This new, regular podcast from NPS MedicineWise helps health professionals stay up to date with the latest evidence for medicines, tests and treatments, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosted by a rotating group of interviewers including our CEO and pharmacist, Adj A/Prof Steve Morris, and GP and NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr. Anna Samecki, we’ll wade through the reams of information – and sometimes misinformation – to provide answers from trusted sources for all of your quality use of medicines questions.

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Episode 16: Mental health for health professionals

In this episode Dr Anna Samecki talks with Melissa Black, a clinical psychologist from the Black Dog Institute. They discuss why it’s important for healthcare workers to proactively look after their own mental health, when to seek professional help, some simple ways to manage stress, and some of the resources available including The Essential Network (TEN), an e-health hub for healthcare workers. 


Further reading:
The Black Dog Institute: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
TEN - The Essential Network for Health Professionals: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/ten/
If you need crisis support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Episode 15: Cancer testing during the pandemic

In the early phase of the pandemic, cancer testing rates fell significantly. In this episode Steve Morris speaks with Professor Dororthy Keefe, CEO of Cancer Australia, about the rates of cancer testing during the pandemic and the potential follow-on effects of this. 


Further reading:

Cancer Australia Website: canceraustralia.gov.au

Cancer Won’t Wait Campaign: canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-wont-wait

Episode 14: Managing diabetes during COVID-19

In this episode Steve Morris talks to Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia, about the biggest challenges facing people with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic, why diabetes is a ‘pandemic within a pandemic’, feedback from consumers about telehealth, and the importance of addressing mental health.


Further reading

Diabetes Australia: www.diabetesaustralia.com.au

National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS): www.ndss.com.au

RACGP - Management of type 2 diabetes: A handbook for general practice: www.racgp.org.au/clinical-resources/clinical-guidelines/key-racgp-guidelines/view-all-racgp-guidelines/diabetes/introduction

Heads up on diabetes – National Diabetes Week 2020: headsupdiabetes.com.au

Episode 13: Talking about medicines in culturally and linguistically diverse communities

In this episode NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and GP Dr Anna Samecki talks with Veronica Nou, a community pharmacist working in western Sydney and recipient of a 2020 NSW Humanitarian Award.

This week (7-11 September 2020) is NSW Multicultural Health Week, with a focus on health literacy and the safe use of medicines. In this podcast, Anna and Veronica discuss some of the health issues experienced by culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and some practical ways health professionals can help improve medicines literacy and communications, especially among vulnerable populations.

Further reading:

NSW Multicultural Health Week: www.multiculturalhealthweek.com/

Ethnolink: COVID-19 translated resources www.ethnolink.com.au/covid-19-coronavirus-translated-resources/

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National): www.tisnational.gov.au/

NPS MedicineWise: Download the NPS MedicineWise Medicines List in English and 10 additional community languages www.nps.org.au/medicineslist

NPS MedicineWise: Links to COVID-19 information translated into community languages www.nps.org.au/COVID-19-in-language

Episode 12: An insight into the national COVID-19 response

In this episode NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris is joined by Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health.

They discuss the role of the Department of Health’s National Incident Room and the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, the challenges of managing chronic disease during this pandemic - particularly in vulnerable populations, and some the ways health professionals are ensuring continuity of care and access to medicines to patients in this rapidly changing environment.

Further reading

National Incident Room: www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-incident-room

National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce: covid19evidence.net.au

Episode 11: Are you Choosing Wisely during the pandemic?

In this episode, Steve Morris speaks with Dr Simon Judkins, an emergency physician working in Victoria at one of the Choosing Wisely Australia Champion Health Service hospitals. They discuss how the Choosing Wisely principles, particularly around resource stewardship and the importance of conversations about what care is necessary, have been relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also look at how new pandemic guidance from Choosing Wisely Australia will help health professionals and consumers navigate the current environment.

Further reading
Choosing Wisely principles: www.choosingwisely.org.au/what-is-choosing-wisely-australia

Choosing Wisely pandemic guidance for health professionals: www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/health-professionals/choosing-wisely-australia-pandemic-guidance

Choosing Wisely pandemic guidance for consumers: www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers-and-carers/choosing-wisely-australia-pandemic-guidance

5 questions to ask - for consumers to use to start a conversation with their doctor or other healthcare provider about what matters to them and their health, available in English and 12 additional languages: www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers-and-carers/5-questions-to-ask-your-doctor-or-other-healthcare-provider-before-you-get-any-test-treatment-or-procedure

Becoming a Choosing Wisely Australia Champion Health Service: www.choosingwisely.org.au/health-services

Episode 10: Shining a light on vitamin D

There has been some recent buzz around vitamin D supplements and their role in preventing or even treating COVID-19.

In this episode, NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and GP Dr Anna Samecki talks to NPS MedicineWise senior clinical program officer and pharmacist Rawa Osman to discuss whether or not vitamin D supplements may protect people with COVID-19 from more serious health complications, possible indirect links between vitamin D deficiency and poorer outcomes for people with COVID-19, and quality use of testing principles when it comes to vitamin D.


Further reading:

NPS MedicineWise has a new article for consumers on vitamin D and COVID-19: www.nps.org.au/news/vitamin-d-and-covid-19

Episode 9: The PSA and COVID-19

In this episode, Steve Morris speaks with Chris Freeman, National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) about how pharmacists have responded and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, navigated medicines access challenges and enabled continuity of care, and the importance of taking care of their own health and wellbeing.

Further reading

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) information for pharmacists: www.psa.org.au/coronavirus/

NPS MedicineWise COVID-19 information hub: www.nps.org.au/coronavirus

Episode 8: COVID-19 and the TGA

In this episode, NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris speaks with the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) John Skerritt about how the TGA is supporting clinicians and consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They discuss some of the unique challenges the TGA has faced and the way it has adapted to these, along with innovations that should be continued beyond the pandemic period.

Further reading:


The Therapeutic Goods Administration: www.TGA.gov.au

The refreshed NPS MedicineWise COVID-19 information hub: www.nps.org.au/coronavirus