The Health News – 15 April 2014

Overview

  • In NSW, a group of nurses from Maitland were told by council authorities to leave a community event for handing out a petition. Members of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association had been approved to set up a stall at Steamfest.
  • A new report by the Grattan Institute says public hospitals could save nearly $430 million a year by having nurses perform some tasks currently done by doctors.
  • The Cancer Council of South Australia has seen a rise of over 40 per cent in the number of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments in regional South Australia.


Maitland nurses railroaded from Steamfest – no author listed

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-14/maitland-nurses-railroaded-from-steamfest/5388366

In NSW, a group of nurses from Maitland were told by council authorities to leave a community event for handing out a petition.  

Members of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association had been approved to set up a stall at Steamfest, but were told to leave during the event apparently due to breaching the council’s events policy.

The event’s directors were unhappy with the petition which calls for the proposed new Lower Hunter Hospital to be publicly owned.

NSW Nurses and Midwives association general secretary Brett Holmes is disappointed union members weren’t given the chance to voice their concerns, and said “Our members were told they were too political and that they needed to leave the Steamfest.

It really does show where the local mayor may be sitting on this issue.

We have ongoing concerns that the people of Maitland and surrounds should be serviced by a public hospital, operated by the public sector for the public.

There seems to be an approach there from the mayor of Maitland, that he wants to shut-down the concerns of our members to keep this out of the public arena.”

Councillor Peter Blackmore defended his call to ask the nurses to leave, and said “The nurses association were more than willing to be there to promote the cause of trying to attract young people to become nurses in that profession.

But certainly not to raise a petition which had been calling about their issue with the state government at the moment.

I really believe the majority of people support the nurses industry as a profession, and support nurses in general, but when it comes down to political involvement and campaigning, it is against council policy.

I will wear the blame, as I have been by social media, and anybody who disagrees with that.”

Public hospitals could save $430m by getting nurses to do some doctor tasks: report – by Brendan Trembath

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-14/hospital-save-430m-nurses-doctor-tasks-report/5387692

A new report by the Grattan Institute says public hospitals could save nearly $430 million a year by having nurses perform some tasks currently done by doctors.

The report says nurses could do common, low-risk procedures currently carried out by doctors, including sedating patients for simple procedures and performing endoscopies.

The report projects this reform would fund treatment for more than 85,000 extra people a year at no additional cost.

Grattan Institute health program director Stephen Duckett says nurses skills are wasted doing jobs like feeding and bathing patients.

He said “Registered nurses with a three-year university degree are doing things that people with a vocational education and training could do.

So we’re suggesting that about 15 per cent of the work of nurses could be done by nursing assistants. This would help meet the burgeoning demand that we’re going to have in the future.

The recommendations would be freeing up doctors to “do the work that only doctors can do”. We’re going to be having a whole lot more patients, increased population, ageing of the population.

So what we want to do is make sure that this growth is sustainable. One way of making it sustainable is to make sure that we provide for this growth in an efficient way.” “Nurse anaesthesia is widespread in the United States.

It goes much further than we’re suggesting in this report. In England there’s endoscopy nurses. In the United States [there’s] endoscopy nurses. We’re saying that this needs to move faster so that we can have more care.”

But Australian Medical Association vice president Geoff Dobb thinks the report isn’t reflective of current issues in modern hospitals, and said “You never know the onset of a procedure (and) how it’s going to pan out.

During any procedure, there is the potential for someone to have an adverse reaction to one of the sedative drugs … to react in a greater way than someone would normally. It’s only after the procedure is completed you know that it’s been straight-forward and uncomplicated.”

More regional cancer patients getting local treatment – no author listed

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-14/more-regional-cancer-patients-getting-local/5387402

The Cancer Council of South Australia has seen a rise of over 40 per cent in the number of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments in regional South Australia.

The State Government recently announced that last year more than 3,000 patients were able to receive their chemotherapy treatments without being forced to travel to Adelaide. Cancer council chief executive professor Brenda Wilson says it is a good outcome, considering not all cancer treatments can be delivered outside of metropolitan areas.

“Most of the major surgery has to occur in the metropolitan area because it’s too expensive to duplicate that in country areas and there aren’t the surgeons to actually provide that service,” she said.

“Radiotherapy is, of course, very expensive machinery so that has to occur in the main areas of metropolitan Adelaide as well.”