Women in the Southern district requiring pipelle biopsies - a key investigative tool for finding the cause of post-menopausal bleeding and screening for endometrial cancers – now have faster and easier access to the procedure thanks to collaboration between clinicians from Southern DHB and WellSouth.

Specially-trained primary care physicians can now carry out this gynaecological test, which involves taking a small sample of the uterine lining from a woman experiencing abnormal bleeding, rather than having to refer patients for specialist appointments.

Providing pipelle biopsies in the GP surgery, instead of requiring a trip to hospital, is not only more convenient for patients but also frees up specialist appointment slots with the gynaecology service.

“By not having to be referred to a specialist, patients can be tested faster and results provided sooner, which is very reassuring for everyone involved,” says Dr Peter Gent, Dunedin GP and Clinical Leader Primary Care for Southern HealthPathways.

This new model of care is facilitated by localised Southern HealthPathways, the medical condition and referral information portal for clinicians in the district. The localised HealthPathway provides specific guidelines on provision of the service in general practice, follow-up procedures and relevant information, including ‘red flags’ that practitioners should be mindful of.

In addition to performing the pipelle biopsy, specially-trained GPs are responsible for receiving results and informing the patient of those results, as well as monitoring or referring on the patient if further treatment is required.

WellSouth is facilitating training sessions for general practitioners already trained to provide IUD/IUS insertions across the district.  The WellSouth team have worked to operationalise this pathway and facilitate a smooth process for the primary care clinicians and their patients. 

“It is fantastic to get this type of service available in the community, within primary care, to facilitate easier access for women,” says Katrina Braxton, WellSouth Clinical Services Manager. “Women will be able to access the service either from their own general practice or by referral to another general practitioner with special interest (GPSI).”

Southern DHB Chief Medical Officer Dr Nigel Millar said conducting pipelle biopsies in general practice is better for the patient and for the health system: “This collaborative approach is another example of our whole-of-system view of the health service and we’re progressing our goals of providing care closer to home, valuing patient time and making best use of resources.”

About HealthPathways

HealthPathways is an online information portal providing condition-management and referral information for primary and secondary care clinicians working in the Southern District.