Coronavirus: Frontline health workers' blunt warning to government the sector is facing financial collapse

Frontline workers gave the Government a blunt warning on Wednesday, saying the healthcare sector is facing financial collapse following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Doctors, pharmacists and dentists lined up to explain to the Epidemic Response Committee how much lockdown is hurting them.

"We don't know whether some practices are going to survive this," New Zealand Medical Association chairperson Dr Kate Baddock says.

"Most [pharmacies] are in the red. It's only a matter of time before the dominos start to fall," Pharmacy Guild CEO Andrew Gaudin added.

"Twelve percent [of dentists] have already made staff reductions and redundancies, another 45 percent are expecting to do so in the future," Dental Association President Katie Ayers says.

There was also criticism of the shortage of flu vaccines. While the Government ordered extra vaccines and planned an early rollout, GPs say they've struggled to get them.

"The flu vaccine supply issue was a complete debacle," Dr Baddock says.

"We in general practice just could not get vaccines. We in our practice could not get vaccines for 10 days."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday "disagreed with their assessment" of flu vaccines.

The Pharmacy Guild also says it's struggled to stay in the loop, adding it's attempted and failed to meet with Health Minister David Clark.

"We have sought to meet with the minister and we've been unable to do so. This is delicate, pressing and urgent and needs attention immediately," Gaudin says.

But the lockdown is also finding success. Epidemiologist Professor David Skegg delivered a cautiously optimistic message to the Epidemic Response Committee.

"The position we're in which, by world standards, is exceptionally good."

That comes with a huge caveat - that COVID-19 could spread exponentially if New Zealanders get too relaxed about physical distancing.