The Health News – 21 February 2014

Overview

  • Queensland Health have announced that 17 hospital patients have been put in danger by a batch of contaminated cancer drugs.
  • In Western Australia, the state gov has announced it will cut 250 jobs between Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park hospitals.
  • Amid talks of a possible Medicare reform, the federal government is imploring that any changes made to the system will be to ensure sustainability.
  • In QLD the state opposition says health minister Lawrence Springborg should launch an investigation into the QLD children’s hospital land deal if he is concerned about it.

Health News on HPR.

Queensland Health confirms 17 hospital patients given contaminated cancer drugs – by Francis Tapim
Queensland Health have announced that 17 hospital patients have been put in danger by a batch of contaminated cancer drugs. Qld Health’s acting deputy director-general Dr Jeanette Young, said the 17 patients in public and private hospitals across the state were administered the drugs, and were put at severe risk because of their lowered immune systems due to chemotherapy. Dr Young says none of the patients have shown adverse symptoms as yet, but are being closely monitored by doctors. The Therapeutic Good Administration issued a product recall notice for drugs manufactured by compound pharmacy Fresenius Kabi Australia last week. Affected batches of the drugs have been recalled.

State Government defends decision to cut 250 jobs from two Perth hospitals – by Jade McMillan
In Western Australia, the state gov has announced it will cut 250 jobs between Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park hospitals. Health minister Kim Hames originally said around 200 jobs would be cut, but unions worry it could be as many as 500. Dr Hames said the staff reductions would occur through attrition and not renewing contracts over the coming months. He said the move was essential due to over-staffing, and stressed that patients will not be affected. Dr Hames said “North Metropolitan have gone well over their budget. There’s been a lot of people there that have been employed over the past 12 to 18 months that are in excess of the requirements for the number of patients they’ve got coming through the doors, which really haven’t increased at all during that time. They had to look through their budget, there was an independent study that was done to show the areas in which they were overstaffed, and it was in those areas that staff numbers have to be reduced.” The Health Services Union said almost 70 of its members in allied health roles are among the affected. HSU state secretary Dan Hill said there would be a negative impact on patient care.

Medicare: Liberal MP says Australians realise need for sustainable system, amid talk of GP co-payments – no author listed
Amid talks of a possible Medicare reform, the federal government is imploring that any changes made to the system will be to ensure sustainability. Health Minister Peter Dutton has risen the possibility of widescale changes, and wants to stage a ‘frank and fearless discussion’ about possible GP co-payments among other initiatives. Tony Abbott yesterday said the federal government will be the ‘best friend Medicare ever had’ but will not be talked into co-payments. Liberal frontbencher Steve Ciobo has given his opinion that Australians understand the obstacles of facing the budget. He said “All Australians would recognise that the nation’s finances need to be sustainable.

“As one of the biggest pieces of the fiscal jigsaw that is the Australian budget, there obviously is scope for there to be reform to ensure that Medicare is sustainable. The Prime Minister made comments yesterday that he’s a leopard that doesn’t change its spots and he’s on the record for many years now saying that the Coalition was the best friend of Medicare, so I think it’s prudent that we have a discussion about what is sustainable.

Qld Labor suggests Mater land deal be referred to auditor-general – Melinda Howells
In QLD the state opposition says health minister Lawrence Springborg should launch an investigation into the QLD children’s hospital land deal if he is concerned about it. Mr Springborg said the deal will put a future state government at the mercy of Mater. Labour health spokesperson JoAnn Miller has spurred Mr Springborg to take the matter higher. She said “If he’s got any issues or if he thinks anything’s been done wrong, he can refer it to the auditor-general. However, he’s picking on doctors all across Queensland, and now he’s picking on the Sisters of Mercy.