The Health News – 27 March 2017

Overview:
• WDr John Grygiel, a Sydney oncologist, took St Vincent’s Hospital to the Fair Work Commission claiming unfair dismissal after his employment was terminated last year due to a report that states 100 cancer patients treated by Dr Grygiel received off-protocol doses of chemotherapy, with many receiving a lower dose than recommended.

• Treatment of patients who undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) should be included in tertiary medical curricula. FGM is only practised in about 30 countries and is illegal in Australia, but may Australian women are affected by it.

• Health professionals attended the Drug Development Conference 2017 last week and explored ways to accelerate patient access to the latest cancer therapies, such as immunotherapies and targeted drugs, through early phase clinical trials.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  27th of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-24/chemotherapy-doctor-settles-unfair-dismissal-with-st-vincents/8382666

A Sydney oncologist at the centre of a chemotherapy controversy has settled an unfair dismissal case with St Vincent’s Hospital.

A 2016 report commissioned by the New South Wales Government found that more than 100 cancer patients treated by Dr John Grygiel received off-protocol doses of chemotherapy, with many receiving a lower dose than that recommended by New South Wales guidelines.

Dr Grygiel has consistently maintained that the dosage he prescribed was correct in the circumstances and that his patients suffered no negative consequences as a result. An internal St Vincent’s report found no discernible effect on patient outcomes.

A review into the controversy, led by the state’s Chief Cancer Officer Professor David Currow, found there was a failure by St Vincent’s to recognise and report incidents of off-protocol cancer treatment. Dr Grygiel said the hospital was aware of his dosing practice.

Dr Grygiel took the hospital to the Fair Work Commission claiming unfair dismissal after his employment was terminated last year.

St Vincent’s spokesman David Faktor said the two parties had reached an agreement.

https://ama.com.au/media/more-training-needed-doctors-treating-fgm-survivors

Training for doctors in how to identify and treat patients who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) should be included in tertiary medical curricula, the AMA said last week.

Releasing the AMA’s Position Statement on Female Genital Mutilation 2017, AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said that while FGM is only practised in about 30 countries, and is illegal in Australia, Australian women are affected by the practice.

“The AMA uses the term ‘female genital mutilation’, or FGM, to reflect the severity of the practice,” Dr Gannon said.

“FGM is illegal in Australia, as is taking a girl or woman overseas to undergo the procedure. Its practice is shrouded in secrecy, and collecting comprehensive data on its prevalence is difficult.

“However, surveys indicate that up to one in 10 paediatricians in Australia have treated patients who have undergone FGM, and in 2010, the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne reported that it was treating 600 to 700 women for FGM-related complications each year.

“These are only the women and girls who have sought care for their ongoing difficulties. There are significant cultural and practical barriers that may limit a survivor’s ability to seek medical help for complications.

[Dr Gannon said] “There is no medical justification for FGM, and it can have devastating, even fatal, consequences,” …

“Survivors are likely to need significant, specialised medical care in the immediate aftermath of the procedure, and in the long term, particularly during pregnancy, birth, and the immediate postnatal period.

The AMA Position Statement on Female Genital Mutilation 2017 can be read in full at https://ama.com.au/position-statement/female-genital-mutilation-2017.

The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health [held] the 2017 National Forum on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) on Friday, 24 March, in Melbourne.

https://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/drug-development-conference-2017-collaboration-is-key-to-faster-delivery-of-new-cancer-treatments

Clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers and government agencies have answered the call to pool their wisdom in order to deliver cutting-edge cancer medications to patients as quickly as possible.

The Drug Development Conference 2017 was held [last week] at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, organised by The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, a joint facility of Garvan and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. The meeting explored ways to accelerate patient access to the latest cancer therapies, such as immunotherapies and targeted drugs, through early phase clinical trials.

Biomedical discovery is currently outpacing the capacity to implement findings from research in the clinic – in other words, promising potential anti-cancer therapies are identified years before they become available to patients.

Conference convenor, Dr Anthony Joshua (Director of Oncology, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre) said that there was an urgent need to streamline the process of making new treatments accessible to patients.

Dr Joshua emphasised that collaboration is essential in order to improve patients’ access to these new medications, both within New South Wales and nationally.