The Health News – 4 March 2014

Overview

  • In QLD, the state branch of the Australian Medical Association says the state government’s current effort to put senior doctors on individual work contracts will scare health professionals away from regional and remote areas.
  • In Victoria, Castlemaine Health have said that reopening operating theatres in the town’s hospital will positively impact on finances.
  • Health experts are raising the warning that a veterinary drug abused by athletes is becoming increasingly popular with the general public.

Health News on HPR.

AMAQ warns against putting senior doctors on individual contracts – by Frances Adcock
In QLD, the state branch of the Australian Medical Association says the state government’s current effort to put senior doctors on individual work contracts will scare health professionals away from regional and remote areas. AMA-QLD has said most doctors in the state believe the new contracts may put them at risk of dismissal if they publicly disagree with the contracts’ terms. The AMAQ president-elect Dr Shaun Rudd, said “One of the problems with working in the regional areas is that part of the contract is we will deploy anywhere between within the hospital and health region – which isn’t so bad if you live in Brisbane but if you live out in the regions that might mean a move of a couple of hundred kilometres and families with kids and schooling … to have that hanging over your head is not very pleasant. There’s a distinct possibility with these contracts we will have trouble getting people – so if you have trouble getting people you end up [with] people closer to the bottom of the barrel sometimes and people not being appropriately trained.” Meanwhile, the state government maintains that individual work contracts will improve working conditions for doctors and incentivise them to work in public hospitals.

New operating theatres to ‘improve’ Castlemaine Health finances – no author listed
In Victoria, Castlemaine Health have said that reopening operating theatres in the town’s hospital will positively impact on finances. The hospital last year posted a multimillion dollar loss, and cited closures of operating theatres during a $10m upgrade as a factor. CEO Ian Fisher said the hospital’s two operating theatres were already completely booked prior to opening yesterday. He said “Our financial situation wasn’t just related to the theatres but it certainly didn’t help but getting the theatres back means that we’re very confident that we’ll meet our targets in terms of throughputs and if we meet out targets our financial situation will improve significantly.”

Body-builders, slimmers misusing veterinary horse drug Clenbuterol, health experts warn – no author listed

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-03/body-builders-slimmers-misusing-veterinary-horse-drug/5293882

Health experts are raising the warning that a veterinary drug abused by athletes is becoming increasingly popular with the general public. Information published in the Medical Journal of Australia shows that 63 members of the general population have overdosed on the drug Clenbuterol in the past 10 years, and the number of overdoses has increased nine-fold over the past 5 years. The prescription drug is intended to treat breathing problems in horses, but is abused by athletes, and more recently people seeking to lose weight or gain muscle, because of its anabolic properties. The drug is banned by the world anti-doping association and international Olympic committee.

Dr Jonathon Brett off the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney say users generally consume high doses of the drug, and that more than 80% of users end up in hospital. Dr Brett and many other commentators have appealed for sales of the drug to be more restricted.

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