A review of the Christchurch Hospital Breast Cancer Service in 2012: meeting the new Tumour Standards
The care received by 288 breast cancer patients treated at Christchurch Hospital in 2012 was reviewed using the time points stipulated by the new Tumour Standards developed by Ministry of Health in 2013. Some of the Tumour Standards were achieved as the vast majority of patients received their first breast cancer treatment within 62 days of referral to the hospital (87%) and within 31 days of giving informed consent to the recommended treatment (89%). While only 64% of patients started chemotherapy within 42 days following their breast cancer surgery, 97% had commenced chemotherapy within 31 days of the decision for treatment. A number of interventions, such as improving the multidisciplinary meetings and the appointment of cancer nurse specialists to support patients during their treatment, have been implemented to resolve identified factors that delayed patient treatment times.
Acute surgical treatment of cutaneous abscesses: cost savings from prioritisation in theatre
Cutaneous (skin) abscesses are an important part of acute surgical work in New Zealand. Historically these are often treated after other cases and stayed overnight for treatment. Newer processes facilitate same earl treatment of abscesses with same day discharges. This treatment is safe, well tolerated by patients and results in significant cost savings.
Adoption of endovenous laser treatment as the primary treatment modality for varicose veins: the Auckland City Hospital experience
Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged veins generally present in the lower legs that are not functioning normally. They are usually unsightly but in some people they can result in severe skin damage and even ulceration. They have traditionally been treated by surgical removal but now, in many instances, they can be treated a laser procedure called EVLT (Endovenous Laser Therapy). This is a minimally invasive procedure that is as effective as surgery, associated with few side effects and a rapid return to normal activities. Because it is performed under local anaesthetic in a procedure room, rather than in an operating theatre, the use of this technique has enabled many more patients to be treated at Auckland Hospital than was the case when surgery was the only available treatment.
Sleep disorders, depression, anxiety and satisfaction with life among young adults: a survey of university students in Auckland, New Zealand
Sleep symptoms are distressing and greatly impact on quality of life. The aim of this study was to determine the rates of sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance use, and identify correlations between satisfaction with life among university students at The University Auckland. A questionnaire was given to 1933 students; 66.8% completed the questionnaire. The median age of the students was 20 years (range 16–38); 63.9% were women. This study which is a first of its kind in New Zealand showed that a large number of university students (39.4% of the students who completed the survey) are suffering from significant sleep symptoms. Depression, anxiety, substance use, and circadian rhythm disorders were the commonest causes of sleep difficulties in this population group. Clinically significant depression and anxiety were present in 17.3% and 19.7% of the students surveyed respectively. The study also showed that harmful alcohol and drug use was common among this population group and is associated with depression and anxiety. This study has the potential to aid clinicians within New Zealand in better appreciating the sleep-related health problems faced by young people in this country.
Progress of successful New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREX Clinical) candidates during their first year of supervised clinical practice in New Zealand
Some overseas trained doctors have to successfully pass a clinical examination before working in supervised positions as a junior doctor. Of those who pass the examination, 90% do well in their first year of supervised practice. When problems occur, they usually occur in the first 6 months of practice.
Where does New Zealand stand on permitting research on human embryos?
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is widely available in New Zealand as a means of overcoming infertility, and is an established procedure under the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act. The development of IVF involved research on human embryos and continuing improvements in procedures depend upon ongoing research. However, embryo research is currently prohibited in New Zealand, even though many embryos surplus to the requirements of those in IVF programmes will eventually be discarded. While this gives the impression of protecting embryos, it fails to do this and fails to enhance the health and wellbeing of children born using IVF. This unsatisfactory situation will not be rectified until research is allowed on human embryos.