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Welcome to another edition of the Clinical Director’s update. The cold snap these last few days remind me that winter is around the corner, as is the new financial year for many. Winter immunisations time starts next week so you will all be ramping up in this space. Thank you in advance for the efforts that I know you all put into helping protect our community through this work.


And please put your name forward if you are interested in being part of our Pae Ora Healthy Futures Primary Care Leadership Course. I am very excited about this opportunity to grow our leaders in primary care across the district.


Key points today:

  • Pae Ora Healthy Futures: Primary Care Leadership Course – Applications now close Wednesday

  • Localities Update

  • Upcoming Flu Promotion

  • New-look bowel screening kit – Communications pack

  • EPiC dashboard data update

  • Time for Change – Te Hurihanga Programme Hui Recording

  • Primary Health Care Research Prioritisation

  • Advanced Diabetes Management Course

  • Otago RNZCGP Faculty Education weekend 12-14 May

  • National PRIME Hui

  • Mirror Services Mokopuna, Tamariki & Taiohi (Child & Youth) MHA Conference 2023

  • Covid numbers update

  • Podcast of the week - Vertigo


What’s new

Pae Ora Healthy Futures: Primary Care Leadership Course – Applications close Wednesday

WellSouth is offering an opportunity for emerging leaders to participate in the inaugural 'Pae Ora Healthy Futures - Primary Care Leadership Course' for 2023.

We are encouraging expressions of interest from Māori and Pacific providers, General Practice team members, Community Pharmacists and other community health providers.

The course will be run over the year with two workshops in Dunedin on the 16th - 18th May and
8th - 10th November, and online monthly peer sessions in between.

The course is offered free of charge, with travel and accommodation expenses covered.

The application deadline has been extended to now close at 5 pm Wednesday 5 April 2023.

Please register your interest online here.

For more information see the poster here


Localities Update

The Hokonui prototype locality has presented its draft priorities to its stakeholders for feedback, and will do so to the Hokonui community the week of 27 April: see www.hokonuilocality.nz. 

Four intersecting themes have come from the preceding community engagement: 

  1. access, 

  2. cost of living, 

  3. mental health, 

  4. the psycho-social impact of the pandemic. 

From these, five priorities to action are being suggested: 

  1. better access to dental care and prevention, 

  2. more connected navigators/community connectors, 

  3. improving two-way communication with the community about access to primary care (eg about wait times) and available alternatives, 

  4. improving patient and whānau experiences at practices and social service providers, and  5. more and more inclusive community activities.


National roll-out for localities is getting closer. We understand Te Whatu Ora and Te Tauraki (the IwiMāori Partnership Board) are agreed on the IMPB boundary, and this will enable formal boundary determination to commence this year. The process for this is as below (“our” is Te Whatu Ora below).


The attached national localities update includes our very own Stuart Barson on the last page! We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.


Upcoming Flu Promotion

Te Whatu Ora will start Flu promotions from 1 April, with a focus on Māori and Pasifika aged 55+, all others aged 65+, pregnant people, immunocompromised people and others who are eligible for a funded FREE flu vaccination.

Targeted channels (e.g., email, text etc) will be used to let eligible people know they can have a free flu shot and to visit BookMyVaccine to arrange it.

  • From 1 March, a new Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent vaccine became available to eligible New Zealanders as a booster dose.

  • To ensure those currently eligible for a first or second booster, are made aware of the new booster, a direct communications campaign has been developed that will see email and SMS delivered to approximately 736k individuals.

  • The selected audience will be invited to get a free bivalent booster to get a significant pre-winter boost to their protection from severe illness, hospitalisation, and death from COVID-19.

  • The targeted audience includes all people aged 18+ who have had their 2-dose primary course and are eligible for a first booster, and all those who meet eligibility for a second booster. 

  • Several exclusions (in addition to standard exclusions) have been applied to refine the targeting criteria such as removing anyone contacted about COVID-19 boosters via any direct channel (email, SMS, outreach call or physical letter sent by Te Whatu Ora) in the last 3 months, persons who have received a communication about MMR vaccination in the past month and people who are scheduled to be contacted and offered a free flu jab in early April. 

  • The call to action encourages people to visit www.BookMyVaccine.nz or www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19-vaccination, call Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week), or contact their GP, pharmacy or healthcare provider.


For the most up-to-date information check the Vaccine Hub:  Southern Vaccine Hub | Southern Health | He hauora, he kuru pounamu


New-look bowel screening kit – Communications pack

Please review the new-look bowel screening kit communications pack here.

This pack has various communications materials to support the nationwide rollout of the new-look bowel screening test kit.

Nationally, the NBSP will communicate the change through Royal NZ College of GP channels, Te Whatu Ora social media channels, the National Screening Unit website, and the bowel screening sector update.


EPiC dashboard data update

Practitioner, practice and national medicines data for six EPiC dashboard themes and 21 data stories are now current for the period ending 31 December 2022.

Data themes include antibiotics, asthma, cilazapril, CVD, gout and type 2 diabetes. Each data theme includes two to four data stories that highlight known national problems of prescribing practice, many of which contribute to persistently high rates of medicine access inequity. 

You can read the full update here.

EPiC is free for practitioners and practices to use at epic.akohiringa.co.nz/.

It is funded by Pharmac and supports their medicine access equity and responsible use of pharmaceuticals initiatives. A free one-hour training programme is available to assist practices learn to use this resource effectively.


Time for Change – Te Hurihanga Programme Hui Recording

The Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme hui was held yesterday.

Executive Director, Mental Health, Addictions, and Intellectual Disability, Te Whatu Ora Southern provided an update on the programme and answered questions from those in attendance.


If you weren’t able to attend you can still view the hui – a recording is available using the following link: 
Passcode: i5.+FXAj
The webinar starts at 2.02 minutes



Opportunities to be involved


Primary Health Care Research Prioritisation

The Department of General Practice and Rural Health at the University of Otago are looking for primary health care clinicians, including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, and other healthcare providers to participate in the research project ‘Primary Health Care (PHC) Research Prioritization’.

Results of the project will help identify the most significant research questions in primary health care that need addressing to improve health equity.

You will be asked to identify the most important questions in primary health care that need addressing to improve health equity. Results will be iteratively reviewed and ranked, then weighted for project feasibility, relevance and for likelihood of improving health equity. Participants will be asked to complete two online surveys. Each will take around 10 minutes.

Further surveys may be administered until consensus is obtained. Participants will then be invited to participate in an optional meeting (face-to-face or online) which may take 1-2 hours.

For further information on the survey please read the attached information sheet.

To participate, follow this link to the Survey:
Take the Survey

If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact Jing-Ru Li (Jingru.li@otago.ac.nz) or Sharon Leitch (project PI) (sharon.leitch@otago.ac.nz).


Upcoming training and webinars


Advanced Diabetes Management Course

Date: 17 July 2023 – runs for 20 weeks

Location: Online

Register for this free course here: https://www.aotearoadiabetescollective.org.nz/advanced-diabetes-management-course/

Dr Ryan Paul is running a free online programme on all aspects of diabetes care. The programme is endorsed by the Clinical Advisory Pharmacists Association (CAPA) and runs over 20 weeks.

The webinars are run twice each week, one during work hours and one outside of work hours as well as being recorded to watch again at your leisure.

There are also multiple mentoring sessions hosted each week (expectation that you will attend at least eight meetings)

The programme is targeted for GPs, Nurses, Pharmacists, Dietitians, Podiatrists, and other allied health who have a foundation knowledge of diabetes managements – but health professionals are welcome.

Waikato CAPA members who have attended a previous run of the course cannot speak highly enough of the course and recommend it for anybody who works in primary care regardless of expertise level in diabetes.

See the attached poster for further details.


Otago RNZCGP Faculty Education weekend 12-14 May

Registrations for the Otago GP Faculty Education weekend in Naseby on the 12th – 14th of May have opened up. For more information and to register please visit: https://training.wellsouth.nz/events/679-otago-faculty-education-weekend-2023/


National PRIME Hui

Date: Saturday 6 May and Sunday 7 May 2023

Location: Dunedin Art Gallery (Auditorium)

Cost: $125

The National PRIME Hui is a two-day event for PRIME doctors, nurses and emergency services staff and includes:

  • An informative themed programme on emergency medicine

  • A trip to Otago Southland Rescue Helicopter Trust (Saturday afternoon with drinks and nibbles provided)

  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea provided on both days

For further information about the programme, presenters and to register click here.


Mirror Services Mokopuna, Tamariki & Taiohi (Child and Youth) MHA Conference

Date: 25 May 2023 – one day conference

Location: Glenroy Auditorium, Ōtepoti (Dunedin)

Mirror Services are holding a one day conference on Mokopuna, Tamariki & Taiohi (child and youth).

Topics include:

  • Infant and child wellbeing

  • Intergenerational trauma

  • Whānau therapy

  • Tūturu

  • Child centred play

Tickets on sale now: www.mirrorservices.org.nz/conference

Full details available here.


Other general information

Hospital capacity

As I understand it, both Dunedin and Invercargill hospitals are at near or full capacity for inpatients a lot of the time at the moment. This is impacting on their ability to deliver planned care operations and the like. This is naturally frustrating for patients, as well as the clinicians working in the hospital system, and us in primary care who are holding these patients while awaiting their definitive treatment. There is also capacity issues with some radiation oncology services. The clinical teams at Dunedin hospital are working closely with their colleagues from around the country to provide radiation services for cancer treatment within appropriate timeframes, but it sounds tough.

I have asked that we have regularly updated information on waiting times for different departments, to help your conversations with patients. We are all under the pump heading into winter, so lets keep being kind to each other across the primary-secondary fence.


Covid-19 updates

Southern Numbers

Covid cases continue to bubble along, as shown by the graphs below.



Podcast of the Week - Vertigo

This week’s podcast is about dizziness and vertigo. It gives a clear approach to dealing with what for me can get a bit confusing, so I’d recommend it. Who can go past the 5 deadly D’s of dizziness, for example?



So, as always, there is a lot going on! I hope that you all get to have some time for yourselves and your loved ones over the Easter break.

Ngā mihi nui