covid PCR swabbing and testing
Preparing for COVID-19 in the home
If you have COVID
Low Risk and mild illnesses
Higher Risk Individuals
Business as Usual at GMC
Both child (5-11yo) and adult vaccinations are available. You can book online for your vaccinations HERE.
If you can’t see an available appointment please leave a phone message on our nurses’ line. Our messages are cleared very regularly, and our nurses will try their best to accommodate your needs. Clearly state your entire name, your date of birth and your best contact number. Remember, we may have more than one “John Doe” in the practice, so leave as many contact details as you can!
Vaccination is the very best way to protect yourself against serious illness. We are in an extremely good position with very high levels of vaccination and booster shots amongst our patients, but we always want to add to this. Our nurses are concentrating huge efforts on our vaccination drive, and we’ll do our best to fit you in.
We have started our covid swab clinics again in response to the omicron outbreak. Please contact our reception if you wish to book in for one of our swab clinics.
Swabbing and covid testing are carried out in our underground carpark. DO NOT COME INTO THE CLINIC IF YOU WISH TO HAVE A COVID TEST.
As New Zealand moves into different phases of the omicron outbreak, swabbing is likely to give way to rapid antigen testing (RATs). Keep an eye on our website for these changes. RATs are expected to be accessed directly from covid response teams. Greenwood Med Centre will have limited RAT testing available. These will be reserved for those with accessibility issues, and those who need help with performing the tests.
The vast majority of patients with covid will have a mild illness. We expect 80-90% of vaccinated patients to have no more than a bad cold and to be able to self-manage without any contact or need for a doctor. It is a good idea now to check that you are covid prepared. Prepare a kit with simple medical supplies such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, as well as at least a month of your usual medications. More importantly, talk to your friends and family about who can support you if you have to isolate. If you live alone, you should organise someone who can ring you on a daily basis to check on you. Who will organise your shopping, and who can fetch and carry medications or supplies? Look HERE for some information on being covid prepared, and go through the checklist HERE.
At any time, if you or a family member are severely unwell or are deteriorating, call 111.
Whanau HQ is your go to website about isolating at home HERE. This website contains links to health support, welfare support, and mental health support.
Remember that we at GMC may not know about your positive diagnosis. If you need help or to contact us DO NOT COME INTO THE BUILDING. The best way to contact us is to leave a message on our nurse phone line. Our messages are checked regularly.
As cases rise in the next few months, most people who test positive for covid will be notified directly via text message. This text will have links to information on how to self-care and isolate. People in low-risk categories may never be contacted directly by a medical team. In Auckland, you can access information on how to self-care at the COVID home isolation hub “Whanau HQ” HERE or by calling 0800 687 647.
If at any time you feel you need more information, health support, family support or welfare support, you can contact Whanau HQ on 0800 687 647. This free helpline runs 24/7. During weekdays you can also contact Greenwood Medical Centre directly by leaving a message on our nurses’ phone line, or emailing us HERE. Please don’t wait on hold – our messages are checked very regularly.
Remember that “low risk” individuals are assigned by a computer algorithm that may not know your individual circumstances. We at GMC may not be aware of your positive COVID test. If you feel you need to be moved to a different risk category, please email us HERE or leave a message on our nurses answer phone.
Some people are automatically considered at higher risk from COVID illnesses. These people will usually be contacted by phone or home visit directly by the Covid Support Hub. As numbers rise in Auckland, you may also be contacted by our team at GMC. Information will be given to you at that time about isolation, about warning signs to look out for, and about the supply of personal monitoring equipment such as pulse oximeters.
If at any stage you feel you need health support, contact us at GMC, or contact Whanau HQ on 0800 687 647.
If you are severely unwell or breathless, or deteriorating rapidly, call 111.
The GMC team is continuing to see people both virtually and in person. You can book virtual appointments online HERE but will need to phone our front desk in order to make an in person appointment. Do not book an in person consultation online – your normal doctor may be unavailable themselves due to illness or the requirement to isolate. The reception staff can guide you to a doctor that can see you in person if necessary.
We expect our phone lines to be busy, so consider leaving a message on our reception line if you can’t get through easily. Our messages are checked very regularly.
Masks are mandatory in our waiting room, surgical (paper) masks are preferred. If you cannot wear a mask, you will be asked to wait in your car.
We are seeing all patients, but if you are unvaccinated you will be asked to wait in your car. This is for your safety and convenience, so that you are not required to isolate as a close contact should someone else in the wait room turn out to have COVID.
We want to keep our waiting rooms as empty as possible, with as short a wait as possible. Please do not arrive more than 5mins early for your appointment, or wait in the car if you do arrive early. Please try and stay to a 15 minute appointment time, so that patients after you are also not kept waiting.
Our standard appointment times are for 15 minutes. Taking longer than 15 minutes changes your risk category from a “casual contact” to a “close contact” in the event a staff member turns out to have COVID. This distinction could lead to your needing to self-isolate, so please take note of this 15 min restriction. If you have more than one medical issue you would like to discuss, please make a double appointment, or consider a virtual consult followed by an in person consult at a later time.
Patients with respiratory symptoms can be seen, but will be seen in a different manner. All will need to have a virtual consultation first, and will then be brought in by the doctor at a later time as needed, so that doctors are able to put on appropriate PPE. In some cases you may be seen in your car, or in a porta-cabin. If you need to be seen more urgently, please consider attending a local walk-in or A&M clinic which are set up for more urgent respiratory assessment.
Standard childhood vaccinations, well child checks, screening appointments and “business as usual” are still taking place during red traffic light conditions.
Health Navigator has a wealth of information on COVID-19 HERE (https://www.healthnavigator.
The Ministry of Health website has information HERE (https://www.health.govt.nz/
Unite against Covid-19 has great resources on getting your household prepared HERE (https://covid19.govt.nz/
Whanau HQ has information on isolating at home HERE (https://immunisation.
Information and FAQ’s about vaccination can be found HERE (https://covid19.govt.nz/
Kia Kaha, Stay Safe.
From the Team at Greenwood Medical Centre