The Health News – 19 January 2016

Overview:
• The Federal Government has pledged $1 million to set up a “critical response” project to tackle Indigenous suicide in Western Australia, as advocates warn the state has one of the worst rates across the nation.

• The New South Wales government is reviewing a policy of not installing air conditioning in public housing, three years after an Aboriginal leader in the state’s far west warned people could “perish” in sweltering conditions. There are believed to be around a dozen AHO homes in Wilcannia with no cooling, despite temperatures in the town routinely climbing above 40 degrees over summer.

• The University of Tasmania’s Centre for Rural Health surveyed 30 GPs in South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, and found only 18 were confident “within their scope of practice” of providing dental treatment and advice. The research published by the Medical Journal of Australia showed some of the GPs were embarrassed by their lack of training in the field.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th January 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-18/suicide-prevention-funding-for-wa-critical-response/7093006

The Federal Government has pledged $1 million to set up a “critical response” project to tackle Indigenous suicide in Western Australia, as advocates warn the state has one of the worst rates across the nation.

The project will aim to better coordinate suicide services and deliver them in culturally appropriate ways, according to Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion

An on-call service will allow Indigenous West Australians to contact the critical response team when they are affected by suicide or traumatic events.

Senator Scullion said the initiative was being trialled in Western Australia because it had the greatest need, with one in four Indigenous suicides across Australia taking place in the state.

Critical response advocates Gerry Georgatos and Adele Cox visited Western Australia’s Goldfields in December following a spate of suicides in the region.

Mr Georgatos said currently there was nothing in place to coordinate responses from different support providers.

Mr Georgatos said the Critical Response Project was a step in the right direction, but more still needed to be done.

The initiative will be coordinated by the University of Western Australia’s School of Indigenous Studies.

The Government will consider further funding and expanding the project after the trial has finished in January 2017.

In Western Australia, suicide was the third-most common cause of death in Aboriginal people in 2013, the latest data available.

In the non-Indigenous population, it was the ninth-most common cause that year.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-18/govt-reviews-aboriginal-housing-air-con-in-hottest-parts-nsw/7094444

The New South Wales government is reviewing a policy of not installing air conditioning in public housing, three years after an Aboriginal leader in the state’s far west warned people could “perish” in sweltering conditions.

The former chief of the Aboriginal Land Council in the town of Wilcannia, Jack Beetson, warned in 2013 that hot days could prove fatal for residents of Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) properties.

There are believed to be around a dozen AHO homes in Wilcannia with no cooling, despite temperatures in the town routinely climbing above 40 degrees over summer.

But the government had confirmed it was still policy not to install air conditioning in any public housing, including in the state’s hottest regions.

The temperature in Wilcannia soared to around 45 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.

The government said houses were designed to reduce heat-related discomfort and cut down on electricity usage.

The Department of Family and Community Services spokesman said residents with a medical need for air conditioning may be eligible for an exemption, which was considered on a case-by-case basis.

Further information has been sought about the review process.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-18/rural-gps-‘lack-confidence’-to-provide-dental-care/7093928

Rural doctors lack confidence and training to provide dental care in small Australian communities, new research has shown.

In towns without a permanent public dentist, general practitioners may be the first port of call for patients with oral health problems.

The University of Tasmania’s Centre for Rural Health surveyed 30 GPs in South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, and found only 18 were confident “within their scope of practice” of providing dental treatment and advice.

The research published by the Medical Journal of Australia showed some of the GPs were embarrassed by their lack of training in the field.

“I start off [with]… ‘sorry, I’m not a dentist’, … one respondent said.

Researcher Dr Ha Hoang said doctors generally had no choice but to treat their dental patients.

Dr Hoang said the doctors would typically prescribe pain relief and urge the patients to see a dentist.

The researchers have suggested that the problem could be resolved if doctors were given more training, and the community was more aware of good dental hygiene.