The Health News Australia January 28 2018

  • A Northern Territory outreach group claims that children as young as eight are “swigging wine” on the streets and demand for alcohol support services has spiked because of a drop in bottle shop patrols. Drug and Alcohol Services Australia (DASA) operates Alice Springs’ only sobering up shelter. When the Banned Drinker Register was introduced three months ago and the Point of Sale Intervention was scaled back, the sixteen-bed facility was at capacity. In the three months since the BDR was introduced, alcohol-related assaults have increased more than 22%.
  • A clinical trial of a new immunotherapy that will deliver a “toxin bomb” to brain cancer cells was one of two UNSW medical projects to receive funding that was recently announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt at the University New South Wales. The project to treat the lethal brain cancer glioblastoma, led by Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald, will receive a grant of $1.4 million dollars under the government’s rare diseases clinical trials program.
  • The WA government needs to introduce exclusion zones around women’s health clinics as a matter of urgency, according to clinicians who say anti-abortion protesters are becoming more aggressive, spitting on and verbally abusing patients. Staff at the Marie Stopes family planning clinic in the Perth suburb of Midland told Guardian Australia that they were being targeted from the moment they drove up to the clinic. The ACT, Tasmania, Victoria and the Northern Territory are the only places with exclusion zones in place that make it illegal for protesters to stand outside of or near to women’s health services.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th of January 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-25/drop-in-bottle-shop-patrols-sparks-safety-concerns/9363266

A Northern Territory outreach group claims that children as young as eight are “swigging wine” on the streets and demand for alcohol support services has spiked because of a drop in bottle shop patrols. Drug and Alcohol Services Australia or DASA operates Alice Springs’ only sobering up shelter. When the Banned Drinker Register was introduced three months ago and the Point of Sale Intervention was scaled back, the sixteen-bed facility was at capacity.

On occasion, the service has been forced to turn clients away. Chief Executive Officer Carol Taylor said: “There is no doubt that when police are on bottle shops, our clientele reduces by sixty to eighty percent.”

Miss Taylor also said the spike in demand had resulted in newer clients, often from outside Alice Springs, coming through their doors.

In the three months since the Banned Drinker Register was introduced, alcohol-related assaults have increased more than twenty two per cent. Northern Territory Police Commander Michael White disputed suggestions it was linked to police officers not being stationed outside bottle shops.

Commander White said police officers would not be stationed outside bottle shops on a full-time basis in Alice Springs any more. The Alice Springs People’s Alcohol Action Coalition has called for the patrols to remain in place until licensed liquor inspectors had been recruited and trained.

It could be up to nine months before liquor licence inspectors will be ready to man bottle shops in Alice Springs.

https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/boost-unsw-brain-cancer-and-joint-replacement-research

A clinical trial of a new immunotherapy that will deliver a “toxin bomb” to brain cancer cells was one of two University of New South Wales medical projects to receive funding that was recently announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt at UNSW. The project to treat the lethal brain cancer glioblastoma, led by Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald, will receive a grant of one point four million dollars under the government’s rare diseases clinical trials program.
Mister Hunt said glioblastomas presented one of the “most agonising” diagnoses, because average survival time is less than fifteen months, but the UNSW research offered hope.
….
Another UNSW project, led by Professor Ian Harris, will receive nine hundred ten thousand dollars to determine the effectiveness and safety of using aspirin, compared with injections of the more expensive drug heparin, to prevent blood clots after hip and knee replacements.

Last year, the federal government established a one-off grant of thirteen million dollars to its Medical Research Future Fund’s Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs Clinical Trials Program.

In a major funding boost announced at the press conference at UNSW, Mister Hunt said that the quality and number of applications for this funding had been so high the government had decided to make it a permanent annual program. Another ten million dollars funding round for rare cancers and rare diseases with low survival rates will be held in late February.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/26/protect-us-from-anti-abortion-protesters-say-womens-clinics-in-wa

The West Australian government needs to introduce exclusion zones around women’s health clinics as a matter of urgency, according to clinicians who say anti-abortion protesters are becoming more aggressive, spitting on and verbally abusing patients. Staff at the Marie Stopes family planning clinic in the Perth suburb of Midland told Guardian Australia that they were being targeted from the moment they drove up to the clinic. Kelly Grace, a registered nurse who has worked at Marie Stopes for three years, said she had lost count of the number of distressed female patients that came into the clinic crying and distressed after encountering the protesters outside of the clinic.

Grace said she and other staff were particularly fearful in the lead up to Lent, the annual  forty-day period of Christian observance preceding Easter. Each year the number of protesters increased during Lent, Kelly said, and she said those protesters were more confrontational. Up to a dozen protesters attended the clinic each day during the Lent period, she said.

The Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and the Northern Territory are the only places with exclusion zones in place that make it illegal for protesters to stand outside of or near to women’s health services. The distance protesters must be from clinics varies according to jurisdiction.

The West Australian health minister Roger Cook has previously indicated his support for exclusion zones, but they are yet to be implemented. Guardian Australia has contacted the minister’s office for comment. The CEO of Marie Stopes Australia, Michelle Thompson, said clinic staff had reported to her that protesters were actively trying to prevent women from entering the clinic. She said police were often called but by the time they arrived, the protesters had calmed down or left.

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