The Health News – 20 March 2014

Overview

  • In Victoria, women’s rights organisation Victorian Women’s Trust has appealed to the state’s major parties to jointly confirm that no changes will be made to abortion laws.
  • Also in VIC, Premier Denis Napthine is apparently unaware of worries surrounding a spate of cancer cases in MPs attending Parliament House.
  • A Queensland researcher has raised the issue of an absence of best-practices for cleaning medical facilities, and argues that research into the matter must be commenced.

Health News on HPR.

Call for joint statement ruling out changes to Victorian abortion laws – no author listed
In Victoria, women’s rights organisation Victorian Women’s Trust has appealed to the state’s major parties to jointly confirm that no changes will be made to abortion laws, following comments from Liberal MP Bernie Finn to the effect that abortion should be abolished. Premier Denis Napthine derided the comments as unacceptable, but leader of the Women’s Trust Mary Crooks believes further action must be taken, and said “The best thing to resolve this matter now is and for it not to become some kind of cancerous debate over the next six months, is for both Denis Napthine, the Premier and Daniel Andrews, the Opposition Leader, to come out and make a bipartisan statement that they will not support any roll back of the 2008 legislation.” Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle said of Bernie Finn’s comments, “It makes me angry. It’s just offensive that they should be saying these things.”

Premier unaware of cancer cluster concerns at State Parliament – no author listed
Also in VIC, Premier Denis Napthine is apparently unaware of worries surrounding a spate of cancer cases in MPs attending Parliament House. At least 6 members of parliament have been diagnosed with cancer in the past few years, two of whom are female Labour MPs, who have called for an inquest on the matter. The concerns mainly regard temporary offices outside of the Parliament building. Premier Napthine stresses if there is a genuine concern the government will treat it seriously, and said “I’ll have a look at the information before I make any decision and any issue like that that are of a medical basis I will be taking advice from experts, particularly the chief health officer.”

Research needed to ensure clean bill of health – by Lisa Hall
A Queensland researcher has raised the issue of an absence of best-practices for cleaning medical facilities, and argues that research into the matter must be commenced. More than 200,000 australian patients contract an illness caused by their healthcare environment, most of whom are seriously ill and had suffered from a weakened immune system. These illnesses in some cases become fatal or have other serious consequences, which lead to long and expensive treatments which further strain the health budget. One particular infection known as “clostridium difficile”, which is potentially fatal, causes severe diarrhoea in patients, but also sheds spores into the hospital environment, which are resistant to cleaning and are likely to lead to infections in other patients.
The National Health and Medical Research Council, with funding from the Wesley Research Institute, recently declared the launch of a national trial which aims to measure what effect, if any, improving medical facility cleaning will have on in-patient infection rates. The Researching Effective Approaches to Cleaning in Hospitals study, known as the REACH study, will provide interventions and training to participating hospitals to aid in the transition between current and goal cleaning practices.

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