The Health News – 23 June 2015

Overview:

• In July 2013 to June 2014 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed that only 36% of the 1.4 million people sent bowel cancer screening tests sent the kit back for analysis. Dr. Oliver Frank said that the failure to involve GPs in the screening program is the reason for the poor uptake.

• Perth’s three major hospitals have just over a week to finalise new emergency department staffing arrangements before the Health Minister Kim Hames will imposed ban on ambulance ramping comes into effect.

• Tasmania’s Health Minister Michael Ferguson is defending the State Government’s investment in health, after it was warned to hire more doctors and nurses or risk public safety.

Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 23rd June 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-22/gps-the-key-to-boosting-bowel-cancer-screening-experts-say/6564362

Screening for Australia’s second most deadly cancer is destined to fail unless GPs are an integral part of the process to encourage participation, experts say.

New research shows while more people are doing bowel cancer screening, the majority still throw away the kit when it arrives in the mail.
Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for July 2013 to June 2014 showed only 36 per cent of the 1.4 million people sent bowel cancer screening tests sent the kit back for analysis.
It was a slight improvement on the previous year’s participation rate of 33.4 per cent.
But Dr Oliver Frank, a GP and academic researcher from the University of Adelaide, said the failure to involve GPs in the screening program is the reason for the poor uptake.
“General practice must be made more central to the national bowel cancer screening program for it to succeed,” Dr Frank said.
He said the program should be run by GPs, because a recommendation by a person’s GP has the greatest influence on whether that person undertakes appropriate preventive activities.

He said a recent change to sending screening reports electronically to GPs will now enable doctor’s electronic clinical record systems computer to automatically generate reminders to patients and to tell GPs when the patient’s next test is due.

The study found women were more likely to do the screening test but men had higher rates of bowel cancer.

Cancer experts say most cases of bowel cancer can be successfully treated if caught early.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-22/hames-ambulance-ramping-ban-coming-into-effect/6563950

Perth’s three major hospitals have just over a week to finalise new emergency department staffing arrangements before the ministerial-imposed ban on ambulance ramping comes into effect.

Frustrated by growing ramping times and delays in processing patients, Health Minister Kim Hames has told hospitals from next week, they must take responsibility for patients no later than 30 minutes after they arrive.
Acting Director General of Health Professor, Bryant Stokes, is still working with the Fiona Stanley, Sir Charles Gairdner and Royal Perth hospitals to implement the plan, but Dr Hames said he has not been briefed yet on how it will be accomplished.

Dr Hames maintains the ban on ramping will not require either major change, or a significant injection of more money to make it work.

The ramping ban comes into force on July 1.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-22/health-minister-defends-health-spending/6563014

Tasmania’s Health Minister is defending the State Government’s investment in health, after it was warned to hire more doctors and nurses or risk public safety.

A report from health policy analyst Martyn Goddard has shown Tasmania’s hospitals have lost about 31 doctors in the past 12 months, but workloads are up 10 per cent over the same timeframe.
Mr Goddard urged the State Government to spend some of the state’s GST windfall on hiring more medical staff.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson … [ stated] there had been extra investment in health.

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