The Health News – 3 May 2016

Overview:
• Australian National University researcher Professor Emily Banks found that More than 1 million Australians at high risk of a heart attack or stroke are not being prescribed lifesaving medications.

• At least 200 children suffering chronic pain with juvenile arthritis in the Northern Territory do not have direct access to specialised doctors for treatment, was discussed at the Australian Rheumatology Association Conference in Darwin Juvenile arthritis refers to inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis and is often caused by auto-immune conditions.

• South Australia could miss out on a renal dialysis centre for Ernabella in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and $1.7 million of federal funding, a non-profit organisation has warned a parliamentary hearing in Adelaide.

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

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-02/heart-attack-stroke-risks-ignored-australians-miss-medicine/7372030

More than 1 million Australians at high risk of a heart attack or stroke are not being prescribed lifesaving medications, a new study has found.

Australian National University researcher Professor Emily Banks reviewed Australians aged 45 to 74 who were at high risk of a heart attack for the study.

“Tens of thousands of Australian lives could be saved if people aged 45 and older had a risk assessment, and if those at high risk took a mixture of blood pressure-lowering and cholesterol-lowering medications,” she said.

The study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, was the first to quantify the risk of cardiovascular disease in Australia.

“Twenty per cent of the population aged 45 to 74, or 1.4 million Australians, had a high risk of heart attack or stroke in the next five years,” Professor Banks said.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia.

Dr Clara Chow from the George Institute for Global Health said a paradigm change was needed to ensure patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease were prescribed medications.

Australia’s leading heart health group, the Heart Foundation, said the study’s findings were a “wake-up call” for the community and doctors.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes said people concerned about their risk of cardiovascular disease can find resources on the MedicineWise website.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-02/young-people-in-nt-struggling-with-athritis-and-pain/7376738

At least 200 children suffering chronic pain with juvenile arthritis in the Northern Territory do not have direct access to specialised doctors for treatment, a medical conference has been told.

Juvenile arthritis refers to inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis and is often caused by auto-immune conditions.

It affects up to 6,000 children across Australia, 200 of which live in the NT where there are no specialist paediatric rheumatologists to treat them.

Doctor Davinder Singh-Grewal, a paediatric rheumatologist at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Westmead, said the disease was more common than diabetes or cystic fibrosis in children.

It is one of the main issues being discussed at the Australian Rheumatology Association Conference in Darwin this week.

Dr Singh-Grewal said the lack of recognition about the disease meant there was too much of a delay between a child exhibiting the first symptoms of the disease and getting diagnosed and treated for it, which can lead to further health complications in the long term.

He said the remoteness and lack of specialised healthcare in the Territory exacerbated this problem.

Rheumatology specialist Professor Lyn March said children and adults in the Territory were missing out on the new and improved immune-suppression drug treatments that could make a big difference.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-02/dialysis-ernabella-federal-funding/7377572

South Australia could miss out on a renal dialysis centre for Ernabella in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and $1.7 million of federal funding, a non-profit organisation has warned a parliamentary hearing in Adelaide.

Last July, the Federal Government pledged $9 million to the Alice Springs-based non-profit Western Desert Dialysis (WDD) to set up clinics in central Australia, including $1.7 million for a centre for Ernabella.

WDD chief executive Sarah Brown told the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee of the SA Parliament the organisation had years of dialysis centres experience in remote communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“When we have dialysis in the community, it significantly changes the impact of this disease,” she said.

“Patients work with us to prepare for their trips home, have a reason to adhere to treatment schedules [and] attendance at dialysis out bush is 100 per cent. This compares to around 70 per cent attendance on dialysis in Alice Springs.”

At Ernabella, the promised federal funds would house two nurses and provide a four-chair dialysis centre but the South Australian Government would need to meet service delivery costs.

Construction is about to begin for two new clinics in the Northern Territory but the SA Government has failed to back the Ernabella proposal.

Ms Brown told the parliamentary committee SA faced a cost of $560 per dialysis treatment when someone from the APY Lands was treated in Alice Springs, but the organisation would be charging $500 per treatment when they were done within the community.

She said patient outcomes were better at community-based facilities and that could mean even more savings for taxpayers.

 

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