The Health News – 26 May 2017

Overview:

• James Cook University researchers in Cairns are harnessing the molecule produced by a Thai liver parasite that can “supercharge” the healing of wounds. Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine parasitologist Michael Smout said non-healing wounds were of particular concern for diabetics and smokers. But the scientists warn it could be at least a decade before the treatment is made available to humans.

•  South Australia’s ICAC has launched a maladministration probe into the health department’s management of the Oakden mental health facility in Adelaide’s north-east. It follows a damning report released last month by the chief psychiatrist that revealed elderly dementia patients had suffered abuse and neglect in two wards and that the mistreatment went back years.

• Measures in the Hodgman Liberal Government’s fourth budget announced today include 215 nurses, 106 extra beds, 20 doctors, 115 allied and support staff, and the purchase of a second helicopter to cope with the increasing numbers of lost and injured tourists requiring rescue. The Government said it would boost the previous Labor administration’s spending on health by $658 million over four years.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  26th of May 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News – Dementia Patient Care

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-25/parasitic-worm-prevent-thousand-amputations-diabetics-research/8558410

A substance found in parasitic worms’ spit might help prevent thousands of amputations a year, scientists in north Queensland have said.

James Cook University researchers in Cairns are harnessing the molecule produced by a Thai liver parasite that can “supercharge” the healing of wounds.

Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine parasitologist Michael Smout said non-healing wounds were of particular concern for diabetics and smokers.

Dr Smout said the parasite used the molecule to keep its host healthy and prolong its own life.

“It’ll live for a decade or two, and it’s munching around your liver, and zipping up the wounds as it goes,” he said.

It is estimated about 12 Australian diabetics each day had a limb amputated because of a non-healing wound, and globally people underwent amputations every 30 seconds.

Around one in seven diabetics in Australia at some point have a non-healing wound.

The researchers have developed a cream containing the molecule that has been successfully tested on mice.

“They’re anaesthetised and wounded and kept, and then we monitor the wound closure,” Dr Smout said.

He said he hoped it could become a treatment for humans, at first applied under doctor’s supervision, but potentially as a take-home treatment.

But the scientists warn it could be at least a decade before the treatment is made available to humans.

The research has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-25/icac-to-investigate-oakden-facility/8558884

South Australia’s ICAC has launched a maladministration probe into the health department’s management of the Oakden mental health facility in Adelaide’s north-east.

It follows a damning report released last month by the chief psychiatrist that revealed elderly dementia patients had suffered abuse and neglect in two wards and that the mistreatment went back years.

The State Government has already agreed to shut down the facility and several staff have been suspended.

ICAC commissioner Bruce Lander told a parliamentary committee that he asked the Government for extra resources to investigate whether maladministration took place as well and his request was granted.

The inquiry will be held in private and will focus on what information was known by “all people in authority, from local management to executive leadership and ministers”, and if they were “aware of the conditions and sub-optimal care being delivered at the facility”.

He said there had been a “great deal of debate” in recent weeks about the report prepared by chief psychiatrist Dr Aaron Groves, with much of it focusing on what people in authority already knew about the allegations and what actions were taken.

Mr Lander said he would announce the terms of reference of the investigation within the next week, and would make a public call for people to provide information.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-25/tasmanian-budget-health-system-multi-million-dollar-injection/8557274

A “biggest ever boost” of $658 million to Tasmania’s health sector, to stem the bleeding from widespread condemnation of the system, is the centrepiece of the State Government’s budget.

Measures in the Hodgman Liberal Government’s fourth budget announced today include 215 nurses, 106 extra beds, 20 doctors, 115 allied and support staff, and the purchase of a second helicopter to cope with the increasing numbers of lost and injured tourists requiring rescue.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the Government was allocating health as a “top priority”, coming after urgent calls for more health money following repeated failures of treatment, warnings from clinicianspleas for more staffaccusations of a culture of secrecy among management, and the Tasmanian AMA branch declaring it had “no confidence” in how the system was being managed.

The Government said it would boost the previous Labor administration’s spending on health by $658 million over four years — “an increase of $1.3 billion compared to the previous Labor/Green budget (forward estimates to 2020/21),” Mr Ferguson said.

Some of the key health measures promised in today’s budget include:

  • 106 more beds and health staff “across Tasmania”, at a cost of $144.4 million. Fifty-seven of these beds have already been announced
  • Mental health services increased, at a cost of $16 million
  • A medicinal cannabis scheme, at a cost of $3.75 million, which has already been announced

The budget has allocated $388.7 million towards the ongoing RHH redevelopment …

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