- Tasmania’s health system will be overhauled in an attempt to improve services and reduce spending. Health Minister Michael Ferguson is promising about $21 million in savings over four years.
- Health officials in Sierra Leone have confirmed that an Ebola patient who fled from a hospital in the capital has died after handing herself in. The woman was the first known confirmed Ebola case among residents of the capital city, Freetown.
- Officers who serve the Moora area, about 150 kilometres north of Perth, said a number of properties display lot numbers rather than street numbers, making it difficult for them to locate patients quickly.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 29th July 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Tasmania’s health system will be overhauled in an attempt to improve services and reduce spending.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson is promising about $21 million in savings over four years.
He will scrap the current model of three regional health organisations next July, and replace them with the new Tasmanian Health Service.
The establishment of the Tasmanian Health Organisations (THOs) two years ago was controversial; many stakeholders called for one single body, claiming three would be unsustainable.
Mr Ferguson has told a health conference in Hobart that has proved correct.
He has promised better collaboration between health professionals and more efficient management of waiting lists.
No hospital will close as a result, but the new service will be based in Launceston.
The centralised Tasmanian Health Organisation will have local representation by drawing its Governing Council members from across the state.
The federal independent MP for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has labelled the move to centre the service in Launceston as “parochialism gone mad”.
But the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Medical Association has welcomed the changes.
Spokesman Professor Tim Greenaway said he was not perturbed about the location.
State Opposition Leader Bryan Green said he was concerned about the impact on workers, but the Government had remained tight-lipped on the potential for job losses.
A new Health Council of Tasmania will also be established to represent the views of clinicians, professional groups and the community.
The Government plans to release a White Paper on health next year.
Health officials in Sierra Leone have confirmed that an Ebola patient who fled from a hospital in the capital has died after handing herself in.
The 32-year-old hairdresser and her parents, who are suspected to have the virus, have been taken to the east of the country where the only Ebola treatment centres and laboratory are located.
The woman was the first known confirmed Ebola case among residents of the capital city, Freetown.
Her family reportedly stormed the hospital, where she had been admitted, and removed her on Thursday (local time) after she had tested positive to the virus.
Health workers are setting up an Ebola treatment centre in Lakka village, about 20 kilometres south of Freetown, to prepare for future cases near the capital.
Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, at least 660 people have died from the illness, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), placing great strain on the health systems of some of Africa’s poorest countries.
The virus is still spreading. A Liberian man who died in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, tested positive for the virus on Friday (local time), Nigeria’s health minister said.
Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases at 454, surpassing neighbouring Guinea where the outbreak originated in February.
Ebola can kill up to 90 per cent of those who catch it, although the fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 per cent.
Highly contagious, especially in the late stages, its symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea as well as internal and external bleeding.
US agencies including from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have been lending their expertise to local health officials and international specialists.
Poor residential street numbering may be costing lives in regional areas, ambulance officers say.
Officers who serve the Moora area, about 150 kilometres north of Perth, said a number of properties display lot numbers rather than street numbers, making it difficult for them to locate patients quickly.
The chairman of the St John Ambulance Sub-Centre in Moora, Stewart Ridgway, said that could leave officers running from door-to-door in emergency situations trying to find the right house.
Mr Ridgway said the situation was made far worse when searching for properties at night.
“Some numbers become obscured by our searchlights when we’re looking for them,” he said.
“And then there’s the added problem that we’re searching for the number on the door, on the meter box, on the wall of the house, on the fence and sometimes individual number signs standing by themselves.
“So it all amounts to quite a stressful situation when someone’s health is at risk, someone’s life is at risk.”
Mr Ridgway said a recent death may have been avoided if a property had been more easily identified.
While he would not comment on the specifics of the case, he said valuable time was lost while ambulance officers searched for the property.
He said householders needed to reassess which number would be the best one to display.
He said it was likely the issues extended to many other regional areas.
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