The Health News – 04 January 2016

Overview:
• WA Health Minister Kim Hames has confirmed the equivalent of 1,163 jobs will need to go from the South Metropolitan Health Service if the Government is to bring spending back to sustainable levels.

• A South Australian doctor’s Professor John Horowitz claims that the scaling back of cardiology services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) will put heart attack patients at risk have been rejected.

• Queensland Health is testing a Brisbane hospital’s water supply after a patient reportedly tested positive for the deadly legionella pneumophila bacteria.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 4th January 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-03/kim-hames-confirms-job-cuts-in-health/7065076

WA Health Minister Kim Hames has confirmed the equivalent of 1,163 jobs will need to go from the South Metropolitan Health Service if the Government is to bring spending back to sustainable levels.

The Government flagged significant cuts to the public health sector last year, with Premier Colin Barnett describing staffing numbers as “several hundred” above desired levels.

At the [same] time he said the problem had emerged due to the need to maintain staff at existing hospitals while Fiona Stanley Hospital was commissioned.

That sparked fears from the State Opposition that up to 1,000 jobs could be cut from health, although Dr Hames said a final figure would not be available until the middle of this year.

Last month’s mid-year economic review, which revealed a projected budged [sic] deficit of more than $3 billion for this financial year, again led to renewed speculation about the size of the looming health cuts.

Dr Hames …confirmed up to 1,163 full-time equivalent positions needed to be shed in the coming months, almost half of which would come from Royal Perth Hospital (RPH)

The Minister was unable to state exactly how many jobs would go, but said the Government would offer up to 250 voluntary redundancies in the South Metropolitan Health Service.

Affected hospitals would then need to find efficiencies to make the necessary savings.

Dr Hames said there would be no forced redundancies.

The Minister said the changes were necessary to bring WA’s health spend closer in line with the rest of the states.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-03/changes-to-adelaide-cardiology-services/7064990

A South Australian doctor’s claims that the scaling back of cardiology services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) will put heart attack patients at risk have been rejected.

QEH cardiology director Professor John Horowitz, in an op-ed article, said the downgrading of services at the Woodville South hospital under the State Government’s Transforming Health reforms would be a “waste of money on a grand scale”.

Services for heart attack patients at the QEH will be consolidated at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

In his article, published by the Sunday Mail, Professor Horowitz said when the new RAH opened it was proposed that all patients experiencing chest pain, who would currently be assessed and treated at QEH, would be taken to the new facility.

“This might involve ambulance redirection or secondary ambulance transfer from QEH,” he wrote.

He said this would lead to delays in care.

“In the case of patients with heart attacks (about 150 per year being treated at QEH at present), it will delay onset of specialist treatment by 15 to 30 minutes per case, meaning larger heart attacks and a greater chance of death,” he wrote.

However, Central Adelaide Local Health Network clinical director of medicine Chris Zeitz said the changes were about creating efficiencies and providing better care.

He said the distance between the QEH and the new RAH would be less than 10 minutes in normal traffic conditions and much less for an ambulance.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-02/brisbane-wesley-hospital-patient-positive-legionella-infection/7064152

Queensland Health is testing a Brisbane hospital’s water supply after a patient reportedly tested positive for the deadly legionella pneumophila bacteria.

The incident at the Wesley Hospital follows another incident in 2013 in which a person died after contracting legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by the bacteria.

UnitingCare Health chief operating officer Terence Seymour said the hospital’s water supplies had returned negative results for legionella over the past two years.

However, one ice machine in the patient’s ward has returned a positive result, he said.

Other patients in proximity are being closely monitored by their doctors.

He said the hospital’s ice machines were serviced regularly and filters were replaced every three months.

“As a precaution all ice machines have been disconnected, sterilised and all hoses and filters are being replaced,” Mr Seymour said.