Kia ora Everyone,
This is a GOOD NEWS update, which I am so happy to bring to you when I know you are likely worried about many things. Things continue to develop with the important issues – stand-down (special) leave and PPE. Fortunately, I’m glad to be able to provide an update on these issues and also update you on how to use the Portal to track your COVID-19 expenses.
The Ministry recognises that just like disability support providers, people using IF will incur additional costs related to COVID-19. We have added a drop-down expense category called “COVID” on the Portal. Please code any costs specific to COVID, and managing through this time, to this drop-down category. This will help us ensure the additional costs of COVID-19 are transparent.
The Ministry of Health has also recognised the specific concerns many of you have been raising. They have been clear that they want to ensure people on IF are well supported during this time. As I have already mentioned, part of this is the introduction of more flexibility to Individualised Funding by extending the use of the Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF) purchasing guidelines to you all. This means you can purchase things that help you stay in your bubble and self-isolating.
Another part of ensuring you are supported is the ability to pay resident family members. For those seeking more clarification about this during COVID-19, the Ministry has reiterated that you are able to pay a resident family member for providing support, up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
Importantly, the Ministry has also heard your feedback and modified the “Special leave” guidelines. They are sending out formal communications to you soon which will have scenarios to make things clear. Now, if you stand-down your support worker for COVID-related reasons, you can pay them for the time they are stood down as long as the Alert Level 4 lasts. The Ministry will ensure these costs are covered and is working with the NASCs to ensure this is smooth and included in your budget when it needs to be.
Progress on Personal Protective Equipment
The Ministry also today committed to providing PPE (including masks) to people who have support workers coming in for personal care. Further, they have confirmed that the stocks of PPE have arrived and are to be distributed via DHBs. We have received an email today from the Ministry which is copied below. We have been informed of the following:
“There are seven million masks which will be distributed to DHBs for further distribution to health and disability service providers, (This includes people using IF). This will start with 1.2 million from the national stocks which will be going out over the next 48 hours to DHBs to then be issued to community and disability health workers in their areas”
We will work with the local DHBs to get these supplies to you. We will be following DHB/Ministry’s lead, and so we will announce the distribution channels once we know.
The Ministry has heard the deep concern from the sector, and in Ashley Bloomfield’s (the Director-General of Health) words “people need to be safe, but also feel safe”. I couldn’t agree more!
We know that due to unprecedented demands, and a global shortage, there is concern that there may not be enough to go around, and we want to assure you that we will work with the Ministry and DHBs to keep the supply going. We are also developing contingency plans as back up. I’ll fill you in more on those if we need them.
We are getting more and more people on the e-Mploy carer matching website every day! if you are short of support, or looking to find some, check it out.
Please be in touch if there is anything we can do to help. Our CEC team is always happy to help, call us on 0508 462 427 or email the CEC.
For any questions whether you are at risk or not, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
Kia kaha Manawanui whānau.
Covid-19 Update from the Ministry of Health
You might have seen yesterday that in the COVID-19 address Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield spoke about the need for our front-line health and disability workers to be safe and feel safe.
We know that our front-line health and disability workers continue to deliver exceptional services in this extraordinary time. We also know that one of the key factors of being and feeling safe is the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) alongside good advice and guidance on its use.
From today seven million masks will start to be distributed to DHBs for further distribution to health and disability service providers. This will start with 1.2 million from the national stocks which will be going out over the next 48 hours to DHBs to then be issued to community and disability health workers in their areas.
We have asked DHBs to establish processes for distributing PPE to all local publicly funded health and disability providers, including those who are not directly funded by them. DHBs will be in touch with you to communicate how this process will work.
PPE needs to be used appropriately and wisely. There is now clear advice on our website for health and disability workers about when to use PPE to help stay safe.
There is good evidence-based guidance on our website on how and when to use PPE.
It is equally important to maintain basic hygiene measures, which are fundamental to staying safe as we tackle COVID-19. This includes hand washing and distancing where possible, and most importantly not going to work if you are symptomatic or close contacts of people with COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health is putting in place a national approach to distribution of PPE and is successfully sourcing additional supplies from overseas on a continuous basis.
Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment as we respond together to the challenge of COVID-19.
Deputy Director-General of Data & Digital
Health System Supply Chain Manager – COVID-19
Ministry of Health