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Published: 7 July, 2023


Celebrate Matariki

Ngā mihi o Matariki, te tau hou Māori

Next Friday, 14th July marks the celebration of Te Iwa o Matariki – Māori New Year. South Link Health has produced a short video to commemorate this special time. We welcome you to share this video with your kaimahi (team) and whānau (family and loved ones).

Tukuna te wairua o Matariki ki rere ki te ao, kia whakakaha i ngā ngākau katoa Let the spirit of Matariki fly into the world, strengthening all hearts.

What’s trending at bpacnz this week?

We publish many resources each year and keep a close eye on which ones are most well used. This is also a good way for us to determine which of our older resources may be due for an update. What are your “go-to” bpacnz resources? Let us know if you would like us to revise a certain topic next:

Here are the ten most viewed resources by website users in

Colorectal cancer surveillance recommendations updated

Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand, has published an Update on Surveillance Recommendations for Individuals with a Family/Whānau History of Colorectal Cancer. This is an update to the 2012 New Zealand Guidelines Group recommendations for the surveillance of people with a family/whānau history of colorectal cancer and incorporates international recommendations and recent changes to the National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP), e.g. Māori and Pacific people aged 50 years are now eligible for bowel screening under the NBSP (see: Bulletin 75).

Read the full guideline update here

For further information on colonoscopy for active surveillance, see:

Education modules for general practitioners on eating disorders

Whāraurau, the national centre for Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ICAMH) workforce development, has developed a free e-learning course aimed at general practitioners for supporting patients with eating disorders and disordered eating (abnormal eating patterns that do not meet criteria for an eating disorder), including referral pathways.

The course – "Eating Disorders: core skills for GPs" contains five modules which cover:

  • Tools to help facilitate early identification of disordered eating and eating disorders
  • Strategies on how to screen and assess a patient who may be presenting with disordered eating or an eating disorder
  • The role of general practitioners in the integrated system of care for eating disorders
  • Treatment of disordered eating and eating disorders
  • Strategies for ongoing recovery support for the patient

The course, which includes case studies, videos from medical professionals, Māori health providers and people with a lived experience of an eating disorder, takes approximately four hours to complete and is self-directed. Each module can be completed separately and does not need to be completed all at once, i.e. you can pause your progress and complete each module over time. The course has been endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and is approved for up to 4 CME credits for Continuing Professional Development purposes.

Click here to register. Once you have registered, you will be sent an email with a link to access the course.

New version of the Immunisation Handbook now out

The latest version of the Immunisation Handbook 2020 (version 23) has now been released. Key updates include changes to MMR vaccination (can be given from age four months for pre-exposure prophylaxis and from age six months for post-exposure, vaccination can be considered for some people born overseas prior to 1969), changes to meningococcal vaccine eligibility and spacing, HPV9 (Gardasil 9) now registered for use in males aged up to 45 years, although funding remains the same (previously Gardasil 9 was only registered for use in males aged up to 26 years inclusive).

Consultation on safe and quality prescribing

A draft statement on Principles for quality and safe prescribing practice is now out for consultation. This work was led by the Medical Council and Pharmacy Council of New Zealand and developed in collaboration with the five other regulators of health professionals who are authorised to prescribe.

The draft statement details 12 principles that are based on current regulatory frameworks that aim to improve the safety and quality of prescribing by standardising prescribing expectations and maintaining consistent regulation of prescribers. The principles are split into two groups: the “person-centred prescribing process” and “professional practice to support quality and safe prescribing”. Click here for further information, including what is covered in each principle.

The consultation closes on 31 August, 2023. You can submit your response here.

Medicine supply news in brief

The following issues relating to medicine supply, of particular interest to primary care, have recently been announced. Supply information is also available in the New Zealand Formulary at the top of the individual monograph for any affected medicine and summarised here.

Ivermectin Special Authority criteria amended

The Special Authority criteria for ivermectin were recently amended (June, 2023). Any relevant practitioner can now complete the Special Authority form for ivermectin in patients with scabies and close contacts who meet Special Authority criteria. Discussion with a dermatologist, infectious diseases specialist or clinical microbiologist is no longer required.

For information on the management of scabies, including the role of ivermectin, see:

Prescription co-payment removed

Since 1 July, 2023, the standard $5 prescription charge has been removed. A co-payment will still be required for medicines prescribed by specialists and other prescribers, e.g. dentists, for non-publicly funded services and patients will still need to cover some costs, e.g. blister packaging, and for partly funded medicines.

Removal of the co-payment may mean that prescribers and pharmacists no longer have to have the difficult conversations with patients over which medicines they can afford to get. Remind patients that it is now usually free for them to pick up their medicines.

Unmet health care need in people who have experienced racial discrimination

Manatū Hauora, Ministry of Health, has published a report on racial discrimination using data from the New Zealand Health Survey in 2011/12, 2016/17 and 2020/21.

People’s experiences of racial discrimination over their lifetime and within 12 months of the 2020/21 survey were reported. In general, the number of adults experiencing racial discrimination has been increasing over time. Verbal abuse was the most common type. When stratified by ethnicity, Māori had the highest rate of self-reported racial discrimination within the previous 12 months (13.8%), followed by Asian (12.3%) and Pacific peoples (9.5%).

The report also highlighted that racial discrimination impacts health outcomes, with affected people reporting lower rates of good/very good/excellent self-rated health and a more significant unmet need for primary health care.

Read the full report here

NZF updates for July

You can read about all the changes in the July release here. Also read about any significant changes to the NZF for Children (NZFC), here.

Paper of the Week: Managing home-based alcohol and other drug withdrawal in low-risk patients in primary care

Drinking is heavily ingrained in New Zealand culture; each year approximately 80% of adults report having consumed alcohol in the last 12 months. In some cases, people may have thought they were doing the right thing, as previous studies have indicated that mild-to-moderate alcohol consumption may have cardioprotective benefits. However, the New Zealand Heart Foundation has released new guidance stating that no amount of alcohol is safe and people who do not already drink alcohol should avoid starting. People who already drink should reduce their alcohol intake to lower their risk of alcohol-related harm.

Hazardous drinking is also prevalent in New Zealand. Among adults who reported having consumed alcohol within the past 12 months in the 2020/21 Health survey, 24% met the criteria for hazardous drinking, putting them at higher risk of alcohol-related harm. Making behavioural changes related to alcohol use is never easy. For dependent/heavy users of alcohol and other drugs, reducing or stopping can be complicated and hazardous. These patients will usually require inpatient management of withdrawal. Home-based withdrawal under the guidance of a general practitioner may be appropriate for patients at lower risk of serious adverse events. An article published in the Australian Journal of General Practice provides an overview and framework for managing home-based alcohol or other drug withdrawal in low-risk patients.

Information on assessing and managing alcohol misuse is also available here:

Macaulay S, Grinzi P, Slota-Kan S. General-practitioner-led alcohol and other drugs withdrawal: supporting patient choice, safety and success. Aust J Gen Pract 2023;52:359–65. doi:10.31128/AJGP-09-22-6575

To download the Substance withdrawal management: Guidelines for medical and nursing practitioners, click here

This Bulletin is supported by the South Link Education Trust

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