Compassionate care for all those who walk through the door is the cornerstone value at Wigram Health, soon to open a practice in Vernon Drive, Lincoln.
“We are very serious about our patients receiving the best treatment possible,” Dr John Ko says on behalf of Wigram Health’s large, multi-disciplinary medical team.
The idea of true caring might sound old-fashioned, but nothing could be further from the truth. Wigram Health – both in Skyhawk Road and soon at the new, Lincoln practice which opens in spring – has embraced every advantage that cutting-edge medicine and its attendant technology can bestow.
However, on walking through the doors of Wigram Health in Skyhawk Road, a person could forget they were at the doctor’s. There’s plush, vibrant interior design and a dispenser of hot chocolate and other drinks in reception. It’s not a white-paint-and-steel clinical vibe; rather a personable, enveloping one.
John explains that the way forward for medicine allows people more control. It’s information-sharing rather than paternalism; not like old school general practice where the doctor is God and patients should prepare to wait an eternity before appointments.
“We understand people are busy; also that when they really need a medical investigation, time is of the essence. That’s why we see acute illness and injury patients on the same day if they call or book online before noon.”
And because the surgery is open for extended hours of 8am to 8pm, and also for reduced hours on Saturday, getting timely medical help is what routinely happens here.
“Optimal medical service is always available,” John says, and he believes this service-oriented approach to general practice underpins Wigram Health’s unprecedented success.
Having just celebrated the practice’s two-year anniversary, staff can look back at exponential growth, 7000 enrolled patients, and a continuing enrolment rate of 200 people per month.
Top patient care in Selwyn
The Lincoln practice still in its final construction phase looks likely to begin a parallel patient enrolment-rate, mirroring that at Wigram Skies.
John says the same culture of customer-service focus will be engendered in the new facility, which has been designed very carefully for all age-groups with this in mind.
“There’s a really neat, funky children’s play area, with seating in the wall and well-maintained toys, which will appeal to the young families in Lincoln. In fact around 20 percent of the Selwyn district’s population are 17 years or under,” John adds.
Patients enrolled in one of the Wigram Health practices will be able to attend the other, with no extra charge or paperwork required.
Anyone cognisant of the latest in invisible orthodontic treatment is marvelling over how life gets better.
Parents who had metal braces fitted could well feel pangs of envy over the Invisalign clear aligners their children are sporting. They’re the most modern way of straightening teeth and fixing an array of aesthetic dental conditions. Because they’re invisible, they make dental improvements no big deal.
Now OrthodontiX is joining ‘The Invisible Orthodontist’, an international industry group with members in the USA, Australia, the UK and New Zealand. The group specialises in aesthetic treatments; in other words, treatments that beautify while easing discomfort.
Dr Ronald Sluiter says in general, the trend has been away from old fashioned braces and toward the clear aligners. Invisalign aligners need to be worn 22/7. Basically that means they are worn constantly, apart from when eating and cleaning the teeth and mouth.
The latter has been a game-changer, as food doesn’t get stuck in metalwork and cleaning becomes hassle-free. For all of these reasons, wearers are enthusiastic.
Not only for teenagers, dental straightening can be investigated at any age. Dr Sluiter says that initial orthodontic consultations are always a good idea, as sometimes it’s financially more attainable for parents to opt for early-phase dental work, involving team-oriented treatments. He says children as young as nine with ‘cross-bites’ or ‘over-jets’ can be helped and a referral is never necessary.
Anybody who has borne a baby becomes aware of their pelvic floor… that structure at the ground level of the pelvis through which the baby must force its way.
For those among us whose pelvic floor functions normally, it seems irrelevant among the distractions of daily life. But to those of us whose pelvic floor is failing us (and we are many!) it can change our pattern and quality of life every day.
So, what is the pelvic floor? A great way to describe it is a funnel of muscles and tendons, attached by its brim to the inside of the pelvic bones. The anus is the spout of the funnel, and the urethra and the vagina open through the front wall. The pelvic floor is really a complex arrangement of muscles and tendons with a very rich nerve supply and a clever co-ordination system that allows it to respond appropriately to everything from sneezing or coughing to pooing and peeing.
The pelvic floor has a very important job holding in the bowel and the pelvic organs and letting out (under control) other things like urine and faeces. When the pelvic floor doesn’t work properly one of two things happen: either things fall out that shouldn’t, or things that should come out don’t…. or both!
Childbirth is by far the most common thing to cause damage to the pelvic floor. For the baby to pass through the vagina, the front of the pelvic floor must open widely. This process stretches the nerves of the pelvic floor muscles (including the anal sphincter and the bladder sphincter) so that the muscles are weaker. Forceps delivery and prolonged labour with a large baby increase the likelihood of damage. The nerves recover to a greater or lesser extent in the months after childbirth, but they may never recover completely, leading to varying degrees of difficulty with bladder and/or bowel control.
It is very common for the tendon, which holds the left and right halves of the pelvic floor muscles together between the vagina and the rectum, to become stretched or torn. This allows the rectum to fall through the pelvic floor where it causes bulging into the back wall of the vagina (rectocele). This creates a pocket which sometimes traps faeces and causes difficulty emptying the rectum. Some people find they have to support their bottom to help it empty.
A specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist can help with management of a rectocele, but if difficulty emptying the bowel becomes an ongoing problem, a specialist colorectal surgeon can repair the pelvic floor and greatly improve your bowel function.
Intus colorectal surgeons specialise in the diagnosis and management of defaecation and pelvic floor disorders and generally work in a multidisciplinary team with physiotherapists, urologists and gynaecologists to ensure that the best expertise is applied to every individual’s situation.
For more information, contact Intus on 03-977 5977 or visit www.intus.co.nz.
Just over two years ago two colleagues were on a business trip to China. The air was foggy all day and thick with pollution. “Goodness, how I miss the crisp wonderful air of Christchurch’s Port Hills,” Yang Xu lamented to his friend Gerry Walmisley. “Wouldn’t it be marvellous if we could put it in a bag and send it to China?”
A throwaway remark at the time perhaps, but these two entrepreneurs saw the merit in exploring the idea, far-fetched though it seemed. In 2016, Breathe Ezy New Zealand was formed and collecting fresh New Zealand air for export and local sale became a reality.
“We had marvellous support from the Bank of New Zealand who were on board with the concept right from our initial pitch,” Gerry says. “They could see the benefits for a range of people to be able to breathe pure, non-contaminated air.”
Using a large commercial compressor, the company collects fresh air from a range of South Island sites. It is further filtered and decanted into pressurised canisters at the company’s Christchurch base. “We have proved selling fresh air is viable. Now we are taking the business forward by introducing four new products – with additional ingredients added to clean people’s breathing systems.”
The products are Calming Air with lavender and valerian to aid sleep; Cleansing Air with natural decongestant herbs and spices; Special Edition 40 percent Oxygen and Special Edition 60 percent Oxygen. “The oxygen can help reducing stress and increase energy and alertness after strenuous activity.”
Talk with Professor Tim Anderson at the New Zealand Brain Research Institute (NZBRI) in Christcurch for five minutes and you get a real sense of his dedication to finding out more about your body’s fattest organ, the brain. You also get a feeling for his deep compassion for his patients.
Tim is the Clinical Director at the NZBRI and has been in this role since 2004 when the institute began. He was born in Christchurch and studied medicine at the University of Otago. Describing himself as “the black sheep of the family” (because his brother, father and grandfather were all radiologists), Tim became a neurologist, the branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system.
The NZBRI is the only independent brain research institution in New Zealand. It is also unique in that it is very patient-centred; “Rolls-Royce type care”, as Tim puts it. Patients are not charged.
Based in a building near Christchurch Hospital, the NZBRI is a leading international star of research undertaken by 42 staff and senior students from all over the world. Nurturing emergent researchers is of particular importance and one of its former students Dr Campbell Le Heron, now a fully-fledged neurologist, has recently returned to work here from his post at the University of Oxford.
Research at the institute covers Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s diseases; sleep-disorders, multiple sclerosis and stroke. A strong focus is on finding ways to predict who might be at risk of getting these and similar disorders, and ways to prevent them.
This research has gathered international recognition. Researchers at the NZBRI have just completed the world’s largest study of people with Parkinson’s looking at Alzheimer’s-like changes in the brain. They have also been undertaking one of the world’s largest Parkinson’s longitudinal studies, following the progression of changes in thinking and memory over 10 years.
While the NZBRI does receive funding from the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, Brain Research NZ, the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand (and has a support group called the Friends of the NZBRI), it receives no direct government funding. Research is expensive, not least because a lot of time is taken with each patient, and state of the art brain imaging with MRI and PET scans is costly. However, the outcomes of the research will be highly relevant to virtually every person in New Zealand and further afield. This research is well worth supporting and much more funding is needed.
The NZBRI is a Registered Charity. If you would like to do your brain a favour and make a donation you can do so online at www.nzbri.org. Every donation counts. If you would like to make a major donation or leave a bequest please contact email@example.com.
Some things in life are below-surface niggles. All manner of body and appearance issues can quietly eat away at our wellbeing and confidence.
In the recent past, problems like persistent pimples, wrinkles, skin tags, unwanted neck fat or unsightly veins have been viewed as unchangeable destinies. That’s where lives can take a turn for the worse.
Jenny Little, Managing Director and registered nurse at Transform Clinic, Mandeville Street wants people to know that they don’t have to put up with the bodily status quo. “We do a lot of appearance medicine work such as botox and dysport injections, but also non-invasive laser face-lifting, and administering PRP (Platelet-Rich-Plasma).”
The clinic has a great track record treating medical issues that may not be visible, but which negatively impact lives. Jenny says Transform’s clinicians have successfully laser-treated problems as wide-ranging as stress incontinence, vaginal atrophy, and snoring.
A well-respected medical destination for two decades, Transform’s clinical work has made many people contented, Jenny says. “People come in with conditions or features which can make them very unhappy and leave our building smiling. Some of our clients who visited us in the 1990s continue to return to see us to this day,” she adds.
Underpinning all of the medical and cosmetic procedures here is a strong, highly experienced professional team with a doctor, five registered nurses and two beauty therapists. Working in concert, they offer completely confidential expert advice and can treat “just about anything,” Jenny says.
For instance, fungal skin infections in toenails are successfully dealt-to by laser technology. Or if skin spots could be moles requiring a health check prior to another procedure, Transform Clinic is a sensible choice. “We do mole checking. We also remove moles, skin tags and other dermal lesions,” Jenny says.
She’d love to get a message out to younger people to start their skincare regime early and to learn at a young age which sunblocks to use, and how to use them correctly. “Sunscreen creams are not all created equal. Also, application needs to be managed properly, so we educate people on this, as it’s the best preventer of sun-damage and disease within our influence.”
Jenny says the clinic nurses and therapists continue to offer free initial half-hour consultations, which is actually a great place to start for all types of health and appearance treatment advice.
Transform clinic sees people of all ages and all skin conditions. The psychological side of such conditions is every bit as important, Jenny believes, and she loves seeing clients recover their good spirits in tandem with their physical transformations.
Granny, Granny did you hear me?” Because most hearing loss occurs gradually, it’s not always apparent to you. Family and friends notice though, repeating themselves, waiting patiently as you talk over the top of them, looking confused as you try to guess the question they asked and then respond with a pretty random answer!
At Hear Again clinics you receive free initial hearing checks. The friendly and caring team understands that caring for your hearing is not just about running some tests and sending you away with hearing aids. If you do need hearing assistance, the team takes the time to listen to your needs and lifestyle, then works with you to provide the best and most comfortable solution.
Hear Again offers free demonstrations of the latest hearing technologies and they can fit a pair of high quality European hearing devices for as little as $495, providing you are eligible for a government subsidy for hearing aids.
Owner Steve Foster says, “We can assist with your claims to ACC or Veteran’s Affairs, and if you are a Southern Cross member, we can claim directly for you using their Easy-Claim portal. Hear Again can help with the full range of ear and hearing problems, from ear wax removal using micro-suction, to advice on tinnitus and hearing protection.”
Proudly 100 percent New Zealand owned and fully independent, Hear Again promises to offer the very best unbiased advice. To give you absolute peace of mind, they offer a six-week 100 percent money-back satisfaction guarantee on all hearing aids.
“If you already have a set of hearing aids that sit unused and unloved in a drawer, or you feel your current hearing aids are not doing the job they should, we’d love to see you,” Steve says. The company will service your devices and offer batteries and accessories.
With the simple goal of making hearing care as easy as possible, Hear Again has shopping mall-based clinics in Auckland and Christchurch where you can make appointments outside of office hours if needed. If you can’t make it to the clinic, the team can even arrange to come to you in your own home.
“We look forward to helping you re-join the conversation and ‘Hear Again’,” Steve says. Book a free hearing check with Hear Again, along with a free demonstration. Visit hearagain.co.nz for details.
It is not widely understood, yet that headache or migraine can be literally a pain in the neck,” says Clare Brandrick, Director and Senior Physiotherapist at Muscle People Physiotherapy.
In the past 10 years, the understanding of the causes of headaches and migraines has evolved, and research is showing that sensitisation of the brain stem can be causing the problem.
If, like 13 percent of the population, you are affected by migraines and headaches, you’ll know they are unpredictable and extremely debilitating. They mean time off school or work, missed opportunities and difficulty in planning ahead. The powerful medications used to alleviate pain can have side effects, can even cause rebound headaches and have to be taken at the right time to be effective.
The approach at Muscle People does not involve manipulating or cracking the neck. Instead, the appropriate spinal segments are gently stressed in a smooth, sustained manner. The physiotherapists are trained in the ‘Watson Headache Approach’, a method of examining the small movements of the top three spinal segments. It is an internationally recognised approach for diagnostic accuracy and for reducing the pain of headaches and migraines. It can reduce the amount of medication taken, or remove the need for it altogether.
Clare says that patients generally come to the clinic four or five times in the first few weeks of treatment and they are shown some very simple exercises to do at home. After the first few weeks, treatment sessions are guided by how the patient is feeling. By the time they get to the clinic for the first time, patients can be at their wit’s end, but are really surprised at how quickly things can change for the better.
Migraine patient Nick says, “I have had migraines since I was about four and since I had treatment at Muscle People and doing the exercises, I haven’t had a migraine in, I don’t know how long. I know if I do my exercises I’m ok,”
Another patient Tania says, “After three months of bouncing between different physios and specialists, I found that after five minutes with Clare the problem was pretty much solved”.
Three Christchurch locations – City, Bishopdale and Wigram Skies – see people travelling from as far as Auckland and Invercargill to seek treatment. Muscle People Physiotherapy also offers the full range of physiotherapy services: acupuncture, massage therapy, physiotherapy, sports physio, functional training and corporate health and work injuries.
For more information on the migraine and headache clinics, as well as the general physio services, visit www.musclepeople.co.nz or phone
When something about looking in the mirror isn’t quite right, it’s easy to be needlessly fatalistic. However, age and sun-related problems like sagging, lines and facial deflation can be reversed in a medically sound way.
At KM Surgical, an experienced team of doctors and six registered nurses practice safe and effective facial rejuvenation.
Dr Ken Macdonald of KM Surgical at Avenue Health in Bealey Avenue cautions people about the risks and pitfalls of seeking cosmetic surgery overseas. He believes there’s general lack of knowledge about the sometimes devastating consequences of plastic-surgery tourism.
“Our focus here is on producing good, natural-looking results for our patients in a peer-reviewed, medically multi-disciplinary environment,” Dr Ken says. “We will do a procedure only if the results are going to be right for a patient for the long term,” he adds.
With specialists in slightly differing areas of expertise working side by side here, Dr Macdonald says the KM surgical team is ideally placed diagnostically. He’s been aware of patients seeking treatment for age-spots in non-medical aesthetic treatment clinics, which were actually undiagnosed melanomas.
From the novice’s viewpoint, it makes sense then, even when seeking just a lunchtime facial filler or laser procedure, to have it done safely in a purpose-built day-stay surgery facility, where there’s on-site medical supervision.
Thankfully, KM Surgical offers just about every procedure known to be aesthetically and medically beneficial, which results in natural-looking rejuvenation. The team uses minimally-invasive techniques and light sedation for all cosmetic surgical treatments, making recovery fast and ensuring safety.
With a strong interest in bringing new therapies to New Zealand, Southern Clinical Trials Group is excited about its relocation to the stylish new Forté 2 building, centrally located adjacent to the Forté Hospital at 132 Peterborough Street. This purpose-built medical facility enables the group to continue its valuable contribution to advancing medical knowledge and patient care.
In a clinical trial, human participants receive specific interventions or treatment according to the research plan or protocol. Participant safety is always paramount, Southern Clinical Trials Group Medical Director, Dr Simon Carson says.
Before conducting a clinical trial in New Zealand, approval must first be obtained from an Independent Ethics Committee. In New Zealand this is a centralised function conducted by one of the five Health and Disability Ethics committees. All the parties involved with the development and testing of the study medication must follow the study protocol, as well as a specific set of international guidelines called Good Clinical Practice (GCP). GCP puts participants’ rights, safety and welfare at the centre of the whole trial process.
All possible risks are advised beforehand and, before a clinical trial can begin for a treatment, medication, or device, it has to have already shown promising results in laboratory tests.
All trials have guidelines about who can participate and the criteria might include age, a specific medical condition and previous treatment history. For any participant in a clinical trial, the process begins with health checks from the team of health professionals, followed by specific instructions for using the treatment, medication or device.
The team monitors the participant throughout the trial. In some trials the participants can access new treatments before they are generally available. Director of Clinical Trials, Julia Mathieson, says participants are able to leave the trial at any stage before it is completed. Participants’ GPs are kept informed of their participation and any significant findings or results.
Southern Clinical Trials Group has four further privately owned clinical trial sites, so you don’t have to be Christchurch-based to participate. All are well equipped research units, staffed by experienced primary health care practitioners that have established relationships with specialists for the more complex studies.
If you are considering becoming a research volunteer, contact 03-337 1979, or you can add your name to the volunteer list online at www.sctrials.co.nz.