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Monday Pānui 1 May 2023

Kia ora koutou,

There are four items in today’s Pānui:

  • Nurses Pay Parity

  • Phenobarbitone changes

  • World Hand Hygiene Day

  • Patient Experience Survey


Practice Nurse Pay Disparity Survey

The GP workforce data collection has been extended to Wednesday 5pm 3 May. The data collection has been amended to provide a form in which feedback or comments can be provided. If you have previously accessed the link it may not automatically update. If that is the case, please use a different browser, or clear your history – if you need instructions, please email

For those who have already submitted, our sincere thanks. If you would like to provide additional comments or feedback, this can be provided through the following form – linked to your previous response or anonymously. Please not that Te Whatu Ora will not respond individually to feedback provided through this channel.

We understand the process and communications regarding this survey has been less than ideal – we do, however, urge practices who have yet to submit their forms, to complete by Wednesday 3 May 5pm. The current response rate by practices around the country was 40% on Friday and this is not enough to inform Treasury of the funding required to bring nurses up to at least 95% parity with Te Whatu Ora nurses. A number of practices have informed me that they are paying nurses well above the Primary Care MECA rate and they believe there is no advantage in completing the survey. The funders need to understand how much clinical services and support have had to be cut back (or indeed GPs needing to work more hours) in order to pay nurses competitive wages. Please re-consider!


Transitioning Patients off Phenobarbitone

The funded brand of phenobarbitone tablets (15 mg & 30 mg) will soon be changing. GPs will soon be provided with a list of patients who have had this medication prescribed in the last six months.

API, the supplier of the currently funded ‘PSM’ brand of phenobarbitone tablets (15 mg & 30 mg) has closed its New Zealand manufacturing plant and is no longer supplying to the New Zealand market. Noumed has taken over sponsorship of the remaining stock of API phenobarbitone tablets (‘PSM’ 15 mg & 30 mg). Based on normal usage patterns, stock of the PSM 30 mg phenobarbitone tablets is expected to run out in July 2023, and stock of the PSM 15 mg phenobarbitone tablets is expected to run out in October 2023.

Pharmac is working hard to secure a Medsafe approved product and expect that it will be available in late June. A supplier has submitted an application for approval of their brand of phenobarbitone tablets which is currently being assessed by Medsafe. It is anticipated a decision will be made soon, and we will update you with more information soon.

People taking phenobarbitone tablets for epilepsy will need to be carefully monitored when they change brands. Phenobarbitone is classified by the MHRA as a category one anti-epilepsy medicine, this means that it is not recommended that people change brands.

What GPs need to do:

  • Identify and arrange an appointment in June for your patients taking phenobarbitone PSM phenobarbitone tablets (15 mg and/or 30 mg) – Auckland PHO through Pharmac will provide practices with a list of patients currently prescribed Phenobarbitone.

  • Two appointments are required - one before and one after the brand change. Pharmac will fund two primary care clinician co-payments per patient.

  • People taking phenobarbitone tablets (15 mg & 30 mg) will need to get four serum phenobarbital levels to monitor the concentration of serum phenobarbital before and after the brand change.

The blood tests required:

· 3 weeks before the new brand of phenobarbitone tablet is started

· The week they are planning to start taking the new brand of phenobarbitone tablet

· In the first week after changing to the new brand of phenobarbitone tablet (ideally 4-10 days after the first dose of the new brand), and

· One month after the brand change.

The results of these blood tests will need to be monitored. Prescribers will need to monitor the results of these blood tests. Pharmac will fund these blood tests where patients can’t access a collection centre where this test is funded. More information, including the invoice funding template can be located on the Pharmac website

Note: further information will be supplied regarding transitioning pregnant people who have epilepsy to an alternative medication.


World Hand Hygiene Day

Every year on 5th of May, the World Health Organization (WHO) runs the Save lives – Clean your hands campaign to promote the use of hand hygiene in Health care facilities and beyond. At the heart of the World Hand Hygiene day is the message that all health care workers should clean their hands at the right time and in the right way.

This year’s slogan is “Accelerate action together. SAVE LIVES – Clean your hands” which promotes the theme of accelerating action to prevent infections and antimicrobial resistance in health care. The WHO campaign also promotes a culture of safety and quality in which hand hygiene improvement is given high priority.

The following resources are available for World Hand Hygiene Day 2023 to promote good hand hygiene behaviour.


Patient Experience Survey – Sample Weeks

The survey sample weeks start today, Monday 1 May, and runs until 15 May 2023.

This is a friendly reminder to share and display information about the survey for patients so they can be as informed as possible. It also assists in boosting response rates by bringing awareness to the survey.

Please see resources to display below:

If you would like printed and laminated copies of the resources above, please email


Enjoy the week and get in touch if you have any questions about today’s Pānui

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