Risk assessment matrix: traffic light system

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners risk matrix was created in 2020 and is an adaptation of one developed by occupational health physicians from the National Framework for the assessment of staff at work. 

The matrix was specifically designed to allow primary care doctors to assess the risks associated with COVID-19 for themselves, their colleagues, and their staff.  It was also intended to be used as the basis for discussions with patients who, although not in clinical roles, might find themselves exposed to COVID-19 in their workplaces.

How to use the matrix 

  • This is an advisory based on risk assessment and should be read alongside this explanation.
  • The first two columns relate to general practice staff with close clinical contact with symptomatic (red stream) and asymptomatic (green stream) patients
  • The last three columns are designed to start a discussion with patients in general. 

Risk matrix 


COVID and the risks of exposure for pregnant GPs and practice nurses

Published 28 February 2022

Following the move to phase 3 of the Omicron outbreak response, we’ve reviewed our risk matrix in relation to pregnant GPs and practice nurses. Our advice remains the same: pregnant people can work in the green stream but not in the red stream. 

We recognise there is an increased risk of exposure to COVID with green stream patients now that cases are higher, but there is also an increased risk of exposure COVID via community transmission which may be the dominant way of contracting the virus over a surgery setting. 

All staff will now have been fully vaccinated and should be wearing PPE when treating patients to reduce the risk. 

We recommend having a discussion with your employer about your individual concerns.