The Health News – 6 March 2017

Overview:
• Reports from New South Wales Department of Health shows steady decline in the number of people being diagnosed with HIV.

• Children finds it hard to resist chocolates. Researchers at the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Centre of Optimisation of Medicine are developing a chocolate-based medicine which masks the bitter taste of other drugs.

• Dr Matthew Nott cancelled his list of orthopaedic surgeries in March at the new South East Regional Hospital in support of Dr. Chris Phoon whose contract has not been renewed.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  4th of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-04/hiv-rates-lowest-in-five-years-in-nsw/8324138

Figures released by the New South Wales Department of Health show a steady decline in the number of people being diagnosed with HIV.

The 2016 NSW Annual Data report shows 317 people in New South Wales were diagnosed with HIV last year.

There was also a more than 20 per cent increase in the number of people getting tested at public sexual health clinics from the year before.

Health workers said improvements in treatment and early intervention now mean people with HIV have almost the same life expectancy as someone without the infection.

Doctor Christine Selvey works in Health Protection New South Wales, and said regular testing and safe sex practices, including using condoms — particularly for gay men — were still important.

She said HIV treatment had come a long way, with the state hoping to eliminate HIV transmissions by 2020.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-03/chocolate-twist-for-bitter-tasting-childrens-medicines/8322566

Chocolate can sometimes be difficult for children to resist — and thanks to new research, it may also give chronically sick kids the chance to skip the trauma of nasty-tasting medicine.

Researchers at the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Centre of Optimisation of Medicine have teamed up to develop a chocolate-based pharmaceutical drug which masks the bitter taste of other drugs.

Paediatric aesthetician Britta Regli-von-Ungern-Sternberg said many medicines used as precursors to anaesthetics were supposed to calm sick children, but often had the opposite effect.

“We have lots of problems getting medicine into children,” she said.

“In anaesthesia, quite often children are very anxious beforehand so we give them something called a premedication. One of the most common is Midazolam, which is great but it tastes absolutely horrible.”

[Doctors]… from the University of WA combined their clinician and research skills to come up with the product in a bid to help children getting treatment.

The researchers are seeking sponsors and hope the drug could eventually be rolled out across the country and the globe.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-03/bega-hospital-left-with-one-orthopaedic-surgeon/8322442

Orthopaedic patients at the new South East Regional Hospital in Bega are in the dark about when they will be operated on, after surgeons walked away in support of their colleague whose contract has not been renewed.

After several years at the hospital, head orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chris Phoon’s contract came to an end this week, and was not renewed.

He said one the catalysts for the upheaval was due to an argument over his request to use bolt cutters he had bought from a hardware store on a patient.

The patient, David Rosseland, had broken his leg and had a large steel pin put through his ankle to stabilise it, but when it came to remove the pin, the hospital’s bolt cutters were found to be broken.

So to save the cost of transferring Mr Rosseland to Canberra, Dr Phoon bought some bolt cutters and asked for them to be sterilised — which he said was acceptable and safe.

But Dr Phoon said that was not the first time he had butted heads with the administrators.

Dr Phoon took the extraordinary step of posting his latest performance review online, to show that he had been highly regarded.

He said the recently announced independent inquiry into the decision at the South East Regional Hospital should delve deeper than just the recent case of the bolt cutters.

When Dr Matthew Nott, another surgeon at the hospital, found out Dr Phoon’s contract was not being renewed, he cancelled his orthopaedic surgery list for March.

He said he would not be going back unless Dr Phoon was reinstated.

Laurel Lloyd Jones is one of the 480 patients waiting for orthopaedic surgery at the hospital.

She said so far she had been given no advice from the hospital, apart from advising her to begin injecting herself with a pre-surgery drug.

The Southern NSW Local Health District has said that a locum would be available to perform orthopaedic surgery at the new hospital …

Until then patients due for joint replacement surgery have been told they can travel four hours away to Goulburn.