A communication void exists between the Southern District
Health Board and GPs because a key liaison role remains
unfilled, a Dunedin GP says.
Dr Jill McIlraith, of Aurora Health Centre, was contacted
about a board member's call for an urgent message to be sent
to prescribers due to a $1.3 million cost blow-out in the
first two months of the financial year.
Board member Branko Sijnja, who is also a GP, said doctors
should not be overprescribing to stock up household supplies,
or for travel purposes. Dr McIlraith said prescribing was the
kind of issue GPs used to be advised about in a regular
newsletter from liaison officer Dr Anne Worsnop, who departed
at the start of the year and was not replaced.
''There's a real gap there with communicating with GPs at the
The board had an ''elaborate idea'' about starting to include
GPs at a high level in decision-making, but that would not
replace the practical level communication that had been
eliminated. Dr McIlraith did not think Southern prescribers
were overprescribing, but she would like more information
about the problem.
''I don't think people overprescribe; they try very hard not
''I personally have never had a patient say: `Could I have
more medicine so I could stock up on my cupboard'.''
She said sometimes patients were started on expensive opioids
by hospital prescribers, which left GPs to negotiate with
them upon their discharge about moving to a cheaper option
for pain relief.
Health board patient services medical director Dick Bunton
said the board was considering its options for the liaison
role, and hoped to have a solution in the next few weeks.e