Latest news from Homecare Medical

We hope you’re keeping warm…


Winter is here, hopefully this finds you warm and well.

We like to keep in touch in between our contact with you about practice information over holiday breaks. Homecare Medical is mindful of the pressure on hospital emergency departments and other emergency services at this time of year, so we’d like you to know that we are working alongside general practice to manage that winter demand and triage.

Using our nursing know-how and triage tools, we continue to encourage patients to use local resources where possible and as appropriate, and send only those who are seriously ill to hospital.

Meanwhile, it was great to see you at the NZMA GP CME conference in Rotorua last month. You can find out more about the services that featured at our stand, below.

Naku iti nei,

The Homecare Medical team

Say top o’ the morning to Martin O'Connor, service delivery manager – emergency triage

In 2014, Martin led the clinical hub trial that saw Homecare Medical nurses based at the St John Auckland Clinical Control Centre managing low acuity 111 calls (ie not urgent or immediately life threatening) from Auckland callers. 

That model is now in Northland, Hauraki Coromandel, Waikato, Wellington and the Wairarapa; callers triaged by St John or Wellington Free Ambulance Clinical Control Centre staff as low acuity get called back by a Homecare Medical nurse who further triages the call to find out more about the person’s condition and help get them the best treatment.

Originally from Ireland, Martin moved to the UK in 1994 to start his nurse training. His passion for emergency and pre-hospital care led him to ambulance officer training, and he worked for both the London Ambulance Service and East of England Ambulance service before moving into telehealth in 2003. 

At NHS Direct (similar to Healthline), Martin was a nurse advisor and clinical team leader where he stayed for five years before heading back to a hospital setting in the neurosciences department in King's College Hospital in London (the hospital made popular by 24 hours in A&E). Martin went from bed manager to site nurse practitioner.

"I was responsible for managing patient flow in the emergency department, but also attended all incidents across the hospital including cardiac arrest and fire alarm calls," he says.

The other part of this role was working clinically across all specialities including neurosciences, liver and renal, cardiac, surgery, haematology, medical and surgical.

"I was also contacted to carry out advanced assessment and prevent patient deterioration and admission to the intensive care unit. We had approximately 65 ICU beds but never seemed to have enough in a 900 bed hospital!"

Martin moved to New Zealand in 2013.
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Please, keep in touch with us and give us feedback about how we're doing – with our after-hours service or with patients you've referred to our other services.

Quitline and Alcohol Drug Helpline now 24/7

Homecare Medical is pleased to tell you Quitline and the Alcohol Drug Helpline are both available to take calls at any time of the day or night, seven days a week.

The Alcohol Drug Helpline team (0800 787 797 and text 8681) can assist anyone with a question or concern about their own or someone else’s drinking or drug use.

Quitline (0800 778 778) offers free advice and non-judgmental support to quit smoking.

Making these services available 24 hours a day is a huge leap forward in terms of increasing access for a hard to reach audience, Homecare Medical Mental Health and Addictions Service Delivery Manager Melanie Shaw (pictured) says.

"Addictions and mental health crises affect Kiwis and their families at all hours and we are there to take questions and provide support whenever we are needed," she says. 
You can refer patients to Quitline via MedTech… it’s super easy. If you haven’t done a referral for a while, here’s some instructions and a video.

For all of the referral options available including email and fax, check out the health professionals page on the Quitline website. 

Order posters, brochures for Quitline, Gambling Helpline & much more

If you’d like to order posters, signage, brochures or other resources related to Homecare Medical’s telehealth services, you can do this through the HealthEd website.

Any resources relating to gambling harm reduction, smokefree, vaccination, just to name a few, can be downloaded from the HealthEd website. You can also make bulk orders from the website.

In case you missed it…

Open all hours – behind the scenes at the national telehealth service – New Zealand Doctor, 11 May.

Medical emergencies don’t keep normal office hours and telehealth is increasingly being employed to cater for the demand for 24/7 triage and advice. Last year, the country’s various health helplines were merged after a government tender won by Homecare Medical. Reporter Cliff Taylor visits the company’s Auckland HQ to meet with Chief Executive Andrew Slater and the team.

Andrew talks about the importance of using the National Telehealth Service to support other providers and the system as a whole.

“We believe very firmly we are here to support and promote a stronger foundation for the existing face-to-face providers to deliver care to their patients, as opposed to displacing patients from those face-to-face services, which is what you are starting to see in some models of care emerging in places like Australia, the US and developing countries as well – the Skype-a-doctor type services that discount that relationship between general practice and the service,” Andrew says.

“There’s a whole cohort of the population that really use Healthline and EDs as their health system, so we’re really supporting family members in accessing care and encouraging them to enrol with a GP and connecting them with a GP and talking through the benefits of that.”

You can read the full text, thanks to New Zealand Doctor sharing our story. For more primary care news subscribe at

Homecare Medical is the provider of the first integrated National Telehealth Service for New Zealand.

The service has registered nurses and mental health and addictions specialists providing phone and online advice, support, assessment of symptoms, triage, treatment advice, and preventive and educational aspects for a range of health, wellbeing and counselling services.

As a reminder of the services we offer, here’s a handy poster in jpeg or pdf format to pin up in your surgery.

Our services include:
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