Advice for practice owners

What happens if a member of the general practice team becomes unwell?

Updated 21 January 2021

If a staff member becomes ill for whatever reason they should be sent home if they are at work and tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible if they fit the “suspect case” definition. 

They should make every effort to distance themselves from other members of their family and those within their ‘bubble’. 

If the COVID-19 test is negative

It is reasonable for them to return to work 48 hours providing their symptoms are mild but should however continue to wear a mask while they have symptoms.

If the COVID-19 test is positive
The College has produced a checklist for this situation.

What is the latest advice for practice owners?

Reviewed 21 January 2021

The Government’s advice to businesses affected by COVID-19 can be found here.

Amongst other things, this site contains advice about cashflow, tax, and ACC obligations. It also provides advice for employers on how to handle self-isolation and sick leave, and has Health and Safety guidelines, including advice about managing your mental wellbeing.


Are there any infection control resources I can use and share with my staff?

Reviewed 21 January 2021

Reproduced with permission from: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Infection prevention and control standards for general practices and other office-based and community-based practices. 5th edn. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 2014. 

View the resource.


Is it sensible for our practice to install a ‘sneeze screen’ to protect our receptionists?

Reviewed 21 January 2021

The Ministry of Health has recommended measures such as:

  • Social distancing of 2 metres.
  • Tape a 2-metre distance back from the desk.
  • Putting up a sign asking people to catch sneezes and coughs in elbows.
Other infection control techniques include the use of sanitisers and frequent cleaning of hard surfaces. You could also consider payment by paywave - the receptionist can hold over the eftpos machine and the patient reaches out with their card while still maintaining a 2-metre distance. Similarly, you might consider invoicing patients and asking them to pay online or pay on the spot using internet banking.