• Pesticide residue left in Western Australian produce has reached unacceptable levels, and is much higher than the national standard, auditor-general Colin Murphy report has found.
• Tasmanians contemplating suicide are being refused admission to hospital or being discharged without appropriate accommodation, the Tasmanian Government has been told.
• The launch of the Federal Government’s new primary health networks has been thrown into confusion with the new organisations told they cannot use the name “primary health network” in any marketing or branding without independent legal advice.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd July 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Pesticide residue left in Western Australian produce has reached unacceptable levels, and is much higher than the national standard, an auditor-general report has found.
In two of the last three WA Department of Health food monitoring testing programs 11 per cent of local produce contained residue levels exceeding acceptable standards.
The department conducts tests for pesticide residue in local meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and grains every two years.
A similar program conducted using food samples from across Australia found less than 1 per cent breached acceptable levels.
In his report, auditor-general Colin Murphy said the department did not adequately follow up on the incidents to understand or address the causes.
When a sample exceeds accepted pesticide residue limits, the department informs the local government from where the sample originated, which then follows up the matter with the grower.
Mr Murphy said there was no other formal analysis or reporting of the results, industry was not provided any feedback and the results were not used to inform other compliance programs.
The Department of Health records higher rates because it samples produce more likely to be exposed to increased pesticide use, compared to the samples used in the national monitoring program.
Tasmanians contemplating suicide are being refused admission to hospital or being discharged without appropriate accommodation, the Tasmanian Government has been told.
A compilation of responses received by Tasmania’s Department of Health and Human Services over a six-month consultation period paints a distressing picture of the state’s mental health system.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson has described the system as “broken”.
Mr Ferguson has restated an election commitment to deliver “a 10-year plan for an integrated mental health system that provides support in the right place”.
The Government said it received 100 responses through online feedback forms and 18 submissions from community and government organisations as part of the consultation.
Mr Ferguson conceded the report on the feedback contained an array of concerns about the mental health system.
The report painted a particularly bleak picture of the mental health system’s handling of individuals at risk of suicide.
The launch of the Federal Government’s new primary health networks has been thrown into confusion with the new organisations told they cannot use the name “primary health network” in any marketing or branding without independent legal advice.
That is despite widespread use of the term “primary health network” in Government promotional material.
The health department email said until the issue was resolved, no money should be spent on signs and the production of stationery, and reports and promotional material should be minimised.
The 31 new primary health networks, worth a total of nearly $900 million, were set up to replace the dismantled Medicare Locals; their role is to work with GPs and other health providers such as hospitals to ensure improved outcomes for patients.
Acting health spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek described the transition to primary health networks as “a complete debacle”.
“This has been bungled at every step of the way. The tenders were badly delayed, then rewritten at the last minute and – even this month – many were not finalised,” she said.
“And now, 36 hours before the system is supposed to start, they can’t even use the name.”
The health department email states it is currently developing guidance for PHNs on branding and, once finalised, would provide the advice to the organisations as a matter of priority.
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