The Health News – 23 May 2016

Overview:
• New robotics technology has been developed by Deakin University, in partnership with Telstra, to make the remote ultrasound possible. The developers said the system could be applied to evaluate a patient’s kidneys, liver, abdominal aorta and other blood vessels of the abdomen.

• E-cigarettes, or vaping, is set to be banned in all areas where cigarette smoking is prohibited in Victoria, under new laws to come into effect next year. Under the changes, e-cigarettes will be treated like other tobacco products and children under 18 will no longer be able to buy them.

• New South Wales paramedics have lost their battle with the State Government to maintain death and disability payouts. The Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) has ruled that the expected cost of maintaining the existing scheme was significant. The Health Services Union said some paramedics stood to lose about $500,000 worth of entitlements, leaving a maximum payout of about $123,000 available tothem.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  23rd of May 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-21/robotics-technology-brings-remote-ultrasounds-possible/7434274

Australians may soon be able to undergo an ultrasound without an operator in sight.

New robotics technology has been developed by Deakin University, in partnership with Telstra, to make the remote ultrasound possible.

The developers said the system could be applied to evaluate a patient’s kidneys, liver, abdominal aorta and other blood vessels of the abdomen.

The technology is also a potential lifeline to remote outback communities, as the patient could be up to 1,000 kilometres away from the sonographer.

Robotics technology already exists in operating theatres but this technology actually gives the operator the sense of touch, through haptics or force-feedback.

Professor Saeid Nahavandi from the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation at Deakin University is behind the development.

“As the robotic arm manoeuvres on their body, the person remotely can touch and feel,” he said.

“And also can see the ultrasound images live and can achieve a two-way communication talking to the patient and also feeling what the person is feeling.”

But there are other procedures this could potentially be a technological breakthrough.

“Just imagine that there is an outbreak of a certain disease: SARS or whatever,” Professor Nahavandi said.

“And then you need to do ultrasound of the patient. With this technology you can create a clear barrier between the person operating the machine and the patient safely.”

Professor Nahavandi said there were other applications for the technology.

“Where you want to do scanning on animals; or where a trial is being done in terms of infectious disease and so on. Again, you can use this technology,” he said.

“Where there are nuclear or biological or radiological kinds of application involved, where you want to distance humans from that object or person: again, this technology has application.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-21/e-cigarettes-to-be-included-in-smoking-bans-in-victoria/7434392

E-cigarettes, or vaping, is set to be banned in all areas where cigarette smoking is prohibited in Victoria, under new laws to come into effect next year.

Under the changes, e-cigarettes will be treated like other tobacco products and children under 18 will no longer be able to buy them.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said vaping could be a gateway to smoking for young people and the laws would give more clarity to workplaces and restaurants.

“We’re going to regulate them like they are a tobacco product and also make sure that we’re not really using e-cigarettes as a starting point for people to get a habit to then start cigarettes and then get addicted to nicotine,” she said.

“We don’t want e-cigarettes being used to glamorise smoking by people under 18.”

Ms Hennessey said while the exact health risks of vaping were not clear, about 4,000 Victorians each year die from tobacco-related illness.

“In the absence of having really clear evidence about this, we’ve decided to take a really cautious approach,” she said.

“Whilst there is some debate about whether or not e-cigarettes are useful in giving up smoking, and that’s a matter that the smoking experts are not really unified on at the moment, we don’t want e-cigarettes used to glamorise smoking.

“We want to give certainty to people who don’t know whether or not e-cigarettes should be allowed to be used in enclosed workspaces and at restaurants, people walking through airports for example with e-cigarettes.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-20/nsw-paramedics-to-lose-death-and-disability-payouts/7433596

New South Wales paramedics have lost their battle with the State Government to maintain death and disability payouts.

The Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) has ruled that the expected cost of maintaining the existing scheme was significant.

The HSU said some paramedics stood to lose about $500,000 worth of entitlements, leaving a maximum payout of about $123,000 available to them.

HSU counsellor and paramedic Terry Savage said paramedics were not asking for anything extra.

“It’s not something we were asking for, it’s something we’ve had for many years,” he said.

“If I went to work today and I was killed at work, there’s a substantially less amount that my family would have to survive on,” he said.

Mr Savage said there also needed to be more safety training and support for paramedics to help them deal with security risks.

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