- The New South Wales Opposition is pledging to spend $40 million setting up four free walk-in medical centres staffed by nurses, if it wins the state election next month.
- One-kilogram bags of Nanna’s frozen mixed berries are being pulled off supermarket shelves across Australia because of potential hepatitis A contamination.
- Dentists are warning Australians against travelling overseas in an effort to save money, saying fixing shoddy work will end up costing more.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
The New South Wales Opposition is pledging to spend $40 million setting up four free walk-in medical centres staffed by nurses, if it wins the state election next month.
The clinics, to be based in Western Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast, are designed to treat patients with minor illnesses and injuries.
NSW Opposition spokesman Walt Secord said the centres would be similar to those in Britain and the Australian Capital Territory, and would help to relieve the pressure on hospital emergency departments.
NSW Labor said staff at the centres would not treat infants under two and an ambulance would be called for emergency cases.
“[The centres would be] for people who are generally healthy and just have a one off episode such as the flu, gastro or a cut or scrape,” said Mr Secord.
“The nurses are highly-trained professionals and this also enhances the profession of nursing.”
A statement from the NSW Labor Party said the influx of triage category four and five patients, with minor ailments such as sprained ankles, cuts and abrasions, were blowing out hospital waiting times.
It said at some hospitals, these patients accounted for a third to almost half of all presentations.
But the proposal has been slammed by Australian Medical Association NSW president Dr Saxon Smith, who said it would not relieve pressure on hospitals because the greatest number of people going to emergency wards were among the sickest of patients.
The proposal is based on a trial program in the ACT which has been running since 2010, but the AMA said an independent review of that trial had shown the policy would not work.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said there were better ways to spend the funds.
The plan by the NSW Opposition builds on NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s announcement to, if it wins the election, allow pharmacists to give flu shots.
One-kilogram bags of Nanna’s frozen mixed berries are being pulled off supermarket shelves across Australia because of potential hepatitis A contamination.
People who have bought the berries are advised not to eat them, a statement from Victorian packing company Patties Foods said.
The fruit can be returned to the place of purchase for a “full cash refund”, the company added.
The berries came from China and Chile and were packed at Patties Foods, which is based at Bairnsdale.
The warning followed notifications of hepatitis A in four adults, three in Victoria and one in New South Wales.
The company said the “voluntary recall” was in the interests of consumer safety and that the “health and wellbeing of consumers is paramount”.
It said the “full national ” recall was a precautionary measure following advice from the Victorian Health Department of potential hepatitis A contamination.
Concerned consumers can call the company on 1800 650 069.
No other Nanna’s or Patties Foods products are affected by the recall.
The frozen mixed berries are sold mainly in Woolworths, Coles and IGA supermarkets.
Hepatitis A is spread when traces of faecal matter containing the virus contaminate hands, objects, water or food.
Dentists are warning Australians against travelling overseas in an effort to save money, saying fixing shoddy work will end up costing more.
The Australian Dental Association fears people seeking cheap dental work in Asia are falling victim to underqualified, unsafe practitioners.
The association’s Leonard Crocombe said while some of the work might look good in the short term, patients were likely to have trouble in the future.
“It can be six months, 12 months after the treatment has been done, long after they’ve left the facilities and then things flare up on them,” he said.
Darwin woman Sarah Healy travelled to South East Asia in 2013 and for $2,400 had four crowns and root canal treatment.
Six months later, the problems started.
“I noticed a few months later I had discoloration around the top of my gums,” she said.
“There was a lot of infection under the teeth, in under the teeth, which kind of scared me.”
Worried about the infection, Ms Healy visited a specialist.
“He said that the teeth needed to come out, they were causing damage, so he referred me back to Dr Ong in Darwin,” she said.
Ms Healy said the treatment had ended up costing thousands of dollars more.
“It would be closer to about $6,000 to $10,000 at the moment, but I haven’t got my new teeth on yet.”
In Australia a full mouth reconstruction costs up to $35,000; in the Philippines it costs about $8,000.
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