The Health News – 4 April 2016

Overview:
• The Allied Health Professionals Association said patient care was being compromised because there were too many students and not enough resources to train them. Students and interns were doing “high-level clinical tasks” such as x-rays, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, the union said.

• About 100 patients in South Australia were given false positive results for prostate cancer in a bungle that has now led to the sacking of a key health executive.

• Taking steps to recover from depression and boost vitamin D levels may improve heart health, according to the findings contained in two studies presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago on Saturday.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  4th of April 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-03/victorian-health-students-doing-tasks-without-training-union/7295270

The Victorian Government is exploiting students and putting patients at risk because of staff shortages, the union representing allied health professionals claims.

The Allied Health Professionals Association said patient care was being compromised because there were too many students and not enough resources to train them.

The union is in the middle of enterprise bargaining negotiations with the Government.

Students and interns were doing “high-level clinical tasks” such as x-rays, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, the union said.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said she was aware of the union’s concerns and it was up to hospitals to ensure patients were being treated by trained professionals.

The union said it wanted better career structures in place for its members and pay parity with other health professionals.

It said workers were suffering from stress and exhaustion due to the demands of having to train and mentor increasing numbers of interns and students while doing their own jobs.

Ms Hennessey said the Government had put $2.1 billion towards Victoria’s health services in the last budget and was also in negotiations with the Federal Government over health funding.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-03/cancer-pathology-blunder-false-positive-sacking/7295132

About 100 patients in South Australia were given false positive results for prostate cancer in a bungle that has now led to the sacking of a key health executive.

Health Minister Jack Snelling demanded an independent inquiry when he found out from the media about the blunder.

The errors in test results since January from SA Pathology were picked up when Adelaide urologist Peter Sutherland ordered fresh testing for some of his patients when they returned concerning results despite already having had their prostate glands removed.

Dr Sutherland, the senior visiting urologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, said he had as many as 40 patients affected by the mistake and thinks dozens more also got incorrect results.

At a news conference in Adelaide on Sunday, health officials announced SA Pathology executive director Ken Barr had been sacked and confirmed there would be an independent investigation, as the Minister had demanded.

Central Adelaide local health network chief executive Julia Squire said the public should continue to have confidence in SA Pathology’s services.

Opposition health spokesman Stephen Wade said a statement on SA Pathology’s website which mentioned testing improvements revealed nothing about there having been a blunder.

He said patients and the South Australian public deserved better.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-03/fixing-vitamin-d-depression-aids-the-heart-studies/7295016

Taking steps to recover from depression and boost vitamin D levels may improve heart health, according to new research.

The findings were contained in two studies presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago on Saturday (local time).

The first focused on depression, a known risk factor for heart attack, stroke and even death.

Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute in Salt Lake City studied a registry of more than 7,500 people, and found when depressed patients got effective treatment, they could lower their risk of heart damage to the same level as a person who never suffered from depression.

However, those who remained depressed had higher rates of heart problems, at a rate of about 6 per cent, compared to around 4 per cent of people without depression.

“The key conclusion of our study is: If depression isn’t treated, the risk of cardiovascular complications increases significantly,” Ms May said.

A second study, also led by Ms May, focused on two measures of vitamin D, which when too low can predict the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or death.

Some 4,200 people aged 52 to 76 were studied. Most already had coronary artery disease (70 per cent) and one quarter were diabetic.

For doctors who treat these patients, the most important measures of vitamin D are known as total vitamin D and bioavailable vitamin D.

“Our study found that low levels of both total vitamin D and bioavailable vitamin D appear to be associated with poor cardiovascular outcomes,” said Ms May.

Ms May added that more research was needed to examine a wider variety of patients of different races, since different groups are known to be affected differently by vitamin D.

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