Tēnā koutou katoa


So its the first day of Spring tomorrow. We have made it through the worst of winter, and its been tough. I continue to be in awe of your commitment to providing the best care for your patients, despite the difficulties of staffing and funding that our sector is currently facing. Thank you. There are bright spots in today’s update. The new LTC programme is coming, and today is the first of the ‘big reveal’ update regarding that. A primary and secondary working group looking at how we can provide better diabetes care to prevent complications met this week, and included the diabetes, eyes, kidneys and feet teams from the hospital Services along with Primary care. First time all in a room for a long time, so I’m told. So that bodes well. And free cervical screening for many women criteria will help acheive equitable outcomes for cervical cancer. And I’m not going to start counting how many days til Christmas :) 


Key points today:

  • Update on LTC programme

  • Diabetes Workshop

  • Diabetic Medication Transition Funding now available

  • Reminder: No longer accepting claims for the therapeutic administration of Paxlovid

  • HPV Primary Screening Update

  • WellSouth Community Compass Reports Q2 2023

  • Registered Nurse Prescribers New Zealand (RNPNZ)

  • Planned strike by senior doctors and dentists

  • Open role with WellSouth - GP Clinical Advisor – Dunedin

  • The impact of AI in primary care – how we can harness it’s benefits safely?

  • CHeST Annual Symposium 2023 – Call for abstracts

  • Telehealth Research Study

  • 'Dermoscopy of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer' online series

  • Register for a Medtech User Group this September

  • New Zealand Respiratory Conference

  • Webinar Recording – Surviving the digital deluge – efficient inbox management

  • AIR Programme Cutover Series webinar recordings

  • Apps to help engage with Māori and Pacific patients



What’s new


Update on LTC programme

The long-term conditions (LTC) refresh has been a significant piece of work and we have been working hard to re-develop the CLIC programme into a new LTC Programme which works better for practices, for patients, and places equity at the forefront.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will introduce the new LTC Programme through these updates, engaging with practices directly, the Nurse conference, training sessions, and providing online resources.

An overview of the new programme is shown below, and can be found here, along with a frequently asked questions document (which we will continue to update).



Our intent was for all practices to have access to the new programme from November 2023.

The feedback from practices regarding a future LTC Programme was clear; the support and education underpinning the programme is vital, along with IT systems that work well. The redevelopment of the IT form to support the new programme is going to take longer than we expected. To ensure we meet the needs of our practices, we have decided to start the programme early in the New Year, aiming for late January.

We are working hard on developing a training schedule to help general practice teams get the most out of this for their patients, and will release this soon. Over the next few months our focus will be on ensuring practices have the resources and supports in place to start the programme strongly.

To accommodate for the delayed rollout, we will extend the residual CLIC payments until the end of February and increase practices Quick CLIC allocations,  so that you can continue to deliver care to patients with LTCs who may need extra support until the new programme is available. 

If you have any feedback or questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with your primary care relationship manager.


Diabetes Workshop

A working group to improve diabetes care for patients in the Southern region has been established, which is a sub-committee of the Southern Local Diabetes Team.

The focus of the working group is on improving services to reduce microvascular complications of diabetes, and our first step was to understand the patient journey for diabetes care in Dunedin and East Otago.

We were fortunate to have representation from local Māori Providers, Pacific Providers, General Practice, and hospital specialty teams from the  diabetes service, ophthalmology, nephrology and the multidisciplinary foot teams. It was a great first session, where we mapped out what the current patient journey is. The  connections and whakawhanaungatanga were also really valuable.

Our plan moving forward is to hold similar sessions in Central Otago and Southland, and then use data to identify the areas we can improve upon. This work is planned to be solution focused, and be making recommendations this side of Christmas. If you are interested in being involved in the Invercargill and Central Otago meetings please let me or Marc Haughey know marc.haughey@wellsouth.org.nz.


Diabetic Medication Transition Funding now available 

In our region, 3118 patients have been transitioned onto Empagliflozin, Dulaglutide, and Liraglutide, thanks to the huge effort from general practice.

There are 974 (24%) patients who are not currently on these medications. That’s 2 people less than 4 weeks ago! Some will have tried them and not tolerated them, others will have chosen not to, and some may not have been offered them despite meeting special authority criteria, for various reasons. 

Māori, Pasifika, and Community Services Card (CSC) holder patients who are eligible for Empagliflozin, Dulaglutide, and Liraglutide but are not currently prescribed either, are now eligible for up to two funded consults to transition onto one of these medications, if clinically appropriate. This funding is available until the new Long Term Conditions programme comes into play.

Find out more here.


Reminder: No longer accepting claims for the therapeutic administration of Paxlovid

A reminder that funding for evulsheld administration (the ‘Therapeutic Administration’ claim on the portal) ceased on the 30 June 2023. Therefore, we no longer accept claims for the therapeutic administration claim, noting that this was never intended for Paxlovid administration.


HPV Primary Screening Update – Go live 12 September

Please find linked below the finalised eligibility criteria for free HPV primary screening for priority groups, and free follow up testing for everyone, from 12 September. The purpose of this funding is to remove co-payments and ensure that eligible women and people with a cervix have access to free screening and follow up testing.  The fees summary is below, and more detail is included in the guidance and flow chart links below.

Guidance – funding for free HPV primary screening and follow up

Flowcharts – free HPV primary screening and follow up

We have been informed that the PMS vendors have incorporated changes into their Feel free to email HPVScreen@health.govt.nz if you have any questions or need further clarification about any of the topics covered.

The Halcyon portal is currently being updated to reflect these changing criteria. We will provide more information about this as soon as it is available.

The following graph shows our cervical screening participation rates over the last few years by ethnicity. 

This change in the programme gives us all an opportunity to improve our cervical screening rates for our population, particularly for our Pacific eligible women.


WellSouth Community Compass Reports Q2 2023

The community compass quarterly report has just been released. Below we have attached the report for each district in our WellSouth rohe.

We encourage you to take time to review your area report. These reports hold useful information and statistic specific to your area, these are useful when considering social determinants of health and how these may be affecting your population.

Central Otago



Dunedin City


Invercargill City



Registered Nurse Prescribers New Zealand (RNPNZ)

This is a new national group set up to provide a support network for RN prescribers (in primary health and specialty teams). Further information is available here - http://www.rnprescribersnz.co.nz/. or by emailing rnprescribersnz@gmail.com.


Planned strike by senior doctors and dentists

There is a planned strike by senior doctors and dentists who are members of ASMS and employed by Te Whatu Ora. They have received notice of a two-hour strike on Tuesday 5 September 2023, 12pm – 2pm.

Please see further information in the linked letter from Te Whatu Ora Southern for Stakeholders regarding the upcoming ASMS Strike.


Opportunities to be involved


Open role with WellSouth - GP Clinical Advisor - Dunedin

GP Clinical Advisor, General Practice - Hospital Liaison
Dunedin, 0.2 FTE

Are you a General Practitioner in Otago with a passion for improving the wider health system? If so we would love to hear from you!  

WellSouth is committed to achieving high-quality equitable health outcomes in Otago and Southland. To achieve this, the interface between hospital services and primary care services needs to be seamless, driven by the patient journey from home to home. We are seeking a general practitioner whose role it will be to liaise between hospital and general practice and other primary care providers and services, to lead and support greater integration of planning and service delivery across the continuum of care focused on achieving equitable health outcomes. While based in Otago, the work will encompass the whole region, and working closely with your Southland-based general practice-hospital liaison colleague. 

Find out more about the role here


The impact of AI in primary care – how we can harness it’s benefits safely?

The recording of this week’s webinar held by the GoodFellow unit is below. The area of how AI can support general practice is generating keen interest. If you are interested in getting together one evening for an hour in the next few weeks to compare notes and help us at WellSouth to clarify our direction in this space, please let me know carol.atmore@wellsouth.org.nz. We will organise a time and let everyone know when we plan to hold it.


Webinar Recording – Surviving the digital deluge – efficient inbox management

The goodfellow unit held a webinar on Tuesday night covering efficient inbox management.

The webinar recording is now available on their website here.


CHeST Annual Symposium 2023 – Call for abstracts

19 September 2023, Otago Business School, University of Otago

This year’s theme is “Emerging Technologies and Health Systems”. 

The deadline for abstracts submission and registration is 5 September 2023, please register and submit your abstract here.

This year, CHeST invites researchers and practitioners to present their research, innovations and quality improvement projects on the topic of Emerging Technologies and Health Systems.  Initiatives in this area and their successful implementation could serve as a valuable source of supporting and improving healthcare operations, and contribute to public policy and management.

The aim of the CHeST symposium 2023 is to bring together researchers, industry, health practitioners and managers to explore how the New Zealand healthcare system should engage on a range of topics including:

  • Emerging technologies in healthcare

  • Operation and supply chain in healthcare

  • Public health and policy

  • Smart health systems for wellbeing 

  • E-learning and training in healthcare

  • The business of technology and healthcare 

If you have any questions or queries about the symposium, please reach out to us at chest@otago.ac.nz.


Telehealth Research Study

As a GP, are you interested in being involved in a study on Nutrition care by GPs in a post-COVID World?  It would involve an 30 mintue interview with a researcher from the University of Auckland. Please click here to find out more.


Upcoming training and webinars


'Dermoscopy of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer' online series

Dermoscopy made easy: an online course for beginners

Saturday 16 September 2023
8.00 am – 12.30 pm

Join Adjunct Associate Professor Amanda Oakley at this beginners’ Dermoscopy made easy online course and increase your confidence in the diagnosis of typical benign skin lesions - whether you own a dermatoscope or not.

Using a series of regional, close-up and dermoscopic images, this 4-hour workshop will overview the common elements of dermoscopy and the clinical and dermoscopic characteristics of benign and malignant lesions. The course will conclude with presentations from reputable dermatoscope providers who will overview their products so you can make an informed choice on the right dermatoscope for you. 

A must-do course for all health practitioners who play a role in the opportunistic discovery of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer as part of their everyday practice.

The cost to attend the course is $285. A discounted rate of $150 is available to medical students. 

The course has been endorsed by RNZCGP and RACS for up to 4 CME credits.

More information and to register


Dermoscopy of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: an online series

4 October – 22 November 2023

Sign up for this Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer online series and have dermoscopy education delivered right to your inbox!

Over the course of 8 weeks you will improve your understanding of the clinical and dermatoscopic characteristics of non-melanoma skin cancers and increase your ability to recognise these cancers early. The course includes 7 weekly emails containing a video presented by Dermatology registrars (supervised by Adjunct Associate Professor Amanda Oakley) and other educational material. It concludes with a 1-hour live online discussion forum.

The cost to attend the series is $80.  

The course has been endorsed by RNZCGP for up to 4.5 CME credits. Endorsement is being sought from RACS.

More information and to register



Register for a Medtech User Group this September

Medtech is hosting User Groups at 5 locations in the South Island in September and October.

The sessions have no set schedule, programme or presentations – so you can drop in when it suits you. They will run from 12pm – 7pm at each location. Please register here for catering purposes.

Where and when:

  • Invercargill - Tue 26 Sep at the Kelvin Hotel 

    Cromwell - Wed 27 Sep at The Gate

      Dunedin - Thu 28 Sep at the Victoria Hotel

      Christchurch - Tue 03 Oct at the Russley Golf Course

      Nelson - Wed 04 Oct at Nelson Bays PHO


All the groups are free to attend and refreshments will be served. This is a great opportunity to head along and meet the team, ask questions and provide feedback.

If you have any questions about the Medtech User Groups, please contact their team:



New Zealand Respiratory Conference

16 – 17 November 2023, Te Papa, Wellington

Early bird tickets are available until 30 September (unless sold out prior) - https://nzrc.lilregie.com/booking/attendees/new

The theme of this year's conference is "Leading the way for change”.

The RNZCGP accredited programme is designed to be of relevance to primary care practitioners and health professionals providing clinical care to patients with respiratory illness in a New Zealand setting, patient and whānau care, education and support.  

Find out more on their website.


AIR Programme Cutover Series webinar recordings

Thank you to everyone who registered to attend the AIR programme Cutover Series webinars over the last 6 weeks. For those who couldn't make it or who would like a refresher, please visit the AIR website here to see videos covering the sessions. The next sessions will be loaded in the weeks following the actual event. 

If you would like to attend the two remaining sessions in September (5th and 19th), please register here. If you have any questions or want more information, please see our website. If you still have outstanding questions, please contact us at air.engagement@health.govt.nz. 


Other general information


Apps to help engage with Māori and Pacific patients

The Ihi and Tala-Moana Apps are a great tool for all health professionals engaging with Māori and Pacific patients.  A fantastic aid in bridging the gap in language and cultural protocols and developing a better connection with patients to better understand their conditions, gain trust and provide a better service.  Pacific are a diverse community with over 22 different ethnicities.  The Tala-Moana App helps with seven Pacific cultures that make up the majority of this group.  Download for free. 

Link to Apps below:



Covid-19 updates

In case you haven’t seen it, the updated funding for Covid-19 from 1 October is attached.  The focus of eligibility  is heavily towards providing access to oral anti-viral medication for those eligible, in the general practice and community pharmacy space.


So there’s  a lot going on. I was talking to a colleague this week, who mentioned that they had noted in themselves the early warning signs that can lead into burn-out – not switching off after work, not sleeping well, and they had done something positive about it. And it made me think, hang on, that’s me at the moment too. I remember at the beginning of winter putting in one of these updates that I was going to get out in the sun for 10 minutes a day, keep exercising and catching up with my mates. And reflecting on it, I realised that I have managed the first but not the last two very well of late. So, I’m off to the gym tomorrow before work and catching up with a good friend on the weekend. Maybe its worth having a moment of self reflection yourself, are you making time for the things that give you joy? I’ll let you know how I’m going on the first day of Summer!


Ngā mihi nui