The Health News – 16 April 2014

Overview

  • A new CEO has been appointed for the NT health department. Dr Len Notaras was head of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre and before that GM of the Royal Darwin Hospital.
  • The Rural Doctors Association of Queensland (RDAQ) thinks the proposed move to have nurses perform some doctors’ tasks will not help regional practices.
  • In Tasmania, several hundred paramedics have been awarded a significant pay increase, but the State Government may yet appeal the wage rises.

Health News on HPR.

Dr Len Notaras named Health Department chief – no author listed
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-15/dr-len-notaras-new-chief-executive-nt-health-department/5391730

A new CEO has been appointed for the NT health department. Dr Len Notaras was head of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre and before that GM of the Royal Darwin Hospital. NT Chief Minister Adam Giles explained that Dr Notaras was selected by a board of departmental heads from 9 potential candidates nationally. Dr Notaras has been a crucial part of disaster recovery efforts across the country, as far back as the 1989 earthquake in Newcastle, and was instrumental in Darwin’s response to the Bali Bombings, for which he was honoured with the Order of Australia in 2003. Dr Notaras is eager to begin overseeing development of a new hospital at Palmerston, and said “Getting the Palmerston hospital into some form of reality that serves Territorians and people at the Top End will also be a wonderful challenge and achievement.”

RDAQ casts doubt over expanded role for nurses – by Sam Burgess
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-15/rdaq-says-expanding-nurses-role-may-not-work-in/5391120

The Rural Doctors Association of Queensland (RDAQ) thinks the proposed move to have nurses perform some doctors’ tasks will not help regional practices. A report by the Grattan Institute has suggested that nurses performing basic procedures such as endoscopies would free up doctors’ time for more intensive procedures. President of the association Sue Masel says the move may be helpful in larger facilities but not in the country, and said “Certainly in medium to larger facilities where there are multiple nurses on a shift. It would be difficult to imagine how you would make a cost saving in a really small facility where there might only be one or two nurses per shift and for safety reasons that staffing couldn’t be allowed to drop below that level of skill. At rural operating theatres you don’t tend to have multiple operating theatres on the go at the same time, one where nurses are providing sedation and which could be supervised by doctors next-door undergoing at an anaesthetist level. I think that that would be potentially dangerous.”

 – by Stephen Smiley and Brad Markham
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-15/tasmanian-paramedics-to-pocket-big-pay-rise-but-the-government-/5392624

In Tasmania, several hundred paramedics have been awarded a significant pay increase, but the State Government may yet appeal the wage rises. The state’s industrial commission granted paramedics a 14 percent pay rise, equating to an additional $10,000 per year. Tim Jacobson of the Health and Community Services Union says prior to this, wages for paramedics had not been reviewed for 25 years, and said “We now have paramedics that are tertiary-trained and provide a massive skill set and treatments to patients. Tasmania now will be able to ensure that we can keep our best and brightest, and recruit from other jurisdictions the best and brightest from those jurisdictions.” Opposition leader Bryan Green said of the move “If the Commissioner’s made this decision, well then in the end ambulance officers were obviously being underpaid.”
But members of the state government think the wage rise could be a burden on the state, projecting the increase will cost the government $7m per year. Acting premier Jeff Rockliff said “It’s a substantial rise and will present significant budget challenges for the new state government,” he said. We’re waiting to seek advice as to exactly the implications as a result of the decision. There’s been no timeframe outlined, however we recognise the fact that the decision