Media Release: 16 November 2015

Women needing medical help to investigate and relieve some menstrual problems and pelvic organ prolapse can now receive faster care, closer to home through a local GP practice. Patients with a community services card or those living in some areas (deprivation quintile 5) may be eligible for fully funded procedures. GPs not able to provide these services can now refer patients to their colleagues who have the skills for these procedures.

This means “there will be no need to wait for a specialist hospital assessment before procedures such as Mirena insertion, Pipelle biopsy and Ring pessaries are undertaken in the Wellington, Hutt, Wairarapa and Kapiti areas’’ says Chris Kerr, Clinical Director Compass Health PHO.

The initiative comes from a three DHB Health Pathways initiative working with PHOs, hospital specialists and GP’s in the greater Wellington area, aiming to make gynaecology procedures more available in Primary Care.

“It is hoped that increased scope of GP gynaecology will reduce pressure on hospital gynaecology clinic waiting lists and also improve access for women with more complex gynaecology needs to the hospital specialists,” says Jackie Hawley - Clinical Leader Gynaecology CCDHB.”

Naenae Medical Centre GP (Hutt Valley) Dr Kolitha DeSilva says that “although I already offer some of these procedures, making it free for patients that can’t afford to pay will enable more patients to get treated at their local health practice, rather than having to go to hospital.”

“I support this development and we will be working to establish a number of these options in our practice over the coming months.”

The RANZCOG (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) have recently provided training to refresh and up skill GPs as part of the World of Women’s Health conference 2015. More training is planned for the next year.

Subsidies for qualifying patients are available now in participating practices. Patients warranting gynaecology care for these conditions but not eligible for funding, may still be referred for treatment through their local hospital.