The Health News – 29 May 2017

Overview:

• In an email to the Medical Staff Association seen by the ABC, a senior clinician described the opening of 10 new beds in the Royal Hobart Hospital’s emergency department (ED) as being “out of touch with reality”. Another email, from an emergency department physician, said while staff were excited about the announcement of a further 22 medical beds at the nearby Hobart Repatriation Hospital, they could not work out what else was being offered.

•  Christine Wigger from the Menzies School of Research has now visited more than 200 children who have the condition in remote areas of the NT, to trial treating the ear disease in a new way. The world-first clinical trial, in which two types of treatments are being simultaneously administered to see if they are more effective when combined, is being led by Professor Peter Morris, also from Menzies. It involves some subjects using a betadine ear wash and an oral antibiotic twice a day for 16 weeks, with the idea that the betadine would puncture the protective layer around the bacteria so the antibiotic can penetrate it.

• Professor Bernard Pearn-Rowe has been recognised with one of the AMA’s highest awards, the President’s Award. He has juggled maintaining his solo GP practice in Perth with his active roles in AMA WA medical politics, including a term as AMA WA President, and his appointment as Foundation Professor of Clinical Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  29th of May 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-28/health-minister-michael-ferguson-still-consulting-about-beds/8566914

Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson concedes the health service is only now consulting with hospital staff about new beds announced in last week’s state budget.

Specialists at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania’s largest hospital, have raised concerns about the Minister’s plan to add more emergency department beds.

In an email to the Medical Staff Association seen by the ABC, a senior clinician described the opening of 10 new beds in the Royal Hobart Hospital’s emergency department (ED) as being “out of touch with reality”.

“The Director of the ED knows nothing about it, there is no room,” the email reads.

“Is this how planning and delivering complex clinical services in the state’s tertiary hospital should be managed — by political press release?

Another email, from an emergency department physician, said while staff were excited about the announcement of a further 22 medical beds at the nearby Hobart Repatriation Hospital, they could not work out what else was being offered.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-28/new-treatment-being-trialled-to-heal-runny-ear/8541066

In a world first, Northern Territory researchers are trialling a new treatment to heal an ear disease plaguing Indigenous communities and causing lifelong disadvantage.

Tiwi Islands mother Ralma Munkara, 17, had … runny ear, as a child and now her 15-month-old baby has it too.

She grew up with pus chronically discharging from her ears caused by holes in the eardrum, which rupture from a severe ear infection.

For most children, the perforation will grow over by adulthood, and sometimes surgery is needed to close the hole, but by then the developmental damage is done, said Christine Wigger from the Menzies School of Research.

“Right from a very young age these children are actually not hearing sounds properly, not hearing words properly, so their grasp on language, their grasp on classroom education is already falling back at those critical, early times,” she said.

The current treatment, an antibiotic ear drop, is only effective for one third of patients.

Ms Wigger, a clinical research nurse, has now visited more than 200 children who have the condition in remote areas of the NT, to trial treating the illness in a new way.

The world-first clinical trial, in which two types of treatments are being simultaneously administered to see if they are more effective when combined, is being led by Professor Peter Morris, also from Menzies.

It involves some subjects using a betadine ear wash and an oral antibiotic twice a day for 16 weeks, with the idea that the betadine would puncture the protective layer around the bacteria so the antibiotic can penetrate it.

“There have been small studies done overseas [on the separate treatments] which have been promising, but the jury’s still out on whether they do actually work, so this study will be able to definitively answer that question for our population.”

Ms Munkara and her baby are both in the trial.

Researchers believe British colonisation contributed to the very high rates of the disease, which ran rampant over the following decades until it became normalised.

According to the World Health Organisation, if 4 per cent of a population have a condition, it is considered a public health emergency.

The rates of the condition in the NT are almost four times that, at 15 per cent, and in some remote communities, reach up to 70 per cent.

But the disease also affects Indigenous children in urban environments …

It is unacceptable that 15 per cent of Indigenous children in the NT are affected, Professor Morris said.

He hoped the clinical trial would determine whether the betadine and antibiotic treatment could reduce that number.

https://ama.com.au/media/dedicated-gp-advocate-wins-ama-presidents-award

A long-serving and dedicated GP, who has been a constant advocate for general practice for almost three decades, has been recognised with one of the AMA’s highest awards, the President’s Award.

Professor Bernard Pearn-Rowe has juggled maintaining his solo GP practice in Perth with his active roles in AMA WA medical politics, including a term as AMA WA President, and his appointment as Foundation Professor of Clinical Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

“Amid his many commitments, Prof Pearn-Rowe has also found the time to pen a weekly medical column in The West Australian newspaper, making him an outstanding face of the AMA in WA.”

The President’s Award may be made to a person, not necessarily a medical practitioner, who, in the eyes of the AMA President, has made an outstanding contribution toward furthering the objectives of the AMA.

Dr Gannon presented Prof Pearn-Rowe with his Award at the AMA National Conference 2017 Gala Dinner in Melbourne.

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