Academic performance and career choices of older medical students at the University of Otago
The University of Otago is unusual amongst medical school, in that there is a process for admitting older students, who have relevant life- or work-experience. This study looked at how well these older students performed in medical school examinations, and what they did after graduation, compared with younger medical students. The older students performed as well or better than younger students in examination results and graduation rates from medical school. Compared with their younger classmates, after graduation, a greater proportion of these older students were practising in NZ, and were working as GPs. These findings may be relevant in planning for recruitment and training of the future NZ-trained doctors.
Median sternotomy scar assessment
Our study examined scarring from wounds over the breast bone following cardiac surgery 2-3 years after their operation. We found that 20% of patients had complaints about their scar and 10% of patients were noted by the plastics doctor to have a prominent scar. We could not find any reason to why some patients had symptoms or scarred poorly. We feel that this group of patients would benefit from treatment to prevent bad scarring.
Pharmacological management of children’s asthma in general practice: findings from a community-based cross-sectional survey in Auckland, New Zealand
Between June 1999 and May 2001 the caregivers of 583 children aged 2 – 14 years were interviewed about the medications that had been given for their child’s asthma in the previous 12 months. The results showed that there have been some improvements in the provision of medications for asthma since research was published in the early 1990s and suggested that some children with moderate, severe, and very severe asthma had not received preventive medications in the previous year. Some findings suggested that Maori and Pacific children did not receive the same quality of care as Other children.
Usage and equity of access to isotretinoin in New Zealand by deprivation and ethnicity
Oral isotretinoin, for severe acne, was until March 2009 fully funded in New Zealand only if the prescription was written by a vocationally registered dermatologist. This study was an audit examining the use of isotretinoin by deprivation level and ethnicity, in order to examine potential inequities in use. People living in more deprived (poorer) areas were less likely to use isotretinoin, as were Māori and Pacific people. Given there is no evidence for lower rates of acne for Māori and Pacific people, the reasons may include financial and other barriers.
Access to new medicines in New Zealand compared to Australia
This paper compares the public’s access to new prescription medicines in Australia and New Zealand via their respective national medicines reimbursement schemes in the period 2000-2009. 135 new prescription medicines were listed in the Australian Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, of which 59 (43%) were listed in the New Zealand Pharmaceutical Schedule. For these 59 new medicines, reimbursement occurred on average 33 months later in New Zealand. The 76 medicines not reimbursed in NZ cover many therapeutic areas. The differences between the 2 countries are largely due to the differing pharmaceutical reimbursement processes.
Over-the-counter codeine analgesic misuse and harm: characteristics of cases in Australia and New Zealand
This study has identified that controls on OTC codeine analgesics in Australia and New Zealand were not sufficient to limit non-medical use of these products. As a result, cases identified in these two countries escalated the number of self-administered tablets taken daily for misuse, resulting in codeine dependence and serious non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug toxicity secondary to this dependence.