The Health News – 11 May 2017

Overview:

• The Windarring Copy Centres in the central Victorian towns of Castlemaine and Gisborne will close just before Christmas — potentially putting eight people out of work. Windarring chief executive Chris O’Connor said funding changes under the NDIS meant the businesses could no longer remain open.

In Australia in 2010 only 19.5 per cent of scripts issued by GPs used the generic term for a drug, compared with 83 per cent in the United Kingdom. The main problem with all these multiple names is the potential for confusion, especially for those most likely to use multiple medications — the elderly. As a result, patients are at risk of not understanding which medications they are taking or why they are taking them. An advisory group for Australian pharmaceuticals, well aware of the dangers this confusion can cause, promoted the use of prescribing and labelling with generic terms as far back as 2005.

• More than 50 people in the Kimberley region of Western Australia have presented to hospital with severe diarrhoea. Three children have also been airlifted to Broome Hospital to be treated for suspected rotavirus infection.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  11th of May 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-10/ndis-being-partly-blamed-for-closure-of-copy-centres/8514192

Two small communities in central Victoria are mourning the impending closure of a pair of printing companies, which employ workers with disabilities, a decision being partially blamed on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Windarring Copy Centres in the central Victorian towns of Castlemaine and Gisborne will close just before Christmas — potentially putting eight people out of work.

Windarring chief executive Chris O’Connor said funding changes under the NDIS meant the businesses could no longer remain open.

Each individual worker now has to have a separate funding plan, rather than a pool of money that goes to the business.

“We’ve got to make each area financially sustainable and currently this business isn’t sustainable,” he said.

The copy centres have been losing money for nearly a decade but Windarring has been able to subsidise their operation until now.

“We used to be able to rob Peter to pay Paul…” Mr O’Connor said, “but we can’t do that anymore”.

Windarring employs 18 people across three copy centres at Castlemaine, Gisborne and Kyneton.

The Kyneton centre, which employs 10 people, will remain open.

The company said making the decision to close the other two copy centres maximised the potential to redeploy the other affected staff before the businesses shut down in December.

Windarring expects five or six people can be redeployed to a growing waste recycling business in Bendigo, and is working with local councils and health providers to create other jobs.

But the transition to rubbish recycling will not suit everyone.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/federal-budget-2017/2017-05-10/federal-budget-2017-generic-drugs-reduce-errors-and-confusion/8513696

In Australia in 2010 only 19.5 per cent of scripts issued by GPs used the generic term for a drug, compared with 83 per cent in the United Kingdom.

Encouraging doctors to prescribe generics goes beyond economic value.

It has the potential to lead to a simplification of the language around medications, less influence on our purchasing decision by pharmaceutical marketing, and fewer medication errors by both doctors and consumers.

When we visit the GP, unless a specific reason exists, we should receive a script written with the generic term.

The generic term for a medication is the name of the active ingredient it contains.

This is the ingredient that actually does the work of controlling your asthma or reducing your risk of heart disease [for example]…

There is only one generic name for each medication. But several different brands may be available.

Which medicine name your doctor writes on you prescription — brand name or generic — can often be a lottery.

If your doctor writes a prescription for a brand name, your pharmacist may offer to substitute this for an equivalent generic drug.

So, people often leave the pharmacy with a medication name or package that bears no resemblance to the prescription.

The main problem with all these multiple names is the potential for confusion, especially for those most likely to use multiple medications — the elderly.

As a result, patients are at risk of not understanding which medications they are taking or why they are taking them.

This often leads to doubling-up of a certain drug (taking two brands of the same medication), or forgetting to take them because the name on the package doesn’t match the script.

While our own GP may have your list of medications, often we visit multiple doctors who won’t have access to these list (different GPs while on holidays, emergency departments or specialists).

If patients doesn’t know their medications, neither will doctors.

An advisory group for Australian pharmaceuticals, well aware of the dangers this confusion can cause, promoted the use of prescribing and labelling with generic terms as far back as 2005.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-10/gastro-outbreak-hits-kimberley-town/8513576

More than 50 people in the Kimberley region of Western Australia have presented to hospital with severe diarrhoea.

Three children have also been airlifted to Broome Hospital to be treated for suspected rotavirus infection.

Of the children flown to Broome for treatment, two have been released and one remains in a stable condition.

Harriet McBride from the local Aboriginal health service said they had been working hard to contain the virus.

Rotavirus can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea and life-threatening dehydration, particularly for at-risk groups including the very young, the aged, and Aboriginal children.

On average, there are two deaths in Australia each year due to rotavirus.

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