APEX Update 26 March 2020
We have made it very clear to the DHBs and Ministry of Health that nationally consistent guidelines on the use of PPE (who, when where) must be provided urgently.
The country as a whole has a supply of 3 months worth at this time, but there are some issues of distribution around the country. Watch this space on this one.
We need to keep as many of our essential workers working as we can and with schools and childcare facilities closing action was needed. And voila – an excellent explanation can be found here (take no notice of the CDHB source, it is nationally applicable but thanks to CDHB for being so clear!).
The steps are as follows:
Hopefully those of you who need to have triggered the vulnerable workers process. For us in health, the “70 year old+ = you should stay at home”, doesn’t automatically apply. Please use the process if you believe you are vulnerable and not simply because you are, or are not, 70 or over.
For those who are vulnerable and where there is nowhere to go work wise, the DHBs will pay special leave (but you need to go through the process before you will get this paid).
The process for that is as follows:
The DHBs have sources of accommodation for those who don’t want to go home to keep family safe. We expect more information to come out shortly on this, but feel free to ask your manager what they have lined up if you need to.
The DHBs are clear with us that staff in contracted services should be getting the same as core DHB staff. They are talking to planning and funding to make sure that message has got through. For those outside of the DHB and DHB contracted workforce, most employers appear to be following the DHB guidelines but we have had to engage with a few. For these members, watch the DHB processes that will be publicized through these updates, and contact your advocate if there are issues!
DHBs are increasingly adopting a no-visitors policy, with only a few notable exceptions, including a nominated person who is supporting a terminal patient through end of life care, a parent/guardian who is supporting a child and/or a birthing partner. The decision about whether exceptional circumstances apply is at the CD or CNM level.
Identification as an Essential Worker
The DHBs are checking with police how to identify essential workers (in case you get stopped on the way to or from work). Once that gets clarified we will let you know. For now they are apparently just asking who you are and where you are going… hospital ID or the like will be helpful here. If you get turned back, comply with the police instructions and if this happens on your way to work, once back home call your manager.
Fixed term and Locum contracts
If you or anyone you know is being faced with a fixed term contract because of COVID-19, or a locum contract, advice on what to do can be found here.