• As paramedics face rising violence, some of it while treating people who have taken the drug ice, authorities will mount a social media and advertising campaign in South Australia aimed at making their work safer.
• Television presenter David Koch has resigned as chairman of the Organ and Tissue Authority Advisory Council in protest over the Government’s handling of a review into organ donation.
• In a deal that is likely to spark controversy, leading Australian vitamin manufacturer Blackmores has donated $1.3 million to the University of Sydney to fund research into the effectiveness of alternative treatments such as acupuncture, herbs and meditation.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th May 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
As paramedics face rising violence, some of it while treating people who have taken the drug ice, authorities will mount a social media and advertising campaign in South Australia aimed at making their work safer.
Health Minister Jack Snelling said SA Ambulance had reported a 74 per cent rise in such incidents in the past three years and there had been 125 already this financial year.
“This new campaign emphasises that every interruption an ambo has to deal with prevents them from helping save someone’s life, and that life might be yours,” he said.
Intensive care paramedic Jordan Pring appears in the graphic advertising, which shows a callout rapidly escalating to violence, something he said all ambulance officers were able to relate to.
“This is something that happens, I think it’s safe to say, on a weekly basis to ambos,” he said.
“Personally I have violence and aggression come towards me on a regular basis.
“I’m really excited to be part of a campaign that highlights the fact that violence and aggression towards paramedics is unacceptable.”
Ambulance Employees Association official Phil Palmer said the awareness campaign was a valuable way to remind the public that ambos needed to be allowed to get on with their work.
It is planned to run the awareness campaign over the next three years and highlight work in other high-risk environments such as the emergency departments of hospitals, aged care homes and mental health and drug and alcohol treatment facilities.
The awareness campaign also will see a toolkit made available to health workers, along with more training on how to respond to challenging behaviour.
Television presenter David Koch has resigned as chairman of the Organ and Tissue Authority Advisory Council in protest over the Government’s handling of a review into organ donation.
Koch criticised Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash, who has ordered an investigation because transplant rates “have not increased as quickly as intended”.
On Channel Seven’s Sunrise this morning, Koch defended progress on donation rates as “world-class” and told the Minister to “get a backbone”.
Koch accused the Government of caving in to the pressure from lobby group ShareLife, which has criticised reforms of Australia’s organ and tissue donation system.
The Government said the number of people whose organs were donated when they died was 12.1 per million people in 2008 but had only risen to 16.1 per million last year.
Senator Nash said the review sought to establish if there was anything else that could be done to improve organ donation rates.
The Ernst and Young review of the donation and transplantation program will start next month and focus on the Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA).
The OTA has welcomed the review and said it “presents an opportunity to identify how the reform is progressing and opportunities for improvement”.
It also said Australia’s donation rate had increased significantly since 2009 from a low base.
Opposition health spokesman Stephen Jones said Koch’s resignation was a “terrible loss”.
In a deal that is likely to spark controversy, leading Australian vitamin manufacturer Blackmores has donated $1.3 million to the University of Sydney to fund research into the effectiveness of alternative treatments such as acupuncture, herbs and meditation.
The Maurice Blackmore Chair in Integrative Medicine, which is expected to run for five years, will educate student doctors about complementary medicines and how they interact with conventional treatments.
The dean of the Sydney Medical School, Bruce Robinson, said doctors could no longer dismiss complementary medicines.
“Many of my patients bring usually Chinese bottles along to a consultation and show them to me, and to be frank, I have no idea what’s in them and what they’re going to do,” Professor Robinson said.
“I think it’s important we at least have our graduates leave with a basic understanding of what some of these alternative preparations might do and how they might interact with the other medicines they prescribe.”
The chair’s first clinical trial will examine the effectiveness of a rare mushroom found only in Tibet, which proponents say blocks the painful inflammatory process of osteoarthritis.
Blackmores chairman Marcus Blackmore said 70 per cent of Australians used complementary and alternative medicines and he was excited to support the program.
But some observers raised concerns about the deal between Blackmores and Australia’s oldest university.
Dr Ken Harvey resigned his position at La Trobe University’s School of Public Health last year when it accepted a $15 million donation from the vitamins company Swisse to research its products.
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