The Health News – 30 November 2015

Overview:
• The I Can Network, a new pilot program to help inspire students on the autism spectrum and change negative stereotypes was officially launched in Melbourne this week. And set to be rolled out in schools across Victoria next year. Marymede Catholic School in the city’s north will pilot the program, which is set to expand to 10 schools across the state in 2016.

• A unit diverting less urgent patients away from Perth hospital emergency rooms has come under fire from senior doctors and the Australian Medical Association (AMA). A trial of the “surge” unit run by St John Ambulance at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital is due to end next week, but the AMA fears it may be expanded to other hospitals in a bid to reduce ambulance ramping.

• A sperm donor father who only met his adult daughter six weeks before she died of bowel cancer has backed Victorian moves to strip donors of anonymity. Under a bill introduced into the Victorian Parliament, the name and birthdate of donors will be released to biological children, regardless of donor consent.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 30th November 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-29/victorian-schools-pilot-project-for-children-on-autism-spectrum/6978560

A new pilot program to help inspire students on the autism spectrum and change negative stereotypes is set to be rolled out in schools across Victoria next year.

The I Can Network, which sends mentors into schools, was officially launched in Melbourne this week.

Marymede Catholic School in the city’s north will pilot the program, which is set to expand to 10 schools across the state in 2016.

Senior school head Julia Wake said the program had already made a big impact in a short amount of time.

“We need to know each child better. A child with Asperger’s or on the spectrum is more vulnerable and needs more care and understanding so they are included,” she said.

Student Elise Muller, who has been mentored by the program and attended an I Can camp, said in the past she refused to tell people she was autistic.

“I previously had a code word and I called it ‘tree’, that was for my mum to use if I needed to talk to the school,” Elise said.

“If something came up, [with me] stuffing up or smiling at inappropriate times, I learnt that was because of autism. All the things with it were negative.

“It wasn’t until I went to this I Can camp when I was surrounded by all these positive people. It was a very social bunch. Everyone wanted to talk and speak about their journey.”

She said she is now a much happier person.

“If someone says I have autism I’d jump in and say ‘Yeah I have it too’,” she said.

I Can Network founder Chris Varney said he always knew he was different.

His socks were pulled up, his shirt was tucked in, his top button done up and his hair was plastered over his head.

His mother, Lisa Anderson, said she knew when he was born that he would face extra challenges.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-28/emergency-department-surge-units-under-fire-perth-hospitals/6983496

A unit diverting less urgent patients away from Perth hospital emergency rooms has come under fire from senior doctors and the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

A trial of the “surge” unit run by St John Ambulance at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital is due to end next week, but the AMA fears it may be expanded to other hospitals in a bid to reduce ambulance ramping.

The heads of the emergency departments at Sir Charles Gairdner, Royal Perth and Fiona Stanley Hospitals have warned there will be lethal consequences if that happens.

AMA spokesman Dave Mountain said patient care was being compromised.

He said the units further fragmented health care system services, and completely ignored the underlying problem of a lack of capacity to deal with the work coming into hospitals.

But the WA Health Department said clinical outcomes in four cases highlighted as a concern were not affected by presentation at the surge unit.

In a statement, WA Health said the unit had seen over 450 patients since starting operations in early September 2015.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-27/donor-dad-tracked-down-by-dying-daughter-backs-id-law-changes/6981982

A sperm donor father who only met his adult daughter six weeks before she died of bowel cancer has backed Victorian moves to strip donors of anonymity.

Under a bill introduced into the Victorian Parliament, the name and birthdate of donors will be released to biological children, regardless of donor consent.

If the name of the donor was not recorded, the government can now order any donor it suspects could be the father to undergo a DNA test.

Since the late 1980s, all states have moved to warn new donors their offspring will have the right to know their identity.

But until now, no state in Australia has retrospectively cancelled the guarantee of anonymity that donors were given in the early days of IVF.

For the tens of thousands of people who were conceived using donor sperm, and who want to know the identity of their biological fathers, it is a welcome development.

But it has left some donors who may have fathered dozens of children feeling anxious and exposed.