- Both major parties have announced $300 million hospital plans for Sydney ahead of the New South Wales election on March 28.
- A team of researchers at the University of New England are pioneering new ways to identify and treat depression.
- More than 30 patients will be moved out from a community hospital north-west of Adelaide ahead of its April closure.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th March 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Both major parties have announced $300 million hospital plans for Sydney ahead of the New South Wales election on March 28.
Premier Mike Baird said his Government would put aside $300 million to build a new hospital at Rouse Hill in Sydney’s north-west, while Labor leader Luke Foley promised a $323 million upgrade of Concord Hospital.
Mr Baird said if he was re-elected, planning for the new Rouse Hill hospital would begin during his next term but construction would not start until the term after that.
The site for the new hospital has not been chosen and Mr Baird said the funding was also dependent on the privatisation of electricity assets.
Mr Foley’s announcement for a Concord Hospital upgrade included plans for new operating theatres, an aged care and rehabilitation precinct and an integrated cancer centre.
The hospital services inner-western suburbs with Liberal-held seats including Drummoyne and Strathfield which Labor is targeting this election.
But Mr Foley denied he was trying to just win votes and said the upgrade was essential.
Mr Foley said the Government had a plan to put 60,000 extra apartments along Parramatta Road and many of those new residents would end up using Concord Hospital but that the Government had not committed to an upgrade.
Since the election campaign began, Labor has also promised upgrades or redevelopments of the Tweed Hospital, Ballina Hospital and St George Hospital which are all located in electorates it hopes to snatch back from the Coalition.
A team of researchers at the University of New England are pioneering new ways to identify and treat depression.
Led by Professor Christopher Sharpley the team will research the development of personalised treatments for depression, which can manifest in nearly 1,500 different forms.
Professor Sharpley said suicide rates are up to six times higher in rural areas than in cities, with country men less likely to seek treatment for depression.
He said the research will also help people to understand depression so that it is not seen as a sign of weakness.
“Many people suffer from this, don’t be so ashamed of it,” he said.
“Maybe you could reconceptualise it and see it as some response that your body has in the same way you might have a response to eating a poisoned oyster or something like that.
“It’s not necessarily a weakness to become depressed, in fact it may be a very adaptive response your body has made.”
Professor Sharpley said doctors currently rely on anti-depressants for treatment of depression, but the medication only works in around half of all cases.
His research will look at the symptoms and causes of a variety of different types of depression, in a bid to tailor individual treatments.
“If you went to your GP with an abdominal pain, you would not be satisfied if the GP said, ‘I’m sure its appendicitis,’ without doing any more tests,” Professor Sharpley said.
“You would expect the GP to maybe take blood tests, and ask about your history.
“Unfortunately, when we go to be treated for depression, it’s as if the GP has just said that there’s only one form of abdominal pain and I’m going to treat it with an aspirin.”
The team of researchers includes a clinical psychologist, neuroscientist, immunologist, cell biologist, geneticist and medical practitioner.
More than 30 patients will be moved out from a community hospital north-west of Adelaide ahead of its April closure.
The Mallala Community Hospital provides aged care services but its board said increased costs and financial losses had forced its closure.
Chairwoman Kerry Heym said it was losing up to $30,000 a month.
“It’s really not paying its own way, so that’s been part of the issue,” she said.
“We’ve been trying to prop it up for a number of years now but unfortunately it got the better of us.”
Ms Heym said the board considered a possible change of ownership.
The District Council of Mallala voted this week to rescind its land management agreement with the hospital so the hospital could sell the building and land.
It comes at a time when Adelaide’s metropolitan health network is facing a major shake-up under the State Government’s Transforming Health Plan, with services at several rehabilitation hospitals to be shifted to major hospitals.
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