The Health News – 8 September 2015


Overview:

• Broken Hill Base Hospital is taking special precautions to ensure the quality of its water as the water shortage in far west New South Wales worsens. A spokesman for the Far West Local Health District said that the hospital is preparing to install its own reverse osmosis desalination plant on site to treat water specifically for use in hospital equipment.

• ACT Branch Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Jenny Miragaya told 666 ABC Canberra that there was “a national and international crisis with regards to shortage of nurses and midwives.” However, increased nursing and midwifery training opportunities in recent years had not translated to employment figures.

• The mother of a young woman Jessica Martin who died after her Addison’s disease went undiagnosed by doctors and specialists says there needs to be more awareness of the disorder, an inquest hears.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 8th September 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-07/hospital-prepares-water-treatment-plant-as-outback-shortage-wor/6754450

Broken Hill Base Hospital is taking special precautions to ensure the quality of its water as the water shortage in far west New South Wales worsens.

A spokesman for the Far West Local Health District said the hospital is preparing to install its own reverse osmosis desalination plant on site to treat water specifically for use in hospital equipment.

The health department says the water is not being treated for health reasons, but to alter its chemical makeup to make it more suitable for use in medical equipment.

Domestic water provider Essential Water also expects to be using a desalination plant to treat the city’s remaining drinking water supply from the Menindee Lakes by the end of the year.

The hospital uses an average of 90 kilolitres a day in a range of medical equipment.

A development application has been filed by the hospital, and plans for installation are now being finalised, the spokesman said.

Level 3 water restrictions are due to be introduced before desalination is necessary for the drinking supply, but the hospital is not expected to be affected by the restrictions.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-07/national-midwife-shortage-puts-pressure-on-canberra-hospitals/6754712

A national shortage of practising midwives has put pressure on Canberra’s hospitals, but Australia’s midwifery federation said the shortage is not due to a lack of qualified professionals.

ACT Branch Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Jenny Miragaya told 666 ABC Canberra there was “a national and international crisis with regards to shortage of nurses and midwives.”

However, increased nursing and midwifery training opportunities in recent years had not translated to employment figures.

“There are about 3,000 new graduates in Australia who can’t get jobs,” she said.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures reveal there are about 9,000 unemployed nurses and midwives across Australia.

Ms Miragaya said the unwillingness of employers to take on new graduates was a significant contributor to the unemployment figures.

“Certainly new graduates, who are early career nurses, need to be supported to be employed,” she said.

“[New graduates] need the mature cohort of workers there to help them transition and provide that experience and mentoring as they enter the workforce.”
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National President of Midwives Australia, Marie Heath said retention of new midwives had been a significant contributor to the national shortage.

“We’ve got to be able to make sure that they’re retained because we have a lot of midwives that are leaving the profession after they achieve their qualifications,” she said.

“It’s because they’re not happy about what they’ve actually seen in terms of clinical practice.”

Ms Heath, who is also a practising midwife, said the expectations of new graduates were not being met.

“Many of the new graduates are quite disillusioned around the types of employment positions they can obtain and the types of experience they can actually get on the ground,” she said.

“A lot of them are looking for continuity of care models so they can care for women right through the pregnancy, at birth and post-natal intervals.

“Without being able to get those positions, they become quite disappointed about what they can achieve as midwives.”

Ms Miragaya said the ACT had been part of a push to increase the offering of continuity of care programs (CatCH), but it would only be part of a solution to keep new midwives in the profession.

Under continuity of care models, pregnant women are allocated a designated midwife for the duration of their pregnancy, during birth and for postnatal care.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-07/addisons-disease-inquest-mother-calls-for-greater-awareness/6755954

The mother of a young woman who died after her Addison’s disease went undiagnosed by doctors and specialists says there needs to be more awareness of the disorder, an inquest hears.

Jessica Martin, who enjoyed sport and dance classes, lost 20 kilograms off her small frame in the five months leading up to her death in July 2009.

Her mother, Marlene Martin, said “it should never have happened”.

“After Jess died I put every single symptom she suffered into Google — lethargy, dizziness, muscle weakness, stomach cramps and weight loss — and it came back with Addison’s disease,” she said.

Martin’s death is the subject of a coronial inquest.

The inquest heard the 24-year-old died two days after being discharged from the emergency department of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

After presenting with chest pains, the hospital ran a series of tests which came back clear.

Martin was advised she had viral pleurisy and was told to take anti-inflammatories.

Her distraught partner of nine years, Dean Theobold, described how his high school sweetheart deteriorated over the next 48 hours.

Eventually, an ambulance was called but it was too late.

Martin suffered a cardiac arrest on her way to St Vincent’s Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival.

One specialist suggested her weight loss might be caused by anorexia.

Ms Martin said she hoped her daughter’s death would raise more awareness of the rare endocrine disorder.

The inquest continues.

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