- Ten people have been admitted to hospital this month after eating wild mushrooms in various parts of New South Wales, prompting a warning from health authorities.
- The Tasmanian Government will pay private providers in Tasmania and Victoria to operate on patients who have no hope of being treated in the public system.
- The bid for more palliative care services received strong support at a meeting in Orange last night in the Central West of New South Wales.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd March 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Ten people have been admitted to hospital this month after eating wild mushrooms in various parts of New South Wales, prompting a warning from health authorities.
A recent bout of wet and humid weather has provided ideal growing conditions for wild mushrooms, including poisonous types, earlier than the usual start of the season in mid-March.
Four of the patients treated in hospital were from the Blue Mountains, two from western Sydney, three from the central coast and one in the Illawarra region.
Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
“In some cases the onset of symptoms could be quite rapid and if you’re getting symptoms … then it’s important to go to the emergency department and get it checked out,” fungi expert and Royal Botanic Gardens deputy executive director Brett Summerell said.
Two years ago, two Chinese tourists died after eating death cap mushroom in their meal in Canberra.
Dr Summerell said it was important foreign tourists were aware of the dangers of eating wild mushrooms in Australia.
“While they may be comfortable picking mushrooms in their home country, our species can be quite different and the consequences of eating them can be quite drastic,” he said.
The mushroom season is expected to continue over the next few months.
NSW Health also urged people to avoid picking and eating wild mushrooms unless they had expert skills in distinguishing species.
The Tasmanian Government will pay private providers in Tasmania and Victoria to operate on patients who have no hope of being treated in the public system.
A panel of private and public providers was being established by the Government to allow Tasmanian patients who have waiting up to 10 years for elective surgery to get treated interstate.
Expected to begin in June, the five-year panel could oversee hundreds of patients being flown out of Tasmania for treatment.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the Government was committed to clearing Tasmania’s lengthy wait lists.
“In Tasmania, we have a completely unacceptable situation where people have waited for up to 10 years for elective surgery,” he said.
The panel’s formation was part of a $26 million deal struck between the Tasmanian Government and the Commonwealth in August.
Mr Ferguson said it would be impossible to spend that in the state’s already stretched system and other states provided extra options.
“It is expected that the establishment of a panel of elective surgery providers will provide the capacity to undertake significant volumes of surgery, well beyond what can be achieved in our public hospitals,” he said.
He would not put a figure on how many extra surgeries would be conducted.
“The whole purpose of this future release of the tender is to gain interest from private providers, not just in Victoria, in Tasmania as well, so that we know what procedures can be done and at what cost,” he said.
“Naturally we’re looking at the best deal for Tasmanian taxpayers and we’re looking for good health outcomes for Tasmanians.”
At the same time, the Government was increasing the number of surgeries purchased from the private system for public patients.
“At the moment, we’ve got more money than we’re able to spend and we want to make sure that patients are not waiting longer than they have to just because our elective surgery theatres are at capacity,” Mr Ferguson said.
“It’s a maturity of the health system because it is foolish in some cases for Tasmania to try to provide some procedures that actually we simply don’t have the capability of performing.”
The bid for more palliative care services received strong support at a meeting in Orange … in the Central West of New South Wales.
Former palliative care practitiioner Yvonne McMaster spoke at a packed meeting to discuss the issue.
She is the person behind the Push for Palliative care campaign for more services in rural and regional New South Wales.
Dr McMaster says the meeting attracted plenty of passionate people.
“The interest was massive,” she said.
“The hall was packed to the walls and the doors.
“150 people signed the register but I think there were more beside and the audience was absolutely rapt.”
Dr McMaster said many people agreed to join the Central West campaign for better services.
“… they called for peope to join their group and 45 people registered to join Push for Palliative to become part of an active group within the Orange community,” Dr McMaster said.
She said the region was like many areas outside urban Australia where thousands of people were unable to receive palliative care when they were very sick and needed attention.
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