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Friday, 15 May 2020

New Zealand's move to Alert Level 2 means many Otago University health clinics will now be open to the public.

Dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy clinics are all opening their doors to varying degrees for public face-to-face appointments, beginning next week.

The University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry operates three public facilities, two in Dunedin and one in Auckland, and all are set to gradually open their clinics again beginning 25 May.

While emergency dentistry has been provided at Dunedin's Clinical Services Building during Alert Levels 3 and 4, Faculty of Dentistry Dean Professor Mike Morgan says the gradual return to operation of the student clinics will commence in Dunedin on 25 May with specialist clinics. A week later the Auckland and Dunedin general practice clinics will open, followed by Dunedin's oral health clinics in advance of a full resumption of all clinics towards the end of June.

Because of Level 2 guidelines, treatment in the clinics will be by appointment only – no walk-ins will be accepted.

The Dunedin-based Pharmacy Clinic will be open from 18 May, School of Pharmacy Dean Professor Carlo Marra says. As before the lockdown, the Pharmacy Clinic will be open by appointment only for those who take a lot of medicines, are unsure why they were prescribed the medicines, or think their medicines are not working well for them.

The clinic is offering face-to-face consultations with distancing and hygiene measures in place, as well as telehealth consultations via Zoom. This is a free service.

The Dunedin and Christchurch School of Physiotherapy clinics will be reopening for selected face-to-face consultations in both cities next week (Monday 18 May), Acting Director of Clinics Matthew Dick says.

The clinics have successfully run a swathe of telehealth consultations over the last two months, and that service will remain the preferred option for consultations during alert level 2. When patients contact the clinics next week a physiotherapist will get in touch to determine the best way to offer an initial assessment, Mr Dick says.

University of Otago Division of Health Sciences Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Brunton says clinic staff across all three Schools and Faculty performed admirably in unprecedented times and under extreme pressure over the last two months.

“The fact so many patients have been seen during the lockdown has highlighted how dedicated our staff are to the community, and also to their students who depend on this clinical contact for their education.”

Professor Brunton says he anticipates the public will be excited and anxious to resume some normality with face-to-face appointments, but urges patience and kindness to be shown towards his staff and students.

“These people have worked incredibly hard over the last two months and are now champing at the bit to provide the wonderful services they know their communities are waiting for.”

Further details of specific clinics

Pharmacy Clinic, Dunedin

  • We are here to help you get the most benefit from your medicines.
  • The service is for you if you take a lot of medicines, are unsure why you were prescribed the medicines you have, or think your medicines are not working well for you. You will meet with one of our pharmacists for up to one hour to discuss how your medicines are working for you. We will answer any questions and provide guidance and information on how best to use them.
  • This service is free.
  • We will open from 18 May by appointment only
  • We offer face-to-face consultations with distancing and hygiene measures in place and virtual/ telehealth consultations via Zoom (preferred under Alert Level 2). Please telephone or email us to discuss your options.We have sufficient space to accommodate a support person and have parking spaces for two cars.
  • For more information and to book an appointment, contact us    

Physiotherapy Clinics, Dunedin and Christchurch

The School of Physiotherapy Clinics in Christchurch and Dunedin will be reopening next week for selected face-to-face contact at Alert level 2.


Dunedin: 8:30am–5:30pm Monday to Friday
Christchurch: 7:00am–7:00pm Monday – Thursday and 7:00am–12:30pm Friday

Appointment options

  • The Ministry of Health recommends Telehealth (contactless online) must remain a preferred option for consultations during alert level 2.
  • Our focus remains on ensuring patients have access to safe, appropriate, and high-quality injury support and recovery services while maintaining physical distance and vigilance with infection control precautions.
  • From next week (Monday 18 May), when you contact us to book a Physio appointment. A Physiotherapist will respond to discuss your problem and determine the best way to assess you initially.
  • If you are classed as a vulnerable person (over 70 years old, pregnant, diabetic, or other underlying medical conditions) and require an in-person consultation, extra precautions will be taken including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  This is to increase your protection and reduce the risk of unwanted exposure.
  • We will be screening everyone multiple times for signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • If you would like to discuss the option of having an appointment in the clinic rather than via telehealth please contact the clinic by:
    1. Visiting the School of Physiotherapy Clinics website and request an appointment
    2. Emailing the clinic
    3. Phoning our clinic
      Dunedin +64 3 479 5757

Bottom Line: If you are unwell, stay at home and get tested

Dentistry, Dunedin and Auckland

  • The Faculty of Dentistry is pleased to advise that a full range of dental services will gradually resume for most patients at Covid-19 Alert Level 2.
  • The gradual return to operation of our student clinics will commence in Dunedin on 25 May with specialist clinics, then a week later with the Auckland and Dunedin general practice clinics, followed by Dunedin's oral health clinics in advance of a full resumption of all clinics towards the end of June.
  • The 4-chair Te Kaika dental clinic will re-open to meet the clinical needs of the Caversham community commencing 25th May.
  • Because of the Level 2 guidelines Dentists must work with, treatment in the Faculty of Dentistry clinics will be by appointment only. Unfortunately no walk-ins can be accepted.
  • The Primary Care Clinic has offered emergency dental services to the public throughout lockdown, and this service expanded under Level 3 to include urgent dental problems such as broken teeth, broken fillings or problems with dentures. At Level 2, the Faculty will continue to offer emergency and urgent treatment, again by appointment.
  • With the resumption of student clinics, Faculty staff are going to be busy scheduling appointments for students in Dunedin. Patients are welcome to contact the Faculty (03 479 8889) for all their general dental needs, but please, if you can, do so from the start of June.
  • A big demand for dental treatment is expected so please be patient as we respond to calls.
  • All patients will be pre-screened with a health check by telephone triage prior to attending our clinics.
  • If you're not feeling well, please don't come to our clinics.
  • If you have pre-existing health conditions that put you at high risk of severe COVID-19 infection and/or you are over 70 years of age, please let us know prior to your appointment.
  • As part of our screening, all staff, students and patients will have their temperature taken at point of entry to our facilities.
  • We request all patients to arrive 'just in time' to minimize congregation of patients in waiting areas.
  • We have new health and safety measures in place that follow the Level 2 guidelines from the Ministry of Health and Dental Council (New Zealand) with regards to social distancing, and additional cross infection control measures that are designed to keep everyone safe.
  • The Faculty of Dentistry will continue its long-established tradition of offering high-quality evidence-based dental care for the Otago community, and we look forward to meeting your dental needs.

For further information contact:

Professor Mike Morgan
Dean, Faculty of Dentistry
University of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 7144

Ina Donat
Professional Practice Fellow, School of Pharmacy
University of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 5119

Matthew Dick
Acting Director of Clinics/Professional Practice Fellow
School of Physiotherapy/Te Kura Komiri Pai
University Of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 5920
Mob+64 21 036 1693

Craig Borley
Communications Adviser (Division of Health Sciences)
Mob +64 21 279 4144

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