Today I saw some of the former refugees that arrived in New Zealand in the preceding week.
My job as the GP is to see the people with ongoing health issues, while other clinicians at the centre do the more in-depth health screening.
So today I saw a mother and her infant born with a congenital problem that affected the infant’s development. This was significant and needed to be prioritised.
I saw some off-shore vaccination records for children and scanned them into the PMS (patient management system) after getting the interpreter to translate the vaccine information into English. Our team will use that information when deciding what catch-up vaccinations are needed.
I saw a middle-aged man with diabetes and hypertension, examined him and organised baseline bloods and urine tests so next week I have prescribed medications for him.
I saw an adolescent who has allergic rhinitis and needed relief of his symptoms. I saw a woman with epilepsy and organised a trough drug level, to help me decide on the dose of her anti-epileptic medication, and educated her about the driving rules in New Zealand with regard to seizures.
I agreed to two standing orders administered by our nurses – one for paracetamol for a child with a fever and the other for laxatives for a young woman with constipation. I reviewed bloods for 25 patients that had a battery of blood tests done two days previously.
I saw some other acute cases – a man with neck pain and headaches and a child who had crushed his finger in a door and I needed to release the blood from under the nail to give him some relief from the pain.
Finally, I saw an adolescent with poor sleep and nightmares for some months who is struggling to cope with her day-to-day life and referred her to see a psychologist to learn ways to deal with her past traumatic experiences.
All the people I saw today come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and I used interpreters speaking their languages. These people have come to New Zealand as a final resettlement option because they have no possibility of returning to their own countries.
Our team has the pleasure of welcoming these former refugees to New Zealand and work hard to diagnose and improve their health issues, and pass on an electronic health record to their new primary care services as they settle around the country.
The author was an Auckland GP who contributed their story to the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners’ A Day in the Life of a Kiwi GP project to mark this year’s recent World Family Doctor Day celebration. It is republished with the permission of the College
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