New clinical hub ready to provide community care for Northland COVID patients

Friday 28 January 2022

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People isolating at home with COVID-19 in Northland can be confident of getting the health support they need with the launch of a community COVID care clinical hub. 

Mahitahi Hauora Chief Operating Officer Ian Hartley-Dade said the hub is a proactive clinical model that supports the health needs of the community.

“We created the clinical hub in response to the anxiety in our community about the fast-changing nature of Omicron and to reassure people they’ll have access to the primary healthcare services they need. This is why we’ve come up with the hub model, and it was the genesis of the support we’re offering.”

Mahitahi Hauora Network Support Manager Cristina Ross said the hub is working closely with general practices to provide COVID care in the community.   

“In most cases, your general practice will take the lead in providing your medical care if you’re isolating at home with COVID. But we all know the COVID-19 situation can change rapidly, is difficult to predict, and that healthcare staffing and resources are limited. The clinical hub provides an overflow facility for general practices to make sure all patients get the health support they need.” 

The clinical hub is part of a wider regional multi-agency response that brings together teams from Mahitahi Hauora, primary care practices, Northland DHB, Comprehensive Care, iwi, NZ Police Northland Family Harm, Māori Health Providers, Ministry of Social Development, and Oranga Tamariki to provide seamless support for people isolating in the community with COVID-19.

The region’s response includes a coordination hub based in Hospital Road, Whangārei; Māori Health Provider community-based hubs providing welfare support; and the clinical hub focusing on working with general practice to deliver COVID clinical care to those who need it. 

Ms Ross said the hub will provide clinical support to patients over the phone. The aim is to direct support to those who need it most, and care will be delivered according to individual needs. 

“Most people will be able to manage their symptoms at home safely, but we want to reassure the community that wraparound health and welfare support services will be there for those who need them.

“We have safety protocols in place to escalate care for patients whose condition deteriorates, and to ensure we follow up on anyone we are unable to get in touch with.”

Dr Libby Prenton, Clinical Director at Mahitahi Hauora, said the clinical hub would take a flexible approach.  

“Responsiveness and agility will be the key to managing the impact of Omicron. We’ll adapt the arrangements and processes we’ve put in place as the outbreak unfolds and in response to updated guidance from the Ministry of Health.” 

Located in central Whangarei, the hub will be open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays, and 8am to 8pm on weekends. Outside these hours, support will be available from virtual after-hours care provider Emergency Consult and Healthline.