PPE webinar
On 6 April the NZSA took part in a webinar with Dr Nick Coatsworth, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer responsible for issues relating to personal protective equipment (PPE). The Australian Society of Anaesthetists, ANZCA, the College of Intensive Care Medicine and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society also participated in this webinar. A recording can be viewed here

COVID-19 News
The Ministry of Health has information for health professionals with advice, guidelines and the latest news on COVID-19 on its website
We recommend this as your go-to key source. For COVID-19 resources such as articles and guidelines, visit the NZSA COVID-19 webpage – we are updating this regularly.

Advice on Ibuprofen use in COVID-19 patients
There is some confusion around the suggestion that NSAID’s, specifically ibuprofen, may predispose individuals to increased morbidity and mortality should they contract COVID19. An advisory has been developed by Auckland City Hospital to clarify the situation.

MCNZ newsletter: COVID-19
The latest MCNZ newsletter includes:

  • guidance for doctors working with (potential) COVID-19 patients
  • how Council will be supporting the Ministry of Health and profession in protecting the public while supporting our staff and ensuring business continuity.

https://www.mcnz.org.nz/about-us/publications/newsletters/medical-council-news-march-2020/

Waiving recertification requirements during COVID-19 pandemic
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors are likely to have difficulties accessing the usual channels to undertake learning to meet recertification requirements.  There will be significantly reduced opportunities for CME. Council has therefore agreed to waive recertification requirements for the next 11 months.

Medicinal cannabis scheme

From 1 April, with the exception of Sativex, all medicinal cannabis products available in the immediate future will be unapproved medicines – i.e. they will not have consent for distribution under the Medicines Act 1981. Prescribers should be familiar with the requirements for prescribing unapproved medicines and Medsafe guidance on the topic. Current suppliers of Medicinal Cannabis Products will have until 1 October 2020 to submit their existing product for an assessment against the medicinal cannabis quality standard. Once an unapproved medicinal cannabis product has been assessed by the Medicinal Cannabis Agency as meeting the quality standards, all medical practitioners will be able to prescribe that product. Ministerial approval and specialist recommendation will not be required. A list of medicinal cannabis products which meet the quality standard will be made available to prescribers and other healthcare professionals.

Gender pay disparity for specialists
Female specialists are paid 12.5% less per hour than their male colleagues, which reflects gender bias rather than other factors – that’s the finding of independent research commissioned by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS). The study controlled for potentially confounding factors such as specialty choice and the number of hours worked. The disparity exists between males and females of the same age, in the same specialty, working for the same hours per week in their DHB employment. The gap increased to 13.6% between male and female specialists with one child, and 17.2% between male and female specialists with two or more children.

ASMS will request gender pay audits using mutually agreed methodology to try to eliminate this inequality. 

Implicit bias in healthcare
Learning modules on explicit and implicit bias in healthcare have been released by the Health Quality and Safety Commission. HQSC’s medical director Dr Iwona Stolarek says that it can be confronting and challenging as a clinician to accept that you might not treat all your patients equally. The modules encourage health professionals to examine their biases, and how they affect the healthcare they provide and interactions with patients. Watch here