Tēnā koutou katoa

Welcome to the middle of winter! The great thing is, that means we can celebrate Matariki too. I recall living in Wales where New Year was in the cold and dark and it was a lovely reminder of the cycle of life and the anticipation of things getting warmer, lighter, new beginnings. Matariki is about remembrance, celebrating the present, and looking to the future and I am looking forward to the celebration. Te Arawhiti (Office of Māori Crown Relations) has produced a booklet about Matariki which is linked to have a look through.


Key points today:

  • Southern Community Labs – Industrial Action Notice July 2023 – no non-urgent tests collected or processed during 12, 13, 17, 18 July

  • Pharmacy payments for RAT distribution

  • Winter Wellness Checks update

  • Transition from CLIC to the new Long Term Conditions Programme

  • Changes to the carer support subsidy

  • International GP Recruitment Campaign now live

  • GP Dashboard in HealthOne

  • Update to notifications from the Aotearoa Immunisation Register

  • Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR) webinar

  • Palliative care national steering group – Primary Care members needed

  • Health Pathways Abnormal Uterine Bleeding  Guidance – National Working Group

  • Conversations in Rural Health: Winter Webinar Series

  • GPNZ Primary Care Clinical Digest – 30 June 2023

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

  • Te Whatu Ora Southern – Mental Health, Addictions, and Intellectual Disability

    Executive Director’s Update

  • Covid numbers



What’s new


Southern Community Labs – Industrial Action Notice July 2023 – no non-urgent tests collected or processed during 12, 13, 17, 18 July

Please click here to see the notice of Industrial Action for Southern Community Labs for 12, 13, 17 and 18 July 2023.

For information on the specific impacts to laboratory services in your location throughout the strike period please click here.

Please read the linked Southern strike plan summary for full information on affected services. Essentially, we won’t be able to order any lab tests Wednesday or Thursday next week, or Monday, Tuesday the week following.


Pharmacy payments for RAT distribution

The RAT requester website is now closed, with this change we have received queries from pharmacies about the implications of this change.

We can confirm there is no change in the process - pharmacies need to continue invoicing as usual to ensure payment. Please keep indicating how many RATs distributed on the invoice.

For more information, please see the Pharmacy sector communications linked below.

Update on RAT requestor and distribution of RATs – Pharmacy Sector Communications


Winter Wellness Checks update

Firstly, I would like to say thank you for your combined efforts across the rohe, to make the Winter Wellness Check programme so well used from a standing start 5 weeks ago.  As of today, over 2800 people have benefited from having a Winter Wellness ‘Warrant of Fitness’. The graph below shows the proportion of Winter Wellness Checks completed, by ethnicity. Well done all.


Evaluation of impact of the Winter Wellness Checks will be completed by a WellSouth staff member as part of their Master’s thesis, and we will provide feedback when they become available by April 2024.


Transition from CLIC to the new Long Term Conditions Programme

As of 1 July 2023, WellSouth turned off the ability to complete Comprehensive Health Assessments (CHAs). This is part of the transition away from CLIC to the new Long-Term Conditions Programme, which we will bring you more information on in the coming weeks.

In the process of switching off the ability to complete CHAs from within the WellSouth portal, we inadvertently removed the ability for practices to identify patients who have not had care planning completed. We are working to rectify this and hope to have this function back online soon.

In the meantime, if you need to identify a patient who is currently on the CLIC programme and needs a care plan completed, this information is available on Thalamus. To access, follow the instructions below.

  1. Navigate to Proactive Care > CLIC Dashboard within Thalamus.

  2. Under “Has a Care Plan”, click No.

  3. Click “View Patients” on the lefthand side

    of the screen.

  4. This exports an excel sheet with all

    patients who do not have a careplan completed.


Changes to the carer support subsidy

Te Whatu Ora is making changes to the Carer Support Subsidy to make it more helpful for people.

Carer Support is available for ‘full-time Carers’ and is intended to allow them to have breaks from their caring responsibilities. A full time Carer is the person who provides more than 4 hours per day unpaid care to a person in need of care.

From 1 July, improvements to Carer Support will include:

  • A national increase in the daily rate to at least $80.

  • Carer Support can be used to pay others in the household so the full-time carer can have a break.

  • The Subsidy funding can be used all at once, or through the year – it’s up to the carer and the family member they support to choose and organise respite that works best for them.

Te Whatu Ora will also allow full-time carers to purchase items that would provide them respite. To enable this, they have developed nationally consistent Te Whatu Ora purchasing guidelines.
Please find these linked below.

Te Whatu Ora Carer Support Subsidy Purchasing Guidelines

To support you in making allocations of Carer Support, please find the registration form linked below which offers further guidance.

Carer Support Registration Form

Further information about the Carer Support Subsidy can be found on the Te Whatu Ora website.


International GP Recruitment Campaign now live

The International GP Recruitment Campaign is now live.

The intention is for Hauora Taiwhenua to hold the contract with Te Whatu Ora to triage GPs that come through this campaign and will facilitate the placements into general practice (both urban and rural).

Check out the campaign here: https://somewheredifferent.nz/roles/gp/


GP Dashboard in HealthOne

The GP Dashboard in HealthOne allows practices to identify their current inpatients, recent ED presentations, and inpatient discharges. Outpatient appointment bookings and missed outpatient appointments can also be viewed.

The GP Dashboard is a useful tool for practices to make an informed decision regarding patient follow up post-discharge. Information in the GP Dashboard is live, providing a timely, single point of information on patient status. Where discharge summaries are available, the Dashboard can provide an efficient way of accessing the information needed for follow-up.

A follow-up post-discharge by a practice can help the patient understand what they need to do to stay well and therefore, in some cases, reduce the likelihood of re-admission. For the practice, a follow up post-discharge can be a good opportunity to re-engage patients - some of whom may be used to receiving hospital care - with their general practice and offer services such as CLIC to those patients who would benefit. And as a reminder, post-discharge follow-up visits within two weeks of admission for people with COPD are funded. (https://wellsouth.nz/assets/COPD-Discharge.pdf)

Further information on the GP Dashboard can be found on the WellSouth website.


Update to notifications from the Aotearoa Immunisation Register

The Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR) notifications have recently been updated.

The update means that general practices are now sent a notification whenever an enrolled patient has a vaccination recorded on the AIR for: shingles (Shingrix), HPV (Gardasil 9), Pneumococcal (PCV13 – Prevenar 13 and 23PPV – Pneumovax 23), polio (Ipol), TB (BCG AJV), HepA (Havrix),  HepB (Engerix-B 20mcg) and MenACWY (MenQuadfi).

GP notifications for MMR commenced on 9 November 2022 and are in place for enrolled patients for all the vaccines available to record in the AIR vaccinator portal (except for the mpox vaccine). View the vaccinations available to record in the AIR for those 13 years and older (unless specified).

If you have questions or require support, please email help@imms.min.health.nz.


Opportunities to be involved


Palliative care national steering group – Primary Care members needed

Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand are developing a work programme co-sponsored by Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority, that supports a nationally consistent approach to palliative care across Aotearoa New Zealand.

They are seeking to establish a steering group of people with either professional or personal experience from across Aotearoa New Zealand to form a national palliative care steering group that will provide the foundations for this national approach and guide our work over the coming 2 years.

If you are a leader in Primary Care who is passionate about improving palliative and end-of-life services, are keen to work collaboratively, and have capacity to be involved in this national work – they would love to hear from you!

Further information is available on the Expression of Interest form linked, and the draft terms of reference are linked below.

National palliative care steering group draft terms of reference

Applications for the steering group close 17 July 2023.


Health Pathways Abnormal Uterine Bleeding  Guidance – National Working Group

The clinical pathway for primary care management of abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) has been prioritised for updating and standardising by Te Whatu Ora national health pathways programme. Justine Lancaster,  (Wellington GP and Regional Clinical Advisor, Healthpathways) and Dr Sathana Ponnampalam (Gynaecologist and Northern Regional Endometrial Cancer Equity Clinical Lead) are leading work to create an updated consensus best practice guidance that can be reflected in the pathway.  

Currently there are inconsistencies nationally on how women are assessed in primary care when presenting with AUB. The secondary care referral and triaging criteria also differ, leading to inconsistencies in the care women are receive. Standardising the health pathway and the referral criteria will address some of these inconsistencies and they hope by developing  consensus national guidance, management of women who present with AUB in both primary and secondary care will be more consistent and equitable. 

They are seeking expressions of interest from GPs with an interest in gynaecology who would like to be involved developing a national guideline for management of abnormal uterine bleeding that informs the planned national health pathway and would like a couple of South Island GPs, rural and urban, to be involved. They expect the commitment will be a  short series of fornightly meetings. 

If you are interested, please contact Justine directly, Justine.Lancaster@healthpathwayscommunity.org or via me.


Upcoming training and webinars


Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR) webinar

Date and Time: 11am – 12pm, Wednesday 12 July 2023
Register:  Click here to register
The AIR team will be running a ‘cutover series as it moves closer to when the National Immunisation Register (NIR) and the COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR) data is migrated into the AIR.


Conversations in Rural Health: Winter Webinar Series

Hauora Taiwhenua – Rural Health Network are holding a winter webinar series.

More information will come regarding this series once the theme is confirmed. 
For now, save the dates in your calendar and register below for the upcoming webinars:

Wednesday 16 August, 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Register here

Wednesday 23 August, 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Register here


Other general information


GPNZ Primary Care Clinical Digest – 30 June 2023

In this issue:

  1. National Clinical Network Co-Leads: Expressions of Interest (EOI)

  2. Changes to the Carer Support Subsidy 

  3. National IPC Guidance for Mask Use: Te Whatu Ora June-August 2023

  4. Ruruku: Latest News and Updates from Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora

  5. Building the Future of Health Virtual Hui: July 5 2023

  6. Goodfellow Unit Continuing Professional Development: Webinars and Podcast

  7. Small Group Programme Aotearoa

  8. University of Auckland Inaugural Lecture Series 2023

  9. Updates for Pharmacists in General Practice week ending June 23 2023

  10. Top Weekend Viewing

Read the full update here.


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

News & Updates

  • Message from Chief Executives

  • Announcing the new Te Whatu Ora Board Chair

  • Winter Wellness Update

  • Te Mauri o Rongo | The New Zealand Health Charter

  • Localities Update

  • Upcoming Stakeholder virtual hui – 5 July, 9.00am

  • Whānau, Consumer and Clinician Digital Council hui 

  • Mental Health and Addictions Update

  • Pathways toward health equity via digital innovation

  • Procurement launches for new rural clinical telehealth service

  • Celebrating National Volunteer Week 18-24 June 2023

  • Interview with a Friend of ED - Tim Morice

  • Taranaki Renal Centre – Te Huhi Raupo, wins design award

  • More vaccines now available at pharmacies

  • New Appointment: Nancy Todd - Director, Te Waipounamu

Read the full update here.


Te Whatu Ora Southern – Mental Health, Addictions, and Intellectual Disability
Executive Director’s Update

Read about:

  • Time for Change – Te Hurihanga – the journey so far

  • Additional Child and Youth support from ADL

  • Project update: Central Lakes Crisis Support Service

Read the update here.



Covid-19 updates


Southern Numbers

Reported case numbers continue to slowly trickle down, as shown below:




So, how ever you and yours choose to celebrate, I wish you a peaceful and reflective Matariki.


Ngā mihi nui