In March 2014, the Ministry of Health contracted the Institute of Environmental Science and Research(external link) (ESR) to establish and facilitate the New Zealand Microbiology Network. 

Clinical microbiology laboratories play a critical and increasingly complex role in the diagnosis of infectious disease. The New Zealand Microbiology Network was convened in order to enable a timely and consistent response to issues relating to laboratory testing and to ensure regular communication between microbiology laboratories in New Zealand.

Contact the NZMN

To get in touch with the NZMN, please contact the NZMN Chair. Email NZMN

NZMN vision statement

To build national capability, optimise technical methods and collaborative processes in diagnostic and public health microbiology across New Zealand. 

Membership

 The core membership comprises:

  • A clinical microbiologist representative from each District Health Board (DHB) private and/or public laboratory interested in and supporting communicable disease microbiology testing in New Zealand;
  • A representative of the Medical Officers of Health;
  • A nominated member of Protection, Regulation and Assurance at the Ministry of Health;
  • A representative of the Ministry of Primary Industries; and
  • The Medical Director, a clinical microbiologist and surveillance representative from ESR.

Standing observers:

  • The Chair of Public Health Laboratory Network and a nominee of the Australian Department of Health.

Objectives of the NZMN

New Zealand Microbiology Network operates with the following objectives:

Collaboration

  • Establish, maintain and expand collaborative links between pathology laboratories in New Zealand.
  • Collaborate with other relevant groups and organisations in New Zealand and other countries.

Advice to Ministry of Health on public health microbiology

  • Provide advice to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Medical Officers of Health (MOsH) including on case definitions of notifiable diseases and diseases of public health importance, including, but not limited to those in the Communicable Diseases and Control Manual.
  • Provide specialist opinion, support and advice to the Ministry of Health for the investigation and management of outbreaks, epidemics and other important incidents such as imported infectious diseases and bioterrorism threats of national importance.

Advocacy and advice on clinical microbiology

  • Promote best practice in clinical and public health microbiology with the aim of improving patient care and population health.
  • To provide a discussion and advice forum for national surveillance activities and reference laboratory activities.
  • Advocate for improved nationwide access to a comprehensive range of microbiology and laboratory services for control of communicable diseases.

Capability and capacity

  • Describe and develop the capability and capacity of laboratories to respond to communicable disease outbreaks and newly emerging infectious diseases.
  • To provide a forum by which clinical microbiology information is shared across the country to enable more consistent Infection Prevention and Control in hospitals and other facilities.

Response

  • Respond to matters relating to public health microbiology, as referred to the NZMN by the Ministry of Health and to proactively address issues in need of national attention.

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