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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

The WONCA (world organisation of family doctors) conference that was to be held in Auckland in late April has been postponed.

The Board of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners made this necessary and prudent decision owing to the uncertainty associated with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

CEO Lynne Hayman said, “The College needs to act wisely and ensure our GPs and other primary care professionals, who are the key to medical care in the community, remain available where they’re needed most.

“We couldn’t responsibly have so many New Zealand GPs, practice nurses, and practice managers out of circulation in late April, even for a short time, in light of the evolving situation with COVID-19.”

College President Dr Samantha Murton said, “GPs are the frontline of community healthcare.

“Our conference would have unfortunately coincided with heightened demands on GPs and their teams because of COVID-19, just as the country will also be entering the winter flu season. This would have meant placing undue pressure on all our attendees.

“The decision has not been made lightly, given the incredible amount of work that has gone into the organisation of what was shaping up to be an outstanding conference.”

The College is working very closely with the Ministry of Health on the current COVID-19 response, its likely impact on GPs, and how the community can be best served over the coming months.  The Ministry are supportive of the College’s decision to postpone the conference, so too is the College’s conference partners; New Zealand Rural General Practice Network and Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa – Māori Medical Practitioners Association.

There is no rescheduled date yet for the conference but we will be looking at alternatives over the coming weeks.

The conference was set to run 23-26 April in Auckland and had attracted renowned international and national keynote and plenary speakers, in addition to a large New Zealand primary care contingent.