Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies

  • Hon Dr David Clark

Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19.

"For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up and to work in new ways and they must be supported," says David Clark.

"The public relies on their services and we need to do as much as possible to protect and sustain these critical workforces. They’re a truly essential part of front-line health care delivery, particularly now we’re at Alert Level 4. 

“That’s why we’ve put in place an initial $30 million funding plan for these sectors – which is part the $500 million COVID-19 health package announced last month. This money began flowing to GPs and pharmacies this week.

"We heard sector concerns that they needed support to work differently and sustainably at this very testing time. This support package goes some way towards the immediate needs, but we know there'll be more to be done.

"Under this package, financial support has been developed to provide early support to general practice and community pharmacy. The initial payments are to recognise additional workload, and how work is changing under COVID-19. 

“The general practice funding package consists of a $15 million general practice response payment aimed to support general practices with workload from testing patients and the costs incurred moving to virtual consultations. 

“There will be an additional payment to District Health Boards (DHBs) to support the setup, implementation and running costs of Community Based Assessment Centres (CBACs). Funding will be available to general practices who have agreed with DHBs to form part of the CBACs network. 

“The community pharmacy funding package totalling $15 million is a support payment for all community pharmacy service providers to recognise the increased workload and for the way they’re moving into a virtual working environment alongside general practice. 

“COVID-19 is a complex challenge, and it requires complex solutions which can respond to changing situations. 

“Within the detail of these packages, we will also be taking into account high needs populations and the size of practices and pharmacies.

“We will also regularly review what other support may be required and clearly this will depend on the length and severity of the impact of COVID-19 on New Zealanders. 

“We know we are all in this together and the New Zealanders working in the community pharmacy and general practice make up the cornerstones of the New Zealand response to a global challenge.

"I know the public would want me to thank them all as we weather the storm of COVID-19,” David Clark says.