Process for Vulnerable Health Workers

National Guidelines for At Risk Staff

* Note: Advice currently under review 20/08/2021

The initial framework developed by occupational medicine specialists from around New Zealand was quite appropriate for the uncertain environment that we at the end of March. More recently, the focus of clinical experts has been the refinement of that framework to reflect the level of risk to our people that can now be more accurately gauged. Clinical experts have also sought to make changes which enable the tool to respond flexibly to local and regional circumstances in the weeks and months ahead. 

The updated framework has been produced by the same group of clinicians that were involved in the original framework design. Clinical inputs include occupational medicine, infection prevention and control, infectious diseases and microbiology.

The two documents developed have been designed to work together. The revised framework relies on the categories that people were previously assigned based on their original Occupational Health Assessment using the nationally agreed tool. To be clear, staff are not required to be reassessed using the revised framework.

The documents are designed with Occupational Heath and DHB Managers in mind.

  • Protecting vulnerable DHB staff during COVID-19, describes how DHBs are going to take the next steps to keep our people safe while returning the greatest majority of them to work. Key assumptions about its application include the level of COVID-19 prevalence in the community, and controls in place in the DHB setting.
  • Covid-19 DHB Occupational Health Assessment Tool for Vulnerable Workers V4.0, is a revision to the original clinical assessment tool. It has been revised to reflect contemporary MoH guidance and the best international evidence available about the risks of COVID-19 to people with underlying health vulnerabilities. The tool has been updated to remove references to work tasks and locations as that is now covered in the first document.

The documents above have been developed specifically for use by the DHB and we have requested that an employee version of the advice is developed. We do have access to the full documents so can provide advice, guidance and provide a copy to members if appropriate.

If you are a vulnerable worker and have concerns about what you are being asked to do we recommend getting in touch with your Manager, RMO Unit and Occupational Health expert in the first instance. Please do not hesitate to contact the STONZ team if you have concerns.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The Covid-19 Leave support scheme is still operational and can be accessed for workers who:

  • are at higher risk if they get COVID-19, and Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home while public health restrictions are in place
  • have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and must self-isolate for 14 days (as required by Ministry of Health guidelines)
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to remain off work until they've been cleared by a health professional to be released from self-isolation, or
  • have household members who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health recommends the employee also remains at home to reduce the risk to them.

More information here:

Other Useful Information

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) have released a communiqué to address the issue of health and safety for pregnant health care workers and other at-risk workers which can be found here.

If you are not getting the support or assistance required please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Office Hours

Our normal office hours are 9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

If we don't answer straight away please leave a message and we will return your call ASAP.

Contact us

Please get in touch with any questions you may have. We would love to hear from you.

P: 03 745 9258
PO Box 22656, Christchurch 8140

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