The Health News – 12 May 2016

Overview:
• Another two cases of legionnaires’ disease have been reported in central Sydney, bringing the total number of patients to five in the current outbreak. Both of the new cases are men who were in theCBD at about the same time as three people who were diagnosed last week.

• The ACT Government has outlined six projects to improve Canberra Hospital’s emergency department including new specialised staff positions to streamline work flow, a medical engagement strategy, and a committee to identify and manage long-stay patients.

• Victoria state’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) there were 41,557 people on the waiting list, less than under the previous government.  Ms Hennessy said she was committed to turning around ambulance response times and told the hearing there was good early progress, but there was significant work still to be done.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  12th of May 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-11/another-two-cases-of-legionaires’-disease-in-sydney-cbd/7404262

Another two cases of legionnaires’ disease have been reported in central Sydney, bringing the total number of patients to five in the current outbreak.

Both of the new cases are men who were in theCBD at about the same time as three people who were diagnosed last week.

A woman in her 30s remains in a critical condition in hospital.

The latest outbreak is believed to have happened between April 20 and 29.

NSW Health communicable diseases director Vicky Sheppeard said the bacteria that causes the disease had been found in five cooling towers in the CBD, and they had been disinfected.

“Our teams have now inspected and tested all buildings in the area that all cases were exposed,” Dr Sheppeard said.

She said there was no ongoing risk but the investigation was continuing.

Legionnaires’ disease causes fever, chills, a cough and shortness of breath.

An earlier outbreak of legionnaires’ in March claimed the life of a man in his 80s, while seven other people made a full recovery.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-11/canberra-emergency-department-overhauled-with-efficiency-reforms/7404860

The ACT Government has introduced a number of reforms to Canberra Hospital’s emergency department in a bid to increase its efficiency and reduce wait times.

The Government has outlined six projects to improve the department, including new specialised staff positions to streamline work flow, a medical engagement strategy, and a committee to identify and manage long-stay patients.

Minister for Health Simon Corbell said the Government hoped the changes would better integrate different areas of emergency.

Mr Corbell said the changes, many of which have already been implemented, were to support other infrastructure improvements to the emergency department.

“I’m pleased to say [the reforms] are delivering results,” he

Mr Corbell said exact details about the reforms would be announced in the upcoming ACT budget.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-11/waiting-lists-for-elective-surgeries-in-victoria-going-down/7405952

Waiting lists for elective surgeries in Victoria are going down, the state’s Health Minister has told a budget estimates hearing.

Jill Hennessy told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) there were 41,557 people on the waiting list, less than under the previous government.

“We are happy that we have managed to get the trend going in the right direction around our elective surgery waiting list,” she said.

“That’s not to say people aren’t waiting too long. We’re dedicated to turning that around.

“But under the previous government that was at about 50,000 people on the elective surgery waiting list.”

Ms Hennessy said growth in the health sector presented a challenge, with emergency departments facing increased demand.

She said in the last quarter, Victorian hospitals reported a record 151,000 people visiting emergency wards.

“There has been a 35 per cent increase in the last three years,” Ms Hennessy said.

“But despite that, we have reduced the number of patients stuck in emergency for more than 24 hours.

“So we are seeing significant change and significant improvement.”

Ms Hennessy said she was committed to turning around ambulance response times and told the hearing there was good early progress, but there was significant work still to be done.