• The Victorian Government says it remains satisfied there is no significant health risk form Iluka’s mining operations near Horsham in the state’s south-west.
• Bacteria found in Australian ticks can cause similar symptoms to Lyme disease, but research is no closer to proving tick bites cause the controversial illness domestically, according to Professor Peter Irwin from the Perth-based Murdoch University.
• The Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley has made a visit to Tamworth, in northern New South Wales, to hear the concerns of local doctors about GP and specialist numbers and the continuing freeze on the Medicare rebate for consultations.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 1st July 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
The Victorian Government says it remains satisfied there is no significant health risk form Iluka’s mining operations near Horsham in the state’s south-west.
The Kanagulk Landcare Group said data it had gathered from monitors around the Donald mining site showed radioactive gas levels were four times the limit for public exposure.
However, Iluka said the results were flawed and the Department of Health said radon levels had been measured during the mining operations and had not been of concern.
The department said there was no significant risk to the health and safety of workers, the public or the environment.
It said the data was inconsistent with other results and had contacted the group to discuss its methodology.
Bacteria found in Australian ticks can cause similar symptoms to Lyme disease, but research is no closer to proving tick bites cause the controversial illness domestically, a researcher says.
Perth-based Murdoch University Professor Peter Irwin is heading up a national research team that has collected up to 20,000 ticks from across the country to study the bacteria they carry and their potential to cause disease.
Tick bites are a major health concern internationally and have been proven to trigger Lyme disease in some people, however the Australian breed is not thought to carry the inflammatory bacteria.
Lyme Disease is not recognised by the Australian Government, however many people have reported symptoms over the years.
Symptoms include fatigue, fever and headache. When left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and the central nervous system.
Professor Irwin said the study was in its early days, with only 196 ticks having been examined so far.
The study is being conducted by researchers from both Murdoch and Curtin universities as well as the University of Sydney.
The Federal Health Minister has made a visit to Tamworth, in northern New South Wales, to hear the concerns of local doctors about GP and specialist numbers and the continuing freeze on the Medicare rebate for consultations.
Sussan Ley yesterday spoke at a seminar about the future of general practice in regional centres, held at the Tamworth Education Centre, a campus of the University of Newcastle’s Department of Rural Health.
Clinical Dean Dr Jenny May said Tamworth has come a long way in securing more GPs, but more needs to be done.
“Our situation in terms of general practitioners in Tamworth is still tenuous, we are still having trouble attracting young GP registrars to stay here,” she said.
“It’s a work in progress and I’m certainly a lot happier than I was five years ago, when I didn’t have the same confidence that young medical students and junior doctors are coming through the system.”
She said there needs to be a focus on retaining specialists, not just GPs.
“There is a significant interdependence between rural general practitioners and specialists,” Dr May said.
“We live in an area where we have less specialists per capita and that means that our rural GPs need to do more.
Dr May said the work being done through the Tamworth Education Centre is part of the solution to the problem.
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