The Health News – 24 September 2015

Overview:
• A four-day Industrial Relations Commission session had been scheduled for this week, but the Commissioner cancelled her trip to Broken Hill for personal reasons. The hearing may be rescheduled for next year. Ros Ferry from the Town Employees’ Union, which represents the staff at the centre of the case, said neither of the workers disputing their dismissals are seeking re-employment.

•  The University of Melbourne study found prevention approaches such as placing signs and crisis-assistance numbers and increasing the likelihood of intervention by a third party significantly reduced the number of deaths at these locations.

• Receiving regular text messages about healthy living can help people who have had a heart attack significantly reduce their chances of having a second one, new research from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, that sending simple texts such as “Don’t forget physical activity is good for you!” could motivate patients to improve their health.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th September 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-23/broken-hill-hospital-unfair-dismissal-hearing-cancelled/6798072

It may be next year before two unfair dismissal cases brought by former staff members at Broken Hill’s hospital will be heard.

A four-day Industrial Relations Commission session had been scheduled for this week, but the Commissioner cancelled her trip to Broken Hill for personal reasons.

The hearing may be rescheduled for next year.

Ros Ferry from the Town Employees’ Union, which represents the staff at the centre of the case, said neither of the workers disputing their dismissals are seeking re-employment.

“That then allows the commission time to fully hear it without any urgency to get the employees back to work,” Ms Ferry said.

Ms Ferry said the hearing’s delay was unlikely to cause problems for the affected workers.

Meanwhile, the Far West Local Health District has told the ABC it can’t provide any updates on the progress of an internal investigation into allegations made by hospital nurses, and can’t comment on whether the investigation is still ongoing.

The independent inquiry was launched in November, in response to nurses’ concerns about disciplinary procedures and the behaviour of management.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-23/blocking-means-of-suicide-at-hotspots-reduces-deaths-by-90pc/6796702

Blocking the means of suicide at “hotspots” such as high bridges and cliffs reduces the number of deaths at these locations by 90 per cent, new research shows.

The University of Melbourne study found prevention approaches such as placing signs and crisis-assistance numbers and increasing the likelihood of intervention by a third party significantly reduced the number of deaths at these locations.

According to statistics from crisis service provider Lifeline, deaths by suicide in Australia have reached a 10-year peak with twice as many people dying from suicide than in road-related deaths.

“These key interventions have the potential to complement each other and buy time to allow an individual to reconsider their actions and allow others the opportunity to intervene,” said the lead author of the study, Professor Jane Pirkis.

One location the study cites was The Gap, an ocean cliff in eastern Sydney in Watsons Bay where an inwardly curved fence was built along the cliff’s edge, and telephones and signs were installed linking directly to Lifeline.

The paper found interventions to restrict access resulted in 91 per cent fewer suicides per year when looked at in combination with other interventions and a 93 per cent reduction when used in isolation.

“Although suicide methods at high-risk locations are not the most common ways for people to take their own lives and may only have a small impact on overall suicide rates, suicide attempts at these sites are often fatal and attract high-profile media attention which can lead to copycat acts,” Professor Pirkis said.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged between 15-44, and around 2,500 people will die each year from suicide in Australia according to Beyondblue.

Though restricting access to one location could shift the problem elsewhere, the researchers found there was a significant overall reduction in deaths by the same method.

The researchers said blocking access to a hotspot should be a part of the overall regional and national approach to suicide prevention.

According to Beyondblue, 3 million Australians live with depression or anxiety.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-23/simple-text-messages-can-save-lives-researchers-say/6796036

Receiving regular text messages about healthy living can help people who have had a heart attack significantly reduce their chances of having a second one, new research has found.

Researchers from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney found sending simple texts such as “Don’t forget physical activity is good for you!” could motivate patients to improve their health.

After receiving four texts a week for six months, patients significantly lowered their cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index.

Associate Professor Clara Chow from the institute said the approach had the potential to prevent second heart attacks and save thousands of lives.

“Around 55,000 Australians go to hospital with a heart attack every year and around one third of those are repeat heart attacks,” she said.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found significant reductions in cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index among participants.

Most participants found the texts useful, and people receiving the texts were also more likely to exercise regularly and become non-smokers.

Second heart attacks are dangerous, but almost half of people who have had a heart attack do not take prescribed medications.

Many others stop exercising and eating a healthy diet.

Public health experts said the findings were important, to show there were proven, cost-effective measures which could change people’s health habits.

National Heart Foundation chief executive Mary Barry said the results showed when information was targeted to someone’s particular health concerns, the impact could be very positive.

“We know that we need to be more savvy with how our information is delivered to patients,” she said.

Patient received texts such as:

“Don’t forget physical activity is good for you! It reduces your risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke.”

“Did you know that 90 per cent of people don’t eat the recommended daily intake of vegetables?”

“Studies show that stress, worry and loneliness can increase the risk of heart disease. Please talk to a health professional if you need help.”

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