Nursing Services Available
Rhonda and Rebecca are our practice nurses, they are committed to ongoing education and attend workshops and seminars on a regular basis. They are available for a variety of services.
Cardiovascular Risk Assessments
Keeping well as you age is important. An important aspect of a quality modern health system is identifying patients at risk of certain diseases and correcting the correctable before damage is done. We offer a range of comprehensive health checks to enrolled patients. This includes cardiovascular risk if age and gender appropriate. Some of these checks are free to certain groups. We hope in time to widen the scope of these well person preventative assessments.
The NZ National Cervical screening Program recommends all sexually active women should be screened between the ages of 25 to 70 years. Cancer of the cervix is the most preventable of all cancers. By having regular cervical smears, abnormal cell changes can be treated effectively before the abnormal cellular changes become cancerous.
The best time to have a smear is the week after your period has finished. If you have ceased menstruation then it can be done at any time.
The practice operates a recall system where each women is reminded three times over a three month period that her smear is due. We appreciate acknowledgement when a recall is sent. We are proud of our results – the high level of smear uptake by the women of our practice reduces their risks of cervical cancer.
Nurses and doctors are available by appointment for smears, Monday to Friday.
The practice runs a very effective system for vaccinations. It is important that appointments are made soon after receiving a reminder to ensure full vaccination protection is continued. If there is difficulty in getting to the surgery please let the nurse know as we can arrange the Southland immunisation co-ordinator to come to your home on our behalf.
Vaccinations commence at six weeks and childhood immunisations are free.
Tetanus boosters are recommended at 45 and 65 years providing the initial course has been completed to 11 years. A booster may be given earlier at the discretion of the doctor. If you have received a tetanus booster elsewhere (eg at A+E) please let us know so that we can update your records. We now advise a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine for pregnant mothers to be and expectant grandparents
Our practice strongly recommends the use of the flu vaccine. Influenza is a deadly disease, particularly for the young, old, or those with suppressed immune systems. Flu vaccines are given annually in autumn to give protection against influenza. Please note the influenza vaccine is not effective against the common cold.
Pregnant women and people under the age of 65 with chronic illnesses including diabetes, asthma, kidney, cardiac malignancy and patients 65 years and over are entitled to free influenza vaccines.
The flu vaccine is available to others who do not fit the above criteria.
Appointments for the flu vaccine need to be made with the practice nurses.
For travel to some countries additional vaccine protection is recommended. These differ from country to country and an appointment with the doctor is advised to see what is needed. It’s possible, depending upon the country you are going to visit, the doctor may wish to discuss other issues, (such as malarial prevention) that may be needed. Please don’t leave these arrangements to the last minute.
Why get vaccinated against HPV?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the world’s most widespread viral infections. It is easily passed on from person to person, and without vaccination almost everyone will come into contact with it at some point in their life.
HPV for the majority of the population is not a case of if, but when, you get it.
The HPV vaccine prevents a person from HPV types that cause several cancers in both men and women, including:
- Cervical cancer
- Vaginal and vulval cancers
- Anal cancer
- Throat cancer
- Penile cancer
There is no effective screening or testing for anal, vulval, penile or throat HPV-related infections or cancers, as there is no swab or blood test that can check for all HPV types and also because, in some people, the virus is “hibernating” at levels that are not detectable by testing. Therefore vaccination, ideally before ever having sex, is highly recommended and is the most effective way of preventing HPV.
For a great resource of information regarding HPV see https://www.hpv.org.nz/
Herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine now available
How you get it
A person infected with varicella zoster virus will usually get chickenpox. The disease may be mild or severe. However, it is possible to be infected with the virus and show no symptoms. Once someone has been infected the virus will lay dormant but be kept in check by the body’s immune system. As the immune system weakens the risk of shingles can increase. Certain medications, major surgery, skin burns, HIV, cancer or emotional stress and increasing age can all result in the immune system being weakened. Therefore, it is possible to get shingles with no history of clinical chickenpox. It is also possible to get shingles more than once and again this risk increases with age.
Shingles is characterised by a painful unilateral (one side of the body) rash, usually in one area of the body. The first sign of shingles is often a burning, sharp pain, tingling or numbness under the skin on one side of your body, especially back, abdomen or face, which can lead to severe itching or aching. Tiredness, fever, chills, headache and upset stomach may also occur. Approximately 1 to 14 days after the onset of pain, a rash of small blisters appear on a reddened area of skin. The burning pain and blisters follow a nerve pathway, often extending front to back on one side of the body or head. As with chickenpox, after a few days the blisters will crust over. Over the course of several days to weeks, the crusts will drop off and the skin will heal.
As soon as the symptoms appears, a doctor can prescribe antiviral treatments, which may speed up recovery and help to prevent long term complications. The earlier in the infection the medication is prescribed the more effective it is. Pain relief, such as paracetamol, may also be required. A moistened, cool cloth on the affected area may help to relieve discomfort.
Shingles of the face or scalp may result in headaches and weakness on one side of the face (causing a droop on the affected side). It may take several months or years for this weakness to clear.
Shingles may affect the eye causing ulceration, inflammation or glaucoma and occasionally loss of vision. Rarely, shingles affects the ear causing earache, hearing loss, vertigo and/or tinnitus. The rash may become infected and body organs may be affected.
Chronic nerve damage can occur, particularly in people over 50 years of age, causing nerve pain (neuropathy), numbness or tingling for months or years after on the area the rash has cleared from. This is known as postherpetic neuralgia.
As with chickenpox, the blisters of shingles contain the varicella-zoster virus. It is possible for chickenpox to be passed to a close contact of someone with shingles who are not immune to varicella, such as between a grandparent and an infant. Covering the rash is recommended to prevent transmission.
Zostavax® is a vaccine indicated for the prevention of shingles. From 1 April 2018, one dose of Zostavax will be funded for adults aged 65 years. A ‘catch-up’ programme will be available for the first two years, for people aged from 66–80 years inclusively. Funded vaccine doses will only be available through general practice and can be given when getting your flu vaccine.
Zostavax is also available for individuals aged 50–64 years or 81 years or older to purchase through general practice and some pharmacies.
|Complications of disease||
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|As with any medicine, very rarely, severe allergic reactions occur following immunisation (< 1 in 4 million doses)|
We have a large capacity liquid nitrogen cylinder and offer liquid nitrogen cryotherapy We usually replenish our supply on a Monday and it may run out towards the end of the week. An appointment is required with the nurses.
We run one-on-one nursing sessions for patients wishing to quit smoking. During this appointment we look at the patient’s history of smoking, benefits of quitting, setting a quit date, looking at barriers and implementing strategies to overcome any barriers. We have available numerous materials and pamphlets. We are qualified to prescribe nicotine patches and gum.
Cardiovascular Risk Checks
In keeping with the increasing emphasis of early detection and modification of risk factors for chronic disease such as diabetes and ischaemic heart disease, we offer these health check-ups.
A limited number of free checks are available for:
- Male Europeans aged 45 to 74
- Male Maori, Pacific Islanders or Indians aged 35 to 74
- Female Europeans aged 55 to 74
- Female Maori, Pacific Islanders or Indians aged 45 to 74
This check is with a nurse. If significant findings are found and require a doctor’s appointment then usual fees apply.
Sexual Heath/ Family Planning
STD checks are available. We can also offer contraceptive advice, emergency contraception, or pregnancy testing. We can administer the Depo-Provera, and our Doctors can place IUD’s and the birth control implant, Jadelle.
Health Advice & Checks
We offer a range of health checks, from generic blood pressure, height and weight measurements, through to asthma education. We also offer 45 year old “Warrant of fitness” checks. Please call to book these services.