- Australia is in the grip of the worst flu outbreak on record and experts are urging people to have a flu vaccine now to prevent further spread of the disease. More than 70,000 cases of flu have been reported so far this year including a record breaking 30,000 cases last month.
- A new mental health support program has been established in New South Wales. The Connections program in Broken Hill provides opportunities for people with a mental illness to socialise with each other on weekends and some weeknights when most services are closed.
- South Australia’s new 2.3 billion dollar Royal Adelaide Hospital has treated its first patient, a 51-year-old man who received a donor kidney from his mother 6 years ago. About 170 similar low-risk patients will have appointments over the next three weeks ahead of the official opening of the hospital on September 5 when the emergency department begins operations.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
Australia is in the grip of the worst flu outbreak on record and experts are urging people to have a flu vaccine now to prevent further spread of the disease. More than seventy thousand cases of flu have been reported so far this year including a record breaking thirty thousand cases last month.“I’m confident this is not just the biggest on record but the largest flu outbreak we’ve seen for some time,” Professor Paul VanBuynder the Chairman of the Immunisation Coalition said.
The previous influenza record occurred in two thousand fifteen when more than one hundred thousand people tested positive for the flu. Flu notifications in South Australia are at a six-year high, with a total of six thousand two hundred three cases so far this year compared to just one thousand three forty seven cases at the same time last year. In all of two thousand sixteen, there were a total of seven thousand eight hundred fifty one flu notifications in South Australia.
In two thousand fifteen, the state recorded its highest number of flu cases on record, with a total of fifteen thousand six hundred fifty nine notifications. Flu vaccinations are available from pharmacies and can cost adults as little as ten dollars, children have to be vaccinated by a general practitioner where the cost should be twenty five dollars or lower. It takes ten days for the flu vaccine to work properly so doctors are urging people to act now.
Evidence shows the effectiveness of the flu vaccine begins to wane after six months. While there is no formal recommendations to give chronically ill and elderly people a booster vaccine some general practitioners vaccinate chronically ill patients twice a year.
Mental illnesses do not switch off after business hours or when services are busy, and a new program in far west New South Wales aims to cater for that. The Connections program in Broken Hill provides opportunities for people with a mental illness to socialise with each other on weekends and some weeknights when most services are closed. Eight residents with experience of a mental illness are employed as peer support workers to help others who are struggling with mental health problems. The group aims to reduce social isolation by providing friendship and guidance over outings such as shared dinners and movie marathons.
Peer support worker Jessica Silva was diagnosed with perinatal and postnatal depression after the birth of her third child about two years ago. She said the Connections program was desperately needed in Broken Hill.
The program has been organised by the Far West Local Health District, Mission Australia and mental health organisation Grow.
But despite the benefits of the program, there is recognition that the far west could do with more mental health staff and resources. Western New South Wales Primary Health Network mental health manager Jim Herbert said he accepted there were waiting lists and challenges to recruit skilled staff in regional areas. He said the network aimed to better communicate with and help provide a diverse mix of mental health services in the far west.
South Australia’s new two point three billion dollar Royal Adelaide Hospital has treated its first patient, a fifty one-year-old man who received a donor kidney from his mother six years ago.
Paul Panos was treated as an outpatient on Monday as part of his regular checks at the renal clinic. About one hundred seventy similar low-risk patients will have appointments over the next three weeks ahead of the official opening of the hospital on September five when the emergency department begins operations.
South Australian Health Minister said opening the hospital for outpatient services allowed staff to settle into the new working environment amid lower levels of activity. He said the new hospital was a “magnificent facility” that would serve South Australians for decades to come and today is another major step forward for healthcare in South Australia as we see the first outpatients walk through the doors of the new RAH.
Clinical director of renal and cancer services Graeme Russ said Paul and other outpatients had been chosen specifically.