Hot Topics, news and views

News and updates of interest to Primary Health Care nurses:

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VACANCY: RN for HPV Helpline

Registered Nurse Smeartakers required

With the introduction of HPV testing and implementation of a new Cervical Screening Register, Whakarongorau are looking for Registered Nurses with smeartaking experience for the delivery of compassionate, accurate and timely support services to those in Aotearoa who are eligible for cervical screening. Including but not limited to, the opportunity to ensure under-screened individuals, particularly Māori and Pacific populations, have access to screening as the new program develops. This programme is the start of our country’s plan to eliminate cervical cancer.

A HPV Helpline team has been set up to respond to calls from public and clinicians when the new testing and register go live on 12 September. The RN Smeartaker role is responsible for facilitating excellent clinical outcomes for callers and providing support to the HPV Helpline non-clinical advisors by acting as a resource person (i.e. advice, coaching and review) as well as an escalation point for clinical complexity and risk for callers contacting our service through the HPV Helpline. The role also supports the Register Central Team based at Whakarongorau Aotearoa Wellington office.

Expected Outcomes

  • Service Users receive accurate and appropriate advice
  • Frontline non-clinical advisors receive appropriate support, review, coaching and advice
  • Stakeholders such as General Practitioners, Practice Nurses, Colposcopists and other clinicians are dealt with professionally, and without delay
  • Work within the Nursing Council scope of practice
  • Support the Whakarongorau Aotearoa Register Central Team with clinical matters pertaining to the newly released Cervical Screening Standards and HPV Guidelines
  • Risks with the delivery of the HPV programme and Register are identified and reported appropriately.

Hours of service for this role is 8am to 6pm, Mon to Fri, and this will be made up of three FTE to cover the hours.

If this sounds like you, and you can work some hours or some days to help support this, see the position description or email Chris Kerr for more information. Please attach a recent CV to the email. Start dates are flexible but as soon as possible!

College of GPs NP statement / qualification/ training fact check

Thank you for getting in touch with is regarding the College of GPs statement.

The College is incorrect in its understanding of the requirements to become a Mātanga Tapuhi Nurse Practitioner. The requirements to gain registration are:

  1. Initial registration as a Registered Nurse. This requires completion of a Bachelor of Nursing (usually a three-year programme) and passing the State Final Examination.
  2. An absolute minimum of four years’ active post-registration clinical experience in the clinical area (e.g. Primary Health Care or Acute Care) for which Nurse Practitioner is sought, before entry to a Clinical Masters programme. The application to enter a Clinical Masters must be supported by at least one specific nurse practitioner or medical practitioner who will provide personal mentoring to the nurse over the course of their programme.
  3. Completion of an approved two-year Clinical Masters programme. This programme must include:
    1. A minimum of 300 hours dedicated and supervised clinical learning within the context of the programme itself. This is in addition to any employed practise (most students complete this Masters while still practising as nurses).
    2. An additional minimum of 150 hours supervision and mentorship from a Designated Authorised Prescriber – a medical practitioner or existing Nurse Practitioner – unless the nurse already has an approved  Postgraduate Diploma in Registered Nurse Prescribing.
  4. Following successful completion of their Clinical Masters, the prospective practitioner does not automatically quality for registration in this scope. They must then prepare an evidence portfolio demonstrating that they personally are competent to practise as a Nurse Practitioner within the specific clinical area they have nominated as their area of specialisation, and submit this to the Nursing Council. This portfolio must include attestations from senior colleagues who have worked with the applicant, including the practitioner who has directly supervised their practicum, referees (who must be authorised prescribers), and a minimum of two comprehensive case studies demonstrating the applicant’s ability to practise competently as a Nurse Practitioner as per the Council’s Nurse Practitioner competencies.
  5. Once complete, this portfolio is subject to initial assessment by an experienced Nurse Practitioner, and then – if assessed as suitable for consideration – the applicant is required to undergo an  assessment panel interview by three experienced nurse practitioners. This includes the presentation of a clinical scenario by the panel, and assessment of the applicant’s response.

The technical minimum amount of time in which someone can theoretically become a Nurse Practitioner (including their initial RN education) is nine years. However, it is difficult for a nurse attempting to do so to receive the necessary support required to enter a Clinical Masters programme or to demonstrate sufficient evidence in their portfolio. Of the 612 current Nurse Practitioners, two gained their status in a total of nine years (including their initial education), and six gained their status in a total of 10 years. The 612 Nurse Practitioners on the Register at 31 March 2022 had spent an average of 27 years practising since graduation (29 years for nurses initially educated outside Aotearoa New Zealand).

The Nursing Council is disappointed that the College of General Practitioners has chosen to prepare and release a statement on Nurse Practitioners without an accurate understanding of the education, experience, and competence required of these advanced health professionals.

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A Call to Action Campaign: Time to Value the Women of New Zealand

The time is NOW!

We need your help in an urgent and important matter as members of NZNO. Please read the information below and let’s get this information and petition out to all our colleagues, family, and friends. We need the Government to stand up and take notice.

Let’s not waste the biggest and important change to cervical screening we have seen in the past 30 years. Cervical Cancer can be eliminated but we need equity and access for all women in New Zealand.

The proposed programme is currently the ONLY national health screening programme NOT fully funded by the Government.

To ensure there are no barriers, a FULLY FUNDED, screening programme is called for – which includes FREE screening, follow-up, diagnosis, and treatment.

The response received from Minister Verrall in December 2022 did not include a decision for a free programme. Additional letters have been sent to the Prime Minister and other Ministers.

BUT WE NEED YOU to keep signing, sharing and lobbying MP’s about the petition for a FULLY FUNDED programme. Every person can campaign for this necessary change.

Click on the link below which takes you to the petition page which also has more information about the programme.

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ACC contributions - new from 1 December 2018

General Practices treating patients under ACC's Cost of Treatment Regulations (CoTR) will receive increased contributions from 1 December following approval by Government.

General Practice (doctor, nurse practitioner and nurse visits) will be paid a higher rate for patients with Community Service Cards, with the expectation the patient will pay no more than $18.50 for a GP visit. Their dependants (aged 14-17 years) should be charged no more than $12.50. Additional contributions will also mean the current zero-fees scheme for under 13s can be extended to under 14s.

It is up to individual practices to set their co-payment levels, however ACC says the contributions are set at a level to encourage practices to pass on the benfits to their patients.

These new rates will also apply to practices working under contract - Rural General Practice and Urgent Care Clinics. Contract holders will need to meet the terms and conditions of the contracts.

ACC is reminding practices to invoice at the correct rates from 1 December. "It's important that all health providers know about these invoicing changes to avoid a delay in payment," said Graham Dyer, ACC Head of Provider Service Delivery.

The changes are part of announcements made by the Government in Budget 2018 and apply to both health and injury-related visits.

The new rates can be found here. Ministry of Health also has information about the initiatives available on the TAS website.

Read or download ACC-related changes to general practice rates

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2024 Advanced Diabetes Management Course

Run by NZSSD and University of Waikato.

Angel Flight NZ - free flight/care assistance for vulnerable people

Angel flight is a voluntary organisation which operates throughout Australasia. They have 120+ planes and volunteer clinicians etc to help vulnerable groups with transport to eg hospital appointments.  They have mainly operated in Northland but they are ready to go all over the country, so please ask if you have clients for who a quick, free flight there and back would make all the difference!

Read or download flier Angel Flight NZ 

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Breast Cancer Research Review

This Review features key medical articles from global oncology journals with commentary from Dr Sheridan WilsonDr Erica Whineray KellyDr Carmel Jacobs and Dr David Okonji. The Breast Cancer Research Review covers topics such as:

  • BRCA gene mutation
  • mastectomy
  • lumpectomy
  • adjuvant therapy
  • hormonal therapy
  • aromatase inhibitors 
  • monoclonal antibodies,
  • trastuzumab, and
  • brachytherapy.

Publications are free to receive for all NZ health professionals.

View back issues of Breast Cancer Research Review publications here.  

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No consultations currently running.

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Flucloxacillin Monograph and Notes on Injectable Drugs

These documents have been provided from the Hospital Pharmacists Assn (NZPHA) -  Flucloxacillin Monograph and Notes on Injectable Drugs (NOID’s) – given to us as they are “receiving requests from some GP practices about this book as more injectable medicines are being given in Primary Care...The feedback we have been receiving from the nurses using this resource has been really useful and they appreciate the ease with which they can find the information.”

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Learning Needs Analysis Results

NZCPHCN consulted with its members about what they would like to hear and learn more about. Read the results: Learning Needs Analysis Survey Results 

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Maternal birth injuries

From 1 October 2022 our accident cover includes specific injuries birthing parents can experience from the beginning of labour through to delivery of the pēpi/ baby. See Maternal birth injuries ( for more information.

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Palliative Care Council of New Zealand

Caring for people in the last days and hours of life: Interim Guidance  Click to view or download 

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Scholarships and Grants

The Nursing Education and Research Foundation (NERF) and NZNO offer NZNO members a range of scholarships and grants. These grants are funded from various trusts including the Gretta and Harry Hamblin Trust and the McCutchan Trust. NZNO also administers a range of other NZNO local and national grants.

For more information please see

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Kia ora koutou,

This is to let you know of an email about the shingles vaccine. The email was communicated to people who recently turned 65 and those who will soon turn 66 to direct them to contact their medical practice to book, or discuss the shingles vaccine the next time they are seeing their doctor. Attached is an embargoed draft of the copy for your information.

Details of the campaign are as follows:


  • Approximately 55,000 New Zealanders turn 65 each year and the shingles vaccine is free for NZ residents in this age group. Outside of this age group – the 2 dose shingles (Shingrix) vaccine costs around $700. Currently, only general practices administer the vaccine.
  • The vaccination rate of 65-year-olds against the Shingles virus is estimated to be between 10-20% This highlights the need of support by the Primary Care network, by creating awareness that a free two-dose vaccine is

           -  available whilst they are 65 years old,
           -  what it protects against,
           -  to encourage people to talk to their medical centre about being vaccinated, and 
           -  to receive the vaccination the next time they visit.

  • This initial ‘pilot’ campaign generates insight to apply to an ongoing communication series as people age-in; whilst considering current stock levels and the ability of general practices to accommodate a potential uplift in visits.

Call to action: direct individuals to contact their medical practice to book, or discuss the vaccine the next time they see their doctor. For more information, direct people to Healthline on 0800 611 116 or to go online. Information on the webpage will be updated to include FAQs

Measurement of responses will have a lag as we will assess uptake based on proclaims data

Ngā mihi nui,


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Te Whatu Ora Immunisation Update

7 Sep 24 Aug 28 Jul 30 Jun 25 May 19 Apr
  11 Aug  13 Jul 15 Jun 18 May 06 Apr
    06 Jul 09 Jun
      01 Jun

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