The Health News – 24 Nov 2014


  • Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the $5.679 billion raised from the sale of Medibank Private will be invested in infrastructure, as promised.
  • The Queensland Government has announced a ‘wait time guarantee’ policy that will reduce elective surgery waiting lists.
  • The AMA recently released a new guide for medical students and doctors on the proper use of personal mobile devices – including smart phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, and portable music devices – when taking and transmitting clinical images.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th November 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

The lack of surgical equipment to perform delicate keyhole surgery at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital has rendered it a “world-class building with second-class medical equipment”, the South Australian Opposition says.

The so-called da Vinci robot is used for prostate, gynaecological, head, neck and complex hernia repairs.

Under a health deal, the public hospital’s patients receive access to surgery at Saint Andrew’s Hospital, a private healthcare facility.

Opposition health spokesman Stephen Wade said between 2004 and 2013 the RAH had a “dedicated” robot.

He accused the Government of “dumbing down” equipment.

“The Labor Government is building the world’s most expensive hospital. They have found robots to deliver food but they can’t afford robots to deliver surgery,” he said.

RAH Professor Guy Maddern said the hospital accessed the machine at Saint Andrews two days a week, and if the demand arose he was hopeful the new public hospital would get its own machine.

“At the moment, we do not have a pressing need to have a robot at the Royal Adelaide,” he said.

He said the machine was worth about $3 million and each surgery cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons South Australian spokeswoman Sonja Latzel said doctors were concerned about patients’ access to the technology.

Women who use low-cost or bulk-billed IVF (in vitro fertilisation) clinics could be putting themselves at increased risk of health complications, the peak association of IVF doctors says.

It comes as Australia’s only bulk-billed clinic, Primary IVF, which has been operating in Sydney since 2014, opened its doors in Melbourne on Monday.

While IVF treatments can cost patients up to $15,000 in high-end clinics, Primary IVF in Preston will offer them essentially for free.

Supporters say it gives women with fertility problems, who could not otherwise afford it, the chance to have children.

However, critics are concerned that with the low cost comes less expertise, lower success rates and in rare cases, health risks.

Professor Michael Chapman, the head of the Fertility Association of Australia and a practising IVF doctor, said he was worried women were being treated more aggressively at low-cost clinics.

“[Primary IVF] has been running for 12 months in Sydney, there have been complications – we have treated patients with hyperstimulation from that clinic and obviously we have concerns.”

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is when a woman reacts to the dose of drugs given to stimulate egg growth – in extreme cases, it can lead to the death of the woman or complications in the newborn baby.

Professor Chapman said it was too early to say whether it was a trend.

He said clinics with good practices have been able to eradicate OHSS in recent years, …

However Primary IVF has rebutted the claims.

Mystery surrounds the success rates at the bulk-billed IVF clinic, as Primary IVF does not disclose its data.

While data from the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD) taken in 2012 showed the live birth success rate varies from 4 per cent at the worst rating clinic to 30 per cent at the best performing clinic, it is not compulsory for clinics to disclose their success rates to the public.

Monash IVF, which charges up to $15,000 per treatment, boasts one of the highest success rates in Australia.

A push to roll out lifesaving defibrillators to sporting venues across Australia is gaining momentum with Victoria leading the way.

Up to 33,000 Australians suffer cardiac arrest each year and fewer than 5 per cent survive, often because help does not reach them in time.

When 43-year-old Matt Richardson collapsed and died while playing soccer in Sydney last year it devastated his family and friends.

“We’ve lost the centre of our universe really, Matt was really our rock and it’s taken us a while to kind of come to grips with that,” his wife Kylie Richardson said.

“He was a very loving father, a very involved father.

Richardson had already played 90 minutes, but he … volunteered to play a second game when another team was short a couple of players.

In the past two years, at least eight other players have died in similar circumstances on soccer pitches in Sydney.

Cardiac specialist from the Centenary Institute and Sydney University Professor Chris Semsarian said some of these deaths could have been prevented if there had been access to a defibrillator, and a quick response.


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