In an effort to help relieve pressure on emergency departments across Tāmaki Makaurau, the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) has launched four Whānau HQ Care Hubs.
The hubs – two in south Auckland, one on the north shore and one in west Auckland – are for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their isolating whānau, who require urgent, non-COVID-19 related care.
They will be staffed by GPs and nurses with experience dealing in urgent care. The free service can be accessed by appointment only between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week.
Referrals are accepted from emergency department clinical staff, the Whānau HQ co-ordination hub, St John and Healthline.
Dr Sarah Hartnall, NRHCC Clinical Operations Lead, says it’s important that Aucklanders are seeking out the most appropriate care for their needs right now.
“The hubs are for people who are managing their COVID-19 okay but may have urgent care needs, like if they have burnt themselves, sprained their ankle, have a urinary infection or lower back pain and require a face-to-face assessment.
“There is limited capacity currently but we will look to increase it based on demand.”
Dr Hartnall says with large volumes of people turning up to emergency departments wanting routine, non-urgent care, it’s hoped the service will help ensure hospitals are reserved for those who need that level of care.
“We know that most people, including children, who get COVID-19 will be able to safely isolate and recover at home with help from friends and whānau.
“It’s important with growing case numbers, if you or your whānau are experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms, please stay at home.
“If you begin experiencing moderate COVID-19 symptoms, please then call your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453. All GP and urgent care clinic appointments for COVID-19 are free.
“If you or a family member becomes very unwell, like having difficulty breathing or chest pains, call 111 immediately,” Dr Hartnall says.