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Published: 21 July, 2023


New launch date and funding announced for HPV testing

HPV testing will become the primary cervical screening test in New Zealand from 12th September, 2023, replacing the previously announced date of 26th July. As recently reported by Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand, cervical screening will be funded for some people when HPV Primary Screening is implemented.

People will be eligible for funded cervical screening if they are:

  • Unscreened (i.e. have never had cervical screening)
  • Under screened (i.e. no cervical screening in the past five years)
  • At higher risk requiring surveillance/follow-up
  • Māori or Pacific
  • A community service card holder

N.B. Criteria for participation in the National Cervical Screening Programme remain the same, i.e. people with a cervix or vagina aged 25 – 69 years who have ever been sexually active.

Patients who are due or overdue for cervical screening should continue to be recalled and encouraged to undergo liquid-based cytology rather than delaying until the new test is implemented.

Name change for “fatty liver disease”

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) has announced a new overarching term to describe the various forms of steatosis influenced by metabolic processes. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also referred to as metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), will now be known as metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD; pronounced 'ma-zuld').

For further information about the new terminology, click here

To read more about key causes of chronic liver disease, see:

Direct referrals to ACC concussion service providers

As of 1st July, 2023, primary care clinicians (and other providers) referring patients to ACC Concussion Services no longer have to seek prior approval from ACC. The referral can be sent directly to a concussion provider of choice. For a list of providers in your area, click here.

For resources on managing concussion/mild traumatic brain injury in primary care, see:

Invoicing ACC for Cost of Treatment Regulations

Several new rates were introduced in April for providers invoicing ACC under the Cost of Treatment Regulations; this includes general practitioners, nurse practitioners or nurses working in an urban general practice. Contract variations also took effect on 1st July. Make sure you are invoicing with the correct rates. For further information, click here.

ACC is hosting a webinar on Thursday 27th July, 12:30 – 1 pm, for medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, nurses, practice managers, practice administrators or anyone else involved in invoicing ACC, to explain the process and codes for invoicing under Cost of Treatment Regulations.

Birth Trauma Awareness Week: 16th – 22nd July

Birth Trauma Awareness Week highlights the challenges faced by families affected by birth trauma across Australia and New Zealand. There is a need to reduce the stigma and isolation associated with birth trauma experiences, increase knowledge of health professionals about birth-related trauma and improve care pathways for affected people. The theme for this year is postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As reported in Bulletin 60, since October, 2022, birthing parents who are injured during labour or childbirth are now eligible for support from ACC. The full list of birth injuries that are covered by ACC can be found here.

For additional reading on managing perinatal depression and anxiety, see:

Webinar on aseptic technique

As part of National Wound Awareness Week (24th – 30th July), the New Zealand Wound Care Society is hosting a free webinar on Monday 24th July, 6.30 – 7.30 pm, on the appropriate use of aseptic technique by healthcare professionals. The webinar will cover the definition and principles of asepsis and aseptic technique and healthcare acquired infections, performing simple wound dressings, recommendations and resources, concluding with a live Q&A. For further information and to register, click here.

Consultation on regulating physician associates

Manatū Hauora, Ministry of Health, has released a targeted consultation to stakeholders on a proposal to regulate the physician associate (or physician assistant) profession under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

As one of the relevant stakeholders, the Medical Council of New Zealand has indicated that it would like to seek the views of all doctors before making its response. The Medical Council consultation closes on Thursday 27th July, 2023 and responses can be submitted here.

Latest publications from Manatū Hauora, Ministry of Health

Manatū Hauora, Ministry of Health has recently published the 2022 Health and Independence Report, and several policy documents associated with Pae Ora, Healthy Future Strategies on the state and future of the New Zealand Health System over the next five to ten years:

Registrations still open for South GP CME conference 2023

The South GP CME conference 2023 is being held at the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, 10th – 13th August, 2023. Register now to secure your place.

The conference caters for the diverse interests of primary care health professionals with a wide range of sessions and workshops available; for the full agenda click here.

The South Link Education Trust is the Diamond Sponsor of the GP CME conferences, and is home to South Link Health Services, BPAC Clinical Solutions, bpacnz Publications and the New Zealand Medicines Formulary (NZF and NZFC). The team will be presenting the new Smart Care products, along with showcasing the full range of activities and services available.

Paper of the Week: Do you mind if I double check this?

With the ever-increasing volume of medical literature and limited time available in general practice to upskill, keeping up to date with the latest clinical recommendations can be challenging. Accessing information at the point of care, i.e. in the consultation room with the patient, is becoming more common. But could this undermine the confidence that the general public have in highly trained health professionals?

Research shows us that no, patients are generally accepting when a clinician needs to search for information, but establishing trust through communication, honesty and actively involving the patient is needed for this to occur. Searching for information during a consultation has been found to improve patient outcomes through more accurate answers to clinical questions and greater confidence by clinicians in decision-making. An article published in the Australian Journal of General Practice details a practical approach to searching for information during consultations, based on interviews with patients.

Tranter I, Van Driel ML, Mitchell B. How to ‘Google’ in front of the patient: A practical approach to information seeking during the consultation. Aust J Gen Pract 2023;52:490–3. doi:10.31128/AJGP-09-22-6562

This Bulletin is supported by the South Link Education Trust

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