Practice News


Measles is a serious disease that can make you very sick. It’s about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19 so spreads fast. Getting immunised is the best way to protect you, your whānau and community from catching and spreading measles.


Changes to eligibility for free COVID-19 healthcare

From 13 February, you may need to pay for COVID-19-related visits to your healthcare provider.

If you are at risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19 you will still get free healthcare.

With the Omicron variant circulating, most people can recover at home. This is due to very high vaccination levels and widespread natural immunity.

Additionally, with easy access to testing and self-isolation, we can focus on those who are more vulnerable.

People eligible for free healthcare

If you are at higher risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19, you are still eligible for free healthcare from your doctor.

This protects those who are most at risk of getting very ill from COVID-19, including:

  • people with certain high-risk medical conditions
  • Māori
  • Pacific peoples
  • some disabled people
  • those over the age of 65
  • anyone else that meets the criteria for access to antiviral medicines.

High-risk medical conditions

Who can get antivirals

If you have COVID-19

If you are isolating at home, you should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you need advice or guidance on managing your symptoms.

You can also contact your local pharmacist or your healthcare provider if you need to see someone.




COVID Vaccinations.

At this point in time VMC is not able to provide Covid Vaccinations on site – please watch this space for this to change – alternatively you can get your 1st, 2nd or boosters from the Vaccination Hub Powderham St New Plymouth or participating Pharmacy’s.

If you have any concerns or questions please have a look at the following website


NEWSLETTER Vivian Medical Centre May 2023
VMC Contact details

56 Vivian Street

New Plymouth

P: 06 758 5015



If you are an asthmatic and wanting support to manage your Asthma, please contact our team of nurses to arrange a review.  A random selection of patients will be called by Sue – our HCA and invited to an Asthma review appointment


You are now able to book non-urgent appointments for your regular GP on MMH.  Anyone wanting to activate MMH can contact reception to get this sorted – for urgent or long appointments place ring the clinic.


Scripts can be requested by either messaging MMH or emailing the practice –  Scripts will be processed within 2 working days from receipt of message with a cost of $16.  Urgent scripts can be requested but come at a cost of $23


We ask that you don’t email requests for appointments.  This could delay your opportunity for the next available appointment as emails only get reviewed periodically during the day


We do have a place where you can feedback anything that relates to your experience here at VMC.  We appreciate feedback to know what we do well and what we could improve on.


All patients that have flu like symptoms will continue to be seen in our Portacom to minimize risk of spreading infection.  A limited number of appointments are available daily for this clinic – regular consultation fees apply. Sometimes to meet demand other acute patients are seen in this clinic also.

Help us run on time

You may have noticed we often run late.

Being late is annoying for patients and stressful for staff.  We are keen to fix our continual lateness.  One of the problems is that our consultations are running overtime. Just 4 minutes per consult means that the doctor is an hour late at the end of the morning.

You can help by:

1. Being aware that your time with the doctor will be about 12 minutes

2. Being understanding if the doctor suggests you come back to address remaining issues

3. Prioritising your list of issues you wish to cover before you go in.

Where you must wear a face mask

You must wear a face mask when visiting most healthcare services.

This is to help protect those at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. For example, you must wear a face mask if you are a visitor to:

  • doctors’ clinics
  • community and iwi health providers
  • pharmacies — excluding pharmacies inside supermarkets
  • hospitals
  • urgent care services, such as after-hours clinics
  • disability support services
  • residential care for older people and people with disabilities
  • diagnostic services such as blood testing or radiology services
  • dentists and oral health services
  • other health services such as optometrists, physiotherapists, or chiropractors.

You do not need to wear a face mask if:

  • you live at a residential care service.
  • you visit psychotherapy, counselling, or mental health and addiction services.

Measles is a serious disease that can make you very sick. It’s about 8 times more contagious than COVID-19 so spreads fast. Getting immunised is the best way to protect you, your whānau and community from catching and spreading measles.

Advance Scripts for COVID Anti-Viral Medication – One of our GPs may call you if you fit the criteria for anti viral medication

COVID-19 antiviral medicines can help people who are at risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19. These medicines are free

Dependant if you fit the eligibility criteria to the right you may be contacted by your GP to discuss anti-viral medication prior to getting COVID-19.

This is to ensure if / when you test positive and if it is appropriate, you have access to medication without delay.




Profiling Sue Lord – Health Care Assistant. 

Sue started at VMC as an HCA – previously working in a similar role at the DHB and supporting whanau in their homes.  Taking on the challenge, moving into General Practice has brought with it new learnings.  Most recently Sue completed training to become a vaccinator.  You can connect with Sue either on the phone, in clinic or when receiving your flu vaccine.  Sue works under the watchful eye of the nursing team and is well supported by the doctors on site.

Health Improvement Practitioner – HIP

We are fortunate to have a HIP allocated to our practice.  Fiona Uhlenberg has filled this role but will be leaving in June.  We are hoping to have a smooth transition with the new HIP starting soon after.

HIPs (Health Improvement Practitioners) are registered health professionals who work alongside GP’s and nurses, helping out when any problems with living and stress are having an impact on our Hauora (health and well-being).

The HIP can practically help with:
• Relationship issues
• Stress & anxiety
• Management of long-term conditions
• Low mood
• Chronic pain challenges
• Sleep issues/Fatigue & tiredness
• Lifestyle changes/feeling stuck
• Child/youth behavioural issues
• Reducing/quitting smoking
• Any other life or health problem.

Anyone of any age can see the HIP & sessions are FREE
Interested? Book an appointment or ask your Dr or nurse about it today.

Doctor / Nurse update

Practice is open Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm.  Your doctor will be working sessions within this time seeing patients. When doctors aren’t seeing patients you can be assured they are still working – for every visit a patient has, it generally creates another appointment to complete what came out of the time you had with your GP – updating notes, completing forms, forwarding referrals, reviewing test results etc…

Bookings to see your GP can be made on MMH or by calling reception.

Dr Rob or Dr Jo Pascoe on site every day

Dr Steve Smith – on site every day except Thursdays

Dr Judith Teague – on site every day except Fridays

Dr Angela Lawson – on site every day except Thursdays

Dr Christine Franklin – on site every day except Fridays


Our doctors do require time off, as we all do, on most occasions it is planned leave and cover is offered with a locum option.  There are times when time off is unplanned and at short notice – unfortunately when this happens it will disrupt planned appointments – we appreciate your understanding when we need to juggle / reschedule due to illness, bereavement or injury.

Connecting with our nursing team has changed.  Due to waiting times of phone calls and frustrations fed back to us when calls were bounced back to reception or cut off, we have put in place a call back system.  If you want to talk to a nurse, please call reception and they will put you on a callback list.  The nurse will work through this list from top to bottom over the day – remember though if you book a call back you need to be able to take the call.  Keep your phone turned on, volume up and on you so you don’t miss the call.

After Hours Services – Reminder

Medicross is our urgent care GP Clinic – if you require a face-to-face appointment in the weekend or are unable to get an appointment during the week you can attend – MediCross Urgent Care & GP Clinic – open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week for all urgent medical care, including Public Holidays.

Practice Plus – To avoid the wait at urgent GP Clinics why not try Practice Plus for any virtual consult option.  This service is available Monday – Friday 5pm – 10 pm and Saturday – Sunday 8am -8pm

Practice Plus Virtual Consultation effectiveness 89% effectively managed within consultation: – 3% referred onto secondary care or allied health; – 5% requiring a follow up GP visit for investigations or in person review – 2% of presentations were outside of scope for Practice Plus

Costs for these consults are:  $65 – 14yrs +, $55 – 13 years under and $19.50 for all CSC holders – Visit

FLU Vaccinations

Well done to all who have been to get their free flu jab.  It’s not too late if you are still thinking about it – get in quick to avoid becoming really unwell if the flu virus comes your way.

The 2023 flu vaccine is free for some people

The 2023 flu vaccine is free for:

  • children aged 6 months to 12 years old
  • people aged 65 and over
  • pregnant people
  • Māori and Pacific people 55 and over
  • people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and serious asthma
  • people with significant mental illness such as schizophrenia or those currently accessing mental health services.

For those not entitled to a free flu jab you can still get at a cost of $32.00

There is an unfunded option for patients – Fluad® Quad – for adults aged 65 and above – this vaccination comes at a cost of $40.00


The National Immunisation Programme recommends immunisation as the most effective way to protect our children from diseases that can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, illness.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the immunisation journey starts before birth, protecting mothers and their babies as they grow in the womb. Once they are born, regular immunisations are given between six weeks and four years old, with further immunisations at 11 or 12, and 18 years. The National Immunisation Schedule(link is external) provides a timetable of when your child should get these immunisations so they get the best possible protection against disease. These immunisations are free for babies, children, adolescents, and pregnant people.

Immunisation saves lives, so it’s important your child has all their immunisations. If your child has missed any immunisations, it’s not too late to catch up – contact our nursing team here at Vivian Medical Centre to answer any questions you may have.

More information about immunisation is available on the Ministry of Health’s page(link is external).

Free medicines to treat COVID-19 for eligible population

Who can get antivirals

People with a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are eligible for treatment with COVID-19 antiviral medicines. These medicines reduce the amount of virus in your body, so you do not get as sick and you are less likely to go to hospital.

You can get free antiviral medicines if you:

  • have COVID-19 and symptoms or you are a Household Contact and have symptoms, and
  • became sick within the last 5 days, and
  • are eligible for the medicine.

Eligible people include:

  • Māori or Pacific people aged 50 or over
  • everyone aged 65 or over
  • anyone aged 50 or over with fewer than 2 COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • anyone with a severely weakened immune system
  • anyone with Down syndrome
  • anyone with sickle cell disease
  • anyone who has previously been in critical high dependency hospital care from COVID-19
  • anyone with 3 or more high-risk medical conditions