Home' GP Pulse : GP Pulse April-May 2017 Contents Editorial
ISSUE 61 : April/May 2017 : P1
Forty four years ago, your College was established to “encourage,
foster and maintain the highest possible standards for medical care
within the scope of general practice, in order to reduce health
inequalities and achieve improved health for all New Zealanders”.
We are indebted to the founders of our independent New Zealand
medical college for giving us a purpose that has stood the test of time
and is also a wonderful blend of pragmatism and aspiration.
It is that pragmatic approach to general practice that came through
loud and clear in your feedback to the Medical Council of New
Zealand (MCNZ)’s proposed changes to continuing professional
development (CPD) programmes for all New Zealand-registered
Overall, you told us that you support the general principle and
purpose of CPD programmes and their role in helping doctors to
maintain their skills and learn new ones.
But you were not keen on changes that were difficult to comply with
as a general practitioner (in comparison to hospital-based doctors)
and changes that would increase the time and cost you would need to
spend in CPD administration and compliance.
The compliance burden is a topic that has come to the forefront in
other discussions with members, including at the National Advisory
Council and at the Board table.
We are very aware of the
increasing number of activities
being asked of general
practitioners; it all adds up and
takes time away from caring for
Having received the College’s
submission, the Medical Council
asked for the opportunity to
speak directly to our Board. As
a consequence, Medical Council
Chair Andrew Connolly attended
our April Board meeting and
spoke in detail about the council’s
intentions for CPD. We found
his presentation useful and
we are pleased to be able to share with you (overleaf ) a letter Mr
Connolly has prepared for members.
Some change is always inevitable, but with the strong College purpose
to guide us, we will continue doing what we do best – setting the
standards for general practice in New Zealand.
Tim Malloy, President
Recently the College released the third report from its 2016
Workforce Survey on technology.
GPs’ use of technology in their practice is a new area of enquiry for
Even in the past two years, the numbers of mobile health and
telehealth options available to GPs and patients have multiplied like
bacteria in a warm petri dish.
So of all the different technologies available to general practice, we
were curious about how GPs are using technology, how often are they
using it, and what risks and benefits they have found in doing so.
The findings are heartening.
Notably, technology is being used extensively to exchange information
with other health professionals and patients. There is also a reasonable
uptake of patient portals – and the feedback received from those who
use these was quite positive.
Speaking of patient portals, I encourage you to read our new guide
on patient portals (Child and Adolescent Health: Patient Portals, Health
Information and Disclosure), which is also featured in this issue.
It provides an excellent discussion around the tricky area of child and
adolescent consent (when can minors refuse to let their parents have
access to their medical records through the patient portal?) and gives
clear guidance about how to have this potentially difficult conversation
with young patients and their parents or guardians.
Of course, some concerns
were raised about the use of
technology, and as you would
expect, these concerns generally
related to safety, privacy and
time. Few people expressed
any concern in relation to the
technology being new and
However, coming from a sector
that still uses fax machines to
send prescriptions to pharmacies
there will be curly questions from
time to time.
The good news is that the
College is already working on
answering many of those questions for you.
As a priority project, the College is focusing on national quality
standards and the training for GPs when using technology to deliver
new models of care such as e-consults.
The resources will be released as they are ready, but in the meantime
if you have any questions or suggestions about technology resources,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helen Morgan-Banda, Chief Executive
Dr Tim Malloy
Maintaining skills and learning new ones
Fax to the future
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