Meet Dr Peter Moodie

24 March 2022

Republished with permission of New Zealand Doctor Rata Aotearoa

What sort of mask to wear and the future of the red and green streams – these are the type of questions Peter Moodie has been answering since returning to work part-time to help respond to the pandemic.

It was during New Zealand’s first COVID-19 lockdown that began almost two years ago that Dr Moodie, a Wellington specialist GP, answered the call for health practitioners in retirement to consider a return to work.

When College Medical Director Dr Bryan Betty sought the assistance of Dr Moodie, who had retired in 2019, in answering college members’ COVID questions, Dr Moodie took on the role of clinical adviser.

Dr Moodie, who describes himself as “fit and in my 70s”, says the role occupies about 10 hours a week on average and he finds it interesting and fun.

“The workload varies very significantly depending on what’s happening with COVID. In the initial phases of COVID, the college got over a thousand requests for information and advice.

“Having done the job for a couple of years, you do tend to build up a body of knowledge around COVID things. It’s often stuff that’s not that hard to answer.

“A lot is answering individual queries. Quite often the individual queries will stimulate discussion with Bryan and we may enlarge it into something for the website.”

A series of practice articles on responding to Omicron were published here, on GP Pulse last month. They cover triage, PPE, and red and green streaming in practices to separate patients who may have respiratory infections, from other patients.

The PPE article contains recommendations on when N95-type masks should be worn and who needs to wear only a medical mask. The article also says it appears vaccinated patients contracting COVID-19 are likely to develop mild flu-like symptoms.

The streaming article notes the ways some practices have separated patients, such as car-park consultations for the red stream, and discusses their fit with Omicron.

“One problem with these solutions,” the article says, “is that it may be seen as ‘catastrophising’ what is likely to be a relatively minor infection.”

The article goes on to mention other potential solutions, such as waiting-room redesign, and the use of screens, air-cleaning systems and good ventilation.

Following the New Zealand Doctor Rata Aotearoa article, we asked Peter for some extra anecdotes about his time working at the College.

“This time two years ago, I went into the College offices to help out. I watched as the decision was made for general practice to go virtual in three-days’ time. Little did I realise my role was also going virtual and that two years later the world has only just started to settle down.

“Being close to the COVID action has given me a glimpse of the incredibly hard work both Sam and Bryan have been doing to keep general practice at the forefront of COVID management.”

Many of you will have seen the College’s risk assessment matrix which has undergone multiple iterations since it was launched in April 2020.

Peter has provided constant clinical guidance to the matrix, right from the early stages in April 2020 when it was based on a similar one developed by the occupational health physicians, to what you see now which was developed into the traffic light system. At the College we often call the matrix, Peter’s claim to fame.