The Health News – 28 March 2016

Overview:
• Remote Area Nurses, who staff clinics across the country, are often called out to work alone after hours, exposing themselves to the risk of being abused sexually, physically and verbally, a Perth nurse has said.

• Mobility taxis for the disabled are no longer commercially viable and the number of wheelchair accessible cabs will likely be cut, the Melbourne taxi industry has warned.

• A seed bank project in remote northern Australia is training Aboriginal women in horticulture to help protect plant biodiversity of the region.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th of March 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-27/petition-demanding-protection-for-remote-nurses-gains-support/7278502

Remote Area Nurses, who staff clinics across the country, are often called out to work alone after hours, exposing themselves to the risk of being abused sexually, physically and verbally, a Perth nurse has said.

An online petition calling for two nurses to attend afterhours callouts and for single nurse posts to be abolished has already attracted more than 12,000 signatures in the wake of nurse Gayle Woodford’s death at Fregon in the remote APY Lands in South Australia’s Mid North.

Joanne Norton who established the petition on change.org said Remote Area Nurses were “extremely vulnerable”.

“Most of us … have horrendous stories about being either sexually abused, physically abused, verbally abused. So it is pretty bad and the trend it seems to be getting worse,” Ms Norton said.

She said two nurses had been sexually assaulted since Christmas.

Ms Norton said Remote Area Nurses worked in Indigenous communities and isolated country towns.

Clinics are often staffed by two nurses but it is normal for one to respond to an after hours emergency alone.

She said the areas the nurses covered often had minimum or no police presence and poor mobile phone coverage.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-26/questions-over-how-best-to-serve-disabled-taxi-clients/7274066

Mobility taxis for the disabled are no longer commercially viable and the number of wheelchair accessible cabs will likely be cut, the Melbourne taxi industry has warned.

Ride-sharing service Uber has claimed it could provide the solution and wants to launch UberWAV wheelchair accessible vehicles.

But people with disabilities who are regularly forced to wait for cabs, just want to see the system fixed.

Law student Alex Holland, 25, has cerebral palsy, and although she can walk short distances, she mostly uses a wheelchair.

Ms Holland said she did not use taxis very often because they were unreliable, but for the purpose of a test, she booked one to take her to university.

The taxi was booked on the night before her trip for 8:00am to get her to a class by 9:00am.

It finally arrived at her South Melbourne apartment after 9:00am, more than an hour late.

Long-time disability taxi services campaigner Dr George Taleporos from the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, has also experienced poor service.

He has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair — he was forced to buy a car which is driven by a carer.

“You would often wait between an hour and three hours for a taxi to arrive,” Dr Taleporos said.

“Obviously if you were trying to hold down a job or get to a vital appointment that’s not feasible in the long term.

“We don’t think people with disabilities should have to wait any longer than anyone else.”

It was a view echoed by Victoria’s Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-27/kimberley-seedbank-project-to-protect-biodiversity/7275344

A seed bank project in remote northern Australia is training Aboriginal women in horticulture to help protect plant biodiversity of the region.

[Aboriginal]… women ranger groups are being taught to collect, store, and propagate culturally significant seeds and endangered plants so their genes can be stored forever.

“The old people in the past were using bush fruits for food sources as well as weapons,” Beagle Bay Nyul Nyul ranger Devena Cox said.

“Different trees are used for different materials like spear heads, spear sticks and boomerangs, even bowls to carry water.”

The project is being facilitated by conservation group Environs Kimberley.

“It’s bringing Western science and traditional knowledge together,” Nature Project officer Kylie Weatherall said.

“We saw within traditional owner and Kimberley ranger groups a need for training and support in their seed collecting activities and learning how to process and store seed.”

The importance of collecting seeds has become more urgent as biodiversity in the Kimberley has struggled with fire, pests and development and also climate change.

“Not a lot’s known about Kimberley plants species,” Ms Weatherall said.