- A new World Health Organisation report claims that cancer has usurped heart disease as Australia’s deadliest illness. The World Cancer report found that 8.2 million people, including 40,000 Australians, died from cancer in 2012.
- The new CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service South-Eastern section, Greg Sam, says collaboration is key to improving healthcare in the region.
- The number of serious medical errors made each year in Australian hospitals has increased from 87 to 107 over the past 12 months. The report from the Productivity Commission included 34 in-patient suicides, 35 medical instruments left inside patients, and 4 cases of the wrong patient or body part being operated on resulting in permanent injury or death.
Health News on HPR.
Cancer now biggest killer in Australia, ahead of heart disease: WHO report – by Sophie Scott and Alison Brandley
A new World Health Organisation report claims that cancer has usurped heart disease as Australia’s deadliest illness. The World Cancer report found that 8.2 million people, including 40,000 Australians, died from cancer in 2012. The last world report was released 6 years prior and this is the first broad-scale update since then. It also claimed that in 2011, there was 7.87 million cancer deaths compared to just over 7 million from heart disease. Throughout the western world the rise in cancer instances has been attributed to increased testing and an ageing population. Lifestyle has also been noted as a key factor, as cancer was more prevalent in nations whose populations had sedentary lifestyles and poor diets, as well as high rates of smoking. Australia is highlighted as an at-risk nation due to a combination of poor diet, lack of exercise and high alcohol consumption in adults. Terry Slevin of the Cancer Council Australia said “About 5 per cent of all cancers is due to alcohol consumption – that’s an important part of the preventable cancer story. Let’s make no bones about it, alcohol is a class one known carcinogen, it’s listed by the World Health Organisation as such.” Just 1 alcoholic drink per day can increase risk of breast cancer in women, and for men, 2 daily drinks increases their risk of tumours. Breast cancer was the biggest killer of women globally in 2011, while for men it was lung cancer. An estimated $1 trillion is spent on cancer diagnoses and treatments each year.
Experts predict global cancer instances will increase by at least 70% over the next 20 years, and expect 20 million new cases by 2025. The report stresses that prevention is the key, and that healthier individual living is a vital step in the fight against cancer.
Collaboration key for new RFDS regional leader- by Natalia Williams and Gavin Coote
The new CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s South-Eastern section, Greg Sam, says collaboration is key to improving healthcare in the region. Mr Sam spent his first week in the new role getting familiar with the services and staff he will be working with in Broken Hill. He said that the RFDS is effective in overcoming distance to give Australians in remote areas greater access to health care, but that forming and maintaining collaborative relationships with other health organisations will be integral to providing better care in rural health. He said “We’re seeing trends in chronic disease, mental health in particular and other disease groups that require a different type of delivery of health care and it’s that type of collaborative primary care model. A lot of organisations that are going to look at different parts of the system need to come together a bit more and that’s certainly the approach I’ll be taking. This role is about relationships and it’s about understanding how we work, how we want to work together, what the community is seeking and how the community feels about what we’re doing.”
– by Sophie Scott and Alison Brandley
The number of serious medical errors made each year in Australian hospitals has increased from 87 to 107 over the past 12 months. The report from the Productivity Commission included 34 in-patient suicides, 35 medical instruments left inside patients, and 4 cases of the wrong patient or body part being operated on resulting in permanent injury or death. Experts say there is more hospitals can do to prevent the errors. Jan Donovan of the Consumer Health Forum says that although the number of incidents was low compared to the 53 million patient interactions performed each year in the country, those that did occur were very serious. She also says older patients are particularly vulnerable toward double-dosing of medication and other errors if the patient or their family are not aware of their regimen. Ms Donovan also said that in-patient suicides are indicative of pressures on the mental health system. But president of the AMA Steve Hambleton says doctors want the number of serious errors to be nil. He said “We know our hospital systems are under pressure, we know they’re struggling with increasing demand it’s very important we understand the causes of these events and take action to prevent them. This is a measurement about how well all of the people involved in patients’ care work together. At least we’re being open, we’re being accountable, we’re measuring them, we’re highlighting them. If we highlight them we can do something about them.
Rehabilitation centre planned for Wellington – no author listed
In the NSW town of Wellington, there are plans to establish a rehabilitation centre to offer services to the indigenous community. The Nguumambiny Indigenous Corporation has a number of programs in the area, but has bid to open a hostel at the community’s old Maternity Hospital.
Darren John Ellwood, facilitator at the Corporation, says there will be post recovery help for addicts, as well as counselling in anger management, financial and life skills. He says it will not be a facility for patients to withdraw from their dependencies. He said “The people that are staying within the place of course are, perceivably a lot of people think the word ‘rehab’, well it’s not a rehabilitation centre, we will not be having people up there rehabilitating from drugs. They would already be rehabilitated and they would be coming to see us from further services. We will be utilising some aspects as a refuge as some of these women have been severely beaten upon, and men also. It would be ideal being out here in the central west being away from Sydney and a lot of the stuff we could facilitate to help these people with their problems and that’s what we really need, we don’t have anything here.” Plans for the facility are on display in the community from today.