The Health News – 15 December 2016

Overview:
• The Royal Hobart Hospital’s (RHH) is likened to third world facilities. The Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has joined a campaign launched by the AMA and the nurses union last month, encouraging disgruntled patients to send postcards calling for more resources to the Health Minister Michael Ferguson.

• Vitamin D supplement taken by pregnant mothers could be the answer to reducing the incidence of autism as suggested by the study led by researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute. Lead author Professor John McGrath said the study found pregnant women with low vitamin D were more likely to have children with autistic traits by the age of six.

• Radiology services at Adelaide’s Lyell McEwin Hospital are being outsourced after the South Australian Government was unable to hire more public sector staff and work piled up. Radiology SA will take over from early next year, doubling the staffing for medical imaging services.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  15th of December 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/general-practitioners-resist-sending-patients-to-rhh-emergency/8120698

Staff are likening the Royal Hobart Hospital’s (RHH) emergency room to the third world and general practitioners are resisting sending patients there, according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Tasmania.

The Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has joined a campaign launched by the AMA and the nurses union last month, encouraging disgruntled patients to send postcards calling for more resources to the Health Minister Michael Ferguson.

Staff have been raising concerns for months about a choked emergency department.

Unions claim wait times are being exacerbated by the lack of flexible beds available after wards were moved into a temporary facility as part of the hospital’s redevelopment.

“The issue in the emergency department is, not infrequently, to have patients interviewed in the waiting rooms, to have patients sitting in corridors in chairs next to each other with intravenous drips in place, with no privacy at all, waiting up to 40 hours to access a bed,” said AMA Tasmania chair Dr Chris Middleton.

Dr Middleton said family doctors were also aware of the situation.

Postcards for the unions’ campaign will now be distributed in 100 general practices in southern Tasmania.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said 250 more beds would be available once the $689 million redevelopment was complete.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/autism-linked-to-lacked-of-vitamin-d-during-pregnancy-study/8115118

Could the answer to reducing the incidence of autism be as simple as pregnant women popping a vitamin D supplement?

That is the suggestion from a large study led by researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute.

An analysis of more than 4,000 blood samples from pregnant women and their children found those who were deficient in vitamin D had “significantly higher” scores on autism scales than those who had adequate vitamin D levels.

Lead author Professor John McGrath said the study found pregnant women with low vitamin D were more likely to have children with autistic traits by the age of six.

Professor McGrath said his research suggested that low vitamin D disrupts brain development.

“Vitamin D is a very safe, cheap, publicly acceptable supplement to take and reducing vitamin D deficiencies is so easy to do,” he said.

He said the finding had important implications from a public health perspective.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/lyell-mcewin-to-outsource-radiology-services/8121464

Radiology services at Adelaide’s Lyell McEwin Hospital are being outsourced after the South Australian Government was unable to hire more public sector staff and work piled up.

The ABC recently revealed the Government was looking for private radiologists to make use of the equipment available at the northern suburbs public hospital.

… SA Health confirmed all current public sector radiologists … will be relocated within the health system to let a private provider take over provision of services at the Lyell McEwin.

Radiology SA will take over from early next year, doubling the staffing for medical imaging services.

At times, the hospital has had a backlog of more than 500 medical images awaiting assessment by its radiologists.

The Government said it had been trying for some time to recruit more public sector radiologists, but health unions said the pay and conditions were not attractive.

One radiologist told the ABC the staffing crisis was “of the Government’s own making”.