The Health News – 1 May 2017

Overview:

• Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Jemma Falkenmire said their new campaign includes informing people who are irregular blood donors thru text where their donation went.

 A team of volunteer doctors from the United States and the United Kingdom spent the last few days on a volunteer medical mission in the camps of Lebanon with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Dr Naveed Iqbal, 38, is on his 10th volunteer medical mission with Syrian refugees, but the Manchester GP told the ABC the conditions he saw in refugee camps in Lebanon this week were the worst he had ever seen.

• Television broadcasters are under pressure to expand services that allow the blind to watch television. the commercial TV industry in Australia says a range of technical and cost issues affect the viability of the service here but campaigners argue more than 350,000 blind and vision-impaired Australians were missing out. Bruce Maguire, Vision Australia’s lead policy adviser who was born blind, said without access to television programs, people were denied the opportunity to participate in the recreational activity.

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The Health News – 28 April 2017

Overview:

• A proposal to build a cancer treatment centre on Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne, could attract more than 5,000 international patients from Asia each year. Vice chairman of the Phillip Island Medical and Health Action Group John Matthews said there are four million Chinese patients waiting to be treated for cancer that are unable to access medical services at home and are travelling the world to seek treatment elsewhere.

 The Victorian Government plans to develop a real-time monitoring system to track demand on emergency services and improve response times in case of another health emergency like last year’s thunderstorm asthma event. The Government will provide $15.56 million in the state budget for a package of measures to tackle the problem, with the monitoring system one of the key changes.

• Choity Khatun was born in a village in Bangladesh with a condition called cordial twinning, which meant she had part of a twin develop in her perineum. The Children First Foundation came across the case and brought Choity to Melbourne last year. In November… a team of eight surgeons operated on the toddler for eight hours. Professor Kimber said She’s now able to walk and run and go to the toilet, and this is going to make a big difference to her life back in Bangladesh.

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The Health News – 27 April 2017

Overview:

• Sixteen year old Billy Ellsworth, from Pennsylvania, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The teenager has been one of 12 boys in the United States on a six-year trial of Exondys 51, a drug created by two researchers in WA. Exondys 51 was developed by professors Sue Fletcher and Steve Wilton, born from an idea they had when working at the University of Western Australia.

 Whitening is a cultural trend and derives from what’s known as “colourism” — a system that privileges lighter skin. Dermatologists in Australia said they were concerned about the risks of using the products where some ingredients were not clearly disclosed or were in foreign languages.

• eSense-Lab chose the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to make its foray into global markets to take advantage of investor appetite here for new technology stocks. Attracting companies like eSense-Lab to list in Australia is part of a broader ASX push to diversity its stock offering, 40 per cent of which are resource companies.

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The Health News – 26 April 2017

Overview:

• Jason Prewett recently became the senior vice president of the Coffs Harbour RSL Sub Branch, because he wanted to help other returned service people accept the help that is available to them. Mr Prewett said while training covered services and emotional support, it was still difficult to put up his hand and talk to someone, because of the stigma around asking for help.

The chair of the SA branch of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Daniel Byrne, said there were no approved medicinal cannabis products in Australia which doctors could readily prescribe. “The South Australian Government has put in place the stepping stones, but there’s no actual product we can prescribe easily,” he said.

• Researchers believe an enzyme produced by the wax worm breaks down the plastic, which has similar chemical bonds to the beeswax in which the worms hatch and grow. “The next step is to isolate and produce this enzyme on an industrial scale,” said co-author Federica Bertocchini, an evolutionary biologist with the University of Cantabria.

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The Health News – 25 April 2017

Overview:

• Lead contamination in the new Perth Children’s Hospital’s water supply most likely came from state-managed pipes which circle the whole medical precinct, as well as the brass fittings in the worksite itself, a Building Commission audit has found. Building Commissioner Peter Gow said as far back as last September, the commission had “fairly clear proof” the ring main at the medical precinct contained lead.

 Attacks on Queensland Ambulance Service officers are on the rise with three Gold Coast paramedics either assaulted or threatened in separate incidents in as many days. United Voice delegate Brett Fournier, who represents ambulance workers, said he believed the problem was getting worse. Mr Fournier said he wanted mandatory jail sentences for anyone found guilty of assaulting paramedics.

• An Australian-based dementia village has been the talk of the town in Heathcote, central Victoria, for the past three years: now those plans are gaining national momentum, with a fundraising campaign for a feasibility study due to start. Heathcote Health chief executive Dan Douglass said the idea for the village came from a board member and had found strong support among the other members, who knew the hospital had issues managing people with dementia. He said the facilities that existed could be distressing to the patients and there were also assaults and verbal abuse by the patients to staff.

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The Health News – 24 April 2017

Overview:

• The SA Government said it was slashing red tape so medicinal cannabis could be prescribed for periods of up to two months without a state sign-off being required. Only medicinal cannabis products approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration will be covered by the change.

 The Cure for MND Foundation’s annual Big Freeze campaign, which sees footballers and celebrities slide into a big pool of icy water, raised $2.8 million towards the total amount. The money will go towards 10 research projects, including a $5-million project by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health which will use drugs to treat the stem cells of motor neurone patients.

• More than 700 public patients and hundreds more in the private system have had their privacy breached after letters from their specialists to GPs were found dumped in a Sydney bin. The correspondence dated from December and were meant to be sent out by a private transcription company, Global Transcription Services (GTS). Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was “very, very unhappy” about the situation, but an initial review suggested no public patients had been put at risk by the failure to send the letters.

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The Health News – 21 April 2017

Overview:

• The Government has accepted all six recommendations of a review of the Oakden facility by chief psychiatrist Aaron Groves, which was sparked by the alleged overdosing of former resident Bob Spriggs. The Government announced eight staff had been stood down, 21 staff had been reported to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and three incidents had been referred to police.

 On Tuesday it was revealed Central Adelaide Local Health Network interim chief executive Len Richards had quit after only two months in the job. “There is a pattern of people either leaving after a very short time or being asked to leave,” the AMA’s SA president Dr Janice Fletcher said.

• The federal Health Department has warned that the number of people likely to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme for mental health services has been underestimated by about 30,000, putting the program on track for a cost blowout of nearly $1 billion. “The number of people with a primary psychosocial disability who meet NDIS eligibility criteria may be higher than the Productivity Commission estimates predict, placing cost pressures on the scheme and the commonwealth,” the Health Department submission says.

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The Health News – 20 April 2017

Overview:

• Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Coalition was abolishing the 457 visa system, replacing it with two new classes of visa. Speaking at the opening of the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Ms Palaszczuk said although she preferred locals to fill jobs, many regional health districts relied on foreign doctors

Two months after being appointed the interim chief executive overlooking the New Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH), Len Richards has quit, despite the hospital’s opening being just weeks away.”We’re in the second month of the testing process for the new RAH, one of the biggest projects in Australian history, and to have another leader pass through the revolving door just adds another layer of risk to an already high-risk project,” Opposition health spokesperson Stephen Wade said.

• The Five Year Mental Health Youth Report released …[recently] by Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute found almost one in four 15 to 19 year olds “met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness”, rising from 18.7 per cent in 2012 to 22.8 per cent in 2016. Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans labelled the findings “alarming” and noted those with mental illness turned first to friends, followed by parents and the internet.

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The Health News – 19 April 2017

Overview:

• Australia has had a routine publicly-funded measles, mumps and rubella vaccination program for almost 50 years. It has been extremely effective. In 2014, the World Health Organisation announced that the disease was officially eliminated in Australia. While there is no longer a local strain of measles, Australia still sees the occasional case brought in from overseas, which usually leads to state health departments issuing a warning of a potential outbreak.

• The Surgical and Robotics Training Institute at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital. will have the capacity to train 400 surgeons a year and offer more public patients access to these less-invasive procedures for little or no cost. A robotics surgery symposium will be held in late June where doctors will discuss having a national register for surgeons who provide robotic treatment. The meeting will also address discretionary surgeon fees for such procedures.

• A team of doctors in Britain is to become the first in the world to modify pig organs to treat newborn babies with birth defects. Professor De Coppi previously pioneered a similarly ground breaking transplant in 2010 in which a 13-year-old boy was given a new trachea that was created from a deceased human donor using the teenager’s stem cells. Before the first patient can receive a transplant, the treatment must be approved by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

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The Health News – 18 April 2017

Overview:

• Almost a third of babies born extremely premature develop a chronic lung condition that can cause death and years of suffering. But a study from Monash University and the Monash Children’s Hospital has found a way to detect the condition at birth, which can help doctors better manage and treat the illness.

• The Victorian Government has revealed a $70-million plan to improve services for people with mental illnesses at risk of committing crimes, in an effort to prevent them from entering the justice system. The plan will see $40 million put towards expanding the Thomas Embling Hospital, a forensic facility where people with mental health issues who commit violent crimes are often sent instead of prison.

• Australian health authorities are warning the world faces a post-antibiotic era where simple childhood illnesses could again become deadly. In a strongly worded editorial in the Medical Journal of Australia, president of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, Professor Cheryl Jones, said the woman’s death “may herald a post-antibiotic era in which high-level antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is widespread, meaning that common pathogens will be untreatable”.

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