RANZCOG NZ Pānui - 5 May 2021


Kia Ora. Work is ramping up on the NZ virtual ASM in June - He Kakari Taurite mo te Oranga Wāhine │Campaigning for Equity in Women’s Health - with a number of Fellows and trainees already registered. Trainees' Day in June will provide practical support for NZ Trainees with an engaging programme. See the dedicated NZ ASM website for programme and registration detail.

The RANZCOG Women's Health Summit in Canberra next month will interest a number of NZ Fellows and trainees with it's unique collaboration to address health challenges faced by Australian Women. Te Kāhui Oranga ō Nuku and He Hono Wāhine are planning a NZ Women's Health Summit in the second half of 2021 to further focus on improving hauora wāhine outcomes in Aotearoa.

Te Kāhui Oranga ō Nuku Chair Dr Celia Devenish, RANZCOG Vice President Mr John Tait and Head of Aotearoa New Zealand Office Catherine Cooper met with Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, Associate Health Minister in April and discussed a range of issues including implementation of the endometriosis guidelines, HPV screening, maternal mental health, ultrasound access, abortion services and RANZCOG's proposal to hold a hauora wāhine hui.

He Hono Wāhine are meeting this month for a planning hui to concentrate on a Māori Health Strategy. Māori Fellows and Māori trainee representatives have been invited. The hui will be facilitated by Ria Earp who has an extensive career including 9 years as Deputy Director General Māori Health at the Ministry of Health.

And then there were eight!

In April the NZ office welcomed two new members to the team - Bailey Parata, Hauora Wāhine Māori Advisor and Libby Barnett, Training Coordinator. 

Bailey (Ngāi Tahu, Te Atiawa) joins us from Whānau Āwhina Plunket where she has worked in the Policy and Advocacy team and been involved in projects aimed at engagement with Māori and improving outcomes for whānau Māori. Bailey will work with the New Zealand team, He Hono Wāhine and the wider RANZCOG team to develop and implement strategies and initiatives to support and grow the Māori O&G workforce and improve health outcomes for Māori women and whānau. Bailey will also provide advice and support to ensure RANZCOG is meeting its commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 
Libby is currently working at Fertility Associates as a Senior Clinical Embryologist supporting patients, performing technical aspects of IVF/ICSI cycles and managing medical administration. Libby will continue in this role part time and join the RANZCOG NZ team part time, working closely with Training Advisor Jude Kaveney to support New Zealand Trainees, Training Supervisors and NZTAC. Libby will bring a new perspective to the team with her years of experience working with O&G doctors in a clinical setting. 

Welcome Bailey and Libby to the RANZCOG whanau!. A number of Fellows and trainees will be able to meet Bailey and Libby over the coming months. As always if you have anything you wish to raise please contact the NZ team (Catherine, Bailey, Jude, Libby, Makiko, Lynn, Katie and Gerry).

RANZCOG Blog Post Award for NZMSJ

RANZCOG is sponsoring an annual $300 Blog Post Award for The New Zealand Medical Student Journal (NZMSJ). The 2020 RANZCOG Blog Post Award winner is Bryony Harrison, a fifth year medical student from the University of Otago, who wrote a blog post on Starting a family at medical school, a relevant topic for a number of RANZCOG Fellows and trainees!

All original blog posts published on the NZMSJ blog that have not received a previous award for their post, and have a New Zealand medical student as a first or second author are eligible for the RANZCOG Blog Post Award

Mercia Barnes Trust recipient completes research

Geraldine McLeod was a recipient of a Mercia Barnes Trust grant in 2020 for The Christchurch health and development study, transitions to menopause project. Research is now complete. Geraldine reports on her research and findings:
Researchers at the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) (University of Otago, Christchurch) were very pleased to be supported by the Mercia Barnes Trust for their investigation of the transition to menopause among their female cohort members. The CHDS is a birth cohort of 1265 children (630 females) born in Christchurch in 1977. The funding allowed for the employment of an Assistant Research Fellow at .2 EFT for 12 months. The main objective of the study was to report the data gathered at age 40 on n=473 cohort members’ menopause status, climacteric symptoms and reproductive outcomes. In addition, a number of psychosocial measures were selected for analysis from the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) database on the basis of a rapid literature review showing that they were associated with perimenopause, menopause, or climacteric symptoms. The results showed that at age 40, the majority of women were premenopausal and were yet to enter the menopause transition; approximately 20% were perimenopausal and 3% were postmenopausal. Of the postmenopausal women, 1% had an oophorectomy and 2% had experienced natural menopause. The menopausal status of the n=84 wāhine Māori cohort were very similar to the full cohort. Analysis of n=467 women (n=6 were excluded for being postmenopausal due to oophorectomy) showed that the selected psychosocial measures were generally not associated with menopause status at age 40, with the exception of: those experiencing more climacteric symptoms; diagnosed reproductive disorder, higher number of sexual partners, low occupational status, and experience of childhood sexual abuse. These measures were statistically significantly associated with higher rates of perimenopause and postmenopause status at 40 years. To disseminate these findings two academic manuscripts have been prepared for submission to the journals Climacteric and the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Given the small number of women who had begun their transition to menopause, it is hoped that future funding will allow for more data collection and research on this cohort at age 45 years and beyond. 

Reminder: update your RANZCOG membership profile

A friendly reminder to keep your details current on your RANZCOG membership profile. my.RANZCOG allows you to add your indigenous status and language fluency details. You can also opt in to have your details included on the Locate an O&G doctor feature on the RANZCOG website - you control what details are included. Email membership with any queries at membership@ranzcog.edu.au.

Independent HPV self testing petition

An independent petition to Government to fund HPV self testing. See https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/introduce-hpv-self-testing-to-aotearoa-new-zealand-to-prevent-cervical-cancer  The petition is supported by Smear Your Mea, Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā.,RNZCGP and RANZCOG. Please share with your networks as appropriate. 

New health system for Aotearoa

As announced the Government is overhauling the health system in Aotearoa with the Ministry of Health to focus on policy, strategy and regulation while a new body, Health New Zealand, will take over the planning and commissioning of services and the functions of the existing 20 District Health Boards. A Māori Health Authority will work alongside Health NZ to improve services and achieve equitable health outcomes for Māori. You can read more about the reforms below:
See the Government media release on the reforms at https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/major-reforms-will-make-healthcare-accessible-all-nzers
Read the full documents about the reforms at https://dpmc.govt.nz/our-business-units/transition-unit/response-health-and-disability-system-review/information

Applications invited: Gerald Duff Research Prize 

The Gerald Duff Research Prize is an annual award that is made from a fund established at the request of Associate Professor Gerald Duff. Associate Professor Duff was a dedicated training supervisor for the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and instituted this prize in order to promote and support Registrar research and collegiality.

All Obstetrics & Gynaecology Registrars who are currently training within the South Island of New Zealand, or have taken part in the South Island Training Scheme within the past five years, are eligible to apply.

The award is made to the Registrar who delivers the best presentation of their research. At the moment the Prize is set at $1000 and will be awarded if there is an applicant of suitable standard.

An abstract of your research, between 50 to 500 words, should be submitted, and if accepted the paper will need to be presented at a seminar at a time that is convenient for both the applicants and the University Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Christchurch. Abstracts should be submitted to: Associate Professor Peter Sykes, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Otago, Christchurch, Christchurch Women’s Hospital, Private Bag 4711, Christchurch. Email peter.sykes@otago.ac.nz. Applications must be received by 31st August 2021. (If you would like to submit your research but are unable to meet the deadline, please contact Associate Professor Sykes to discuss further).

Ministry of Health news

Reduction in the notifiable lead absorption level

The Ministry advise that the notification level at which lead absorption is a notifiable condition under the Health Act 1956 changed on 9 April 2021 to 0.24 µmol/l (or greater) down from 0.48 (or greater) micromoles per litre of blood (µmol/l). If you have any questions please email notifyenvhealth@health.govt.nz . See also The Environmental Case Management of Lead-exposed Persons.

COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

See the Ministry's COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan here. Women who are pregnant come under group 3 and can access the COVID-19 vaccine from later this month.

Survey: Ministry of Health Maternity Referral Guidelines

Public policy firm Allen+Clarke is currently consulting with the health sector to obtain feedback on the Guidelines for Consultation with Obstetric and Related Medical Services (Referral Guidelines)and to identify any aspects of the Referral Guidelines that require updating. RANZCOG representatives are involved in this work. If you would like to participate in the survey, feedback is due by Sunday 9 May 2021. Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TVVCS9J. Queries to Catherine Lofthouse clofthouse@allenandclarke.co.nz or Anna Gribble agribble@allenandclarke.co.nz.  

COVID-19 Independent Safety Monitoring Board established

As part of the COVID-19 vaccine and immunisation programme, a COVID-19 Independent Safety Monitoring Board has been established which is independent of the COVID-19 immunisation programme, Medsafe and Ministry of Health. The expertise included on the board, chaired by RANZCOG Vice President Mr John Tait, was guided by World Health Organization recommendations and currently includes, but is not limited to, the following specialities: Neurology; General Medicine; Clinical Pharmacology; Immunology; Microbiology; Pathology; Paediatrics; Biostatistics. The board also holds a position for a non-healthcare professional to represent consumer interests.

HDC reports

The Health & Disability Commissioner publishes its reports on the outcome of complaints investigated - see https://www.hdc.org.nz/decisions/.
Learn about recent decisions:

ACC news

Neonatal Encephalopathy Fetal Heart Monitoring training on the way 

ACC are currently selecting a partner to assist the Neonatal Encephalopathy Working Group in the co-design and development of a fetal monitoring education programme. The programme, expected to roll out mid-2021, will complement existing clinical training with guidance on human factors and what to do next if things don’t seem right.


Oral contraception Mercilon 28 fully funded

PHARMAC are now fully funding Organon (New Zealand) Limited’s Mercilon 28 brand of ethinyloestradiol 20 mcg with desogestrel 150 mcg tablets and 7 inert tablets. See the PHARMAC website for the detail on the decision.

HQSC news

PMMRC Webinar recording: Doing things differently

If you missed the webinar Doing things differently held by the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee, to present data from its 14th annual report you can watch the recording here.

Family Planning news

Contraceptive Counselling Desktop Resource

Family Planning have developed a new resource for clinicians to use during contraceptive consultations with clients. The Contraceptive Counselling Desktop Resource is designed to help clients choose a suitable contraceptive and provides clinicians with pointers and in-depth information to help advise their client about contraceptive choices. 

Research Reviews

Research Review publications are intended for NZ health professionals.  To subscribe for free to receive a research review on a regular basis go to www.researchreview.co.nz.

Educational Series: Surgical Wound Closure after Caesarean Section

This review on Surgical Wound Closure after Caesarean Section discusses two new approaches to wound closure for Caesarean section that may help to reduce the associated clinical and cost burden, with commentary provided by Associate Professor Michael Stitely and Dr Olivia Smart.

Ovarian Cancer Research Review

In Issue 15-2021 of the Australian Ovarian Cancer Research Review there are articles on: Survival of patients treated with NACT but not undergoing debulking surgery; Surgery should not be denied to advanced ovarian cancer patients based on response to NACT; Elucidating the optimum number of preoperative chemotherapy cycles; Survival outcomes after delayed cytoreduction surgery; Should younger patients with stage 3 disease be offered NACT over upfront surgery?; Equitable access to guideline-adherence care would help mitigate the race survival disparity; European guidelines for the management of patients with endometrial carcinoma; Fertility-sparing surgery for BOT conserves fertility without compromising survival; Is there a role for lymphadenectomy in early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer?; SCORPION compares upfront surgery with NACT. 

GP Research Review

In Issue 168-2021 of the GP Research Review there is a relevant article on: Macrolides in pregnancy and risk of major birth defects.

NZ Women's Health Research Review

In issue 30-2021 of the NZ Women's Health Research Review there are articles on: Oral oestradiol/progesterone capsules reduce vasomotor symptoms; LNG-IUD vs copper IUD for emergency contraception; Lessons learnt from the WHI trials of menopausal hormone therapy; Fertility after IUS removal; Management of women affected by endometriosis; Women’s personal accounts of their endometriosis diagnosis; TVT surgery vs Bulkamid® injection for stress urinary incontinence; Does provision of contraception at discharge after delivery affect postpartum visit attendance?; LNG-IUS in a woman with uterine didelphys.

Māori Health Review 

In issue 90-2021 of the Māori Health Review there are relevant articles on: Affirmative action programmes in specialist training; Policies for Māori infant mortality; Indigenous perspectives on breaking bad news; Human papilloma virus self-testing in Māori women.

Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG) 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting Review

In this review of the 2021 ANZGOG Virtual ASM there are articles on: Inter- and intra-observer variability of RECIST assessment; Secondary debulking surgery for recurrent ovarian cancer; Maintenance olaparib elicits long-term benefits in BRCA mutated ovarian cancer;  Biomarkers to immune checkpoint inhibitors in endometrial cancer; The impact of obesity on the management of early-stage endometrial cancer;  Rise in HPV-independent VSCC incidence in older women in New Zealand; Investigating molecular changes in vulval cancer; Cervical cancer – what we know, and what are potential paths for progress; Development of patient-reported outcome measures for ovarian cancer; The Translational-ANZGOG initiative.

New Zealand Registry of COVID-19 in Pregnancy 

Notify the New Zealand Registry of COVID-19 in Pregnancy for any COVID-19 in pregnancy case.

Upcoming NZ and online events

MIHI 501 RANZCOG: Application of the Hui Process and Meihana Model 

Beginning May 2021, Hybrid (online and face-to-face)
Facilitated by the Māori/Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI) at the University of Otago
See the Otago University website for more information and to register

Liggins Institute public lecture & webinar

Mothers and babies health: Celebrating International Clinical Trials Day

18 May, Hybrid
Find out why clinical trials research is critical to improving healthcare for mothers and babies. Join in person or via Zoom. Hear from NZ researchers including Professor Frank Bloomfield, Associate Professor Katie Groom, and Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding who are leading some of the biggest clinical trials in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as from trial participants themselves about why they signed up and what the experience has been like. Register here.

PROMPT Aotearoa NZ Train the Trainer course 

20-21 May 2021, Auckland
Contact martinsowter@xtra.co.nz or via the website at www.promptnz.org for more information on the course.

Advanced Laparoscopic Endometriosis Labs

28th May 2021, Ruakura Research Centre, Hamilton.
Laboratory-based practice of advanced laparoscopic skills in endometriosis and didactic lectures on endometriosis management. Aimed at Consultants with reasonable laparoscopic skills.
This module focuses on building theoretical knowledge and hands on skills development towards the treatment of endometriosis. Key Learning objectives include:
  • Developing an understanding of current technologies and a detailed understanding of applied physics relating to energy sources
  • The effective use of advanced bipolar devices used in gynecological endoscopy.
  • Knowledge of different manifestations of Endometriosis
  • Surgical approaches for the treatment of superficial endometriosis, ovarian endometrioma and deep endometriosis.
  • Advanced laparoscopic techniques such as intracorporeal and extracorporeal suturing
The faculty will include Dr Tavaziva Mudzamiri, Dr Tarek Saleh, Dr Pip Walker. RANZCOG accreditation has been applied for requesting 7 CPD points under the domain of Educational Activities, and there are a total of 12 places available. Cost: $550
For details on how to register and process payment for this workshop, please contact Dr Lynelle Taylor at O&Geducation@waikatodhb.health.nz. Proof of payment is necessary to confirm registration.

HQSC Patient deterioration national virtual hui

Wehe ana i te rekareka – let’s celebrate our achievement.

17 June, online
Programme includes how the maternity early warning system (MEWS) has made improvements to the care of pregnant or recently pregnant women.
See https://hqsc.eventsair.com/pdnz2021 for programme details and to register.

RANZCOG NZ Annual Scientific Meeting

21-22 June 2021, online

He Kakari Taurite mo te Oranga Wāhine / Campaigning for Equity in Women's Health

See www.nzasm.org.nz for further information or contact Makiko Wimbush mwimbush@ranzcog.org.nz 

Health Equity Conference - Creating solutions

2-3 July 2021, online
Co-hosted by ASMS and the Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust. See the ASMS website for programme details and to register.

Advanced Laparoscopic Suturing Workshop

30 July 2021, Clinical Skills Centre, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton
Laboratory-based practice of advanced laparoscopic suturing skills using synthetic and animal tissue models. Aimed at Senior Registrars, Fellows and Consultants with sound open suturing and basic laparoscopic skills.The course offers:
  • Hints and tips for laparoscopic suturing
  • Effective and safe laparoscopic tissue handling
  • Interrupted and continuous suturing techniques
  • Personal tuition and feedback
  • Intensive practical sessions
  • Needle handling and bit placement
  • Intra-corporeal and extr-corporeal knotting techniques
The faculty will include Dr Tavaziva Mudzamiri, Dr Tarek Saleh, Dr VP Singh, Dr Lakshmi Ravikanti, Dr Pip Walker and Dr Emily Twidale. RANZCOG accredits this workshop for 7 CPD points under the domain of Educational Activities, and there are a total of 12 places available. Cost: $450
For details on how to register and process payment for this workshop, please contact Dr Lynelle Taylor at O&Geducation@waikatodhb.health.nz. Proof of payment is necessary to confirm registration.

Health Law Intensive course

Faculty of Law, University of Otago
23 – 27 August, Wellington
Postgraduate-focused course. Mix of lectures, case studies, and small group work, addressing the most important legal issues and challenges faced by the health sector. Numbers are limited. Participants will be expected to prepare for the course with pre-course reading. Further information at https://www.otago.ac.nz/law/postgraduate/healthlawintensive/ 

New Zealand Sepsis Conference 2021

18-20 Nov 2021, Rotorua

Challenges for New Zealand

For health care professionals with an interest in the management of sepsis and infectious diseases. The conference is a combined meeting between the Sepsis Trust New Zealand and the New Zealand Conference for the Australasian Society for Infectious Disease (ASID). See www.sepsis.org.nz/conference/ for further information.


Please see the dedicated RANZCOG Jobs Board for Fellow and trainee employment opportunities at jobs.ranzcog.edu.au

NZ Office contacts 

phone +64 04 472 4608

Catherine Cooper
Head of Aotearoa New Zealand Office
ccooper@ranzcog.org.nz or 021 137 0748

Bailey Parata
Hauora Wāhine Māori Advisor

Jude Kaveney
Training Advisor

Libby Barnett 
Training Coordinator

Makiko Wimbush
Events and SIMG Coordinator

Lynn Gestro
Communications Coordinator

Katie McFetridge

Gerry Westhuis

RANZCOG NZ webpage

RANZCOG Covid-19 Information Hub

For advice on local matters, please contact the RANZCOG New Zealand office in the first instance. If you wish to contact the Australian office an 0800 number is available: 0800 170 133
Our mailing address

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
PO Box 10611
The Terrace
Wellington 6143
New Zealand

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