Practice Policies

Repeat Prescriptions

You may request a repeat prescription over the phone or through the portal for many medications. The doctor will assess if it is safe and appropriate to issue you a script without reviewing your condition in person. Please don’t be offended if the doctor considers it unsafe or inappropriate to do so, we have your best interests at heart and care passionately about practicing the best quality medicine.

In most long-term complex chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and those over 65 years with ongoing medication etc it will be usually necessary to review you in person every 3 months. We also generally need to see you in person for medication you don’t take regularly. In some instances such as the oral contraceptive, all that is necessary is for one of our nurses to check your blood pressure once a year. Other examples of prescriptions that may be issued without seeing you more than once a year for review and blood tests are simple conditions such as puffers for well controlled asthma, thyroid medications for under-active thyroid, and antidepressants for well-controlled chronic mood disorders.

We are obligated to following the Medical Council on good prescribing practice “You should only prescribe medicines or treatment when you have adequately assessed the patient’s condition, and/or have adequate knowledge of the patient’s condition and are therefore satisfied that the medicines or treatment are in the patient’s best interests.”

Testing and Results

Blood tests are done at Labtests. In an emergency, or for those with significant mobility issues, our nurses may be able to offer this service for an additional fee. Cervical smears, biopsies, throat swabs, urine samples etc are done on site.

Please be aware of specimen processing times: 24-48+ hours for blood results (but up to two weeks for some special blood tests tests that are processed at Auckland Hospital or Christchurch), 2-3 working days for throat swabs and urine cultures, 7-10 working days for smears, and 14 working days for biopsies.

We will contact you if the results require some action to be undertaken or if there is a significant abnormality. Please make sure we have your correct contact details. We do not routinely call with results that indicate no cause for concern. We are unable to email results as normal email is not regarded as an appropriate and secure mode of transmission of health information by Ministry of Health. You may view your results if you enrol on our patient portal.

It is very common to have slightly out of range results on blood tests as the “normal” range stated on the results reported from the lab only accounts for 95-98%% of clinically healthy results for a specific patient. Please do not be alarmed at seeing these numbers with stars or red numbers on your results. Your doctor will assess if these results are clinically significant and require further action. Usually this is not the case. If your doctor has signed off these results are not needing further action, you may be reassured that there is no concern. This will be clearly annotated on your results on patient portal.

Our practice policy is not to give HIV results (back within 2 working days) or other sensitive information by phone, only face-to-face with a doctor. Please discuss with your doctor when ordering this test. There is no extra charge for this service.

Account Policy
For your convenience, our bank account details are on bottom of each invoice, on our website, and on Healthpoint. The reference number is your chart number noted on your invoice. We are committed to providing you the best possible care. However, in order to do this and maintain our fees at a reasonable level, please be aware of our policy with regard to payment of your account:

  • Payment for Consultation and/or service is expected on the same day of the service. This may done at reception or once a credit history has been established. You can also pay through online banking within 24 hours at ASB 12-3060-0245732 Ellerslie Medical Centre, or with a credit card on our website.
  • Payments not made on the same day will incur an account fee of $5.00 for each calendar month of nonpayment. This fee will be reversed if payment is received within 14 days of the service.
  • Credit exceeding $100 Dollars is not permitted. Service may be refused if account remains unpaid unless there is a clinically urgent need.
  • All unpaid accounts 60 days overdue will be handed over to the debt collection agency and the costs associated with this will be added to the patient’s account for payment.
  • Ellerslie Medical Centre reserves the right to vary this policy as it sees fit.

Should you have any queries regarding this policy, please feel free to contact us.

The Code of Rights

The Code of Rights gives you 10 rights. These are:

* To be treated with respect.

* To be treated fairly without pressure or discrimination.

* The right to dignity and independence.

* To receive a quality service and to be treated with care and skill.

* To be given information that you can understand in a way that helps you communicate with the person providing the service.

* To be given the information you need to know about your health or disability; the service being provided and the names and roles of the staff; as well as information about any tests and procedures you need and any test results. In New Zealand, people are encouraged to ask questions and to ask for more information to help them understand what is going on.

* To make your own decision about your care, and to change your mind.

* To have a support person with you at most times.

* To have all these rights apply if you are asked to take part in a research study or teaching session for training staff.

* The right to complain and have your complaint taken seriously

* We at Ellerslie are committed to fulfilling these rights at all times.

Māori Health

Mission statement: We at EMC are committed to fulfilling our obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and to work in partnership in a relationship with Māori patients and whānau in order to achieve the best possible health gains. We are committed to consultation in developing appropriate strategies to achieve these. We are committed to our existing relationships, and to further developing networks and relationships with local Māori.

We will provide Māori patients and whānau with the opportunity to achieve equal health outcomes as in Pakeha, and strive to close the gaps present in health outcomes for Māori in our practice population.

We are committed to working with appropriate training agencies as recommended in He Ihu Waka, He Ihu Whenua, He Ihu Tanga by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

We are committed to support for the eight key health gains for Māori as defined by Ministry of Health – immunisation, hearing, smoking cessation, diabetes, asthma and COPD, oral health, mental health, and injury prevention (He Korowai Oranga)

We are also committed to the principle of Whānau Ora, and have taken the Whānau Ora Health Impact Assessment Tool into consideration in our planning for the future.

We have worked hard as a team over a decade to significantly improve heath of our Māori patients and whānau. Some details: Our immunisation rates are 99% up to date. Our up to date smear and mammogram rates have slowly improved, but there is still a gap here and we are offering free smears to all Māori women. Please ask your doctor or nurse how you can access this service. Our percentage of current smokers has dropped over the years from 26% to 20% and we offer smoking cessation advice to >90% of all current smokers every year. We believe that the reduction in numbers of those who smoke is a testimony to the hard work done by our team and the wider community and health sector in addressing this vital area of health. Screening for diabetes and cardiovascular (heart disease) risk assessments are maintained at >90% of those in whom it is appropriate.

“Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata. Ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tīna”

— Endure until your distant goals are near. Once near, seize them and hold them close.

Addictive Drugs, Controlled Drugs, and Drug Seeking

This is our policy re prescribing controlled drugs. These drugs include opiates (morphine, oxycodone, codeine, tramadol, fentanyl); benzodiazepines (lorazepam, diazepam etc); stimulants (dexamfetamine, methylphenidate, ritalin, concerta etc); sedatives (zopiclone etc) and we include weight loss drugs (duromine).  These drugs are controlled because they have significant potential to cause harm, are addictive, and often need escalating doses as patients become tolerant with time. In addition, as patients age, the harmful effects (such as impaired judgement, impaired reaction times and risk of car crashes, falls, increased risk of dementia, increased risk of hip fracture, interactions with other medications, impairment of normal sleep cycles etc) become more significant.

The following rules will apply to all prescriptions for these medications, regardless of another doctor has prescribed them in the past

  1. We do not prescribe controlled drugs to new patients unless there is supporting verifiable evidence that it is for a valid medical indication, but we reserve the right to not prescribe them. This is regardless if another doctor has prescribed these.
  2. If we suspect you are drug seeking we will investigate further and will contact the appropriate authorities. As general practitioners we are not legally able to prescribe drugs of abuse to patients who we suspect have an addiction to such drugs (opioids and benzodiazepines).
  3. All prescriptions will require an in-person consultation, except for end-of-life care and those who are stable and doing well on methylphenidate/concerta (these need to be seen face-to-face every 3-6 months).Other than these exceptions we do not provide repeat prescriptions for such drugs via the telehealth (phone, video, or patient portal)
  4. We do not replace lost medications. Please keep your meds in a locked cashbox, locked safe, and away from water
  5. If you obtain extra doses from another doctor without our approval, we will cease prescribing these medications.
  6. We prescribe only the amount that is safe and appropriate for you. If you take extra doses, we will not give you your next prescription early.
  7. If we consider that you are addicted to any of these medications, we will work with you to transition to medication where we can wean you off safely, or refer you to CADS. This service offers very skilled and comprehensive service to those who are addicted to controlled drugs.
  8. We are not able to prescribe these if there is money owing on your account. It is very time consuming to manage controlled drug prescribing.


The relevant acts are the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and Medicines Act 1981.

We are obligated to following the Medical Council on good prescribing practice “You should only prescribe medicines or treatment when you have adequately assessed the patient’s condition, and/or have adequate knowledge of the patient’s condition and are therefore satisfied that the medicines or treatment are in the patient’s best interests…Medicines or treatment must not be prescribed for your own convenience or simply because patients demand them

Suggestions and Complaints

We strive to provide our patients with excellent quality health care and service. We do however understand that sometimes you may not be completely satisfied with our service and things might not go the way you expected or wanted. If this is the case, we want to know about it. Even though we may not be able to turn back the clock completely, we promise to do our best to put things right for you, and to look for ways to make your experience different in the future.

If there is something you feel we could improve on, or wish to communicate a service you were unhappy with, please let our practice manager Sheryl know. This can be done verbally, by phone or by submitting our contact form here. We listen carefully, take your concern seriously and discuss all suggestions and complaints at our regular practice meetings, and as we are a small practice, change is very easy to implement.

We will ensure that your concern is investigated quickly and thoroughly as per Right 10 of the Code of Rights. If you wish to have a patient advocate to support you in this process, please find one here.

The Code of Rights contains detailed rules about what health professionals must do when they receive a complaint. They must:

  • write to you within five days to acknowledge your complaint
  • try as far as possible to resolve the complaint in a fair, simple, speedy and efficient way
  • keep you informed regularly (at least once a month) about how they are handling your complaint
  • keep you informed about any complaints procedures that you’re entitled to use (this includes procedures that are internal to their organisation and also external procedures, such as going to the Health and Disability Commissioner and to a Health and Disability Consumer Advocate)
  • keep records of your complaint and of the action they take in response to it, and
  • give you all relevant information that they hold about your complaint
  • The doctor has 10 working days after acknowledging your complaint to decide whether it accepts or rejects your complaint. If they decide they need more time, they must decide how much more time is needed. If the extra time is more than 20 working days, they must tell you about this and the reasons why they want more time.
  • When the doctor has decided whether or not they think your complaint is justified, they must give you their decision and the reasons for it. They must tell you what action they propose to take, and any appeal procedure they have set up for complaints.
Privacy Policy

At Ellerslie we are committed to the principles of the Health Information and Privacy Code. We take your privacy very seriously, please see this document explaining how we use your information, and keep it confidential- Use and confidentiality of your health information.

Here is a summary document explaining your rights under the Code, and here is our enrolment form, in the format required by Ministry of Health.

There are 12 Rules under the Code governing the collection, use, and retention of information.

  • Rule 1. Purpose of collection: We only collect information that is necessary for your health care, and for you to be able to access Ministry funding for doctors services, nurses services, immunisation, hospital visits, funded medication and funded laboratory services.
  • Rule 2. Source of the information: We collect health information directly from you, except where the patient is a minor or you have authorised us to collect the information from someone else.
  • Rule 3. Collection of health information: When we collect health information directly from our patients, we share anonymous data with ProCare and the Ministry of Health as required in order to access capitated funding for you. Your laboratory tests and medication history are able to be accessed by your health providers via Testsafe The information is encrypted and transmitted securely. Those health providers not directly responsible for your care are not authorised to access your information.
  • Rule 4. Means of collecting health information: We collect health information by means which are lawful, fair, and do not intrude unduly on the your personal affairs. We deal with sensitive information very carefully.
  • Rule 5. Storage and security: We take the security of your information very seriously. We hold no paper medical records, all the information is digital and held on our server. Backup is via an encrypted link to cloud storeage, hosted in New Zealand by TMG. No information goes offshore. All our terminals are password protected, and the passwords are changed every 3 months. The computer screens are never left on for others to view. The practice server is password protected and has an UPS in case of a power cut. In addition, sensitive conversations are not held where others may overhear. We do not send your health information via ordinary email, as this is not secure.
  • Rule 6. Right of access: Our patients have immediate access to their medical information and we are able to print our your full medical record at your request, at no charge. When the patient portal is operational, you will be able to view your own information on-line, via a secure service.
  • Rule 7. Correction of Health Information: Any errors made will be rectified immediately. If we see errors in your hospital records, we will inform the hospital of these errors so they can be rectified.
  • Rule 8. Check before use: We not use health information without first taking reasonable steps to ensure that it is accurate and not misleading.
  • Rule 9. Retention of medical records. We retain medical records electronically indefinitely. We do not retain paper notes – if your notes are transferred to us via another provider in paper format, we scan the important data and return the notes to you for safe-keeping.
  • Rule 10. Limits on use: We only use health information as intended, for purposes of your care or obtaining funding for you (your consent for this information transfer is taken on enrollment or if ordered to by Police of other agencies as specified in the Act (see Rule 11).
  • Rule 11. Limits on disclosure:  Disclosure is always allowed when the person concerned or their representative has given their permission or where disclosure was one of the purposes for which the information was originally obtained. An example is a referral to a specialist for further care.

There are certain situations where we are obliged by law to dsclose information. Some examples:

* There are provisions under the Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 which allow and protect the reporting to Police or to a social worker of suspected neglect or abuse of a young person.

* There is a duty on a doctor under the Land Transport Act 1998 to report to the Director of Land Transport Safety any person they know of who is likely to drive a vehicle but whose mental or physical condition makes it unsafe for them to do so.

* Health agencies can disclose information if this is necessary to avert a serious threat to someone’s health or safety. The disclosure must be to someone who can do something about the threat such as Police.

  • Rule 12. Unique identifiers: We are required to use another agency’s unique identifier only where the use of it is part of the purpose for which that identifier was assigned. An example is the National Health Index number, where its recording and use by us is for the purpose of making the claims and reports which are required to be indexed by that common identifier.