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Ministry of Health PPE Supply December Update

Aotearoa has moved to the next stage of the country’s COVID-19 response, with the new COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) coming into effect on Friday, 3 December 2021. The CPF replaces the Alert Level Framework and brings important changes for the health sector that may affect your organisation.

Updated Principles of Supply

To continue minimising the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, the Ministry’s national Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidance has been updated to support health care workers under each of the three CPF ‘traffic light’ setting scenarios.

Our Principles of Supply have been revised to align with this new advice, you can click on the links below for further information:

Review of and/or changes to some of the temporary PPE supply arrangements currently in place for specific health sector groups will occur in early 2022. The updates outlined below take the country’s move to a COVID-19 suppression strategy into consideration and the Ministry’s continued desire to ensure that PPE provided by the government is appropriately allocated and utilised by publicly funded health and disability services.

Fit testing exemptions

The P2/N95 particulate respirator fit testing exemptions currently in place for General Practice, Urgent Care Clinics and Pharmacists will continue into the new year and will be reviewed in February 2022.

We strongly recommend that relevant service providers be fit tested to ensure the safe use of P2/N95s and that you please contact your local Primary Health Organisation, District Health Board or independent fit testing organisation to make the necessary arrangements to get fit tested if guidance indicates you will require P2/N95s.

PPE Supply to Combined Dental Agreement (CDA) Providers

The existing supply arrangement allowing CDA providers to access PPE through the Ministry Central Supply for publicly funded work in Alert Levels 3 and above will end on 15 January 2022. From this date, CDA providers will be required to use their own networks to source and purchase PPE.

As per IPC guidance and other information for business, PPE is a core requirement of regular business operations. The Ministry may be able to support the sector with access to PPE where it is not available via domestic supply market. We understand the domestic supply market is currently able to service requirements.

Caring for a COVID-19 positive case

A principle that remains unchanged is the agreed supply of P2/N95s to service providers for necessary interactions with a confirmed COVID-19 positive case. The Ministry and sector representatives have worked to develop the COVID Care in the Community model. As part of this, PPE is provided directly to the patient identified as a positive case.

PPE is also provided to the organisations identified by the Public Health Unit to support the ongoing care for each individual/household.

The Ministry has recently published the COVID-19 Care in the Community Framework. The Ministry will continue to prioritise the distribution of PPE as a result of identified positive cases.

PPE orders during the holiday period

A further reminder, over the Christmas holiday period, the Ministry and our PPE warehouses will be operating with a reduced workforce. Regular orders for PPE will not be processed over this period. Rest assured, the Ministry will still respond to urgent instances such as identified positive cases. To prepare your organisation, please order PPE in advance to ensure you have appropriate quantities to protect you over the Christmas break:

  • As previously communicated: Final orders for 2021 should be made via the Onelink and Health Care Logistics Portals by Thursday, 16 December 5pm. PPE items will then be delivered to you during the week of 20 December.
  • Your first orders for 2022 will be processed from Monday, 10 January and regular PPE distribution will recommence.

Guidance under the CPF

As we begin this new stage of the Government’s COVID-19 response, the Ministry must remain agile and open to adapt our guidance to meet the changing needs of our health and disability support sector, and our communities.

The Ministry will closely monitor how the health and disability system adapts and assess the developing impact of COVID-19 under the three CPF ‘traffic light’ settings. We will of course notify you of any further changes to PPE supply as they are made.

If you have any questions about the information we have shared within this update, please contact us at covid.healthsupplychain@health.govt.nz and we will be happy to help.

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