The Health News – 24 June 2015

Overview:

• CEO Graeme Kershaw of New England Medicare Local says it’s a relief to have secured redundancy packages for outgoing employees, as the organization prepares to close in just over a week.

• Expert Advisory Group has released its preliminary research into prevalence of such behavior such as – discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment are becoming “endemic” in medical work environments.

• John Pascoe, one of Australia’s most senior judges is calling for New South Wales police and child welfare authorities to investigate the surrogacy case of a baby boy who was left in India.

Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th June 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-23/redundancies-to-be-paid-to-outgoing-medicare-local-staff/6567504

The CEO of the New England Medicare Local says it’s a relief to have secured redundancy packages for outgoing employees, as the organisation prepares to close in just over a week.

The Medicare Local is being replaced by the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network on July 1.
Primary Health Networks do not deliver services, but contract services out to other providers, and staff are being made redundant as a result.
Outgoing CEO Graeme Kershaw says there have been weeks of negotiations between lawyers, the Department of Health and local MPs to secure the redundancy packages.

Mr Kershaw will be a part of the new Primary Health Network.
He said his role will be managerial, and he’ll liaise with various communities about the services they need.
“I’ll be looking after staff in this region and the services that occur up here but I’ll also be taking responsibility for planning of health services,” he said.
“The Primary Health Networks are set up to understand what the needs of communities are across this larger region and work out redesigning services so that they’re effective to meet those needs.” [he said]

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-23/sexual-harassment-in-medical-work-environment-endemic-study/6566922

Discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment are “endemic” in the medical work environment and surgeons are commonly named as perpetrators, a new study has found.

The Expert Advisory Group (EAG), appointed by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), has released its preliminary research into the prevalence of such behaviour in medical work environments.
“The existing complaints processes haven’t proved to be adequate,” RACS vice president and EAG member Graeme Campbell said.
“We’re going to have to create an open communication framework where any bullying or harassment is reported and any complaint is acted upon freely.
“The solution is going to have to address culture. It’s going to have to address culture in organisations, culture within surgery.”
He added RACS was only part of the solution.
EAG is now reaching out for submissions to determine if the findings from the literature review accurately reflect what is going on.
… 

The paper comes after senior vascular surgeon Dr Gabrielle McMullin fuelled international debate when she said complaining about sexual harassment could ruin a trainee’s career.
In the days following her comments a string of other female doctors also spoke out about the damaging “boys’ club” culture in medical workplaces.
The response forced the RACS to act.
After initially stating their complaints processes were robust, the college then appointed the EAG to gauge the prevalence of bullying behaviour in the industry.

RACS women in surgery chair Ruth Bollard said the group was surprised at the extent of the problems, particularly sexual harassment.

EAG will soon release separate results of an anonymous survey of victims as part of their research.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-23/judge-calls-investigation-claims-couple-abandoned-surrogate-baby/6565012

One of Australia’s most senior judges is calling for New South Wales police and child welfare authorities to investigate the surrogacy case of a baby boy who was left in India.

An investigation… [will] …reveal more details of the 2012 case of a couple who were delivered a set of twins via a surrogate mother after entering into a commercial surrogacy deal in New Delhi.
But just nine days after the birth of the healthy twins — a boy and girl — the couple told Australian High Commission staff in New Delhi that they would be adopting out the boy and returning to Australia with just the girl.
They argued they could not afford both children, already had a boy back home and wanted a girl.
The biological father of the twins is a corporate accountant with a large firm and until recently his wife ran a home based child care centre.
The Australian High Commission in New Delhi eventually agreed to the couple’s request to grant citizenship and a passport for just one baby — the girl.
It is illegal in New South Wales to enter into commercial surrogacy arrangements and the Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit Court, John Pascoe, has told Foreign Correspondent there are grounds for a police investigation.

Senior legal figures in India are also concerned.
Indian Supreme Court senior counsel Shekar Nephade said he wants the couple charged with child abandonment and extradited to India.

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