The Health News – 19 November 2015

Overview:
• Horse owners concerned about the Hendra vaccine have struggled to gain support for their cause, but now they have a Queensland Government politician Jim Pearce, who took up the cause three weeks ago and, had more than 5000 messages of support. And he has come out swinging, much to the frustration of veterinarians.

• The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) reviewed the safety of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, as well as newer anti-inflammatory drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors. After considering submissions from health experts and the drug manufacturers, labels will be updated to say: “Do not use for more than a few days at a time unless a doctor has told you to. Excessive use of the drugs can be harmful and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or liver damage.”

• Western Australia’s health system will face significant job cuts over the next eight months as the Health Department tries to reduce costs in line with national funding levels. WA hospitals are funded using national and state formulas to match their so-called “activity level”, or the work they undertake treating patients.

News on Health Professional Radio.  Today is the 19th November 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.  Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-18/hendra-policy-opponents-gain-new-voice/6950790

Horse owners concerned about the Hendra vaccine have struggled to gain support for their cause, but now they have a Queensland Government politician on their side.

And he has come out swinging, much to the frustration of veterinarians.

Labor member for the central Queensland seat of Mirani, Jim Pearce, took up the cause three weeks ago and has since had more than 5000 messages of support.

“This is about me being a voice because no one else has been prepared to listen,” he said

“I’m happy to step forward and put my name out there to back the people who own the horses and who are upset, distraught and just blown away by the way they are being treated.”

Mr Pearce is the loudest voice so far in the chorus of horse owners frustrated with vets who refuse to treat sick or injured horses that have not been vaccinated against Hendra.

“To say, ‘I will not be treating your horse unless it has been vaccinated against Hendra virus’ is a standover tactic and being used by vets to force people to get their horses vaccinated,” Mr Pearce said.

Currently, most vets refuse to treat sick or injured horses if the animal has not been vaccinated against the deadly virus, for reasons of legality and personal safety.

However, in some extreme cases, horses have died while vets await blood test results to clear the animal of Hendra.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-18/new-health-warnings-for-popular-painkillers/6949134

A range of popular painkillers will have to carry new warning labels saying they can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) reviewed the safety of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen … as well as newer anti-inflammatory drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors.

After considering submissions from health experts and the drug manufacturers, labels will be updated to say: “Do not use for more than a few days at a time unless a doctor has told you to. Do not exceed the recommended dose. Excessive use of the drugs can be harmful and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or liver damage.”

Health authorities decided against making the drugs available only by prescription.

“The addition of stronger warnings on the labels should be sufficient to alert and inform consumers about the risks associated with excessive use of those products,” the TGA said.

The TGA [also] said the heart and liver risks associated with anti-inflammatories do not apply to anti-inflammatory creams so their labels do not have to be changed.

The current labels on all the anti-inflammatory drugs state that “excessive use can be harmful”.

The labels will be introduced in July 2016.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/job-cuts-in-wa-health-as-national-funding-dries-up/6949698

Western Australia’s health system will face significant job cuts over the next eight months as the Health Department tries to reduce costs in line with national funding levels.

WA hospitals are funded using national and state formulas to match their so-called “activity level”, or the work they undertake treating patients.

Through a combination of higher wages and lower efficiency, WA hospitals require the equivalent of more staff per patient when compared to other Australian hospitals.

Under questioning from the Opposition in Question Time, Health Minister Kim Hames said that had to change.

“We know that they’re over-budget. We know they’re well in excess of staff numbers. But they need to work it out, division by division, working out how they can save …full-time equivalents,” he told Parliament.

But Dr Hames said cutting jobs and positions was not the only way hospitals could reduce costs.

… Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said health workers, including doctors and nurses, would be forced out of their jobs at a time when pressure on the hospitals was increasing.

In Question Time, Opposition Health spokesman Roger Cook said more than 1,000 jobs could be lost.

Dr Hames expected the job losses would happen progressively over the coming months, with the final figure clear by mid-2016.

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