Tēnā koutou katoa


Welcome to another Clinical Director Update. Winter Solstice was yesterday – so a couple of months of colder weather on its way until Spring. I spent a few days under the Wanaka Inversion Layer this week past, a new experience!!

I’m pleased to be able to say that Winter Wellness Checks are being extended by a week. Covid care in the Community funding is continuing until 30 September. We are starting today to provide periodic updates on Immunisation data across the district.  There’s lots of other updates in here, I hope there is some parts of interest to you all.


Key points today:

  • Winter Wellness Checks extended until 7 July

  • Otago Urology Primary Care Update

  • ACC GP Referred MRI Update

  • Pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccine messaging for people aged 45 and 65 years

  • 2023 Flu Vaccination Coverage (at 9 June 2023)

  • New dashboard theme from He Ako Hiringa

  • Working Group with Radiation Oncology -  Shared Care for men with prostate cancer post  radiation therapy

  • Opportunity to provide GP level assistance within the Invercargill Acute Inpatient Service

  • ACC GP MRI Referral Training

  • Working with our Hospital Colleagues Webinar Wed 26th July 18.00-19.00

  • National Immunisation Programme Stakeholder Hui Recording

  • Immunisations in the clinical context webinar – 27 June

  • Brain Injury Otago – Brain Injury Seminar: Exploring the Wider Aspects

  • Aotearoa New Zealand Immunisation Conference 2023 and pre-conference workshop 

  • Ruruku - Latest news and updates from Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora

  • Covid-19 Immunisation Contract Extensions



What’s new

Winter Wellness Checks extended until 7 July

As of 22nd June 2023, there have been 1774 Winter Wellness claims submitted across the rohe. This represents a huge effort from general practice staff, and we thank you for your efforts. As mentioned previously, we will be evaluating the impact for patients of the winter wellness checks both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The Winter Wellness Checks were planned to end on the 30th June 2023, however, due to demand and spare capacity, we will extend the service for 1 week until the 7th July 2023.

Investigating the breakdown of Winter Wellness checks by ethnicity (shown below), we can see that eligible Pasifika patients are receiving the check at a lower rate than Māori patients and non-Māori, non-Pasifika patients. It is great that Māori whānau are accessing the check, so please keep up the excellent work, and perhaps focus on your Pasifika aiga in the last two weeks if you can.



Otago Urology Primary Care Update

Dunedin based urology services are under significant pressure due to workforce vacancies. The attached letter outlines the steps being taken to use the existing resource to best health gain. We are working with the urology department on some of these solutions, including an updated haematuria management pathway that is coming very soon. Thank you for your support for these measures as outlined.


ACC GP Referred MRI Update

This programme has now been in place for nearly 6 months and is providing Southern patients with good access to early high-tech imaging for the evaluation of cervical spine, lumbar spine and knee injuries.
The latest version of WellSouth’s guidance is on the website and available via this link https://wellsouth.nz/care-provider/practice-resources/funded-programmes/

4 further training sessions are scheduled in the coming months. For more information and to register, please click here

This programme is continuing and may be expanded to include other body sites as time goes on.

We encourage as many GPs as possible to become credentialled MRI referrers.


Pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccine messaging for people aged 45 and 65 years 

We are aware of a recent direct communications campaign for eligible people aged 65 years and over.
Those aged 65 and over; with no booster recorded in the past 5 years are receiving an email about the vaccine. We note that Practice Records may differ, as these earlier immunisations may not have originally messaged to the NIR.


We are also aware that some of the people receiving this email have had a 65 year ADT (In 2019 Pharmac changed the eligibility for people who are eligible for a funded dose of Boostrix from age 45 and 65)

  • If they have already had a free tetanus and diphtheria vaccine from age 65, they will not be eligible for a free Boostrix vaccine.

If people missed getting their booster at age 45 or 65, they can still catch up for free. Public-facing key messages plus additional Q&As are available on Dropbox.  

People in their 65th year (and up to age 65 years and 49 weeks) will receive an email about both shingles (Shingrix) and the whooping cough (Boostrix) vaccine.  


2023 Flu Vaccination Coverage (at 9 June 2023)

Latest Flu Coverage for Southern as recorded https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/influenza/flu-vaccine-data#uptake_over_65 is as follows:




Data for 2023 is being extracted from a number of data sources; National Immunisation Register (NIR), Covid Immunisation Register (CIR) and Aotearoa Immunisation Register  (AIR).

There may be some data discrepancies this year but we are hopeful that by Flu Season 2024 when all providers are using AIR we will have more reliable reporting.

In the meantime it would be good to see some increase in coverage for the Māori & Pacific 55 – 64  Year Group – see your Thalamus Dashboard for details for Recall.


New dashboard theme from He Ako Hiringa

EPiC is a free data analytics tool developed by He Ako Hiringa to identify and improve known problems of prescribing practice and medicines access equity in Aotearoa.

The latest EPiC dashboard has just been released; focusing on youth mental health, it characterises our youth population (12 to 25-year-olds) and investigates their psychotropic medicine use. EPiC users can look at medicines dispensed to enrolled youth patients nationally, as well as by practice and by prescriber.

The EPiC dashboard is freely available and EPiC Youth mental health can be found at: epic.akohiringa.co.nz/youth-mental-health


Opportunities to be involved


Working Group with Radiation Oncology -  Shared Care for men with prostate cancer post  radiation therapy

We are seeking expressions of interest for two GPs to join a collaborative working group exploring new models of care for community surveillance and management of prostate cancer. The team will comprise both clinical and managerial representatives from the Radiation Oncology Service, Urology, Primary Care and consumer representation including Māori and PI perspectives. The first Teams meeting is scheduled for Thursday 17th Aug 2023 from 17.30-18.30 with the intent on periodic meetings over the next two to three months. Remuneration is available through WellSouth for attendance, details on request.

Please contact me carol.atmore@wellsouth.org.nz or Dr Andy Shute andy.shute@welsouth.org.nz  if you are interested to find out more.


Opportunity to provide GP level assistance within the Invercargill Acute Inpatient Service

Just another prompt for anyone interested: Mental Health and Addiction Services in Invercargill are looking to engage a general practitioner to work in their inpatient acute service, either a short or longer term contract would be considered.  The inpatient acute service is like other health services under significant pressure at the moment and would be grateful for assistance from a general practitioner with an interest in mental health care with provision of physical health care to inpatients.

Key responsibilities:

  • Physical examinations of patients within the acute inpatient service (18 bed ward)

  • Managing physical health conditions.

    • Back up will be available from the emergency dept for urgent matters and additional support available from other hospital services for consults as required.

    • Access to senior medical senior nursing leadership will be available on a daily basis.

    • Working hours can be flexible to suit the candidate and other responsibilities, ie morning, day or evening work can be accommodated.

  • A minimum of two hours per day is required, Monday to Friday although we can be flexible with this.

  • Short term (weeks) or long term (six month) interest considered

For more information contact Adrienne Lee, service manager Adrienne.lee@southerndhb.govt.nz, 0272732291


Upcoming training and webinars


ACC GP MRI Referral Training

New dates available for ACC GP MRI referral training

WellSouth and Habit Health are pleased to announce new dates for the ACC GP MRI Referral Training sessions around the Southern Region:

Tuesday 25th July – Dunedin

Thursday 7th September – Dunedin

Wednesday 18th October – Invercargill

Thursday 2nd November – Cromwell

For more information and to register, please click here


Working with our Hospital Colleagues Webinar Wed 26th July 18.00-19.00

We are hosting a webinar to discuss the new collaborative Transfer of Care framework between primary and secondary (the most current version of the Transfer of Care framework is attached); detail policy and standards of care when communicating between the two; and talk about GP advice clinics.


Dr Andy Shute. GP Liaison, WellSouth - Primary Care feedback of the Transfer of Care framework

Dr David Gow, Chief Medical Officer, Te Whatu Ora Southern – Current system update

Dr Jo Mitchell, Medical Director, Integrated Care, Te Whatu Ora Southern  – GP Advice clinics

The link for registrants is:


So please save the date, Wed 26th July 18.00-19.00. The Teams link will be included closer to the time, and it will be recorded and available following.


National Immunisation Programme Stakeholder Hui Recording

The National Immunisation Programme Stakeholder Hui was held on 18 June 2023, the meeting included updates about the Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR), Book My Vaccine, in addition to operations and communications.
You can view the recording here.
Stakeholder sector hui resources, including slides, and video links are available here: Dropbox – Stakeholder hui 7 June 2023


Immunisations in the clinical context webinar – 27 June 2023

Online Webinar – 27 June 2023

Register here

Following from the NRHCC webinars, Te Whatu Ora presents a series of webinars to support primary care. These will focus on clinical updates to promote integrated care.

While this webinar has a focus on the Tamaki Makaurau locality, there is still national relevance in the topics.

This webinar will cover:

  • Immunisations in the clinical context: Nurse Practitioners Tamah Clapham and Rochelle Eynon will provide an update on increasing immunisation rates in child health with an equity focus, tips and tricks and “busting” common myths of vaccinating in the community.

  • Pharmacy Minor Ailments Service: Daniel Tsai will speak on the roll out of the Pharmacy Minor Ailments service.

  • Inbox Management: David Maplesden from the HDC will talk on the medico-legal aspects of inbox management and discuss precedent cases.


Brain Injury Otago – Brain Injury Seminar: Exploring the Wider Aspects

Friday 28 July 2023, 8.30am – 3.30pm

Dunedin Town Hall Conference Room

Brain Injury Otago are holding a seminar at the Dunedin Town Hall on Friday 28 July 2023.
This year’s seminar explores the wider aspects of brain injury, the linked flyer contains further details, including the programme of speakers and a link to Ticketmaster to purchase tickets.

Brain Injury Seminar Flyer


Aotearoa New Zealand Immunisation Conference 2023 and pre-conference workshop 

15 – 17 November 2023

University of Auckland Business School, Auckland
The wait is finally over! IMAC is excited to share details about the Aotearoa New Zealand Immunisation Conference 2023 and pre-conference Workshop, to be held in Auckland from 15-17 November 2023.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) has been organising the New Zealand Immunisation Conference for more than two decades. After a break since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are again offering a two-day Conference, preceded by a one-day Workshop.

This is a great opportunity to join colleagues and peers at the University of Auckland Business School's Sir Owen G Glenn Building to increase your understanding of vaccine-preventable disease control and immunisation delivery services.

For full details and to register please visit immune.org.nz/2023-immunisation-conference for more details.


Other general information


Ruruku - Latest news and updates from Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora

News & Updates – 14 June 2023

  • Message from Chief Executives

  • Immunisation Updates

  • Stakeholder Virtual hui - 5 July, 9.00am

  • A Focus on Bowel cancer Screening

  • Colin’s Colonoscopy story

  • Coeliac Awareness Week 12–18 June 2023

  • Te Aka Whai Ora partners with New Zealand Rugby

  • Te Manu Korokī National hui Rangatahi 2023

  • New Kaitaia Short Stay facility official opening

  • Celebrating Pink Shirt Day 2023

Read the update here.


Covid-19 updates


Southern Numbers

Here are our Covid reported case numbers over the last 4 weeks:



Covid care in the community funding for Covid Care extended until 30 September

Te Whatu Ora has confirmed that it will continue funding primary care clinical services from general practices and community pharmacies according to the current schedule. Funding for the Covid hub services that WellSouth has been providing since February will also continue. Funding for evulsheld administration (the ‘Therapeutic Administration’ claim on the portal) and Monkey Pox claims will cease on 30 June 2023.


Covid-19 Immunisation Contract Extensions

As you are aware, provider contracts for the administration of Covid-19 vaccinations end on the 30 June 2023.
We are looking to renew provider contracts for a further 12 months, ending the
30 June 2024. Current providers will be offered and receive the extension soon.

For those who are not currently active, it may be worth reconsidering, as the programme continues to transition to a business-as-usual (BAU) model.
Provided practices have the resources to carry out the work, it is another source of revenue and will help better protect the community.
If you wish to come on board as a provider delivering the Covid-19 vaccine, please do not hesitate to email us at Covid19: covid19@wellsouth.org.nz


RAT Requestor website shutting down from 1 July

Te Whatu Ora will be ceasing the on-line RAT requestor tool from 1 July. They will continue to focus on supporting priority and vulnerable groups most at risk and disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including Māori and Pacific people, older people, those who are immunocompromised and those with other high-risk medical conditions.  This includes ensuring access to testing, including via the RATs distribution networks across Māori and Pacific NGOs. The 0800 222 478 phoneline will continue to operate and be focussed on providing additional support to these priority and vulnerable groups, with information and assistance to source RATs, including delivery if necessary.

The primary source of information to the public about where to collect publicly-funded/free RATs is Healthpoint.  Another source is Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz) where information on how to use RATs and how to manage risk and exposure to COVID-19 can also be found.

Telehealth services such as Healthline (0800 358 5453) and the Disability Helpline (0800 11 12 13 or text 8988) will continue to provide general health information and advice on where to source RATs.


So life is moving on from Covid, but not quite yet!

So I hope you enjoy your weekend, its good to know that tomorrow will be slightly longer than today was!

Ngā mihi nui