The Health News – 24 April 2017

Overview:

• The SA Government said it was slashing red tape so medicinal cannabis could be prescribed for periods of up to two months without a state sign-off being required. Only medicinal cannabis products approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration will be covered by the change.

 The Cure for MND Foundation’s annual Big Freeze campaign, which sees footballers and celebrities slide into a big pool of icy water, raised $2.8 million towards the total amount. The money will go towards 10 research projects, including a $5-million project by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health which will use drugs to treat the stem cells of motor neurone patients.

• More than 700 public patients and hundreds more in the private system have had their privacy breached after letters from their specialists to GPs were found dumped in a Sydney bin. The correspondence dated from December and were meant to be sent out by a private transcription company, Global Transcription Services (GTS). Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was “very, very unhappy” about the situation, but an initial review suggested no public patients had been put at risk by the failure to send the letters.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  21st of April 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-23/medicinal-cannabis-prescription-south-australia/8465072

Doctors will be able to prescribe the medicinal use of cannabis without government approval in South Australia from this week.

The SA Government said it was slashing red tape so the drug could be prescribed for periods of up to two months without a state sign-off being required.

Acting Premier Kyam Maher said the change, which applies from [today]…, was made after consultation with key parties.

Only medicinal cannabis products approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration will be covered by the change.

Legislation to let farmers supply hemp for industrial uses passed State Parliament this month.

Hemp is used in the production of such things as clothes, cosmetics and building materials.

Industrial hemp is defined as containing less than 1 per cent of the psychoactive drug THC.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-22/millions-of-dollars-to-speed-up-mnd-research-neale-daniher/8463826

AFL legend and motor neurone disease (MND) patient Neale Daniher has announced a $13-million boost to help discover new treatments or a cure for the disease.

More than 2,000 Australians are living with the ultimately fatal disease that causes the nerve cells controlling movement, speech, breathing and swallowing to slowly die.

The Cure for MND Foundation raised a majority of the funds, with the help of donors including philanthropists and state and federal governments.

The foundation’s annual Big Freeze campaign, which sees footballers and celebrities slide into a big pool of icy water, raised $2.8 million towards the total amount.

The money will go towards 10 research projects, including a $5-million project by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health which will use drugs to treat the stem cells of motor neurone patients.

The Cure for MND Foundation granted $8.15 million to the other nine research projects – involving a total of 69 researchers – at institutions in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

The Victorian Government pledged $3 million towards the Florey Institute project, which will use advanced stem-cell technology to screen thousands of existing drugs for potential treatments.

The Florey Institute’s Dr Bradley Turner said it was a massive windfall for MND research.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-21/confidential-health-records-found-dumped-in-sydney-bin/8460694

More than 700 public patients and hundreds more in the private system have had their privacy breached after letters from their specialists to GPs were found dumped in a Sydney bin.

The letters were turned over to police after being discovered by a resident in an Ashfield apartment block who was putting out the bins last week.

They were follow-up letters from the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, providing services to Dubbo Cancer Clinic, Northern Cancer Institute (Frenchs Forest and St Leonards), Sharp Neurology, Southside Cancer Care Centre, Strathfield Retina Clinic and the Woolcock Institute.

The correspondence dated from December and were meant to be sent out by a private transcription company, Global Transcription Services (GTS).

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a sub-contractor of GTS, who is believed to have dumped the documents instead of stuffing them into envelopes for delivery, was a woman who had significant health problems that had “impacted on her decision-making”.

Mr Hazzard said he was “very, very unhappy” about the situation, but an initial review suggested no public patients had been put at risk by the failure to send the letters.

However eight patients at Dubbo hospital had been identified as needing to have doctor’s appointments or referrals brought forward.

“The department has treated it seriously and urgently,” Mr Hazzard said.

Mr Hazzard said any urgent referrals or treatments that were needed would have been made at the time by specialists.

The Minister said he had asked for an external review into the processes of transcription services in NSW public health facilities.

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