The Health News – 21 October 2016

Overview:
•  Drones, fast planes and consolidated services are part of an emerging future for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), which has opened new facilities at Adelaide Airport. RFDS chief executive John Lynch said it would have the same capability to land and take-off from dirt and gravels strips of sufficient length, “but it will give us far greater response capability for major trauma”.

• In September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed there were more than 3,000 deaths by suicide in Australia last year.
Scott Hammond, from Lifeline Broken Hill, said local welfare organisations needed to have access to specific data. Mr Hammond said a database with local statistics could help Lifeline better plan its services.

• Australian Medical Association vice-president Stephen Parnis said the body would recommend doctors raise the cost to $78 for a standard visit under 20 minutes, a $2 increase that will not be accounted for by the Medicare rebate. Dr Parnis He warned some patients may put off going to see a doctor or paying for medical care as a result of the cost increase.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  21st of October 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-20/rfds-gearing-up-for-the-21st-century/7949444

Drones, fast planes and consolidated services are part of an emerging future for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), which has opened new facilities at Adelaide Airport.

The $13 million base consolidates RFDS Central Operations’ planes, services and administration staff on the same site for the first time, the location of which will eventually become an aeromedical precinct.

The new RFDS hangar has also been built to accommodate the twin-engine jet Pilatus PC-24, a planned addition to the three current Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turbo-propeller aircraft.

RFDS chief executive John Lynch said it would have the same capability to land and take-off from dirt and gravels strips of sufficient length, “but it will give us far greater response capability for major trauma”.

“It can house up to three stretchers, which is a far advance on the two that we can currently do on the PC-12.”

The new aeromedical jet is expected to be introduced in late 2018 while the replacement of the PC-12s, at a cost of more than $50 million, is expected over the next five years.

RFDS Central Operations has been operating from Adelaide Airport since 1991 after taking over air ambulance services operated by St John Ambulance.

It conducted 3,000 patient movements in 1995 when it started employing full-time flight nurses at its Adelaide base and undertook inter-hospital transfer work.

Central Operations now transfers about 6,000 patients a year through Adelaide, incorporating Port Augusta, Alice Springs and Broken Hill operations.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-19/calls-to-address-lack-of-localised-suicide-data/7947692

The chief executive of a Lifeline service in far west New South Wales says there is no way to access data on the local suicide rate.

In September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed there were more than 3,000 deaths by suicide in Australia last year.

Scott Hammond, from Lifeline Broken Hill, said local welfare organisations needed to have access to specific data.

“Unfortunately, data is not something we are able to get our hands on,” Mr Hammond said.

Mr Hammond said a database with local statistics could help Lifeline better plan its services.

Mr Hammond said he was usually aware of most local deaths by suicide, despite the lack of hard data.

He said he had heard anecdotal evidence of a recent increase in the number of suicides in the far west.

Mr Hammond said local services needed to work together and do more to prevent suicide in the far west.

He said he has had early discussions with other local organisations about setting up a so-called suicide prevention network.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-19/ama-recommends-doctors-raise-consultation-fee-to-$78/7946028

Patients are likely to be slugged more for doctor visits from November, with the country’s peak medical body recommending an increase in fees for standard consultations.

Australian Medical Association vice-president Stephen Parnis said the body would recommend doctors raise the cost to $78 for a standard visit under 20 minutes, a $2 increase that will not be accounted for by the Medicare rebate.

The Federal Government has frozen the Medicare rebate at $37.05, and it is set to stay the same until June 30, 2020.

Dr Parnis said the freeze was putting pressure on practices that continued to bulk-bill, and called for the Government to reinstate the indexation of the Medicare rebate to inflation.

He warned some patients may put off going to see a doctor or paying for medical care as a result of the cost increase.

But Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said the only figure that mattered was the bulk-billing rate, which she said was drawn from Medicare data.