The Health News – 20 February 2017

• The increase in cases of meningococcal strains W and Y leads to free vaccine to all Queenslanders aged 15 to 19 under a new State Government health program..

• Kingston Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in South Australia was forced to rely upon a private donor to fix a badly leaking roof, wherein the water has been dripping through the ceilings onto the patient’s beds.

• Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s radiology staff are threatening industrial action. Angiographers said their skills were not being sufficiently recognised.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  20th of February 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

A meningococcal vaccine will be free to all Queenslanders aged 15 to 19 under a new State Government health program.

Health officials say there has been an increase in cases of meningococcal strains W and Y in Queensland.

All Year 10 students will be given the four-strain (A, C, W and Y) vaccine, while it will be available to all 15- to 19-year-olds from their GP.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said the $6-million program would run for 12 months from next school term.

Mr Dick said he wanted … the national immunisation program for meningococcal broadened.

A public hospital in country South Australia has been forced to rely upon a private donor to fix a badly leaking roof after the State Government ignored repeated requests to replace it.

David Senior from Kingston Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in the state’s south-east said the roof had been a problem for some time.

“Several years ago I saw water coming through some of the light fittings, which was bad enough, so we kicked up a fuss and got that fixed at the time,” Dr Senior said.

“It’s been dripping through the ceilings and dripping onto patient’s beds.

Country Health SA chief executive officer Maree Geraghty said at no time did the roof compromise patient care or allow water to drip on patients.

What is not in contention, however, is that a private donor paid to put a new roof on a public hospital.

Dr Senior said the cost to the private donor was about $900,000 and the Government should have picked up the bill.

“Something so basic as providing the roof over the top to keep the weather off. I mean, that’s ridiculous. That’s something the Government should be doing,” he said.

Country Health SA described the new privately-funded roof as “fantastic”.

Opposition Health spokesman Stephen Wade said the use of private generosity to fix something as fundamental as a roof was unfair on country people.

The Opposition also claimed private money had been used to fix the plumbing at Loxton hospital and air-conditioning at the Waikerie hospital in the Riverland.

South Australia has a long history of private benefactors giving to public institutions — everything from hospitals to art galleries.

The question is whether a new roof on a hospital is the most appropriate use of such generosity.

As for the identity of the generous Kingston roof donor, he wants to remain anonymous.

Radiology staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in western Adelaide are threatening industrial action, a move the hospital warns will adversely affect patients.

The QEH lost high-level vascular work, but did not gain other lower-level cases it had been promised from the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

Angiographers, who take X-rays of blood vessels and the heart, and interventional radiologists said their skills were not being sufficiently recognised.

Bernadette Mulholland from their union, the Salaried Medical Officers Association, said staff were frustrated.

“The public sector trained these people, our taxes trained these people — to see this wasted is a waste of our money,” she said.

The staff said their complaints for more than a year had fallen on deaf ears and they planned, from next month, to cut back after-hours services and imaging work for elective cardiology procedures.

Head of surgery Professor Guy Maddern said SA Health hoped to avert any industrial action.

Professor Maddern was keen that QEH staff rotate through the RAH to help maintain their skills.

The doctors’ union said it was worried for the future of public radiology services in South Australia, at a time when the SA Government revealed it was considering privatising outpatient medical imaging …

Radiology services were recently outsourced at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in the northern suburbs.

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