The Health News – 3 June 2016

Overview:
• Laws that came into effect three years ago entitled career firefighters and some volunteers to access compensation for 12 cancers proven to be caused by exposure to carcinogens and toxins that firefighters come into contact with at a higher rate. Since then, one claim has been successful, two rejected and one is still pending.

•  St John Ambulance has taken over Apollo Health, with plans to turn its medical centres into urgent care facilities to reduce pressure on WA’s emergency departments. Chief executive Tony Ahern believed the move would help reduce pressure on emergency departments but said it was not the only solution to ambulance ramping.

• Brain scans can reveal whether someone suffers from depression and show what kind of depression they have, according to the findings, published in Psychological Medicine, that showed medical imaging techniques, commonly known as MRIs, show distinct differences in the brains of people suffering different types of depression.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  3rd of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-02/cancer-compensation-claims-by-tasmanian-firefighters-denied/7472094

Two Tasmanian firefighters with cancer have had their compensation claims denied, despite landmark legislation recognising the link between their illness and their job.

Laws that came into effect three years ago entitled career firefighters and some volunteers to access compensation for 12 cancers proven to be caused by exposure to carcinogens and toxins that firefighters come into contact with at a higher rate.

Since then, one claim has been successful, two rejected and one is still pending.

The United Firefighters Union secretary, Greg Cooper, has blamed the fire service’s insurance company for finding a loophole to avoid payouts.

“We’ve had two firefighters that have spent about $20,000 on operations to get themselves right, without any support from the insurer,” Mr Cooper said.

Despite the 2013 changes, insurance companies can still challenge a worker’s claim if a “reasonably arguable case exists concerning the liability of the employer to pay” such as a pre-existing condition or age.

In State Parliament, Opposition Leader Bryan Green questioned why the Government was making firefighters jump through hoops to get the compensation they deserved.

“Why [do] you expect them to put their lives on the line every day and refuse to look after them when they become sick?” Mr Green asked.

Fire and Emergency Management Minister Rene Hidding was not aware of any complaints and said the union did not raise the matter at a meeting last month.

He said a review in 2014 did not recommend any changes to the legislation.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-02/st-john-ambulance-takes-over-apollo-health-company-perth/7471106

St John Ambulance has taken over a Perth healthcare company, with plans to turn its medical centres into urgent care facilities to reduce pressure on WA’s emergency departments.

St John has purchased Apollo Health, which has four medical centres in Joondalup, Armadale, Cannington and Cockburn.

Chief executive Tony Ahern said St John would initially transform the Joondalup and Cockburn centres into urgent care facilities, with a plan to eventually implement the system at Armadale as well.

“What urgent care centres mean for people is that non-life threatening things like sprains and minor fractures and sports injuries, those sorts of things, people are able to be seen and be treated,” he said.

“So arrive at an urgent care centre without a booking, be seen within a reasonable time, treated there, and discharged home.

“The difference is this is a place where all of the services will be available in one place, including X-ray.

“We envisage that the centres initially will be operating from 8:00am until 10:00pm.

“The urgent care centres will be very focused on the fact patients that come … will be treated and discharged back into the care of their own GPs.”

Mr Ahern said he believed most patients would self-present to the centres, but with time the organisation would develop the capacity for paramedics to decide where to take a patient in an ambulance.

The move has been touted as the future of emergency health care, with the state’s hospitals under immense pressure to treat a growing number of patients.

Mr Ahern believed the move would help reduce pressure on emergency departments but said it was not the only solution to ambulance ramping.

David Mountain from the Australian Medical Association said doctors were concerned it would lead to confusion and put lives at risk.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-01/brain-scans-could-reveal-depression-study-shows/7468550

Brain scans can reveal whether someone suffers from depression and show what kind of depression they have, according to a breakthrough new study.

The findings, published in Psychological Medicine, showed that medical imaging techniques, commonly known as MRIs, show distinct differences in the brains of people suffering different types of depression.

Researchers conducted MRI scans on people diagnosed with depression while they watched happy and sad movies.

They discovered there were very distinct neuro-biological changes in different parts of their brains, depending on which type of depression they had.

Professor Gordon Parker of Black Dog Institute says it is a significant breakthrough.

Group leader Dr Michael Breakspear said the findings would help doctors break through the often overlapping symptoms that people with depression experience.

The joint study was carried out by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the University of New South Wales and the Black Dog Institute.

While it may still be years before the diagnostic tools are ready for more general use, Professor Parker said the findings were an important step towards more effective treatment of depression.

 

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