• A new centre will be set up at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to triage and treat ambulance patients in an effort to reduce ramping at Perth’s public hospitals.The centre, known as an Ambulatory Surge Capacity Unit (ASCU) was first used in 2013 at Hollywood Hospital.
• A big list of medical procedures and complications will not be covered by Australia’s biggest private health insurer, Medibank Private, as the stoush between it and health provider Calvary stands at a stalemate.
• Australia’s oldest working theatre, Hobart’s Theatre Royal, has raised noise concerns about a helipad being built on the roof of the city’s biggest hospital.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 26th August 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A new centre will be set up at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to triage and treat ambulance patients in an effort to reduce ramping at Perth’s public hospitals.
Escalating ramping problems across Perth led Health Minister Kim Hames to impose a ban on the practice earlier this year, insisting hospitals took responsibility for patients within 10 minutes of arrival.
The centre, known as an Ambulatory Surge Capacity Unit (ASCU) was first used in 2013 at Hollywood Hospital.
Under a contract, St John Ambulance provided a general practitioner and medical team to give pre-treatment and assess non-urgent ambulance patients.
Dr Hames said patients were either treated and discharged, admitted into the private hospital or taken to a major hospital if required.
“The ambulances went there first. What happened is, only about 50 per cent of patients then went onto the hospital,” he said.
The St John Ambulance team will now work from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital applying the same approach.
Dr Hames said paramedics were not in a position to decide if someone needed to be admitted to hospital. The ASC unit would step in to make that decision and streamline the process.
He said the ASCU approach was one of a suite of measures being used including additional beds in wards and the use of St John Ambulance personnel to provide support in hospital emergency departments.
A big list of medical procedures and complications will not be covered by Australia’s biggest private health insurer, Medibank Private, as the stoush between it and health provider Calvary stands at a stalemate.
At the centre of the dispute are private hospitals run by the not-for-profit Catholic organisation Calvary in South Australia, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Tasmania.
The insurer’s list of 165 “Adverse Events” it will no longer cover includes falls in hospitals and readmission to hospital as a result of a wound infection.
But the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care said the inclusion of about 131 of the 165 events on Medibank’s list was “based on inaccurate information”.
Calvary has refused to accept “quality and safety” measures demanded by Medibank Private as part of contract renewal negotiations.
Calvary wanted the changes delayed for 18 months and said Medibank terminated its current contract with Calvary, which was due to expire at the end of the month.
If a new contract agreement is not struck, Calvary said patients who previously had no-gap payments at their hospitals would have to pay an average gap of about $500.
Childbirth would attract a gap payment of about $500 and hip replacements up to about $1,000.
The failure to agree to a new contract would lead to payments made by Medibank to Calvary for patient treatment dropping to a default level of 85 per cent of the average it pays to comparable hospitals in that state or territory.
Australia’s oldest working theatre, Hobart’s Theatre Royal, has raised noise concerns about a helipad being built on the roof of the city’s biggest hospital.
Tasmania is the only state without a helipad at its major tertiary hospital and there are plans to construct one as part of a multi-million-dollar redevelopment.
The Theatre Royal, which is across the road, has made representations to the Hobart City Council about the potential impact of the helicopter noise.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said it was clear what the priority should be.
“The Hodgman Liberal Government is absolutely committed to the helipad,” he said.
At the moment, the rescue helicopter has to land at the Cenotaph, about a kilometre away, where a waiting ambulance takes the patient to hospital.
Mr Ferguson said putting a helipad at the hospital would save about 30 minutes.
“We have advice that the helipad … will save probably around a life per year,” he said.
A spokesman for the theatre said he did not want to prevent the helipad going ahead but initial investigations showed the noise impact would be significant.
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