The Health News – 2 November 2016

Overview:
•  Guidelines set out by the Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control state there is no limit to the number of medicinal cannabis licences that can exist but all applicants must first obtain a cannabis research licence and permit. However national president of the Australian Medical Association Doctor Michael Gannon said there was limited scope for its use in modern medicine.

• Australian medical authorities have long denied the existence of Lyme in Australia, despite growing numbers of Australians claiming to have contracted it locally. Lyme Disease Association Australia’s Sharon Whiteman said the definition of Lyme disease should be expanded to include more than one strain of Borrlia bacteria.

•  The AMA has recently launched its 2016 Safe Hours Audit, an online survey to assess the fatigue risk of the working hours of salaried doctors and doctors in training, including GP registrars. The 2016 AMA Safe Hours Audit will be a snapshot of doctors’ working hours and patterns between 31 October and 6 November. The results will be made public early next year.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  2nd of November 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-01/medicinal-marijuana-not-yet-a-cash-crop/7982002

A prominent Australian medical authority doubts medicinal marijuana will be the cash crop of the future for farmers due it’s limited “utility” in clinical medicine.

Advocates for the use of medicinal marijuana have meanwhile applauded recent Commonwealth legislative changes which now allow individuals and companies to apply and, if successful, grow limited amounts of the plant for medicinal purposes.

Guidelines set out by the Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control state there is no limit to the number of medicinal cannabis licences that can exist but all applicants must first obtain a cannabis research licence and permit.

That permit determines how much and what type of medicinal marijuana crop can be grown.

Applicants must also first be deemed “Fit and proper” and will be mandatorily excluded if convicted of a serious offence in the past 10 years.

However national president of the Australian Medical Association Doctor Michael Gannon said there was limited scope for its use in modern medicine.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-31/lyme-disease-doesn’t-exist-in-australia,-researchers-say/7979158

Thousands of Australians claim to be suffering from tick-borne Lyme disease but a new report insists there is no evidence it exists in Australia.

Researchers said there was no evidence the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease was found in local animals or ticks, and said positive test results in people who had not been overseas were likely to be false positives.

Australian medical authorities have long denied the existence of Lyme in Australia, despite growing numbers of Australians claiming to have contracted it locally.

Lyme Disease Association Australia’s Sharon Whiteman said the definition of Lyme disease should be expanded to include more than one strain of Borrlia bacteria.

ACT pathology executive director and Australian National University professor Peter Collignon and his co-author Dr Gary Lum, principal medical adviser with the Federal Health Department, said the label of “Lyme disease-like illness” had led patients to believe they could be cured by prolonged antibiotic therapy.

They warned it could be hazardous to patients and the broader community, with antibiotic resistance from prolonged and unnecessary use a major problem.

The report said while there was no evidence of Lyme, Australians did acquire unusual novel infections and some commonly recognised infections from ticks.

They acknowledged some may have illnesses caused by tick-borne bacteria that were yet to be identified.

https://ama.com.au/media/safe-working-environments-benefit-doctors-and-patients

The AMA [recently launched]… its 2016 Safe Hours Audit, an online survey to assess the fatigue risk of the working hours of salaried doctors and doctors in training, including GP registrars.

The most recent Audit, conducted in 2011, found that 53 per cent of hospital doctors were working unsafe hours at that time, with reports of continuous unbroken shifts of up to 43 hours.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that fatigue and quality medical care do not mix.

Dr Gannon said the AMA is calling on governments and health authorities to do more to ensure safe workplaces and working conditions for all health and medical professionals.

Chair of the AMA Council of Doctors in Training, Dr John Zorbas, an advanced trainee in intensive care and emergency medicine at Royal Darwin Hospital, said that fatigue endangers patient safety and can have a real impact on the health and wellbeing of doctors.

The 2016 AMA Safe Hours Audit will be a snapshot of doctors’ working hours and patterns between 31 October and 6 November. The results will be made public early next year.