The News – 29 August 2014

Overview

  • Essential protective equipment for health workers fighting Ebola is “sitting on the tarmac” after two major airlines decided to suspend commercial flights to West Africa, an Australian doctor stated.
  • Queensland Health has clawed back almost $12 million in revenue it should have claimed for private surgery carried out in its public hospitals, but the Health Minister fears tens of millions of dollars have been lost forever.
  • Plans to change the law to make it easier to conduct clinical trials of medical cannabis have been announced by the Victorian Government.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 29th August 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-28/suspension-of-flights-puts-ebola-staff-at-risk-doctor-says/5702608

Essential protective equipment for health workers fighting Ebola is “sitting on the tarmac” after two major airlines decided to suspend commercial flights to West Africa, an Australian doctor [STATED]…

Doctor Ian Norton is the former director of disaster preparedness at the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre in Darwin.

He is on secondment to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to manage the logistics of its humanitarian response in Liberia.

… “vast supplies” of basic equipment to be delivered to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were stalled at major hubs.

Air France has temporarily suspended services to Sierra Leone, on the recommendation of the French government, which urged citizens to leave Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The decision left Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown and Monrovia in neighbouring Liberia with just one regular service, from Royal Air Morocco.

British Airways has also suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation, the UN’s aviation safety arm, said this month the risk to passengers from becoming infected on flights was low.

The disease has killed more than 1,400 people since it erupted in West Africa early this year.

“People are finally believing the message and getting family members to come earlier to the family treatment centre,” he said.

“If you don’t get to an Ebola treatment centre or come very late, unfortunately the mortality rate is 90 per cent,” he said.

He said the WHO will soon convert a football stadium into a huge field hospital.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-28/qld-health-reclaims-millions-in-revenue-over-surgery/5704030?section=qld

Queensland Health has clawed back almost $12 million in revenue it should have claimed for private surgery carried out in its public hospitals, but the Health Minister fears tens of millions of dollars have been lost forever.

Lawrence Springborg ordered the recovery operation after the Auditor-General found sloppy record keeping and massive amounts of foregone revenue in his investigation last year.

But a report … showed only $11.6 million had been recovered.

“These are amounts of money that should have been billed that weren’t being billed,” Mr Springborg said.

“This has been going on for years. We’ve only been able to recover the stuff we had records (for) going back a couple of years.

“Who knows what happened prior to us coming to government.”

The July report, titled Private Practice Reform and Revenue Recovery Program, raised concerns about the record keeping.

A new system of fees has been introduced for private surgery in public hospitals, but the report warned it could have a negative impact.

“The most significant impact will be in radiology and radiation oncology.

“These specialists may choose to leave Queensland Health which could have negative implications for service delivery.”

But Mr Springborg doubted they would quit.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-28/victorian-government-plan-to-make-medical-cannabis-trials-easier/5703466

Plans to change the law to make it easier to conduct clinical trials of medical cannabis have been announced by the Victorian Government.

The move is in response to a public campaign from families who want medicinal marijuana legalised.

Campaigners have argued they have successfully used the substance to treat symptoms in their chronically ill children, including those with severe epilepsy.

Health Minister David Davis said any move towards legalisation must be based on scientific evidence.

He said there were currently barriers to setting up clinical trials for cannabis, as doctors were required to seek approval to treat every patient who might be enrolled in the trial.

Mr Davis said the Government would also consider removing a ban on growing narcotic plants for therapeutic purposes, in the context of a clinical trial.

An expert advisory committee will be set up to seek approval for the use of cannabis compounds to treat or relieve symptoms for a range of illnesses and conditions.

Mr Davis said he would seek a cooperative approach on clinical trials for cannabis when he meets his federal, state and territory counterparts at a health ministers’ meeting in October.

The State Opposition has already pledged to legalise medicinal marijuana for life-threatening illnesses if it wins the Victorian election in November.

It will seek advice from the Law Reform Commission on the prescription, manufacture and distribution of medical cannabis, with the intention of introducing legislation by the end of 2015.

This has been the news on HPR. For more information on today’s news visit hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.