Facebook

16 July 2014

Organising Our Sailing Medical Kit


Thank you Graphics Fairy for another great vintage image.

In addition to being First Mate and Chief Communications Officer, one of my other key responsibilities is organizing our medical kit. Before leaving New Zealand, I met with my GP to talk through what medicines we might need for our medical kit. I did a bit of research beforehand and brought a list of potential medicines with me to discuss. One of the things I discovered is that some of the medicines people listed in their medical kit lists aren't necessarily used in New Zealand or if they are, they aren't funded. I worked with my GP to get prescriptions for a number of different medicines to start us off initially. We will need to think about replenishing and adding to our kit over time. 

I thought it might be useful to share what's in our medical kit, as well as provide links to some of the resources I found useful when I started doing research. If you have any questions or want any more information, please don't hesitate to email or leave a comment. 

The New Zealand Healthcare System

I should probably start off with a little bit of an explanation of the New Zealand healthcare system for folks who aren't familiar with it. I think it is fabulous by the way, especially compared to some other systems around the world. Medical care is considered a basic right in New Zealand. This is one of the reasons why I love this country.

New Zealand has a mixed private-public health care system which works like this:


  • Accidents - Anyone who is involved in an accident is entitled to free treatment through the ACC. This applies to citizens, permanent residents and tourists. (To be fair, this does seem a bit ridiculous at times as when I cut my finger on a soup can and needed emergency treatment, the cost of my visit to the clinic was free and it really was the result of my own stupidity.) 
  • Hospital Care - If you're a citizen or permanent resident, it is all free. Yes, there can be waiting lists, but you can also choose to purchase private insurance if you want to speed things up. All the lab tests I've ever had here have been free as well.
  • Primary Care and Prescriptions - For citizens and permanent residents, you have to pay a co-payment to visit the GP and fill prescriptions. The cost of GP visits varies depending upon the practice and where it is located. For example, mine is in central Auckland and costs NZ$56 which is pricier than you might pay elsewhere. Some people are eligible for a reduction in costs (e.g., beneficiaries, people with long-term illnesses). In terms of prescriptions, medicines that are on the official government list are either free or require a NZ$5 co-payment.

To get my medical kit organized, it cost me NZ$56 for my GP visit and NZ$55 for my prescriptions. I had twelve prescriptions filled - one of which was fully funded. I did have a prescription for an Epi-Pen, but decided not to fill it as it isn't funded and would have cost me NZ$200. Neither Scott of I have severe allergies that would cause us to go into anaphylactic shock (as far as we know), so I thought it was worth the risk of not getting one. Plus, they only last a year and then you have to start all over again.


Our Medical Kit (so far)

In addition to having a basic first aid kit, here is what we have stocked up in our medical kit so far. Any thoughts and suggestions very welcome. If you can't read this and want me to email you a copy, let me know. It basically boils down to treating allergies/asthma, dealing with infections, coping with pain, sorting out tummy issues and some basic first aid things.



In addition, I also have a nine month supply of levothyroxine which I need to take every day. I'm going to have to figure out a way to get more of this when my supply runs out.

Resources

If you want to find out more about medical kits, here are some of the resources I found useful. If you have any suggestions of other links to add, please let me know.

Where There Is No Doctor - This is a free health care manual which you can download. It is used by health care workers around the world and is easy to understand from a layperson's perspective. It covers a whole range of topics including examining someone who is ill, prevention and treatment of common illnesses, and guidelines on the usage and dosages of different types of medicines. 

Dr. Mark Anderson has a comprehensive list of what you might want to include in your medical kit. He is a sailor and an MD so he probably knows what he is talking about.

S/V Estrellita talks about how they put their offshore medical kit together and provides a link to a PDF copy of their medical kit list. Their post also has links to other great resources which I've included here. 

The Monkey's Fist has a great collection of posts about health care experiences far from home.

Beth and Evans list the contents of their offshore medical kit including useful information about what prescriptions are only available in the States.

Marine Medic Courses - Scott went on a two day first aid course in New Zealand which was designed specifically for medical emergencies in a marine situation. If you're in New Zealand, this link takes you to information about the course run here, although I'm sure there are similar courses run in other parts of the world.

Commuter Cruiser has a number of useful posts about things you think about before you set off cruising, like this one about what to ask your doctor when putting together a medical kit. Commuter Cruiser is such a great resource that I've even stolen their disclaimer:
ly-used health care manual for health workers, educators, and others involved in primary health care and health promotion around the world. Current edition includes updated information on malaria, HIV, and more. - See more at: http://hesperian.org/books-and-resources/#wtnd
ly-used health care manual for health workers, educators, and others involved in primary health care and health promotion around the world. Current edition includes updated information on malaria, HIV, and more. - See more at: http://hesperian.org/books-and-resources/#wtnd

This post does NOT constitute medical advice, we are generally healthy with no health issues.  The important part of this post is to have a discussion with your doctor before you go cruising and put together a well stocked medical kit tailored to your specific needs!

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!  

8 comments:

  1. Ellen, what a great start and chart! We recently compiled ours too. Here is a few thoughts that we recently learned: 1) for very high fevers a combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen every 4/6 hours around the clock eats up a bottle very very quickly! 2) a suppository anti-emetic can be life saving. 3) you may want a laxitive if you ever need to use the OxyContin prescription 4) watch the expiration on amoxicillin-I believe it is the one antibiotic that is sensitive to its expiration date. I could be wrong though. I hope you guys never have to really use your med kit!!! But it sure is good to have one ready. Thanks for posting as we are still tweaking ours and checking out other lists has been very helpful (more than my own doctor back here in the states :( )
    Deborah sv Wrightaway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - great tips! I've really benefited from other people posting their medical kit lists, so thought I would do the same. Cheers - Ellen

      Delete
  2. Great chart! I bought four large sistema containers, and had one for cuts and burns - so I filled it with plasters, bandages, stitches, burn gel etc, one for medications, one for bulky other things - oral airways, sam splints etc, and one for general things like sunscreen, insect repellent, cotton buds etc. The Yachting NZ Cat 1 list is very comprehensive too! http://astrolabesailing.com/2014/02/21/yachting-nz-medical-stores-list/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Viki - I have my supplies in sistema containers too! They're Kiwi made aren't they? Thanks for the tip on the Cat 1 list - will check it out!

      Delete
  3. PS I listened to your sailing pod cast when driving back from skiing at the weekend - brilliant!
    Viki :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanx For your post it is very Informational
    medical kits

    ReplyDelete
  5. In addition to having a basic first aid kit, here is what we have stocked up in our medical kit so far. Any thoughts and suggestions very welcome. If you can't read this and want me to email you a copy, let me know. It basically boils down to treating allergies/asthma, dealing with infections, coping with pain, sorting out tummy issues and some basic first aid things.

    food hygiene course

    ReplyDelete

We'd LOVE to hear from you! If we're out on the water cruising, our internet access will be limited and it may take a while before we're able to respond to your comments and pay a return visit to your blog, but please know that we will once we can get connected.