The Health News – 7 December 2015

Overview:
• The Federal Government will spend more than $300 million implementing a new strategy aimed at tackling ice addiction, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said. A report from the National Ice Taskforce found more than 200,000 Australians had used the drug.

• Michael Baker, a dental student and his fellow dental students from Griffith University are filling the vital gap in oral health services at a south-east Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Mr Baker said the clinic aimed to remove the pain for locals and help them out.

• Eight of 151 child protection alerts ignored by authorities in Tasmania’s north-west related to cases where there was “significant concern regarding harm or risk of harm”, the health department has confirmed. The reports were made between September 2014 and July 2015 but the incidents were not allocated to child protection workers until August 2015.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 7th December 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-06/malcolm-turnbull-ice-addiction-strategy/7005246

The Federal Government will spend more than $300 million implementing a new strategy aimed at tackling ice addiction, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

A report from the National Ice Taskforce found more than 200,000 Australians had used the drug.

… the Government agreed to adopt the 38 recommendations from the taskforce aimed at improving prevention and treatment methods.

Mr Turnbull said most of the funding would be given to grassroots organisations.

“Most of this money is going to primary health networks,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We believe that the medical and healthcare professionals, who are closest to the … people in need, are best able to determine how the money is spent.”

The Prime Minister said law enforcement was critical to fighting the ice problem, but was not the only solution.

However, Justice Minister Michael Keenan said more should be done to reduce demand for the drug, otherwise law enforcement would be under more pressure.

…Australian Drug Foundation chief executive John Rogerson said drug addiction was not just a criminal issue.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-06/dental-student-michael-baker-drives-cherbourg-volunteer-clinic/7003232

An Indigenous final-year dental student and his team of volunteers are filling a vital gap in oral health services at a south-east Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Michael Baker, 26, and a group of his fellow dental students from Griffith University on the Gold Coast visit Cherbourg four times a year to run clinics at the local health service.

Until the program started, Cherbourg locals had to travel over an hour to the nearest dentist where there was a waiting list of more than two years.

Mr Baker organises the trips, collects donations from corporations, Griffith University and the Australian Dental Association and takes the mobile clinic on the three-hour drive to Cherbourg.

On his latest trip he loaded up his ute with about $60,000 of dental gear and his team spent a day setting up four surgery rooms at the Cherbourg health clinic.

And they did it all for free.

“The program has the potential to see up to 120 patients every trip. We generally see around 100 a trip and try and perform as much treatment as we can on those patients,” Mr Baker said.

Mr Baker said the clinic aimed to remove the pain for locals and help them out.

“When the program first started in 2010 there was a lot of very acute and chronic cases coming through. Lots of pain,” he said.

“We’re now seeing a transition from that emergency dental clinic to a preventative dental clinic where we’re seeing patients come in for more routine treatment on a regular basis.

Lynette Brown, practice manager of the Cherbourg Regional Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services, said the Hope for Health program was vital.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-06/ignored-child-protection-alerts-cases-of-significant-concern/7005032

Eight of 151 child protection alerts ignored by authorities in Tasmania’s north-west related to cases where there was “significant concern regarding harm or risk of harm”, the health department has confirmed.

The reports were made between September 2014 and July 2015 but the incidents were not allocated to child protection workers until August 2015.

Most of the cases related to concerns about children aged under three and unborn babies.

Right to Information documents obtained by the ABC indicated eight of the notifications were considered to have “significant concerns regarding harm or risk of harm” to warrant an investigatory response.

One dated back to January, the remaining seven occurred in June or July.

The documents stated that as of October 5 two of the investigations were listed as “not substantiated and approved” while six were “not yet finalised”.

Last month Premier Will Hodgman conceded the state’s child protection system was in crisis and that the department was struggling to fill multiple child protection positions.

The unions said recruitment was difficult because of “incredibly high” case loads.