Meningococcal disease

Source: Waikato District Health Board

Meningococcal disease in the Waikato

It is important to understand what meningococcal disease / meningitis is and know the signs and symptoms.

  • Meningococcal disease can lead to serious infections including meningitis (inflammation of the brain membranes) and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
  • Common symptoms of meningococcal disease include sudden fever, a high fever, headache, sleepiness, joint and muscle pains. There can also be other more specific symptoms, such as a stiff neck, vomiting, refusal to feed (in infants), dislike of bright lights, or a rash consisting of reddish-purple pin-prick spots or bruises.  If you have these symptoms, you need to seek medical attention urgently.
  • Those most at risk are babies and young children under 5 years, teenagers and young adults, people with weakened immune systems, people living in shared accommodation such as halls of residence (university), boarding school and hostels, and those living in overcrowded housing.
  •  Meningococcal disease is treated with antibiotics. It cannot be treated at home – it’s important to seek medical help immediately, as early treatment is very important.
  • There is a vaccine against meningococcal types A, C, Y and W and also a vaccine against type B.  These vaccines are not free, except for some people who are seen as being at high risk for developing the disease (such as people with impaired immune systems).  Talk to your doctor or nurse about what vaccines are available and the cost of being vaccinated.

For more information visit:

In the Waikato region

In the Waikato region, we do not have a meningococcal disease outbreak and we did not have any confirmed cases of the type W meningococcal disease during 2018, the type that caused the recent outbreak in Northland.

Our Public Health Unit monitors the situation closely and there has been no increase in meningococcal cases in the Waikato region over the last two years. However we did have 8 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in 2018. In the Waikato there is no change to our usual meningococcal vaccination recommendations and a targeted vaccination programme like that in Northland has not been recommended.

Unlike some diseases, the risk of catching meningococcal disease from attending an event is low, even if there was an infectious person there at the same time.

You need close contact with an infectious person (such as living in the same household or close kissing) to be considered at risk. The bacteria which cause meningitis/meningococcal disease is quite common however, and many people carry the bug without ever getting sick themselves. They can still pass it on to others, so it is important to always be on the alert for symptoms in your whānau.

  • See a doctor urgently if you are concerned
  • Or call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 any hour of the day or night.


Memory Service

Source: Waikato District Health Board

Memory Service

The Memory Service is a non-acute specialist diagnostic, treatment and support service for adults experiencing complex and unexplained progressive changes in their cognition such as memory. The team includes Psychogeriatricians, Clinical psychologists, Occupational Therapists, a Community Mental Health Nurse and a Social Worker.

We offer?

  • Expert clinical diagnosis
  • A thorough and sensitive assessment
  • Information on appropriate treatment options
  • Post diagnosis education, support and future planning advice
  • Links for clients or their family to other service providers and community supports

Our approach is flexible and tailored to suit the needs of the person and their situation. We strive to be responsive to the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, using interpreters where appropriate. Individuals who identify as Maori will be offered a referral to Te Puna Oranga for cultural support/assessment.

Unfortunately we are usually unable to accept referrals for non-complex presentations or where there is an already established diagnosis e.g. Dementia. However in these cases we can offer comprehensive specialist advice on how the person can be assessed and managed within Primary Care, for using the Regional Dementia Pathway. Some referrals may be forwarded to other services such as Neurology, Older Persons and Rehabilitation Service or the Intellectual Disability Dual Diagnosis service, if it is felt these services are better suited to meet the person’s needs.

We welcome enquiries regarding potential referrals or service related questions. If you are interested the team is available to present on our service at your workplace

Key personnel

Dr Colin Patrick
Clinical Director

Dr Alison Stearn
Consultant Psychogeriatrician

Linda Scott-Dickens
Community Mental Health Nurse

All referrals are triaged by the Memory Service team on a weekly basis.

A client needs to agree to participate with the service.

On acceptance of a referral:

  • a referral maybe made for a CT brain scan
  • a member of the team will arrange with the client and/or whānau an appointment for an initial assessment at home

Following this further assessments maybe indicated such as neuropsychological assessment, social work assessment or occupational assessment.

Finally a clinic appointment will be scheduled with a consultant psychiatrist to provide an outcome and an agreed plan with the patient and family assessments.

Post clinic interventions may involve:

  • Supporting clients and their family/whanau to make sense of their diagnosis
  • Prescribing and monitoring medications
  • Further assessments
  • Psychological interventions
  • Psychosocial and functional support
  • Community referrals
  • Support to access services
  • Driving assessments

Our team is unable to offer crisis support or long-term support for significant mental health issues.

If your referral is declined you will receive a letter outlining why. Depending on the nature of the referral the team may offer recommendations or forward the referral to a more appropriate service.


214 Pembroke Street, Hamilton
Level B1, Older Persons and Rehabilitation Building, Waikato Hospital


Phone: 07 839 8603
Fax: 07 8398 737


Consumer Council

Source: Waikato District Health Board

Consumer Council Meeting – December 2018

This is the final Consumer Council meeting for 2018 and what a year it has been! The group have come a long way in 10 months and have raised their profile significantly in the organisation to a point now where they are consistently sought out for advice and feedback, from all levels of the organisation.  We now have members who sit on various governance and advisory groups to ensure a consumer perspective is part of any decision-making.

The group has also been active in other spaces.  For example, members have been involved with providing feedback on policies, patient handouts and resources, linking community members with the DHBs complaints service and in improving mobility parking.  They have also actively sought out information from the DHB’s renal service and met with senior staff to be able to understand the challenges and complexities of offering services in rural locations.  These are just a few examples of how the Consumer Council have spent their time in 2018.

During December’s meeting, the Council had an opportunity to reflect on the highlights of the year, and review what has been achieved, as well as acknowledge where there are still opportunities.  A key highlight was the development of a priority plan, and the way members have been able to use this in their engagement with the DHB.  There was also acknowledgement of the consumer engagement in future planning through mechanisms like the Care in the Community hui which is part of the Health System Plan – a long-term project for the next 10 years to deliver on the DHB’s vision where people are empowered to live healthy lives and to stay well with quality, safe, efficient and effective services delivered around the needs of people.

Several of the Council members felt that they have learnt a lot about the DHB and have a better understanding of how it works.  This also helps them to understand where the opportunities are for improvement.

Going forward into next year, the Council are looking for time with the Executive and Board to talk about their priorities, and to explore opportunities to support the DHB in their priorities.  There is a new process that has been developed to be able to table issues with the Executive team, and to receive requests for support from the Executive team.  This new process will be piloted early next year to see how effective it is and identify any areas for improvement to this process.  A hui is planned with the Executive Group and Board to discuss the coming year and to talk about what success looks like for the Consumer Council.

The Consumer Council would also like to build on the connections they have made out in Waikato communities and identify opportunities to gather and share information so that many consumer perspectives are brought into the DHB.

Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hou!


Breast Care Centre

Source: Waikato District Health Board

The Breast Care Centre is located on the Waiora Waikato Hospital Campus, Hamilton.  You can access by vehicle via Hague Road off Pembroke Street.

Follow the signs to the Breast Care Centre, which is a one-storey white building on the right hand side.

Campus map


National campaign encourages conversations about what matters at end of life | He kaupapa whakatairanga ā-motu e whakatītina ana i ngā kōrerorero mō ngā mea nui i te whakamatenga

Source: Health Quality and Safety Commission

National campaign encourages conversations about what matters at end of life | He kaupapa whakatairanga ā-motu e whakatītina ana i ngā kōrerorero mō ngā mea nui i te whakamatenga

19 Feb 2019 | Advance Care Planning

A new campaign Kia kōrero | Let’s talk encourages people to plan for their future health care, with a focus on what matters to them. It features the personal stories of six New Zealanders at different stages of life and wellness.

The campaign is part of the advance care planning programme managed by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and supported by district health boards.

‘An advance care plan tells your loved ones and health care teams about the treatment and care you want so treatment plans can support what is important to you,’ says Ria Earp, chair of the Commission’s Te Rōpū Māori (Māori advisory group).

‘When a patient has an advance care plan, knowing their values and what is important to them can make their treatment approach clearer and easier to follow. It is very important that we maintain a patient’s integrity and mana when we make plans for their future.’

The campaign begins with the story of Arthur Te Anini, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Arthur says having an advance care plan is a huge relief to him, and he now feels he can get on with his life and not have to worry about things. ‘This is my plan, it’s been designed by me – not by the doctors, not by my children, but by me.’

Well-known poet, writer and advocate of Māori arts, culture and political rights Keri Kaa shares her thoughts about what is most important to her, as her life draws to a close. ‘I never thought that being cared for by home people would be important,’ she says, ‘but it is.’

Equally engaging and moving are the stories of Pusi and Sima Urale, Cheryl Cameron, Noel Tiano, and Clive Aspin and his partner Terry. They all have one thing in common – a commitment to be clear about their future health care, and to share this understanding with those who need to know.

The campaign features videos of all the personal stories, and will be run primarily on social media. Videos and visuals will be subtitled in te reo Māori, Samoan and Tongan.

Commission chief executive Dr Janice Wilson says that, ultimately, the campaign is about good communication between individuals, their loved ones and health professionals.

‘Advance care planning emphasises the value of having open and courageous conversations early. That might include who you want with you when you are very ill, how much treatment you would like and types of treatment you would prefer not to have, and who can make decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to.

‘This makes it much easier for everyone to know what matters to you – especially if you can no longer speak for yourself.’

You can do your advance care plan online, at

Last updated 19/02/2019


What’s tripping us up? How Kiwis are falling over

Source: Accident Compensation Commission (ACC)

Released 19/02/19

Data-heads rejoice! We’re proactively publishing our 2018 statistics on injuries resulting from people falling over. 

Falls data – website

Top trends

We sliced and diced the 2018 statistics and here are the top trends:

  • Falling over is the most common way of injuring yourself in New Zealand.
  • Injuries from falling represent a whopping 39% of all ACC claims and cost $1.1 billion.
  • 785,063 new fall related claims were made in 2018, up slightly from 781,122 in 2017.

Keen for more titbits? Here are three more interesting points the statistics show.

1. The prize for ‘most popular place to fall over’ goes to… your own home

Home should be a safe zone. But last year it took the thorny crown for ‘Most Popular Fall Location’, with 388,310 people getting injured by falling over at home.

In an interesting twist, our data shows a slightly higher proportion of injuries are happening in homes in less urban regions. These include places like Tasman, Northland, Southland.

2. Women are slightly more likely to be injured by falling over

398,337 women had injuries caused from falling, compared with 386,725 men.

3. Age is the biggest risk

If you’re under 19 years old, you’re more likely to be injured through a fall, as 234,468 unfortunate young people could attest to in 2018. 

However, older people have more severe falls and therefore worse injuries on average. Every year, one in three people over 65 injures themselves in a fall. This rises to one in two once you reach 80.

A few more statistics on the 65-plus age group:

  • 193,954 older people had injuries from falling.
  • These injuries came at a cost of $267,275,845.
  • Falls accounted for two-thirds of all ACC claims in the 85+ age group.
  • A serious fall, resulting in a fracture can cost up to $120,000 to repair and rehabilitate

One way to reduce your risk of falling over, if you’re over 65, is to increase your core strength and your balance. Our Live Stronger for Longer community strength and balance classes are one way to do that. There are classes all over New Zealand. Check out the website to see a list of classes near you.

Live Stronger for Longer – website

If you’re not able to get out of the house to attend community group strength and balance classes, in-home strength and balance may be another option.

Speak to your GP to find out more.

Keep an eye out for more injury statistics in future

We’ll be regularly publishing our injury statistics. Keep an eye out here and on the website for regular data drops. 


Update on anti-staphylococcal bundle using a collaborative approach

Source: Health Quality and Safety Commission

Over the past year the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s infection prevention and control programme team has facilitated the implementation of a preoperative anti-staphylococcal bundle within the Surgical Site Infection Improvement (SSII) Programme.

This bundle aims to reduce the Staphylococcus aureus SSI rate by implementing a bundle of well-established interventions to reduce the SSI risk for cardiac and orthopaedic surgery. The Commission worked with interested hospital teams to roll out the bundle using a collaborative and quality improvement methodology. A total of eight hospital teams (five district health boards [DHBs] and three private hospitals) implemented a bundle.

Participating organisations
Hospital Specialty scope
Acurity Health – Bowen Hospital  Orthopaedic
Acurity Health – Wakefield Hospital  Both
Auckland DHB  Cardiac (adult patients)
Lakes DHB Orthopaedic
Southern Cross – Hamilton Hospital  Both
Southern DHB Cardiac
Waikato DHB Cardiac
Waitemata DHB  Orthopaedic

During the 10-month-long collaborative, small groups (2–4 people per hospital team) attended 3 face-to-face learning sessions with additional members working on improvements in each organisation. Monthly webinars and individual team teleconferences were held. The Commission’s infection prevention and control senior advisor provided additional training related to quality improvement methodology, information sharing and clinical discussion. The multidisciplinary teams involved in the collaborative were highly engaged and well supported by the Commission and their local management throughout the implementation process.

All hospitals achieved 95–100 percent compliance for their bundle interventions. We will maintain contact with the project leads from each team to verify bundle compliance is sustained.

To date the bundle has been applied to nearly 3,000 procedures. Six months of preliminary data, post-implementation of the bundle, indicates there has been an aggregated 56 percent reduction in S. aureus SSI rates (p-value = 0.010) among the 8 participating hospitals for all operations (orthopaedic and cardiac).

For orthopaedic surgery, the 2 DHBs and 3 private hospitals that implemented a bundle have seen a combined 69 percent reduction which has almost reached statistical significance (p-value = 0.066). For cardiac surgery, the 3 DHBs and 2 private hospitals that implemented a bundle have seen a combined 48 percent reduction which is approaching statistical significance (p-value = 0.095).

The graph below represents the combined S. aureus SSI rate pre- and post-bundle implementation for orthopaedic and cardiac surgery.

An educational video specific for surgical patients was developed. This video provides reminders for patients of things they can do to reduce their risk of an SSI before and after surgery. It was also translated into te reo Māori and Samoan. It is available for all hospitals to use for any surgical specialty as it is not targeted for just cardiac or orthopaedic surgical patients. The videos are located at:

The Commission will continue to collect and analyse outcome data to determine the impact of the bundle on S. aureus SSI rates. We will provide further updates as we continue to assess the impact of the bundle. If the bundle is shown to have a significant and sustained impact, we will explore opportunities to implement the bundle in other hospitals and for other appropriate procedures.

Questions related to this update can be sent to

Last updated 19/02/2019


DHBs accuse junior doctors union of misleading claims

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: DHBs accuse junior doctors union of misleading claims

District health boards are accusing the junior doctors’ union of making misleading and or deceptive statements in their deepening pay row. The doctors are taking ongoing strike action at public hospitals in a bitter row over proposed changes to their employment contract. DHBs say inaccurate union statements are fueling the dispute, and it’s calling for urgent intervention from the Employment Relations Authority. RNZ health correspondent, Karen Brown.

– –


Plunket partners with Watercare

Source: New Zealand Plunket Society

Plunket New Zealand has partnered with Watercare in Auckland and Wellington Water to help families and whānau understand how they can protect their health and the local environment by being mindful of what they pour down the sink and flush down the toilet.

Plunket’s Northern Region Operations Manager Sam Ferreira says the partnerships provide a meaningful opportunity to leverage resources throughout our main regions to benefit families and the community.

“A lot of families are unaware of fatbergs, which are congealed masses of fat, grease, wet wipes and other non-flushable items. Fatbergs can block pipes and cause wastewater to overflow into people’s backyards as well as local waterways and beaches.

“We want people to know that if they flush non-biodegradable items – especially wet wipes, they are not only contributing to the growth of fatbergs, they are also running the risk of a wastewater overflow at home and a plumbing bill to fix blocked pipes.”

Auckland Watercare head of production, Peter Rogers, says the company spends around $1 million each year removing and preventing blockages from Auckland’s wastewater network and cleaning up overflows.

“We’re really pleased to be working with Plunket to let families know that we all play a part in reducing overflows and keeping our local environment healthy.

“The main thing we want to say to everyone is to only flush the Three Ps – Poo, Pee and (toilet) Paper. Everything else, including wipes – even if they’re marked flushable – should be put in the bin.

“Some wipes even contain non-biodegradable plastics, which can take decades to disintegrate.”

The partnerships reflect the shared interest between Plunket, councils and water utilities to support the community and do the right thing for the environment.

“We know thousands of New Zealanders rely on Plunket to provide topical and relevant information and advice to help them to support their families and communities, and we are very pleased to partner with Watercare and play a part in one day eradicating fatbergs from New Zealand pipes,” Ms Ferreira said.

Watercare is an Auckland Council organisation and New Zealand’s largest water utility while Wellington Water is owned by the Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington city councils and Greater Wellington Regional Council. Both organisations aim to provide safe and efficient water and wastewater services.

0 Comments Posted by Kate Kauri on 18 February 2019


Peter Cowan: Making the choice to amputate at 15

Source: Accident Compensation Commission (ACC)

Released 18/02/19

Aged 15, Peter Cowan was cycling home from school. He was training for the IronMāori triathlon that he’d signed up for with a few of his cousins.

It was a normal day – he put his hand out to indicate a turn and turned his head to check traffic.

He was clipped by an oncoming car.

The initial impact split his upper leg open. He lost a lot of blood but was conscious following the accident.

Fortunately, two nurses arrived at the scene. Peter says he’s lucky to be alive.

Life after the accident

That was just the beginning of Peter’s journey. Eight years later as an above-the-knee amputee, Peter is jogging, going to the gym, and surfing. He also competes on the national and international stage in Para va’a competitions.

In New Zealand able-bodied Va’a is known as Waka Ama, or canoe outrigging. It’s a sprint sport, or canoe long-distance sport.

Deciding to amputate

After the accident, Peter had regained some feeling in his toes, but he says it wasn’t enough for him to be satisfied. He didn’t have a lot of feeling in his leg and had a ‘drop foot’, where he couldn’t lift his foot properly. Peter says, “It was like a piece of meat just hanging there.”

He had a choice to make – keep his leg or amputate. Peter says it gave him a sense of responsibility for his own body.

He made a trip to the artificial limb centre in Wellington and met other amputees. He met a former firefighter who was living life to the best of his abilities – he played sport and travelled overseas. It inspired Peter seeing that he could still live a normal life as an amputee, if that’s what he decided.

“I chose to take that guy’s example and use it for myself. When I made the decision, I was content with it. I booked in the appointment like a normal day and had the operation soon after my NCEA level 1 exams.”

Discovering Waka Ama

An active teenager at 15, being told after his accident he couldn’t run or do anything of that nature was devastating for Peter, but his friends and family got him through.

In his last year of high school, he discovered paddling. It was the first real physical activity he’d done since the amputation. He kept going and soon fell in love with the sport.

“Being out on the water is therapeutic. I found something that helped me in my rehabilitation. At first I thought it was just a physical thing, but it was a mental thing too, to get out on the water and trust the boat and myself.”

Last year, Peter competed at the World Waka Ama Championships in Tahiti, taking home two gold medals, a silver and two fourth placings in Para va’a events. He also attended the 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal, finishing 4th place in Final B of his division.

Peter’s story shows that life doesn’t end after an accident.

Getting involved in Para sport

People can get involved in Para sport at any level. If you know someone that would be interested in finding out more about Para sport opportunities, refer them to Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) and encourage them to register their interest.

Paralympics New Zealand

We’ve partnered with PNZ since 2015 to help improve rehabilitation outcomes and quality of life for our clients. We want to motivate and inspire people to live active lives, via positive role models and providing opportunities to try Para sport. It also provides a strong sense of community.

Athletes sharing their life stories

This video and article are part of a series highlighting how everyday New Zealanders embraced Para sport after a serious injury. The first in the series explored Paralympian Corey Peters’ story.

Corey Peters: “Sit skiing gave me a sense of freedom”

The second article told Susan Evans’ story about getting back on the horse.

Susan Evans: Getting back on the horse after a lower leg amputation