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Is It Urgent? Active+ Says Kiwis Confused About The Health Treatments They Can Access During Level 3

Active+, one of the country’s only 100% Kiwi owned physiotherapy and rehabilitation networks, says that they have seen a bump in appointment requests as the country moves into level 3. However, there are some clear misunderstandings around the definition of what is urgent and non-urgent.

According to Active+, level 3 will be very similar to level 4 for physiotherapists and similar services. However, clinics are fielding a sharp rise in calls and emails from people that believe they require urgent treatment and are frustrated when they are told they can’t be seen in person.

“The Ministry of Health’s definition of urgent is a condition that is life or limb threatening, or treatment that can’t be delayed because serious and long-term problems would occur if it was,” explains Active+ director, Andy Schmidt.

“Understandably, some Kiwis have a different idea of how urgent their needs are. They are usually fine once we have explained the guidelines to them, and we are often able to help them via a virtual consultation. However, it is important that we get the correct messaging out there so that the public understands which health treatments they can and can’t access.”

Andy says that face to face physio and rehabilitation treatments can be offered for urgent cases – but the majority of conditions that they are currently seeing don’t meet the Ministry of Health criteria.

“One of the exceptions would be people that need to be seen immediately post-surgery. However, as very little surgery is being done at the moment – unless it is absolutely critical – we are not seeing many of those types of requests.”

Active+ started offering virtual physio clinics for New Zealanders suffering from aches and pains during the level 4 lockdown. Most consultations will still be run this way throughout level 3.

Consultations with registered Active+ physiotherapists are carried out via video call using secure chat platforms such as Zoom. Telephone can be used for those that may not have the technological or IT set-up ability.

“There’s a lot we can do without being hands on. We can still assess injuries, either ACC or private. We can still lodge ACC claims. Physios can refer their patients to a specialist if further treatments or assessments, such as x-rays and ultrasounds are necessary.”

During a consultation, Active+ physios ask a series of questions to find out where things hurt, and may even get the patient to carry out movements on camera, such as bends or stretches — so they can make an assessment. They can then suggest exercises or arrange further appointments.

Active+ was founded by Gill Webb in 1990. Since then, it is estimated that Active+ has helped more than 300,000 New Zealanders with injury prevention, rehabilitation and wellness.

There is now a growing network of over 20 clinics across the North and South Islands that deliver physiotherapy and multidisciplinary rehabilitation services. 650 clinicians deliver services to New Zealanders every day in their workplaces, in their homes and from the practices.

For more details, visit or follow Active+ on Facebook.

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