Special Covid-19 Update: Brief update on Government Alert Level 3 Guidelines

The following is a special Covid-19 update from the optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB)


FROM THE ODOB BOARD (14 Oct 2021): 


Firstly, I would like to thank those practitioners that have contacted the Board with their support and concerns regarding the tough Alert Level 3 restrictions.


After ongoing communication with the Ministry of Health and sharing our concerns that at present there is not a balance between public safety with maintaining health and wellbeing as well as access to healthcare services, a flowchart has been created that is aimed to focus on clinical judgement and managing/balancing risk with Eyecare.


The Ministry of Health does not want to be prescriptive and nor do we, we also want to avoid a criteria based approach. The flowchart does repeat some of what has been communicated previously, and we do find this frustrating, however we want to alert you to how this flowchart should viewed. It should be adhered to based on risk and that you will be required to use appropriate clinical reasoning when deciding if you need to see the patient. Again, we do not want to be prescriptive, but if the patient can be deferred to a lower Alert Level, then you must do so.


Therefore, at Alert Level 3 step 2, practices will be able to see patients if they meet the guidelines criteria. Click here for the Guidance for Allied Health Practitioners in non-DHB settings.


It will be necessary for you to take appropriate precautions regarding infection, prevention control requirements which includes PPE.  Further information can be found click here 


The Board has queried ventilation requirements and the Ministry of Health is working on providing more clarity. In the meantime we recommend that you should be mindful of examination room/practice ventilation, can you allow in fresh or pumped-in air?


In addition, at the end of the flowchart is a link to risk assessment click here


We are happy to answer any questions, but I will reinforce that we are not wanting to be prescriptive, rather you approach this by managing/balancing risk with providing necessary Eyecare.


In the meantime, remember, you are still at Alert Level 3 step 1/Alert Level 3 and the previous advice at this Level remains.


The Board is not entirely satisfied with the above outcome, but we are pleased we have some movement and recognition of Eyecare now at Alert Level 3 Step 2. We are expecting more information over the upcoming week and will share that with you.

Noho ora mai / stay well
Jayesh Chouhan, Board Chair 


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