The Health News – 22 May 2017


• Tasmanian Health Service (THS) headed by Dr. David Alcorn failed to deliver its vision of improving the health and well-being of Tasmanians, according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Stuart Day.

• Parents involved in an Anti-vaccination group were warned regarding the consequences of a disease outbreak, which could be dangerous for their kids and the community.

• The AMA calls for marriage equality and to end divisive public debate over same-sex marriage.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  22nd of May 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

Tasmania’s hospital system has “decayed” over the last year, according to the state’s leading medical body.

The Tasmanian branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) says it now has “no confidence” in the way Tasmania’s health system is being been managed.

AMA president Stuart Day said the Tasmanian Health Service (THS) boss Dr David Alcorn has not delivered what is needed.

“We believe that the CEO doesn’t have the skill set or the ability to implement the vision,” he said.

Dr Day said the failures had safety implications.

The THS was established in July 2015, through the combination of the three Tasmanian health administrations in the north-west, north and south of the state.

The purpose was to deliver a single, state-wide system that would improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ website, the service’s CEO “leads a management team responsible for the delivery of health services state-wide”.

Dr Day said three things were needed to ensure a functional hospital system: high-quality staff, enough beds to meet demand, and robust organisational processes.

“There currently isn’t a structure in place that is allowing the day-to-day running of hospitals to occur — that in itself is the major failure,” he said.

Dr Day pointed to recent data, coroner’s reports, member complaints and internal indicators to illustrate his concerns.

…Dr Day said the AMA’s concerns were not being taken seriously.

Western Australia’s peak medical body has warned parents considering joining a no-vaccination playgroup advertised on social media that the consequences of a disease outbreak could be severe for their kids and the community.

A Facebook post, which was shared to a closed community site, asked parents interested in joining to get in touch.

“We have one location so far, [it said] but I’m hoping to have free playgroups going all across Perth every day of the week eventually,” the poster, pictured with two children, wrote.

“Please, no nasty comments from those whose beliefs differ from my own. Let’s all respect that we each have the right to make decisions for our own families regarding their health and welbeing (sic).” [end quote]

WA Australian Medical Association president Dr Andrew Miller said unvaccinated children who were taken to the group would be at risk, as would the wider community.

“That’s a bit like getting all the dry grass together in one spot and throwing a match in it,” he said.

“If there was an exposure to, for example, measles, then it would spread very rapidly through a large group of children.

He said people in the community including infants and those who are sick, such as cancer patients, would be vulnerable to diseases if they came into contact with the children.

The WA Health Department … issued an alert to parents to ensure any children being enrolled in school have their immunisations up to date.

The state’s childhood immunisation program currently includes immunisations against 16 vaccine-preventable diseases, including whooping cough, which claimed the life of an infant Riley Hughes in 2015.

In the statement, WA Health medical coordinator Professor Paul Effler urged parents to have their children fully immunised to protect them, and to stop the spread of preventable diseases.

… there have been 12 cases of measles, up from zero last year and just two in 2015.

There have also been two cases of rubella, whereas there were none on the same period in the previous two years.

Chicken pox and shingles cases are also up, but influenza cases are down.

The AMA is calling on the Australian Parliament to legislate for marriage equality, and to end the divisive public debate over same-sex marriage.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, urging a bipartisan approach to marriage equality.

Releasing the AMA Position Statement on Marriage Equality 2017, Dr Gannon said that excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage has significant mental and physical health consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning (LGBTIQ) Australians.

“It is the AMA’s position that it is the right of any adult and their consenting adult partner to have their relationship recognised under the Marriage Act 1961, regardless of gender.

“The lack of legal recognition can have tragic consequences in medical emergencies, as a person may not have the right to advocate for their ill or injured partner, and decision-making may be deferred to a member of the patient’s biological family instead.

“Marriage equality has been the subject of divisive political and public debate for the best part of the past decade.

“It is often forgotten that, at the core of this debate, are real people and families. It’s time to put an end to this protracted, damaging debate so that they can get on with their lives.

The AMA Position Statement on Marriage Equality 2017 is at

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