The Health News – 11 September 2015


Overview:

• The South Australian Ambulance Service hopes a state-wide recruitment drive will help fill a growing void in its volunteer numbers. Recruitment drives are being run in the Adelaide Plains, Central South East, Clare, Coorong, Lower Eyre, Lower South East and the West Coast.

• The report, commissioned by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), found nearly half of all surgeons across all specialities have experienced discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment. It was commissioned after vascular surgeon Dr Gabrielle McMullin said complaining about harassment could ruin a trainee’s career. Dr McMullin said she was saddened by the results.

• The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is embarking on a groundbreaking project to sequence and analyse the genomes of up to 60 children in NSW with severe intellectual or developmental disability, along with their families. Garvan aims to speed up and simplify the journey towards diagnosis for the families involved, and to demonstrate a powerful new way forward in genetic diagnosis of young children.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 11th September 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-10/sa-ambulance-services-facing-volunteer-shortages-rural-areas/6765680

The South Australian Ambulance Service hopes a state-wide recruitment drive will help fill a growing void in its volunteer numbers.

The shortage in rural and remote areas is causing delays and stretching services to breaking point.

While there are 1,100 paid paramedics employed around the state, it is not economical to employ them in smaller regional towns so unpaid workers provide frontline ambulance services.

Mannum station team leader Chantelle Snart has been volunteering with the service for more than 10 years, ensuring emergency care is provided in the town.

“When I had my first child I thought, if anything were to happen to him and he was sick I wouldn’t actually know what to do to help him, so I made some enquiries and joined the ambulance from then on,” Ms Snart said.

“There are 80 volunteer stations out there and they are the ones that provide the vital support to the communities.”

Volunteers receive 12 months’ training in ambulance studies and essentially replace ambulance officers in medical emergencies.

David Place from SA Ambulance Service said volunteers can then perform a full range of duties.

“Once they are fully trained they are an ambulance officer, they perform a full range of duties, responding to medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, sometimes just transferring patients from an aircraft to a hospital,” Mr Place said.

But as country populations continue to decline it is becoming harder to fill volunteer rosters, causing lengthy waiting times and crews being on call across multiple towns. This poses risks during natural disasters.

“Some metropolitan reserve volunteers are put into country vacancies, we also have to back them up with paid crews and an emergency operations centre that takes triple-0 calls and dispatches, so it can potentially lead to increased response times,” Mr Place said.

Recruitment drives are being run in the Adelaide Plains, Central South East, Clare, Coorong, Lower Eyre, Lower South East and the West Coast.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-10/doctor-shocked-by-extent-of-bullying-report/6766332

The doctor who first raised allegations about bullying and harassment amongst surgeons says she is shocked at the extent of bad behaviour revealed in a new report.

The report, commissioned by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), found nearly half of all surgeons across all specialities have experienced discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment.

It was commissioned after vascular surgeon Dr Gabrielle McMullin said complaining about harassment could ruin a trainee’s career.

Dr McMullin said she was saddened by the results.

“I wasn’t probably aware of the degree of the problem,” she said.

“It’s a great deal more prevalent than I thought it was both for men and women. It’s surprised me how many men have been damaged.”

The report found bullying was the most common, reported by almost 40 per cent of surgical fellows, trainees and international medical graduates.

Almost 20 per cent of surgeons reported discrimination and workplace harassment, with 7 per cent detailing instances of sexual harassment.

The most prevalent form of discrimination was cultural, with one response reading: “They want you out of the country or they want you dead.”

RACS president Professor David Watters has written a formal apology to all those who suffered bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment.

The Australian Medical Students’ Association said the problem of bullying and harassment was not unique to the surgical profession.

Association president James Lawler said the recommendations should be implemented across all medical colleges.

http://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/genomics-initiative-to-help-children-with-genetic-disorders

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is embarking on a groundbreaking project to sequence and analyse the genomes of up to 60 children in NSW with severe intellectual or developmental disability, along with their families. Garvan aims to speed up and simplify the journey towards diagnosis for the families involved, and to demonstrate a powerful new way forward in genetic diagnosis of young children.

Every year in Australia, several thousand children are born with disorders that result from damaging mutations in their genes. There are many distinct genetic disorders, so although each one is relatively rare, they collectively constitute a common – and often devastating – form of childhood disease.

Currently, diagnosis of the underlying disorder in these children is time-consuming, expensive and very often inconclusive, largely because it is very difficult to determine the exact cause of such disorders. Importantly, disease progression can be rapid, so a slow diagnostic process can have long-term effects on the prognosis of the affected children.

In an effort to revolutionise the diagnosis of children with genetic disorders, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research will work with clinicians at Liverpool Hospital. The two institutes will provide a rapid and cost-efficient whole-genome sequencing and analysis service to up to 60 babies and children (along with their mothers and fathers), with a focus on children for whom previous genetic testing has not provided a diagnosis. Garvan will contribute over 300,000AUD to the project, which has been raised by philanthropic donations.

The collaborative project was announced at NSW Parliament House on Wednesday evening by the Hon. Jillian Skinner MP, NSW Minister for Health, at the launch of the 22nd Genetic Disorders Awareness Week.

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