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‘Hot Science’ In The Summer

‘Hot Science’ In The Summer

Every summer holidays students from the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University, and other tertiary institutions, have the opportunity to carry out a particular research project, supported by a variety of sponsors with an educational grant of $4000 for each student. This is a chance for many students to experience research under the supervision of a clinician or scientist.

On Friday February 13 between 1 and 5pm, 32 students will be presenting their research findings to staff and supervisors in the Rolleston Lecture Theatre on the ground floor of the School. $300 is awarded for the best presentation and $250 for the best written report. Although many are technical in nature, other topics have wider interest.

From waiting list to GP managed care: a consumer perspective From hospital waiting list to active review

STUDENTS: Tracey Haitana and Monique Scott SUPERVISORS: Ms. Suzanne Pitama, Ms Kay Poulson SPONSORS: The Health Care of the Elderly Education Trust The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation.

In May 2003 the CDHB implemented the new Ministry of Health booking system to improve the provision of elective services so that patients with the greatest health needs were provided with earlier treatment. This meant that 1956 low priority patients were returned to the care of their GPs. This study aimed to develop a profile of these patients and review the experience of 120 of them. It was found that these randomly selected patients were largely dissatisfied with the GP Managed Care system. They were confused about the changes and unsure about how they should manage their health in future. Recommendations have been made to ensure patients receive accurate information, and that communications from the CDHB are easy to understand.

The second research studentship surveyed 120 patients whose priority for elective surgery remained high, but who were classified as being under Active Review in the new system. The total number of patients under Active Review by the CDHB was 7146. The results of the survey showed that some patients were dissatisfied due to confusion surrounding the changes. Recommendations have been made to improve communication to all those patients under Active Review.

National audit of diabetes care in children and young adults.

STUDENT: Denise Wu SUPERVISOR: Dr Helen Lunt SPONSOR: Diabetes Training and Research Trust

This research is part of a national audit by DHBs comparing clinical indicators of diabetes care in people under 25. These indicators include a blood test which measures the level of blood glucose control in the last three months (HbA1c), and the percentage of people who have already developed complications. Christchurch is the only centre which has accurate data on the number of young people affected by diabetes living in the region. So far 364 people under 25 have been identified, much higher than other centres. Of the 150 patients audited, the average HbA1c is 9.5% and eye, kidney and nerve complications 29% . Both these figures are very high, indicating more resources are needed to target this age group to prevent irreversible complications. Also the total number of people under 25 with diabetes is much higher than expected. The CDHB will need to explore better ways of addressing these health needs.

Complementary and alternative medication and therapy (CAM) use by residents of rest homes in Christchurch.

STUDENT. Karoline (Kalo) Lalahi SUPERVISOR: Dr Paul Corwin SPONSOR: Age Concern Canterbury Inc.

This study investigated whether rest homes residents are using CAM, what they are using, how they found out about it, and where they get it. There have been concerns that CAM may have negative interactions with prescribed medicines in rest homes. 102 residents were interviewed, of whom 21 were using 26 different CAM medications, while 52 had tried alternative therapy. The most common way to find out about alternative medication was through a friend or a rest home nurse. The most common alternative therapies are prayer and acupuncture. No harmful interactions between patient medications and CAM were identified.

A full programme of topics and abstracts is available. Media are welcome to attend.

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