The transition of twenty District Health Boards to Health New Zealand and the Maaori Health Authority is underway, and many in our community may have read about the changes.
For our patients there is no immediate change, and while overtime we expect the transitions will deliver greater equity of access to services regardless of where you live, for now there will be no change to where our community access their Counties Manukau Health services.
Please keep coming to Middlemore Hospital in a life-threatening emergency, keep attending your clinics and appointments, and engage with your Counties Manukau Health Clinical team.
While many of us have had COVID-19, new variants of the virus may continue to emerge, and now is not the time to become complacent with vaccinations, hygiene habits, mask wearing and social distancing.
The vaccination rates in our community for Influenza are worryingly low. The COVID-19 and Influenza viruses are completely different, and it is important to get immunised against both as they are two different infections that can result in serious illness. The COVID vaccination does not protect against influenza, nor does the influenza vaccine protect against COVID
If you are recovering from COVID-19 you can get your influenza vaccination as soon as you are symptom free. There is no stand down or waiting period for the flu vaccination, you just need to have no cold like symptoms.
Being vaccinated against flu, COVID-19 and other preventable diseases are important for your health and wellbeing, and so are our ongoing screening programmes. The major health screening programmes for adults are cervical, breast and bowel. We know screening services help save lives so please accept and attend any screening appointment you are offered. Please also follow up with your GP or Medical Centre if you think your health has changed in any way so that you can be referred to clinical specialist or the tests that might be right for your symptoms.
In the coming weeks and as the weather continues to cool, we are expecting a very challenging winter season so please get the flu vaccination and get fully immunised against COVID-19. Raise any health concerns with your GP or call Healthline 0800 611 116 and follow their advice. Please check that your tamariki are up to date on all their childhood immunisations to protect them from becoming seriously ill from preventable diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella.
Kia noho haumaru. Keep safe
Dr Andrew Connolly
Chief Medical Officer