The Dietitians Board is aware of the enormous pressure Dietitians are under across all health care settings as part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s ongoing response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

One-off Extension MyCCP 2021/2022

In recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on all Dietitians the Board has provided an optional extension to 30 June 2022 for completion and submission of 2021-2022 MyCCP records. Further details are available on the MyCCP page.

Two deadlines are unchanged:

  • Prescribers Quizz completed by 31 March 2022
  • Annual Practising Certificate renewed by 31 March 2022 (Minimum 15 MyCCP credits not required)

UPDATES, INFORMATION & RESOURCES

Guidance for critical health services during an Omicron outbreak

Ministry of Health guidance for critical health services is available here.

This comprehensive advice includes information relevant to Dietitians as service managers and as individual health professionals. Critical health workers include Dietitians working in private primary care clinics. Where dietetic services can be provided virtually, rather than in person, this is encouraged and will help prevent the spread of the virus.

Dietitians are encouraged to be familiar with Ministry of Health COVID-19 advice for all health professionals during an Omicron outbreak.

With the country moving to the Orange Alert Level on 11.59pm Wednesday 13 April 2022 Dietitians are encouraged to be familiar with government requirements for this level including wearing face masks.

Updated Guidance for return to work for healthcare workers – 25 March 2022. This Guidance covers both when  service provision is not at risk of at risk of substantial compromise due to staff absence as well as when there is a risk of substantial compromise.

A table sumarising health service operations at health system response Phases 1,2 and 3 is available here. This provides a helpful overview of differences between public health response measure at phase two and phase three.

Current MoH Guidance for allied health services during an Omicron outbreak is available here .

Critical Service Workers use of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) under specific conditions is detailed here . Follow this link for the online Rapid Antigen Test Order form. RATs collection points are listed here on Healthpoint.

Close Contact Exemption Scheme

During Phase Three of the Omicron response Critical Service Workers who are vaccinated and asymptomatic and close contacts of a COVID-19 case are able to continue to work. They may continue to work as long as they return a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) prior to each day/shift they are at work during an isolation period. Specific health protocols must be followed at this time. The exemption is for going to work only.

Details of testing and isolation requirements for the Close Contact Exemption Scheme are available here.

If your employer or business is not already included, then you can register for the exemption scheme click here. A RealMe login is required.

Infection Prevention and Control recommendations – Omicron Phase 3 update

For Dietitians working in community settings the move to Phase three Omicron response will mean use of P2/N95 particulate respirators for all interactions with patients in settings where there are widespread cases. Details are here on the Ministry of Health website.

Of particular relevance to Dietitians is CDC advice on fitting of face masks.

Screening prior to an appointment remains an important step for minimising risk. Dietitians can ask clients to wear a face mask. Dietitians should conduct their own Health and Safety assessment about in-person consults with clients who have a face mask exemption or refuse to wear a mask. Where a practitioner deems the risk to their own health to be unacceptably high the client should be offered a tele-health appointment, an appointment in a well-ventilated space such as outside, or referred to another Dietitian.

More general MoH information on the three phase response to Omicron in the community is available here.

Health Service delivery during COVID-19 pandemic

Dietitians can provide all aspects of dietetic services within their scope of practice under all levels of the COVID-19 Protection Framework.

Guidance from the Ministry of Health on delivering health services is available here. In the flow chart ‘designated premises’ refers to publicly funded services.

Publicly funded health services must not deny access to premises or provision of goods and services on vaccination grounds.

Practitioners who receive partial or whole public funding for one patient whose all other patients private are deemed to operate ‘designated premises’ and so may not ask for a vaccine pass.

The 14 December 2021 version of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 exempts Health Services from some restrictions.

This exemption means Dietitians as health service providers can continue to operate and are required to continue to meet certain requirements, including requirements to display QR codes, maintain contact tracing records. In addition to the requirements specified in the Order, infection prevention control precautions remain the primary mechanism to protect practitioners and the people we see.

Dietetic Practice Fundamentals and COVID-19

The Ministry of Health continue to promote clinical reasoning and risk assessment as fundamental principles for deciding how, not if, to provide care.

Dietitians will be able to see patients face to face at Red, Amber and Green setting levels providing the following processes are in place:

People should stay home if they are unwell. You can support this by using signage asking them not to attend if unwell. If you cannot do this before you see them, try to keep one metre  of physical distance while assessing their health.

MoH risk assessment protocols providing a pathway for risk screening and IP&C measures, available here

Dietitians are best placed to make clinical judgements about the impact of delayed intervention on their patient, client’s health. As part of good record keeping this judgement should be noted.

Following this guidance removes many of the barriers to providing Dietetic services under red, amber and green traffic light setting levels. What it does not remove is the responsibility of Dietitians to ensure they are undertaking all practicable steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a transmission vector for COVID-19.

Booster Vaccinations

Mandatory Booster Dose for Health Practitioners

The New Zealand government has recently issued the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order 2022.  This Order incorporates ‘booster’ doses into the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021.

As part of this Order Dietitians as registered health practitioners must now receive a booster dose by the later of the following dates to be able to continue to provide health services to patients face-to-face.
(Note the extension to these dates announced 15 February 2022, the revised dates are:)
a) Before February 25th; or

b) Before the close of the date that is 183 days after the date on which they were vaccinated (i.e. on which they received their second dose).

For clarity, this means that Dietitians who received their second dose on or before Monday 16th August 2021 must now also have received their booster by 11.59pm Thursday 24th February 2022. 

Those who received their second dose after 16th August 2021 must receive their booster within approximately six months (183 days) of their second dose.  Given the new eligibility for receiving a booster dose starts at three months, this gives practitioners a window of approximately three months to receive their booster dose from the time they become eligible.

This information is available on the Ministry of Health website here

The table below provides example dates for those fully vaccinated after the 16th August 2021:
 

If a Dietitian received dose 2 on….They must receive a booster by…..
1 September 2021    3 March 2022
1 October 2021    2 April 2022
1 November 2021    3 May 2022
1 December 2021    2 June 2022
1 January 2022    3 July 2022

Management of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings

To guide health professionals’ decision making on management of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings the Ministry of Health produced a Position Statement . The Statement sets out the Ministry view that in most cases, with vaccinated staff and other precautions in place, that the risks are unlikely to be high enough to justify not following the Health and Disability Code of Consumer Rights.

Under the Code of Health and Disability Service Consumers’ Rights, patients have the right to freedom from discrimination, to be treated with respect, and the right to services of an appropriate standard.

As with every health care interaction, dietitians should assess the risk to their own safety and implement appropriate evidence-based measures commensurate with the level of that risk. 

Government Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Health and Disability Sector Workers

On 11 October 2021 the government announced an extension to mandatory vaccination requirements.

Dietitians as Health Professionals regulated under the HPCA Act are included in this requirement. Details are available here.

An informative MOH guidance document on the Health and Disability Worker Vaccination Order is available here.

The Government wants everybody who is carrying out work in health to be vaccinated.

On 21 December 2021 Cabinet announced a reduced interval between receiving the second Pfizer dose and booster shots from six months to four months. Health care workers are a priority for booster doses, information available here on obtaining your booster dose.
In brief, the Ministry of Health has established a central process for individuals who need to apply for a vaccine exemption related to mandatory vaccines on medical grounds.

The application is for people who are required to be vaccinated under the mandatory Vaccination Order because they work in roles in Health and Disability, Education or Corrections. This process ensures that all applications for exemptions are properly considered by the right people, and only granted where there are genuine reasons for doing so.

Mandatory Vaccination Resources for health professionals are available here.

COVID-19 mandatory vaccinations non-compliance

The Ministry of Health has advised Regulatory Authorities(RA), including the Dietitians Board, to refer non-compliance information about an individual health practitioner to the Ministry of Health Enforcement team.

The Enforcement team will then investigate if there is a breach and respond accordingly. This may result in an infringement notice being issued to the individual practitioner, and as the RA the Dietitians Board will also be notified.

Temporary Significant Service Disruptions(SSD) exemptions are granted to employers(PCBUs) who are at risk of significant service disruption because they need to stand down worker(s) who have not met the mandated booster vaccination timeframe given in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 (Vaccinations Order). MoH 23 Feb 2022 information on SSD exemptions is available here.

Guidance for the rehabilitation of people with or recovering from COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand

This Ministry of Health document highlights the complexity and potential long-term needs of people recovering from COVID-19 and to demonstrate the importance of the allied, scientific and technical workforce in reducing the short- and long-term health and wellbeing implications of COVID-19 infection. Document available here.

Support for Dietitians

Dietitians along with all other front-line workers need to remain mindful of looking after themselves

put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others”.

Check out the Mental Health Foundation resources available here. We understand changing Alert Levels can be challenging and you may be feeling anxious.

If you need mental well being support or advice you can call or text 1737 to access the National Telehealth support line anytime day or night to talk to a trained counsellor. If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, or you don’t know who to contact for help, call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997

Information on Government support for businesses is available here

Vaccination Records

My COVID Record website is the portal for individual’s vaccination records and requests for My Vaccine Pass.

The Ministry of Health are developing the MyCOVID Record to enable individuals to show their record to PCBU (employers).

Dietitians – Authorised COVID19 Vaccinator

The Board acknowledges we are in unprecedented times with a global pandemic at play and strongly believes registered health care professionals have an important role in protecting the public.

The Board was asked by the Ministry of Health to consider enabling registered dietitians to contribute specifically to support New Zealand’s largest immunisation programme.

The Board supports the Ministry of Health’s national COVID19 vaccination roll-out and is supportive of registered dietitians who hold a current Annual Practising Certificate (APC) to be trained to administer COVID19 vaccines should they wish to do so.

Dietitians work in partnership with individuals, whānau, communities, and populations, in states of health and disease, to support optimal health and well-being. Whilst this is usually specific to their knowledge of scientific evidence related to food and nutrition, the Board is acutely aware dietitians are a group of registered health professionals who can step into a shared space within the health sector to support the greater public good.

Please read the Board’s POSITION STATEMENT that supports registered dietitians become Authorised COVID19 Vaccinators.

Providing Telehealth Services

The Dietitians Board Guidelines on Telehealth is a good source of information and resource as is New Zealand Telehealth Forum and Resource Centre.

Click here for FAQ’s and for further information and resources please scroll down this page.


How do I prescribe remotely?

For those of you who prescribe and are working remotely the MoH has published frequently asked questions about remote prescribing on its website. Other useful information can be found via the links provided below:

Where can I find information about providing dietetic services virtually?

The Dietitians Board Guidelines on Telehealth is a good source of information and resource as is New Zealand Telehealth Forum and Resource Centre.


USEFUL LINKS

New Zealand Government Links

COVID Alert System

Detailed COVID-19 Alert Levels

COVID Updates

Ministry of Health Links

COVID-19 Health and Disability System Response Plan

Ministry of Health COVID19 website

COVID-19 factsheets and guidance for health professionals

Advice for all health professionals

Information for essential workers in health and non-health workplaces on keeping safe at work and at home, and using personal protective equipment at work

Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care

Regional Public Health Links

Regional Public Health (Public)

Regional Public Health (Health Professionals)

Telehealth Links

New Zealand Telehealth Forum and Resource Centre

In Person Terminology

Information sharing advice for health care workers

Health Quality & Safety Commission

COVID-19 and communicating with patients and whānau

COVID-19 Resource Hub

PHARMAC

PHARMAC’s response

Information for Prescribers

Dietitians Board Links

Guidelines on Telehealth

Social Media Guidelines

Dietitians New Zealand Links

Access to Food and What to Eat

COVID 19


ANNUAL PRACTISING CERTIFICATES (APC), REGISTRATION & OTHER APPLICATIONS

Annual Practising Declarations are undertaken through the Dietitians Login.

Please contact the office on administration@dietitiansboard.org.nz to establish current procedure during this lock-down period if you are applying for any of the following:

  • Registration
  • Mutual Recognition (APD)
  • Return to Practice
  • Recognition of Qualifications for Overseas Trained Dietitians
  • Restoration to the Register
  • Cancel entry on the Register