The Health News – 13 March 2017

Overview:
• Health authorities said there could be a measles outbreak after a case of the illness went undetected for days in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

• About five hundred people attended a public meeting in Bega in support of orthopaedic surgeon Dr Christopher Phoon, whose contract was not renewed by the South East Regional Hospital.

• Australia now has sufficient medical graduates and medical school places to meet current and future needs, but still need  greater funding to ensure an adequate flow of fully-trained doctors, especially to rural and remote areas.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  13th of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-12/victorian-authorities-warn-of-possible-measels-outbreak-in-melb/8347588

Victoria’s health authorities are concerned there could be an outbreak of measles after a case of the illness went undetected for days in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Acting chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said a casual employee of Big W at Werribee Plaza worked for four consecutive days, primarily in the afternoons, while infectious between March 3 and March 6.

“The individual’s co-workers have already been advised of the case and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles,” he said.

“This individual did not require hospitalisation and is now recovering.

Dr Sutton said authorities were concerned that others in the community might have caught the disease.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-10/support-to-get-bega-orthopaedic-surgeon-reinstated/8344560

Members of Bega’s community have shown up in large numbers at a public meeting in support of orthopaedic surgeon Dr Christopher Phoon, whose contract was not renewed by a public hospital in south-eastern New South Wales.

Dr Phoon, the head of the South East Regional Hospital’s orthopaedic department, was given eight days notice that his employment contract would not be renewed despite scoring highly on his performance review in October.

The Southern NSW Local Health District said the decision not to renew Dr Phoon’s contract was not made lightly, citing ongoing organisational issues.

The chief surgeon’s colleague, Dr Matthew Nott, said the decision came after Dr Phoon had been pushing the health administration for a better provision of services at the hospital.

About five hundred people attended a public meeting in Bega on Thursday night, organised by Dr Nott.

“This is a bizarre situation because we all want the same outcome,” he said.

“The area health service wants to provide the best, most efficient health care for our region and we, the specialists, want to do the same.”

Dr Nott has cancelled his surgeries for the month of March in protest.

The central player in the issue, Dr Phoon, told the audience the problem was bigger than him, with one third of senior medical staff having left the hospital in the past twelve months.

Dr Nott used the public meeting to propose a community resolution calling for Dr Phoon to receive a three month extension on his contract while a full contract is negotiated.

The call received a unanimous show of hands.

South East Regional Hospital senior management has said it had unofficially discussed offering Dr Phoon a three month contract and official discussions were ongoing.

The hospital said it would not disclose the details of any new contract due to confidentiality.

https://ama.com.au/media/redistribution-medical-school-places-not-sole-solution

The AMA believes that while Australia now has sufficient medical graduates and medical school places to meet current and future needs, greater funding for prevocational and specialist training places is needed to ensure an adequate flow of fully-trained doctors, especially to rural and remote areas.

In a submission to the Department of Health, the AMA has provided strong comment on the Government’s assessment of the distribution of medical school places across the country.

Australia has seen dramatic growth in medical student numbers, with around 3,700 domestic and international students now graduating each year. This compares to 1,426 graduates per annum in 2002.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said … that Australia currently has about the right number of medical graduates and medical school places.

“Our view is consistent with workforce modelling prepared by the former Health Workforce Australia and, more recently, the Department of Health,” Dr Gannon said.

“The clear challenge for the Government is to develop programs to encourage doctors to work in under-serviced areas, including rural and remote Australia.

The AMA submission is at https://ama.com.au/submission/ama-submission-assessing-distribution-medical-school-places-australia