The Health News – 11 October 2016

Overview:
•  Doctors in north Queensland have developed a new plan they say could revolutionise cancer treatment in the bush, by extending access to clinical trials for cancer patients in remote areas. Dr Sabe Sabesan, an oncologist and the architect of the new national framework, gathered the support of Australia’s medical community, including the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA).

• The Weddin Shire has been unsuccessful in securing money for the Grenfell Medical Centre despite applying for a grant under the National Stronger Regions Fund in three consecutive rounds. The council has previously said Grenfell’s economy was losing more than $13 million a year because people were travelling to other towns for medical services.

• The Top End’s Lifeline service has closed after 10 years, and its chairman is blaming successive Northern Territory governing for failing to properly fund the frontline service. All calls to Lifeline will still be answered by the national phone network, but face-to-face counselling and interaction with the Darwin region community will stop.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  11th of October 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-10/clinical-trial-access-for-rural-cancer-patients/7918104

Doctors in north Queensland have developed a new plan they say could revolutionise cancer treatment in the bush, by extending access to clinical trials for cancer patients in remote areas.

The plan would be an extension of the existing telehealth model which brings treatment to remote patients.

Telehealth services deliver health services using communication technologies such as video-conferencing, enabling patients to speak to specialists without having to travel to the nearest major city.

Dr Sabe Sabesan, an oncologist and the architect of the new national framework, said that international guidelines “clearly suggest that the best treatment option for incurable cancers is clinical trials.”

Despite that, residents outside of major centres in Australia struggle to access the experimental treatments offered in clinical trials.

Dr Sabesan’s model would work like telehealth, using the primary centres’ specialists, trial coordinators and staff to help recruit, treat and manage patients up to hundreds of kilometres away.

Dr Sabesan has gathered the support of Australia’s medical community, including the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA).

Dr Mei Krishnasamy, COSA’s president, said broader access to clinical trials would mean larger study sample sizes and better outcomes.

COSA has recently published Dr Sabesan’s Australasian Tele-Trial Model.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-10/central-west-community-very-upset-after-failed-funding-bid/7917798

The Federal Government is being accused of ignoring the health needs of a small community in central west New South after it missed out on funding for a medical centre, despite years of lobbying.

The Weddin Shire has been unsuccessful in securing money for the Grenfell Medical Centre despite applying for a grant under the National Stronger Regions Fund in three consecutive rounds.

Other councils in the region have been successful in the latest round of grants, with money being committed for a saleyards expansion at Forbes and further development at the Parkes Airport.

But the Weddin Shire mayor Mark Liebich said a local medical centre was critical, as there was currently only one doctor servicing 4,000 residents.

The council has previously said Grenfell’s economy was losing more than $13 million a year because people were travelling to other towns for medical services.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-10/northern-territory’s-lifeline-service-closes-after-10-years/7916868

The Top End’s Lifeline service has closed after 10 years, and its chairman is blaming successive Northern Territory governing for failing to properly fund the frontline service.

All calls to Lifeline will still be answered by the national phone network, but face-to-face counselling and interaction with the Darwin region community will stop.

The organisation had serviced the Top End for a decade, while its predecessor, Crisis Line, had supported Territorians since the days following Cyclone Tracy.

Lifeline Top End’s chairman Andrew Warton said all avenues had been explored to fund the centre.

Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the Government was offering $200,000 to Lifeline Top End, despite the organisation saying it is not enough.

“Considering that Lifeline NT are saying that they don’t want to negotiate further we’re now negotiating with Lifeline Australia as the peak body to ensure that this service continues for Territorians,” she said.

“But I’ll make it absolutely clear Lifeline NT that $200,000 is still on the table.

Mr Warton said the centre had struggled financially over the past year, surviving on $200,000 in government money as well as fundraising in the community.

The contribution of 35 professionally-trained volunteers at Lifeline Top End will also come to an end.

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