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Clinical Matters February 2024

Welcome to the February 2024 edition of Clinical Matters

In this issue...

  • PATHLAB: IMPORTANT UPDATE - Potential tertiary /sendaway referred report corruption (Dec)
  • Information for referrers to BCG clinic, Community Health 4 Kids
  • Connection | Awhi mai, awhi atu - 2 February 2024
  • Return to exercise post COVID - NZ guidance
  • Introducing Dr Aggie Them
  • Direct CHIP access
  • Mindful Medicine Workshop 4,5,6 September 2024
  • Rheumatology referral threshold update
  • Tautoko Mai Sexual Harm Support (previously BOPSASS) seeking doctors or nurse practitioners to join our amazing forensic teams
  • Direct referral pathway for Eastern Bay of Plenty CHIRP Service - available now
  • BOP SMO and GP Quiz night - 8 March 7PM 2024 - Tauranga Yacht Club
  • NZ Blood: Tetanus Immunoglobulin-VF to be replaced by Tetagam P


PATHLAB: IMPORTANT UPDATE - Potential tertiary / sendaway referred report corruption (Dec)

We have recently been made aware of a potential report corruption of tertiary / sendaway referred reports (investigations not generated by Pathlab). 

While we understand the risk is low and our limited audit not identified any significant discrepancy to date, we believe it important you are made aware of this possible situation.

Please notify Alan Neal, 07 858 0799 of any discrepant tertiary / sendaway referred reports or if you have an concerns in this regard.

We want to let you know that g a consultation service for people at risk of mpox (Monkeypox) to assess risks and options including vaccine eligibility has been announced, with the service being available at specific locations as of Monday 16 January.  


Connection | Awhi mai, awhi atu - 2 February 2024

Topics covered in this edition include:  

  • Introduction – Acting Group Director Operations Sarah Mitchell
  • Bay of Plenty Group Director Operations appointment
  • Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty to boost Hospital Volunteer Programme
  • Progress on long-term Bay of Plenty surgical waitlists praised
  • Honour for Tauranga orthopaedic surgeon
  • Flying high in new healthcare role
  • Aotearoa Bike Challenge returns in February
  • Smiles all round for early childhood centres
  • Staff Rainbow Network
  • Fleet car changes
  • Collect your free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

Please click here to view.


Introducing Dr Aggie Them 

Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Dr Aggie Them is a New Zealand-trained generalist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist based at Tauranga Hospital. She also works in private practice and is accepting appointments at Promed House with surgical procedures performed at Grace Hospital.

She accepts GP and self referrals for:

  • Menopause and perimenopause - hormone therapy
  • Menstrual problems and postmenopausal bleeding
  • Contraception (IUCD/Mirena) and sterilisation surgery
  • Endometrial ablation (NovaSure)
  • Minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy / hysteroscopy / MyoSure)
  • Ovarian cysts / Fibroids / Endometriosis / Hysterectomy
  • Pessary management of pelvic organ prolapse
  • Cervical smears and colposcopy

Phone: 07 577 6988 (ext 4)
EDI: aggiebop
Practice location: Promed House Suite 7, 71 Tenth Avenue, Tauranga 3110
Short Bio
Aggie is a New Zealand-trained generalist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. She was born in Poland and moved to Montreal, Canada at the age of 3, where she lived until returning to Poland to study medicine. After completing her medical degree, she went on to earn a Masters degree in O&G from University College Cork, Ireland, where she worked in O&G for four years.
Aggie moved to New Zealand in 2012, working in Tauranga and Christchurch. She began her specialist training in 2014 in Wellington; she completed it in Hawke’s Bay pursuing advanced training in laparoscopy, hysteroscopy and colposcopy. In January 2023, Aggie relocated to Tauranga to accept a permanent Consultant position with Te Whatu Ora Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty.
Passionate about empowering women with respect to their bodies, Aggie spends time during consultations to enable patients to better understand what might be wrong and how to find solutions together.



Mindful Medicine Workshop 4,5,6 September 2024

Practicing medicine is becoming increasingly difficult. Disease complexity, resource limitations and higher patient expectations are but a few of the reasons for the unprecedented burnout rates.

What would it be like to work in an environment that promotes quality care, quality of caring and wellbeing for health care professionals?

Join us for a 3 day workshop designed to equip participants with skills to improve the quality of care they provide patients while nourishing their own wellbeing.

Using a variety of teaching methods including appreciative inquiry, narrative medicine and insight dialogue, the workshop covers topics such as how health care professionals think, self-compassion, work-related distress and working with intent.

Please view the flyer link here for full details.


Tautoko Mai Sexual Harm Support (previously BOPSASS) is seeking doctors or nurse practitioners to join our amazing forensic teams based in Tauranga and Whakatāne.

These teams provide afterhours forensic examinations/acute consultations to adolescents and adults who have experienced sexual harm in the previous seven days.  The teams comprise specially trained examiners, nurses, and crisis workers.
Here is your chance to practice at the top of your scope – being able to be completely patient-centered and having all the time to you need to do the best consultation for someone who has sought help at a difficult time in their life.  You will also join the MEDSAC national community of like-minded clinicians and be supported by experts to enhance your knowledge and skills in the areas of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
Full training is provided.  This includes MEDSAC membership and training to be a forensic examiner, observing and being observed doing cases, mentoring through your first few cases, case review of all work, regular peer review meetings and collegial support from our amazing team. 
Calls are triaged by one of our trained nurses who contacts the examiner if a forensic examination or urgent consultation is indicated.  We do not provide emergency care.  Examinations are done in our dedicated forensic rooms in Tauranga and Whakatāne.  As an examiner, you will be responsible for assessing the patient, providing medical care as needed (such as STI/pregnancy prophylaxis), and usually completing medicolegal pro forma and taking appropriate forensic samples (e.g. for alleged offender DNA) which, with patient consent, go to the Police either at the time or when the patient is ready.  Occasionally you will be required to write a Formal Statement for Police, and very occasionally required to attend court as an Expert Witness.  Full training and mentoring for statement writing and court attendance is provided by MEDSAC.
Patient follow up is provided by the day time clinic team at Tautoko Mai, which can include medical care, counselling and social work support.
The on-call rosters are approximately 1:6 in Tauranga and 1:4 in Whakatāne and we average approximately 60 call outs a year altogether across both sites, so most often you will not be called.  It is expected that you will be able to attend within an hour or so of being contacted, outside normal working hours (ie you are not expected to leave your day job in order to attend).  Overnight call outs are rare, averaging about 4 per year across both sites.  Rostering is done on an availability basis, to work around clinicians’ pre-existing commitments.  We have a wonderfully collegial team who support each other including swapping on calls when needed.
To be suited to the role you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a current NZ registered Doctor or Nurse Practitioner
  • Live near enough to our forensic rooms (in Tauranga city or Whakatāne) to be able to attend after hours
  • Be experienced and confident with genital examinations of females and males
  • Be comfortable dealing with patients who have been through trauma
  • Have a good understanding of sexual health medicine
  • Be available to complete 12 hours of on-line learning and attend MEDSAC training in Auckland on May 17-18 2024
  • Be available from June 2024 to be on the afterhours roster as an observer
  • Expect to be on the after-hours roster as an examiner by the end of 2024

If you would like to have a chat and find out more, please contact our Lead Clinician, Dr Melanie Johns:

To apply for this role please send an expression of interest and your CV to Colin Pretorius at

For general queries about this role, please call Colin Pretorius on 027 251 4347.


BOP SMO and GP Quiz Night - 8 March 7PM 2024 - Tauranga Yacht Club

Please click here for the flyer for our inaugural BOP SMO and GP Quiz night!
We have secured the highly reputable Dr Phil Asquith to be the Quiz Master for the evening. Teams will be created on the night with a mixture of Primary and Secondary Colleagues.
Please forward the flyer and information out to your respective networks.

Information for referrers to BCG clinic, Community Health 4 Kids

Please can referrers ensure they are using the most up to date referral form for BCG referrals available via Bay Navigator - Clinical Resources - Child Health - Referrals section. The form should have the Te Whatu Ora Health NZ logo.
We no longer accept referrals by fax, all referrals can be emailed to PHN referral email address, by the red link within Te Whatu Ora or by emailing to listed email address on the bottom of the form for external referrals.
A few other points to consider: -

  • We vaccinate babies/children aged 1 month – 5 years. We no longer vaccinate babies under 1 month because babies require a clear Guthrie/neonatal screening to be vaccinated. If result is available please include in referral.
  • The BCG vaccination can be given within 1 month of oral rotavirus vaccination, there is no contraindication due to rotavirus vaccination being oral. There does need to be a space of 1 month between BCG/MMR. No vaccines should be given in arm of BCG vaccination (usually left arm) for 3 months.
  • There is a waiting list for BCG clinics, if you are aware of family’s plans to travel, please include this information on referral form as we will prioritise those with imminent travel.
  • We follow up any concerns about healing post BCG.

Babies/children over 6 months will require a mantoux Tuberculin skin test prior to vaccination. This requires 2 appointments, usually Monday and Thursday of same week.


Return to exercise post COVID - NZ guidance

Please click here for the return to exercise after COVID flow chat. 

This body of work was started with Exercise Association New Zealand but driven and completed by Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy Group of Physiotherapy New Zealand utilising the international guidance avaliable.

Please share with your colleages and networks.


Direct CHIP access

Unfortunately, the issue with accessing CHIP is on-going. The IT service desk at Hauora a Toi BOP is still investigating the matter.
In the meantime, they have suggested directly accessing CHIP via this link:
You may need to reset your password to access CHIP this way. You can call the IT service desk on 075798453 or email them at


Rheumatology referral threshold update

The Rheumatology referral threshold has changed to now accept priority 1 and priority 2 levels.

You can view the updated referral information on Bay Navigator here: Rheumatology - Bay Navigator | The Bay of Plenty's Leading Clinical Resource


Direct referral pathway for Eastern Bay of Plenty CHIRP Service - available now

CHIRP offers a triage service for children aged 14yrs and younger with developmental, attentional and/or behavioural concerns, that are of clinical significance, impact on the child’s functioning across home and educational settings and may be due to an underlying neurodevelopmental condition including autism, ADHD and/or intellectual disability.

This service is now available via direct referral pathway as follows:

  • General practitioners can refer via Best Practice (BPAC).
  • Health professional, Education staff or Community Support Workers can complete referrals via the online referral form.
  • CHIRP Referral Form

For full details please read the flyer linked here.

Voyagers and Child Development, Te Kaumoana o Ruamano Building (106 Commerce Street, Whakatane)
PHONE: (07) 306 3124
MOBILE: 027 261 9506


NZ Blood: Tetanus Immunoglobulin-VF to be replaced by Tetagam P

New Zealand Blood Service’s current batch of Tetanus Immunoglobulin-VF, manufactured from plasma collected from NZ donors, is due to expire on the 27th January 2024. We are currently unable to manufacture more of this product, due to the need for further work on measuring specific antibody levels.

An alternative product, TETAGAM® P from CSL Behring, will be issued under Section 29 arrangements. TETAGAM® P is made from plasma/blood donations from other countries and marketed in several other countries.

Please read the full correspondence linked here.


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