30 August 2021

The New Zealand government has announced today that:
Everywhere south of Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Tuesday 31st August
Northland will likely move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Thursday 2nd September
Auckland will stay at Alert Level 4 for at least another two weeks

The Ministry of Health has today released updated guidance for Allied Health practitioners under COVID Alert Level 3 as follows:

At Alert Level 3, virtual appointments should be provided where possible as the preferred method of service delivery. Face-to-face appointments may be provided for urgent care only so long as clinicians can take appropriate measures to manage public health.

Urgent care for community allied health is defined as:
a condition which is life or limb threatening; or
treatment required to maintain the basic necessities of life; or
treatment that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability, or
where failure to access services will lead to an acute deterioration of a known condition; or
where delay in access to services will impact the consumer’s ability to maintain functional independence and significantly negatively impact quality of life
AND
which cannot be delivered by a service which is currently operating or by clinicians that are already in contact with the patient for ongoing care.
Although this definition is slightly broader than the previous Level 3 guidance, we still consider that this definition of ‘urgent care’ sets a high bar and face-to-face care should still only occur in exceptional circumstances. 

Please refer to the full guidance here for further information, including important advice around infection prevention control procedures, personal protective equipment and contact tracing.

The advice for Alert Level 4 remains unchanged: essentially, health service provision should not be face to face other than to preserve life or limb.  Please refer to the full guidance provided by the Ministry of Health here.

We recognise that this may be a very difficult time for many of our registrants and thank you for continuing to play your part in breaking the chains of transmission.

 27 August 2021

 As you will be aware, the New Zealand Government has advised that all of New Zealand south of the Auckland boundary will move to Alert Level 3 from 11:59pm on Tuesday 31st August, with Auckland north remaining at Alert Level 4 likely for another two weeks.

We are expecting further advice from the Ministry of Health regarding any changes to practice requirements and restrictions under Level 3. Until we receive further advice from the Ministry of Health, please review what these Levels currently mean for your ability to practice.

Under Alert Level 3, the primary method of care should be via telehealth or other ways of working remotely.  Current guidance allows practitioners to treat face-to-face in the case of ‘urgent care’, which is defined as:
- a condition which is life or limb threatening or
- treatment required to maintain the basic necessities of life or
- treatment that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability
AND
- which cannot be delivered by a service which is currently operating or by clinicians that are already in contact with the patient.
Face-to-face care should still only occur in exceptional circumstances and you should be prepared to justify your decision to treat face-to-face for each patient appointment.  Given the extremely transmissible nature of the Delta strain, please review the Ministry of Health resources on infection prevention and control and personal protective equipment and contact tracing.

Our expectation is that osteopaths will put public safety ahead of all other considerations when making decisions about patient management in the current Covid Delta outbreak.  

We will continue to update the profession as and when we can with any new information. 

18 August 2021

We have recently received an update from the Ministry of Health regarding working under Alert Level 4. 

This advice is, in part, that face-to-face contact under Alert Level 4 is to preserve life or limb only. We would not generally expect that osteopathic treatments would meet this threshold. 

Please click here for more information. 

18 August 2021 

We have recently received an update from the Ministry of Health regarding working under Alert Level 4. 

This advice is, in part, that face-to-face contact under Alert Level 4 is to preserve life or limb only. We would not generally expect that osteopathic treatments would meet this threshold. 

The New Zealand Government has announced a Level 4 lockdown for an initial three days from 11.59pm on the 17th  of August.  Auckland and Coromandel are likely to be required to be at this alert level for seven days.

The Ministry of Health has stated that they have not repeated the same Alert Level 4 information from 2020 because any possible future move into Alert Level 4 may look different.  We have yet to receive information specific to the ability of osteopaths to provide emergency care under the current Level 4 restrictions.  However we have received preliminary advice from the Ministry of Health indicating that there should be very few if any instances where face-to-face contact is occurring under Alert Level 4.

The five current community cases are the highly transmissible Delta variant, and an extremely high level of infection prevention control would be required to prevent transmission within a treatment room.  We would suggest that until we receive further information from the Ministry of Health that osteopaths do not plan to undertake any face-to-face treatments under Level 4.

The OCNZ has released telehealth guidelines to assist osteopaths to provide remote care.

Please continue to check the locations of interest listed by the Ministry of Health and follow the testing guidelines.

We recognise that these may be extremely difficult times for many of our registrants. We will keep you updated with guidelines and policies to assist you in safely re-opening your clinics as we receive more guidance from the Ministry of Health.

Osteopaths New Zealand, as the professional association, is able to provide their members with guidance on other matters related to practice under the Covid19 restrictions.

Please consider downloading the Awhina app to stay up to date on the latest information relevant to the health and disability sector and receive notifications when content is added or updated.

We will continue to update the profession as and when we can with any new information.    

Covid-19 Level 2 and 3 Communication

Covid-19 Communication