Working for better health care in New Zealand

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is the professional association and union uniting doctors and dentists in New Zealand.

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Rheumatic fever rates undercounted in Northland

12 July 2019 Radio New Zealand - Morning Report

Researchers say government agencies are under-counting the number of cases of damaging rheumatic fever in Northland. A study in today’s issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal has identified extra cases that weren’t recorded officially. RNZ’s Health Correspondent Karen Brown reports. Listen here:

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Health Minister Clark says Southern DHB to ‘lift its performance’

12 July 2019 Stuff - Rachael Kelly

Health Minister David Clark says the Ministry of Health is working closely with the Southern District Health Board to support it to “lift its performance”. The SDHB has hit the headlines recently amid allegations of inadequate care from patients, long wait times for treatment and rural birthing facilities that are not fit for purpose. Clark said “the Southern DHB has faced a number of challenges over recent years, including workforce issues and ageing facilities. “Many of these issues reflect a legacy of underfunding and short-term …

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NZ may get higher neurosurgery ranking

11 July 2019 Mike Houlahan - Otago Daily Times

New Zealanders may be given priority to be accepted for neurosurgery training to help address a chronic shortage of local neurosurgeons, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons says. Just 13% of New Zealand-based applicants for neurosurgery training in the past six years have been accepted. The shortage of neurosurgeons in New Zealand has been highlighted by the Southern District Health Board’s attempts to fill vacancies at Dunedin Hospital which have left Ahmad Taha as the facility’s sole neurosurgeon. The SDHB …

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Parents of NZ heart kids ‘petrified’ system can’t cope

11 July 2019 Radio New Zealand - Michelle Cook

Parents of children with severe heart conditions have written to the health minister, telling him the country’s paediatric cardiac service is in crisis. They say their children’s open-heart surgeries were often delayed – in some cases up to eight times – because there weren’t enough surgeons, beds or resources. Starship Hospital is the only hospital in the country where open-heart surgery on children is performed. Families fly into Auckland from all over New Zealand for their children’s surgery, but they …

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Suicide rate among Māori men rises to highest in decade

11 July 2019 Radio New Zealand

The suicide rate among Māori men rose to almost 32 per 100,000 in 2016 – more than double the non-Māori male rate. Ministry of Health figures showed there were 31.7 suicides per 100,000 Māori males in 2016, up from 25.6 per 100,000 the preceding year. The figure is the highest rate in the previous decade and more than twice that of the non-Māori male rate of 14.3 per 100,000. The rate for Māori women and girls fell slightly from 11.2 …

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Counties Manukau DHB dialysis and cardiac facilities gets $14.6m upgrade

11 July 2019 Stuff - Hannah Martin, Danielle Clent

More than 100 “seriously unwell” people will benefit each week from a $14.6 million upgrade to Middlemore Hospital’s dialysis and cardiac facilities. Health Minister Dr David Clark made the announcement at the hospital on Thursday morning. Counties Manukau DHB has recently seen an increased number of patients requiring dialysis, which it said was a “significant concern”. Dialysis is used to keep people alive when their kidneys fail by cleaning and filtering blood and removing excess fluid. The dialysis unit was “over capacity”, had “inadequate toilet …

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Medicinal cannabis regulations: Questions raised over specialist sign-off

11 July 2019 Radio New Zealand - Nine to Noon

The Ministry of Health has released its proposed regulations which cover cultivation, licensing, manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis. What could this mean for GPs who will be on the front-lines of prescribing the drug? Doctors would require a specialist’s recommendation to sign off on most prescriptions under the proposed scheme. We’ll hear from Richard Medlicott from the College of GPs says who says the requirement for specialist sign off should go and from Dr Kate Baddock, Chair of the …

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Govt to pay DHBs’ capital charge to replace old infrastructure

10 July 2019 Radio New Zealand - Checkpoint

The government is promising tens of millions of dollars in extra funding to cash-strapped public hospitals to help them replace old buildings. It’s planning to do this by paying a contentious capital charge that it acknowledges has prevented district health boards from building new projects. But close observers say instead of paying the charge, the Government should just scrap it altogether. Health Correspondent Karen Brown reports. Listen here:

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Waitematā DHB’s new CMO has kept his cool in some dangerous places

10 July 2019 Alan Perrott - New Zealand Doctor

His career has seen him dodge yellow fever, patch up bullet wounds and reconstruct faces of the dead, so it’s not surprising Jonathan Christiansen places high value on equanimity. It’s a quality Dr Christiansen hopes to maintain next month after he takes over the role of chief medical officer at Waitematā DHB. He learned it from Lloyd Richwhite, his family’s GP after they moved from the UK to Ellerslie. “He had that gentlemanly calm and compassion. There was never a …

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