- The State Opposition has blamed Health Minister Kim Hames for what they say is a dramatic rise in ambulance ramping in Perth’s south.
- Health authorities across Victoria’s Goulburn Murray have welcomed the establishment of a national task force to tackle the drug ‘ice’.
- The Tasmanian Government is spending $200,000 to train more nurses ahead of a predicted skills shortage over the next few years.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
The State Opposition has blamed Health Minister Kim Hames for what they say is a dramatic rise in ambulance ramping in Perth’s south.
Figures released by the Opposition indicate there has been a 693 per cent increase in ramping at Rockingham hospital compared to the same period last year.
At Joondalup Health Campus ramping has increased 23 per cent this year to date, compared with the same period last year.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the Health Minister must take responsibility for the problem, which sees ambulances forced to wait outside hospitals to unload their patients.
Opposition Health spokesman Roger Cook said the new Fiona Stanley Hospital was supposed to take pressure off the health system.
But with the deluge of patients flooding into the hospital, he said that pressure is now being push back onto other hospitals, particularly in the southern metropolitan area.
Mr McGowan said the Health Minister had failed to address the problem.
Health authorities across Victoria’s Goulburn Murray have welcomed the establishment of a national task force to tackle the drug ‘ice’.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is putting together the task force to be headed by former Victorian police chief commissioner Ken Lay.
Clinical mental health leader with Albury Wodonga Health, Alan Fisher, said bringing all the agencies together to address the problem was overdue.
He said he hoped that getting people into rehabilitation and detox facilities as quickly as possible was part of the multi-pronged approach.
“Treatment services have lengthy delays and that can be discouraging for people trying to get help and it certainly doesn’t help with the quality of people’s lives or ability to work and that sort of thing,” he said.
“[It’s] not always about throwing millions and millions of dollars, it’s about how you spend it and what specifically you do.
“They’re recognising that often people using crystal meth are also using other substances as well in hazardous amounts which makes the situation more complicated and it certainly can be a barrier in getting to treatment.
“The response can’t be down to one service or system, it needs to be shared across the services and people.”
The president of the North-East Law Association, Danny Frigerio said the national task force was a step in the right direction.
Mr Frigerio said courts in the region were being inundated with cases related to the use of ice and he hoped the task force would be much more than just another inquiry.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s Mental Health Minister, Martin Foley, cautiously welcomed the Federal Government move but warned the issue would not be easily solved.
It follows the Victorian Government’s own $45 million action plan which includes new tough laws to punish manufacturers and dealers of methamphetamines.
Mr Foley said there needed to be a united approach.
The Tasmanian Government is spending $200,000 to train more nurses ahead of a predicted skills shortage over the next few years.
The Nursing and Midwifery Federation won a government tender to train 20 extra enrolled nurses at its Hobart education and training centre.
It predicted a shortfall of nearly 400 nurses in the aged and community care sectors by 2020.
Secretary Neroli Ellis said hundreds of nurses were approaching retirement.
“We have the oldest average age of nurses in Tasmania for the whole country so there is going to be a retirement boom coming up in regards to a huge loss in the next five to 10 years,” she said.
The training positions were in addition to a similar course offered by Tas TAFE.
State Growth Minister Matthew Groom said it was another example of the Government investing in jobs.
“This is about working with industry to identify future skills gaps in areas of critical importance to Tasmania and I don’t think you’ll get a better example of that than in health care.”
The Tasmanian Opposition claims cuts to the health system have made the problem worse.
Leader Bryan Green said nursing graduates were looking interstate for work.
Ms Ellis agreed budget cuts were contributing to the skills shortage.
“We’ve lost 36 nurses so far in the budget cuts and clearly we’re really under pressure and there’s many areas that haven’t got enough nurses,” she said.
“The recruitment processes are slow.”
But Mr Groom insisted the cuts were necessary to make the health budget sustainable into the future.
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