The Health News – 25 Nov 2014

Overview

  • Victoria’s Government and Opposition have both pledged to hold an inquiry into the state’s disability sector, amid allegations one of Australia’s biggest disability providers failed to act on warnings about carers who went on to sexually assault vulnerable clients.
  • Children in Canberra as young as 13 are among the growing number of young people abusing the drug known as ice, according to a drug treatment service.
  • Hundreds of Australians allegedly poisoned by Bonsoy toxic soy milk are set to share in a $25 million settlement, in what is believed to be the country’s biggest ever payout concerning food safety.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 25th November 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-24/inquiry-push-into-disability-sector-after-yooralla-abuse-claims/5912010

Victoria’s Government and Opposition have both pledged to hold an inquiry into the state’s disability sector, amid allegations one of Australia’s biggest disability providers failed to act on warnings about carers who went on to sexually assault vulnerable clients.

Disability workers, carers and experts have called for a wider national inquiry into what they say is an epidemic of sexual abuse within the sector.

… disability services provider Yooralla accepted the resignation of its chief executive.

Sanjib Roy resigned after heading the organisation for more than six years.

In a statement, Yooralla said Mr Roy had led the organisation through a period of cultural change and an overhaul of procedures to strengthen client wellbeing and safety.

Yooralla chairman of directors Dr Wayne Ramsay said Mr Roy left the organisation in good shape, after Yooralla clients were assaulted by a staff member in 2011.

Dr Sherene Devanesen has been appointed acting chief executive.

Victim Jules Anderson said she lost faith in Yooralla after learning there were warning signs for years about the carer who eventually attacked her in her group home.

Casual Yooralla worker Vinod Johnny Kumar, 31, was last year jailed for 18 years for raping four profoundly disabled people in his care, including Ms Anderson.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-24/ice-addiction-children-in-canberra-as-young-as-13-abusing-ice/5895770

Children in Canberra as young as 13 are among the growing number of young people abusing the drug known as ice, according to a drug treatment service.

The Ted Noffs Foundation has warned ice is becoming more prevalent amongst young people, particularly those from a disadvantaged background.

Ronan O’Connor from the foundation said the organisation had treated young people aged between 13 and 18 for substance abuse.

“Two years ago, the presentation of ice doubled for young people, and last year it doubled again,” he said.

It comes as a report reveals the percentage of people presenting to the Salvation Army Recovery Services in Canberra with amphetamine addictions has more than doubled since 2010.

Mr O’Connor said more young people had sought treatment for ice addiction than for alcohol or cannabis abuse.

“That means that last year the primary presentation for young people coming into this program was ice, at 50 per cent,” he said.

“As a substance, the process of addiction is quick, the rate of use becomes extreme very quickly, [and] the detox period tends to be longer.”

Mr O’Connor said the take up rate of ice in the community had presented huge challenges for health authorities.

“One of the things that comes with ice is injecting, and we know that with injecting, within 12 months you’ve got a 50 per cent chance of getting Hep C,” he said.

On Monday a report revealed the percentage of people accessing the Salvation Army Recovery Services with amphetamine issues, including ice users, had more than doubled since 2010. The figure was up from 11 per cent of people using the service in 2010, to 28 per cent in 2014 as at November 17.

Over the same period, the percentage of people using the service with alcohol problems decreased from 66 per cent to 50 per cent.

Clinical Director of the Salvation Army’s Recovery Services Gerard Byrne said the increase in ice users requiring help from the service was alarming.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-24/bonsoy-iodine-victims-on-track-for-share-of-25m-payout/5913218

Hundreds of Australians allegedly poisoned by toxic soy milk are set to share in a $25 million settlement, in what is believed to be the country’s biggest ever payout concerning food safety.

About 500 people alleged they suffered health problems caused by dangerously high iodine levels contained in Bonsoy between 2004 and 2009.

It was alleged Bonsoy was reformulated in August 2003 and pure kombu (seaweed) was replaced with kombu powder, which had the effect of increasing the level of iodine.

It was alleged one glass of milk contained 50 times the recommended daily intake of iodine.

Maurice Blackburn principal Jacob Varghese said it caused problems with the thyroid gland which regulates hormones that control metabolism.

“Ranging from lethargy and anxiety from one end of the scale, to very severe episodes that would involve hospitalisation,” he said.

“In some cases people have had to had their thyroids removed.

“In a couple of cases women say that they had miscarriages as a result of the excessive iodine.”

The Australian distributor and brand owner, Spiral Foods, and Japanese companies Muso and Marusan Ai-Co agreed to the settlement without admitting liability.

It was lodged in the Supreme Court today for approval, with victims expected to begin receiving payouts within six months.

Mr Varghese said it is a warning to all food producers.

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