The Health News – 19 March 2014

Overview

  • In the ACT, the liberal party says the Labour government are unprepared for the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, slated for later this year.
  • In North South Wales, a state medical officer has announced that the children’s ward at Murwillumbah Hospital’s is being secretively closed down.
  • Queensland Health has announced the operating theatre at Charleville Hospital, in the state’s south-west, will be closed for an essential overhaul.

Health News on HPR.

Opposition claims ACT not prepared for official start of National Disability Insurance Scheme – no author listed
In the ACT, the liberal party says the Labour government are unprepared for the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, slated for later this year. From the first of July this year, a trial of the scheme will begin in Canberra. Two offer rounds for enhanced disability support services have already been announced. Disability minister Joy Burch said more than 500 people so far have received small payments under the scheme. But spokesperson for the opposition Andrew Wall said the disabilities minister has not released who will be entitled to the full scheme. He said “With 106 days to go many service providers are still unsure how their funding is going to be allocated come July 1, and if it will even be continued at all.” However executive coordinator of the ACT’s NDIS taskforce, Maureen Sheehan, says the rollout is on track for the previously announced date. She said “We can hardly wait, everything is moving in the right direction. Even as we speak they are going through a selection process to recruit staff to come into the ACT. We are learning all the time about the sort of staff that you need from the [other NDIS] trial sites.” An estimated 5000 people in the ACT will be eligible for the scheme. Implementation of the scheme in the state has been projected to take two years.

Roster row leaves Murwillumbah Hospital without a children’s ward – no author listed
In NSW, a state medical officer has announced that the children’s ward at Murwillumbah Hospital’s is being secretively closed down. Dr Doug Warne last week warned of the possibility due to checks of staff rosters, but his complaint was ignored by NSW health. He said “Last week there were seven shifts that were not covered by a paediatric nurse, and looking at the roster this week and next week there will be 16 shifts not covered out of a possible 42. Effectively the paediatric ward has been closed. It’s impossible to admit a child to a paediatric ward if the nurse is only present for another six hours and then there won’t be another paediatric nurse available in the shift that follows.” But chief of local health district Chris Crawford said he directed that staffing of the ward continue as normal. He said “The approach to the rostering was too casual for my liking. It meant filling shifts on an ad-hoc basis as the fortnight roster went on. What I’ve instructed is for all shifts to be filled before the start of the roster period. That has now occurred, and all of the shifts for the remainder of the roster period are now filled.” NSW Health noted falling admissions as a factor in considering closing the ward.

Charleville Hospital operating theatre to close again – by Sam Burgess
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-18/charleville-hospital-operating-theatre-to-close/5327892

QLD Health has announced the operating theatre at Charleville Hospital, in the state’s south-west, will be closed for an essential overhaul. The theatre was closed last year after legionella was detected in the section’s water system. After being declared safe it reopened late last year, but the
plumbing infrastructure will soon be entirely replaced to ensure the dangerous bacteria does not resurface. Meryl Brumpton of the South-West Hospital and Haelth Service said “Because we’ve got old plumbing it has dead legs in it, so water can sit in places for periods of time and the legionella can grow, so that’s one major risk. The other thing is we’re putting a full treatment plan in with the new plumbing so that there’s constant chlorine injection into the plumbing within the hospital to make sure that it actually doesn’t grow legionella as well. A lot of the work is within the walls, so unfortunately we don’t see a lot of it. It is replacing a lot of the electrical wiring and the fire systems but there will be a new nurses station and triage area on the top floor and of course the new lift will be at the front of the hospital that replaces the original lift that was inside the hospital – it’s very, very old.” The refurbishment will cost around $5m and will likely not be completed until early next year.