The Health News – 07 May 2015

Overview

  • A Victorian auditor general’s report has criticised agencies, including Victoria’s work safety watchdog, for not doing enough to protect healthcare employees from “unnecessary and preventable” violence in the workplace.
  • Allergic reactions to green uniforms worn by paramedics in South Australia is more widespread than originally thought, a union says, some nine years after the discomfort was originally reported.
  • The popularity of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, will be targeted by the South Australian Government as it establishes whether legislative and regulatory controls should be applied.



Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 7TH May 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-06/violence-against-healthcare-workers-unneccessary-and-preventable/6449516

A Victorian auditor general’s report has criticised agencies, including Victoria’s work safety watchdog, for not doing enough to protect healthcare employees from “unnecessary and preventable” violence in the workplace.

John Doyle’s report, Occupational Violence Against Healthcare Workers, examined how effectively workers within the healthcare system were being protected from violence and abuse.

The review looked at issues including incidences where paramedics and hospital workers had been attacked in drug or alcohol-fuelled aggression.

The report found employees were reluctant to report these types of incidents because it is seen as “part of the job”.

“One reason for this under-reporting is staff compassion for patients whose aggression arises from a clinical condition,” Mr Doyle’s report found.

“Staff commonly reason that the patient ‘couldn’t help it’.”

One of the report’s key recommendations was for DHHS and WorkSafe to work together to provide better guidance on the reporting and investigation of workplace violence.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-06/itchy-amublance-uniforms-widespread-in-sa/6448610

Allergic reactions to green uniforms worn by paramedics in South Australia is more widespread than originally thought, a union says, some nine years after the discomfort was originally reported.

In 2006 about 150 staff suffered allergic reactions to a batch of newly supplied green uniforms.

The uniforms were tested but the source of the problem could not be identified despite speculation it was the green dye and the uniforms were replaced.

The SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) said since January this year there had been 28 reports of potential reactions from staff about reactions to uniforms, including skin rashes.

Ambulance Employees Association secretary Phil Palmer said the issue was likely to be more widespread.

“There’s a number of people who don’t report,” he said.

“They don’t like the idea of getting on the work cover merry-go-round because that’s not a very pleasant experience and you end up on the scrap heap if you’re not careful.

Mr Palmer said he was concerned history would be repeated like last time when it “kept ballooning until somewhere near 200 people were affected”.

“At least one person had to leave some years ago because of what the uniform did to her and the impact on her whole life, so we don’t want that happening,” he said.

SAAS chief executive officer Steve Cameron said each report was being thoroughly investigated.

The SAAS said that as a precaution it was able to provide 100 per cent cotton uniforms and has done so for staff who suffered reactions.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-06/sa-government-looks-at-regulating-e-cigarettes/6447828

The popularity of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, will be targeted by the South Australian Government as it establishes whether legislative and regulatory controls should be applied.

Health Minister Jack Snelling said the battery powered devices, which can resemble cigarettes and allow users to draw a nicotine vapour into their lungs rather than smoke, have so far escaped regulatory controls.

“Legislation that bans cigarette sales to minors, smoking in enclosed areas, tobacco product promotion and tobacco product display does not apply to e-cigarettes, and the committee will look closely at this,” he said.

E-cigarettes are seen by many as a less dangerous alternative to smoking and have proved popular for long-time smokers who find it difficult to quit.

They have provoked outrage among anti-smoking lobbyists who said little was known about their long-term health impacts.

Cancer Council Australia believes that while the devices were almost certainly less harmful than smoking, they were not harmless because they could re-normalise cigarette use in young people.


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