Policy Briefs provide you with a summary of a hot topic in general practice, the latest research on the subject, and some brief advice. 

About policy briefs

Occasionally, complex changes, problems and innovations crop up in the medical sector. To help you understand these issues, the College develops Policy Briefs that provide a breakdown of the topic, overview of the latest research, some helpful advice, and tell you where you can find more information. They are generally aimed at GPs, but we know that they can be useful for patients and other health sector organisations too. 

Latest policy briefs

Equally Well: improving the physical health of people experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues (Policy brief: May 2017)

Significant physical health inequities exist for people living with mental illness or addiction, including a risk of dying younger. GPs can contribute positively to this issue by being aware of the inequitable health outcomes, taking on a model of wellbeing focused prescribing, actively avoiding diagnostic overshadowing, empowering patients, and working closely with other health providers.

ePrescriptions in general practice: better medicines management (Policy brief: August 2016)

The New Zealand ePrescription Service (NZePS) is being rolled out to general practices across New Zealand, allowing GPs to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies.  NZePS helps to ensure prescriptions are legible and contain all the information GPs and pharmacists need.  The Policy Brief takes a look at NZePS in general practice.

Polypharmacy and Deprescribing (Policy brief: May 2016)

Polypharmacy is increasingly common, particularly in the elderly population. In this Policy Brief, the College takes a closer look at problematic polypharmacy and how it might be tackled in general practice.

Managing Patient Test Results (Policy brief: Apr 2016) 

Errors in the handling of patient test results can be harmful as exemplified by several cases brought to the HDC. As well as exploring common views of the profession and the HDC on the issue, this policy brief outlines standards, advice and guiding principles for developing systems to minimise the risk of error. 

Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (Policy brief: June 2015)

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 introduced a new requirement for those who work with children, including general practitioners. The children’s worker safety regime as part of the Act involves consistent vetting and screening to help assess whether people pose a risk to children. It also provides a way to prevent known abusers from working with children.

Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer (Policy brief: June 2015)

This policy brief discusses the diagnosis of cancer in general practice and the Health and Disability Commissioner’s report on delayed diagnosis of cancer in primary care.

Antibiotic and Antimicrobial Resistance: Avoiding a Post-antibiotic Era (Policy brief: May 2015)

This policy brief considers factors influencing the overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics in primary care, ways to address antimicrobial resistance, and how we might avoid entering a post-antibiotic era. 

Tackling the Growing Obesity Epidemic (Policy brief: December 2014)

This policy brief focuses on the growing and concerning obesity epidemic in New Zealand and how GPs should approach discussing obesity with patients. The College also published a media release on 17 December 2014, titled ‘A general practice perspective on obesity’.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 – New Safety Checking Requirements (Policy brief: October 2014) 

This policy brief introduced the new Act and the changes it brought to general practice.