•A damning report into the West Australian Department of Health’s management of its computer systems has detailed a litany of mismanagement and waste, with the findings referred to the state’s corruption watchdog.
• A centre that uses art as a way of encouraging Indigenous women to access pregnancy health services has also revealed an alarming statistic when it comes to birth outcomes. The study is using women attending art classes at the Gomeroi Gaayngall maternal health care centres in Tamworth and Walgett in north-west NSW.
• More than 10 paramedics will need to be found to staff an ambulance shuttle service between two hospitals in Adelaide’s north from already stretched resources, the union says.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 18th February 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News
A damning report into the West Australian Department of Health’s management of its computer systems has detailed a litany of mismanagement and waste, with the findings referred to the state’s corruption watchdog.
The auditor-general’s report found the department’s contract for its centralised computer system had blown out from $44.9 million in 2010 to $81 million, and will potentially rise to up to $175 million.
Acting auditor-general Glen Clarke said the scale of mismanagement was so serious that he had referred the whole matter to the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) for review.
Starting in late 2010, the contract was supposed to deliver and support centralised computing services for the department through to 2020.
But the report found the cost of the contract had already escalated as a result of 79 contract variations.
Two variations alone cost $41.5 million, and according to the auditor-general, should have been put to a competitive public tender.
The report also found a $21 million expansion of the capacity of the department’s data centre had been designed by the contractor without any independent assessment by the Health Department.
The department is using less than half of the 167 racks installed in the data centre.
The auditor-general placed the value of the unused computer racks at more than $2 million.
A centre that uses art as a way of encouraging Indigenous women to access pregnancy health services has also revealed an alarming statistic when it comes to birth outcomes.
Less than half of all aboriginal women experience normal pregnancy outcomes according to the international research sponsored by the University of Newcastle.
The study is using women attending art classes at the Gomeroi Gaayngall maternal health care centres in Tamworth and Walgett in north-west NSW.
There centre also has a garden, a crèche and ultrasound facilities.
“Women come every week doing arts health work, they create artworks and I get to see their bellies grow, we cast their bellies and create beautiful artworks,” program director Dr Kym Rae said.
“We see the women for all their antenatal visits for part of the research study, we integrate health care, it’s just so holistic, I guess what we are trying to achieve.”
There are similar studies and art programs in Canada and South Africa, which are used to provide comparisons.
The results of five years of research are soon to be published in the US-based Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health.
“We looked at women, who had completely normal pregnancies with a great birth outcome, and then we looked at the rest of the women in the cohort to see what other health complications or birth complications there were for those women,” Dr Rae said.
“What we found was that only 43 percent had a normal pregnancy outcome.
“The complications we are seeing are women having pre-term babies, low birth weight infants, large babies … that can be related to mum having gestational diabetes, and mums potentially having hypertension. All of those things mean they need additional clinical care.”
Dr Rae also said the result was unexpected.
“I think this is just absolutely indicative that there really are health disparities and the worrying thing is that this is happening in a group of women in their early twenties.”
In Canada, researchers at the McMaster University in Ontario are conducting similar studies working with the Six Nations Indian Reserve, and comparisons show Australia’s Indigenous mothers are not faring as well.
More than 10 paramedics will need to be found to staff an ambulance shuttle service between two hospitals in Adelaide’s north from already stretched resources, the union says.
The shuttle is to run between Modbury Hospital’s downgraded emergency department to nearby Lyell McEwen Hospital to transfer walk-in patients needing emergency care.
The shuttle service, to begin at the end of the month, comes as the South Australian Government implements its Transforming Health plan which will see Modbury Hospital’s emergency department’s role reduced and its rehabilitation service expanded.
Ambulance Employees Association state secretary Phil Palmer said the union had concerns about a plan to transfer patients.
He said the association had been told the 24-hour service would operate on a three-month trial basis.
Mr Palmer said paramedics were needed instead of ambulance transport staff due to the varying severity of patients’ conditions.
An SA Health spokesperson said as part of the Transforming Health plan there would be an increase in ambulance services across the system.