27 Feb 2020

Covid-19: GPs frustrated by lack of protective gear

From Morning Report, 7:14 am on 27 February 2020

Family doctors are frustrated at their lack of access to protective equipment as they prepare for the possibility of being at the front line of the coronavirus outbreak.

They are calling on the Ministry of Health to start delivering some of the masks and other equipment they have stockpiled so they are better prepared.

Samantha Murton, President of the Royal New Zealand College of GPs, speaks to Susie Ferguson.

The Ministry of Health's Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said in a statement that the Ministry understands there is concern among GPs and Primary Health Organisations around access to protective equipment.

There is also concern about the potential for influenza and Covid-19 to circulate out the same time and put exrtra pressure on the health system.

Ms McElnay said the Ministry is working with DHBs and PHOs to ensure that GPs have adequate stock levels, and said that in the case of a pandemic Community Based Assessment Centres could be set up around the country to help GPs to cope with extra demand.