- A Sydney hospital has begun contacting hundreds of women after discovering a faulty fridge may have ruined vaccines given to new mothers.
- The Mersey Hospital in Tasmania’s north is in for another major shake-up with the State Government considering converting it into a day centre for elective surgeries.
- Up to one in six Australian chronic pain sufferers is technically breaking the law. Professor Michael Farrell, the director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, headed the study and said there was a high rate of medicinal cannabis use in Australia.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th January 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A Sydney hospital has begun contacting hundreds of women after discovering a faulty fridge may have ruined vaccines given to new mothers.
Nine newborn babies were also immunised with vaccines that may not work.
The Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital at Camperdown, in inner west Sydney, said the affected vaccines did not pose a direct health threat but their effectiveness may have been compromised.
The problem relates to patients who were on the hospital’s 8 East postnatal ward after August 2013.
RPA general manager Deborah Willcox said 570 mothers were being contacted about vaccines for diseases including diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles and mumps.
All of the affected babies were given vaccines for hepatitis B.
She said the vaccines may have been exposed to slightly higher temperatures than normal, but mothers should not be alarmed.
The hospital has set up a free clinic at Croydon Community Health Centre to provide re-vaccinations to women free of charge.
RPA director of public health Leena Gupta said she expected many women would need to be vaccinated again.
The Mersey Hospital in Tasmania’s north is in for another major shake-up with the State Government considering converting it into a day centre for elective surgeries.
But Health Minister Michael Ferguson has ruled out closing the hospital in Latrobe, near Devonport, as part of the latest overhaul of the state health system.
In the past decade the Mersey has been mooted for closure and changed ownership and operators several times.
Tim Greenaway from the Australian Medical Association said rationalising services would make sense.
“We cannot continue to attempt to provide every service in every area of Tasmania,” he said.
“We’re a state of only 500,000; a dispersed population.”
The change would be likely to be implemented when the three health organisations merge in July as part of the Government’s attempt to save $21 million.
Nursing and Midwifery Federation spokeswoman Neroli Ellis said she was supportive of the change.
But Devonport Mayor Steve Martin said any changes needed to be evidence based.
The Government would not be the first to try [to] rationalise the Mersey.
Former Labor health minister Lara Giddings tried to implement a similar proposal seven years ago when she closed the Mersey’s intensive care unit.
It sparked public outcry and a federal takeover of the hospital by then prime minister John Howard.
Up to one in six Australian chronic pain sufferers is technically breaking the law, a landmark national study has found.
The figure is from a survey involving 1,500 chronic pain sufferers conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
Professor Michael Farrell, the director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, headed the study and said there was a high rate of medicinal cannabis use in Australia.
“This is the first time we have had figures like this, so it gives us an indication of the scale, and it gives us something to think about,” he said.
Cannabis consumption is banned in most states and territories, although a clinical trial of its medicinal use will start soon in NSW.
In Tasmania, several users of medicinal cannabis, including the deputy mayor of the Break O’Day council, Hannah Rubenach, have come out publically to urge decriminalisation.
Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson backed the NSW trial but resisted calls to decriminalise medicinal cannabis use.
Denison State Greens MP Cassy O’Connor accused Mr Ferguson of being out of step with reality.
But Professor Farrell said while medicinal users of cannabis reported benefits, the supporting evidence was not clear.
In a statement, Mr Ferguson said he would like to see a collaborative approach between the states and territories on medicinal cannabis.
The Tasmanian Opposition called for medical trials as the first step in ensuring that medicinal cannabis can be prescribed by doctors.
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