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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:01 pm 
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Call for Vic pharmacists to give flu jab

VICTORIA'S community pharmacists could be providing adult flu jabs in time for the 2015 influenza season.

THE Victorian government is considering a report with 17 recommendations to expand the role of community pharmacists, including a pharmacy immunisation trial for adults.

However, the plan is opposed by doctors, with the Australian Medical Association saying it will compromise patient health care.

Parliament's legal and social issues committee chair Georgie Crozier said the inquiry heard that pharmacists played an integral role in Victoria's health system and were capable of doing more.

"The committee hopes that this report will identify the greater role community pharmacists can play in the Victorian health system," she said on Tuesday.

The report also recommends that a select group of pharmacists pilot a minor ailments scheme in rural Victoria, and pharmacists could also be part of a chronic disease screening and management program.

AMA Victorian president Dr Tony Bartone said it would oppose these moves as well.

"Any decision which seeks to provide a substitute for a qualified doctor is a wrong decision," he said.

"Doctors must remain at the centre of care - not as a second opinion." ... 7090478646

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:58 pm 
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Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says suspensions ‘not uncommon’ as he briefs Parliament on Ebola probe

A CONTENTIOUS decision to suspend two Cairns doctors for speaking about their concerns around the handling of last week’s Ebola scare could come before the Clive Palmer-inspired inquiry into the Newman Government.

Federal MP Bob Katter, who has been calling for compulsory official quarantine for people who have had direct contact with Ebola, defended the decision of senior clinicians to air internal concerns about the case of suspected Ebola patient Sue-Ellen Kovack last week.

Ms Kovack, a nurse returned fro Sierra Leone, has been declared virus-free.

Mr Katter said he would call for the PUP Senate inquiry to look into the decision to suspend the two doctors, saying he was concerned about a “culture of secrecy, public gag orders and witch hunts’’.

“It was the duty of the (suspended) doctors to speak up,’’ he said.

“But now the Health Minister and his faceless bureaucrats want to muzzle them, pillory them, and turn them into scapegoats in some sham inquiry.’’

Doctors yesterday rallied behind the suspended medical specialists.

Far North Senior Medical Staff Association president Roxanne Wu urged that the case should not become a “political football”.

“None of us had a suspected Ebola case before, we should be grown up enough to sit down and listen to everyone’s opinion,’’ she said.

“Both (suspended) doctors are passionate about what they do and they should be back at work.’’

A meeting of the association acknowledged there should be an established protocol about speaking to media.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg yesterday maintained that an independent review of infectious disease handling in the area would investigate an alleged “leak” to The Courier-Mail.

The review will also look at concerns about the handling and contact-tracing of patients in a possible outbreak of a killer strain of tuberculosis.

Mr Springborg said the ordered review would “establish if proper procedures were followed regarding the treatment of patients, Ebola and TB protocols, the release of private patient information, communications and the management of staff”.

He said it was not a “witch-hunt” and suspensions were far from rare in Queensland Health, with 49 staff suspended as at May

Earlier, The Courier-Mail reported that Mr Springborg says suspensions are “not uncommon” across Queensland Health, as a probe begins into the handling of the most recent Ebola scare that ended with two doctors being stood down.

The pair have been suspended on full pay after making internal concerns about the case public.

Mr Springborg said he was confident the ordered review would “establish if proper procedures were followed regarding the treatment of patients, Ebola and TB protocols, the release of private patient information, communications and the management of staff”.

He told Parliament that “false or conflicting information risks degrading those public health outcomes”.

“In two recent examples, this correct and considered flow of information has not been maintained,” he said.

“These cases are now the central focus of a report being commissioned by the Department of Health.

A range of comments have been made about this report, prior circumstances and the decisions of the Cairns Hospital and Health Service to stand down two doctors from their duties.”

Mr Springborg said suspensions were far from rare, pointing to the fact that 49 Queensland Health staff had been suspended as at May 31.

“Across Queensland Health, suspensions are not uncommon,” he said.

“They occur to ensure staff on duty at public health facilities can work without distraction.”

He also welcomed the result of a meeting by the executive committee of the far north Queensland Senior Medical Staff Association about the suspensions.

The committee backed three resolutions, which included: “The SMSA regrets that comments made by the senior clinicians were used by the press in their reporting of the potential case of the Ebola virus. The association did not know of these comments until after they were made.”

The SMSA also said the “two senior clinicians involved were commenting on a rapidly evolving situation and with the benefit of hindsight have acknowledged that this was unwise”.

It has resolved to develop procedures for “responsibly releasing statements to the media”.

The SMSA asked that the matter be dealt with “locally”.

“It should be separate from the overall review of the management of the Ebola risk patient to avoid prolonging the process to the detriment of the two clinicians and local services.”

Mr Springborg said: “Details of cases and actions taken or recommended by clinicians must be presented in an accurate, timely and authoritative manner.”

“This is essential to maximise the impact of the clinical effort through wider action,” he told the Parliament. ... 7091608630

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:47 am 
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Surgical robot takes a cheeky approach to brain surgery

Conventional open surgery on the brain involves drilling openings in the skull through which to access the gray matter. But what if the part of the brain needing to be accessed is located at the bottom of the brain as is the case with treating severe epileptic seizures? Generally it means more drilling. Now engineers at Vanderbilt University have developed a surgical robot that uses an alternative point of entry – the cheek.

Treating those seeking relief from severe epileptic seizures involves drilling through the top of the head and deep into the brain to destroy a small area in the hippocampus where the seizures originate. Inspired by the through-the-cheek technique neuroscientists currently use to implant electrodes in the brain to track brain activity and locate the source of epileptic fits, a team headed by Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Eric Barth developed a robotic device that enters through the patient's cheek. This provides a less invasive way to access the desired area, avoiding drilling through the skull altogether.

The working prototype developed by the team features a 1.14 mm needle made from nickel-titanium, which is one of the few common metals compatible with MRIs. The needle works in a similar way to a mechanical pencil, with compressed air used to advance the needle segments a millimeter at a time. Concentric tubes, some of which are curved, allow the robotic platform to steer the needle and follow a curved path into the brain, with surgeons able to track its position by taking successive MRI scans.

"The systems we have now that let us introduce probes into the brain – they deal with straight lines and are only manually guided," says Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery Joseph Neimat. "To have a system with a curved needle and unlimited access would make surgeries minimally invasive. We could do a dramatic surgery with nothing more than a needle stick to the cheek."

Mechanical engineering graduate student David Comber, who is responsible for much of the design, says the accuracy of the system measured in the lab is better than 1.18 mm, which is considered accurate enough for such surgery. To keep costs down, the team also designed it so much of the system can be 3D printed.

The team will now move onto testing the robotic platform on cadavers, with Barth estimating the technology could make its way into operating rooms within the next decade.

Comber recently unveiled the working prototype in a live demonstration at the Fluid Power Innovation and Research Conference in Nashville. ... ilt/34284/

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:18 pm 
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Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant

A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

Darek Fidyka, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a knife attack in 2010, can now walk using a frame.

The treatment, a world first, was carried out by surgeons in Poland in collaboration with scientists in London.

Details of the research are published in the journal Cell Transplantation.

BBC One's Panorama programme had unique access to the project and spent a year charting the patient's rehabilitation.

Darek Fidyka, 40, was paralysed after being stabbed repeatedly in the back in the 2010 attack.

He said walking again - using a frame for support - was "an incredible feeling", adding: "When you can't feel almost half your body, you are helpless, but when it starts coming back it's like you were born again."

Prof Geoff Raisman, chair of neural regeneration at the Institute of Neurology, UCL, led the UK research team.

He said what had been achieved was "more impressive than man walking on the Moon".

Dr Pawel Tabakow, consultant neurosurgeon at Wroclaw University Hospital, who led the Polish research team, said: "It's amazing to see how regeneration of the spinal cord, something that was thought impossible for many years, is becoming a reality."

The treatment used olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) - specialist cells that form part of the sense of smell.

OECs act as pathway cells that enable nerve fibres in the olfactory system to be continually renewed.

The sense of smell and spinal repair

The complex neural circuitry responsible for our sense of smell is the only part of the nervous system that regenerates throughout adult life.

It is this ability that scientists have tried to exploit in stimulating repair in the spinal cord.

Every time we breathe, molecules carrying different odours in the air come into contact with nerve cells in the nose.

These transmit messages to our olfactory bulbs - at the very top of the nasal cavity, sitting at the base of the brain.

The nerve cells are being continually damaged and must be replaced.

This process of regeneration is made possible by olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), which provide a pathway for the fibres to grow back.

In the first of two operations, surgeons removed one of the patient's olfactory bulbs and grew the cells in culture.

Two weeks later they transplanted the OECs into the spinal cord, which had been cut through in the knife attack apart from a thin strip of scar tissue on the right.

They had just a drop of material to work with - about 500,000 cells.

About 100 micro-injections of OECs were made above and below the injury.

Four thin strips of nerve tissue were taken from the patient's ankle and placed across an 8mm (0.3in) gap on the left side of the cord.

The scientists believe the OECs provided a pathway to enable fibres above and below the injury to reconnect, using the nerve grafts to bridge the gap in the cord.

Paralysed for two years

Before the treatment, Mr Fidyka had been paralysed for nearly two years and had shown no sign of recovery despite many months of intensive physiotherapy.

This programme of exercise - five hours per day, five days a week - has continued after the transplant at the Akron Neuro-Rehabilitation Center in Wroclaw.

Mr Fidyka first noticed that the treatment had been successful after about three months, when his left thigh began putting on muscle.

Six months after surgery, Mr Fidyka was able to take his first tentative steps along parallel bars, using leg braces and the support of a physiotherapist.

Two years after the treatment, he can now walk outside the rehabilitation centre using a frame.

He has also recovered some bladder and bowel sensation and sexual function.

Mr Fidyka undergoes five hours of physiotherapy a day

Mr Fidyka still tires quickly when walking but said: "I think it's realistic that one day I will become independent.

"What I have learned is that you must never give up but keep fighting, because some door will open in life."

The groundbreaking research was supported by the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) and the UK Stem Cell Foundation.

NSIF was set up by chef David Nicholls after his son Daniel was paralysed from the arms down in a swimming accident in 2003.

To date the charity has given £1m to fund the research in London and a further £240,000 for the work in Poland.

The breakthrough

A key difference with Mr Fidyka was that the scientists were able use the patient's olfactory bulb, which is the richest source of olfactory ensheathing cells.

This meant there was no danger of rejection, so no need for immunosuppressive drugs used in conventional transplants.

Most of the repair of Mr Fidyka's spinal cord was done on the left side, where there was an 8mm gap.

He has since regained muscle mass and movement mostly on that side.

Scientists believe this is evidence that the recovery is due to regeneration, as signals from the brain controlling muscles in the left leg travel down the left side of the spinal cord.

MRI scans suggest that the gap in the cord has closed up following the treatment.

None of those involved in the research want to profit from it.

Prof Geoff Raisman said: "It would be my proudest boast if I could say that no patient had had to pay one penny for any of the information we have found."

NSIF said if there were any patents arising, it would acquire them so as to make the technique freely available.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:02 am 
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Thousands wait too long for surgery

More than 25,000 Victorian patients waited too long for semi-urgent elective surgery, including hip and knee replacements, last financial year, new figures show.

Performance data released by Health Minister David Davis on Wednesday showed 69 per cent of Victorians received semi-urgent surgery within clinically recommended times in 2013-14, down from 75 per cent three years earlier.

The government's target is for 80 per cent of semi-urgent surgery to be performed within 90 days. Signs of strain were apparent at some of Melbourne's major hospitals where only half of patients received semi-urgent surgery within clinically recommended times last financial year.

These included Dandenong (49 per cent on time) and the Frankston, Royal Melbourne and Royal Women's hospitals (51 per cent).

Other hospitals with low percentages of patients receiving semi-urgent surgery on time were Monash Medical Centre in Clayton and Casey Hospital (53 per cent), the Austin (55 per cent) and Royal Children's Hospital (62 per cent).

Semi-urgent elective surgery performance has declined dramatically at some hospitals under the Coalition government.

Four times more women had to wait longer than 90 days for semi-urgent surgery at the Royal Women's Hospital last year (1348 patients) than in 2010-11 (301 patients).

At the Royal Children's Hospital, 1366 children had to wait more than 90 days for semi-urgent surgery last year, almost five times more than in 2010-11.

Semi-urgent surgery for children can include hernia and tonsil removals and insertion of grommets to improve hearing.

A total of 38,078 patients were waiting for elective surgery in Victoria's public hospitals on June 30. This is down from a peak of 50,000 in March last year but similar to the waiting list inherited by the government when it took office.

Mr Davis said more than 17,000 additional patients received elective surgery in 2013-14 compared to the year before, in what was the largest annual increase in the number of patients admitted from waiting lists since 1999-2000.

He said federal funding cuts had pushed up waiting lists in 2012-13 and "it's no secret the [state] government has sought to bring them down and has been successful".

Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said the government had held a short-term surgery blitz "so that data released prior to the election looks better".

She said patients were putting up with pain each day they waited for surgery.

Victorian chairman of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Jason Chuen called for both political parties to outline how they would fund Victorian hospitals to meet demand in coming years.

Mr Chuen said while both parties had invested in building new hospitals such as the Royal Children's, Bendigo and Box Hill over the past decade, the public hospital system required ongoing increases in funding to perform its day-to-day work.

"Whilst we applaud that infrastructure investment, it needs to be followed up with recurrent funding for staffing and service," he said.

Australian Medical Association state president Tony Bartone welcomed state-wide improvements on the percentage of emergency patients treated on time, but said performance was slipping at some under-resourced hospitals, including the Northern, Box Hill, Ballarat and Shepparton. ... 1a2uw.html

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:00 am 
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Shorter wait on public dental list

WHILE thousands of people across Queensland are waiting longer than a year to get a dentist appointment, Gympie residents do not have to play the waiting game, according to Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service figures.

Those figures show there are about 1100 people in Gympie waiting to see a dentist at the public dental clinic.

But, unlike most areas in Queensland, "no patients have been waiting longer than 12 months," the health service's oral health director Elaine Mawdsley said.

She said most patients at Gympie Dental Clinic were seen within 12 to 24 months.

This is different to a situation last year when thousands of people in the Sunshine Coast region faced waiting times of more than two years.

In February last year, about 4200 people had been waiting more than two years to see a dentist within the Sunshine Coast health service area.

Now, no one has been waiting that long.

Ms Mawdsley said new graduate dentists had been employed at Gympie and Kawana to add to their workforce.

She said this had greatly improved access to dental care for patients through the service's partnership with private dentists.

"The dental voucher scheme offers emergency patients the opportunity to see a private dentist, thus enabling public dentists to devote more of their time to treating patients from the waiting lists," she said.

"It also allows some patients to have a check-up or have dentures made by a private dental practitioner."

The number of people in the Sunshine Coast region waiting to see a dentist makes up about 9% of people across Queensland on waiting lists.

It is unclear how many people are waiting for dentures as the service does not maintain denture waiting lists.


1100 people waiting for a general dental appointment

In February 2013, 4200 people waiting more than two years

Now most are seen within a year

No one has been waiting for more than two years ... t/2431045/

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:23 pm 
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I lived in Noosa (Sunshine coast) for 2 years and found the "dental voucher scheme" to be brilliant. I got to see a private dentist of my choice (as I would have had to wait for the local government dentist) and was treated within 24 hours of the dentist making a treatment plan. I had to pay for the pain killers while the treatment plan was approved but it was no more than $20 dollars and I felt the treatment I got was far superior to the government hack, it cost me nothing. I think the scheme should be Australia wide.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:01 am 
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No deaths from drug software: Qld minister

Queensland's health minister is not aware of any deaths linked to defective software that manages medication for some of the state's sickest patients.

Queensland Health has reverted to manual systems to check the right medication is being doled out to intensive care and other patients after doctors realised there was a major problem.

A risk report, produced for the government last week, found there was a 60 to 90 per cent likelihood of a patient death within the next month due to problems with the software.

The suppliers of the Metavision Intensive Care program, which is in use at nine of the state's hospitals, have been advised and a software patch aimed at rectifying the problem is due to be installed next week.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the software had recently been installed in nine intensive care units or hospitals, but couldn't say if that was a few weeks or a few months ago.

He said there should always be concern when a problem is identified.

"But I don't believe there's any real risk to any potential Queensland patient out there because it has been identified," he told ABC radio.

Asked if anyone had died as a result of the software problem, Mr Springborg said: "Not that I'm aware of. If that has been the case, it's not been brought to my attention.

"What this particular paper said was that a problem had been identified and it needed to be fixed very, very quickly otherwise there could be adverse consequences."

He defended the use of software to help manage medication, saying human error was a significant issue in that area of health care.

The software at the heart of the problem was in use in about 100 hospitals across the world, he said.

Concerns over the software program were identified over the past month by the heads of intensive care units at the Princess Alexandra, Royal Children's and Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

"Since implementation, monitoring of patient records by pharmacists has revealed several potentially serious prescription errors specifically caused by the system," says the report, quoted by Fairfax.

"While no events have resulted in actual patient harm, they are considered to be near misses with a high potential to recur."

The Labor opposition wants an independent assessment of the situation from outside Queensland Health, saying it's clear drugs have been mixed up and that medications have continued to be administered when they should have stopped.

"It is clear that there are bugs in this system that could result in catastrophic results for the patient," opposition health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller said.

"The sickest of the sick are in intensive care units across Queensland and this system's risk rating is 'Very High'." ... ill-report

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:09 am 
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Nurse sacked after stealing a new father's wallet from a maternity ward - as his family watched the crime unfold on SKYPE

A nurse has been sacked from a hospital after she was seen taking money from a patient's wallet - by a relative who was watching on the other side of the world on Skype.

New dad Nick and his wife, Chrysa, were on a Skype call to family in Greece when they stepped away briefly to check on their baby in the nursery at Melbourne's Epworth hospital.

Their family waited on the line, watching the live feed of the new parents' empty hospital room.

'My husband came back first and his dad asked him "where's your jacket and your wallet?" because, he said, a lady came into the room,' the new mum told Fairfax Radio on Tuesday.

'She went to the chair - and my husband's jacket was there - she took the wallet, opened it and she took something.'

The same nurse later visited the room as part of her duties.

'My father-in-law was still on Skype he confirmed that it was that person,' Chrysa said.

'It wasn't much, it was only $20 but that is not right from a nurse.'

'We're very upset, we don't know why the lady did that, maybe she had problems?' Chrysa told Nine News.

A hospital spokesperson said a nurse was dismissed for theft and she was required to hand the cash and a written apology to the family.

'Epworth confirms that a staff member was identified a few weeks ago on Skype stealing money from a patient's room,' Epworth media manager Colleen Coghlan said.

'Epworth took swift action and the staff member left Epworth's employment immediately.'

Chrysa told ABC Radio that she wished that the nurse would not lose her job but did not want the same thing to happen to others.

Mrs Coghlan said theft in hospitals was a rising problem and Epworth would introduce security cameras to public areas to deter theft from patients' rooms.

'The issue for public and private hospitals has been identifying the perpetrator,' she said.

'I'm shocked. I think it was a horrible experience for the patient concerned and it's not something that anybody expects to happen when they come in to be cared for in a hospital.'

Alan Kinkade, Epworth Health CEO echoed this when speaking to Nine News.

'It's awful, awful. I think for our other 5000 staff they would be horrified that this has occurred.' he said. ... SKYPE.html

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:43 am 
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Middle-aged obesity costing hospitals $4 billion per year

Obese and overweight patients over the age of 45 are costing the hospital system $4 billion per year, according to a large cohort study of middle aged and older Australians.

Data extrapolated from the Sax Institute's 45 and Up study found a direct link between a person's body mass index, their chances of being admitted to hospital and the number of days that they spent in hospital - the more overweight they were, the more they cost they system.

Australian National University lead researcher Rosemary Korda said the results indicated a greater impact on the health system than previously thought.

"What we found was that as you go up the obesity levels, the costs really start to escalate," Dr Korda said.

"It's not just a problem for those really extremely obese people, the risk does go up greatly as your BMI increases above normal."

The 45 and Up study started in 2006 and involves more than 250,000 people aged 45 and older.

Researchers were able to link to their hospital records and calculate the difference between the average cost of various hospital procedures and the amount spent on those people who were overweight or obese.

Among 45 to 79-year-olds, overweight and obesity accounted for one in eight hospital admissions and one in every six dollars spent on hospitalisation.

Severely obese people had double the rate of admissions and days in hospitals than people of normal weight.

Dr Korda said the results suggested that even small improvements in the levels of overweight and obesity in the population would reap worthwhile savings in terms of people's health and overall costs to the hospital system.

"Sometimes we say the problem is too big. But if we could even stop the prevalence going up, that would help."

Overweight adults make up 35 per cent of the adult population and obese adults comprise 28 per cent, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

But public health advocate and Curtin University professor Mike Daube said that although people were aware of the problem, few were willing to make the concessions to their lifestyle that improving the condition would entail.

"We're seeing complications and problems from obesity setting in early and seeing the rising tide of diabetes," Professor Daube said.

"It's not surprising that we're seeing very high costs to the health system.

"I'm profoundly pessimistic that we will come to grips with obesity for many years.

"With tobacco we're making progress, with alcohol I think we're going to see progress.

"I don't think our society is ready to face up to the challenges of obesity." ... 1eh98.html

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:06 am 
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Patient forced to wait 19 hours for surgery on severed finger

An elderly woman was sent home twice from Ipswich Hospital and waited a total of 19 hours before she was given a referral to attend a private hospital for surgery on her finger that had been severed to the bone.

The woman, aged 72, sliced the tip of her finger off on a fold-up chair and waited for five hours in Ipswich Hospital's emergency department on Saturday afternoon only to be sent home.

She then waited from 6.30am to 7pm on Sunday before the hospital sent her and others home.

She was told to return for surgery at 7am on Monday.

After waiting for two hours on Monday morning, she contacted private hospitals and was advised to obtain a referral. ... 1fem5.html

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:39 am 
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Bowel cancer risk halves after screening

People who undergo screening for bowel cancer almost halve their risk of developing the disease in the four years following the tests, a new report has found.

Research involving almost 200,000 people from NSW found that those who were screened for bowel or colorectal cancer were 44 per cent less likely to develop the disease in the following four years compared to those who had not been tested.

And the reduced risk could have gone on for even longer, the report's co-author Professor Emily Banks from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University said.

"We already know from international evidence that colorectal screening saves lives, we know it's effective in reducing death rates and we also know that people who have colorectal cancer diagnosed at screening are likely to have an earlier stage disease," she said.

"This is really another piece in the puzzle that says not only will we be saving lives by detecting colorectal cancer early there's also potential to pick up pre-cancerous lesions… and you'll also have reassurance that on average there's around a halving in the risk of colorectal cancer after being given the all clear at screening."

Professor Banks said Australia had one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, with the disease killing around 80 people each week.

She said the research reinforced the federal government's plan to accelerate the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, offering free screening every two years to Australians aged between 50 and 74 by 2020.

"If we were to be able to implement full scale population screening for bowel cancer we could save up to 500 lives a year," she said.

"If you receive a kit in the mail and you're invited to join the program it's really worth seriously considering because of the benefits."

Professor Banks said in the past people found it embarrassing or difficult to talk about bowel cancer and testing, but people were getting used to the idea.

"Nearly half of the people in the study had been screened … it is something that is now commonplace," she said.

"A while ago people would have thought something like a pap smear was something they'd rather not have, but over time people have understood it's actually really important and the discomfort and embarrassment is outweighed by the long term benefits."

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday, was based on data from the Sax Institute's 45 and Up study accounting for about 10 per cent of the NSW population aged 45 and over.

Professor Banks said the researchers were unable to get funding to include Canberrans in the study.

"We're really only able to do this type of research because people have filled in the questionnaires and given us permission to follow their health over time," she said.

"It's a really important service these people are doing for the community." ... ing/?cs=12

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:31 pm 
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Drunk patients wreak havoc in hospitals

Nine out of 10 emergency department (ED) nurses and doctors have been physically threatened or assaulted by drunk patients, while almost all ED staff have been verbally abused, according to a new report.

A heavily pregnant ED nurse was threatened with being punched in the stomach and a physician was knocked unconscious by a drunk patient and left with concussion, according to a survey by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM).

The Alcohol Harm in Emergency Departments report says 98 per cent of surveyed ED doctors and nurses in Australia have been verbally abused by drunk patients in the past 12 months.

Ninety-two per cent have been physically assaulted or threatened.

Eight out of 10 doctors and nurses also said their ability to take care of other patients in emergency was negatively affected by drunk patients.

College for Emergency Nursing Australasia national director Leeanne Trenning said nurses bore the brunt of alcohol-fuelled aggression.

“Nurses are being subjected to violence and abuse from the very people they’re trying to help,” Ms Trenning said.

“Intoxicated patients take up too much of our time and their behaviour negatively impacts the entire ED.” ... assaulted/

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:49 am 
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Dying woman granted last wish as horse comes for hospital visit

A dying pensioner has been granted her last wish by having her beloved horse visit her in hospital.

Sheila Marsh, 77, died hours after saying goodbye to Bronwen on Monday at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan.

Staff wheeled her out on her bed into the hospital car park, where Bronwen and one of her other horses were waiting.

Bronwen immediately walked towards Mrs Marsh, a nurse told the BBC, and when she gently called its name it nuzzled her cheek as she spoke to it softly.

Mrs Marsh, who previously worked at a racecourse, died hours after the visit in the early hours of Tuesday.

The grandmother had already been granted a visit by her pet dogs but told hospital staff she especially wanted to see Bronwen, who she had raised from a foal for 25 years, ITV News reported.

Her daughter, Tina, thanked everyone at the hospital for making the time before she succumbed to cancer "ever so special".

"It took a lot for mum to talk on her last day but she clearly called Bronwen's name and asked for a kiss," she told the Wigan Evening Post. "There were lots of fantastic nurses that cared for my mum as if she was their mum." ... d=11355421

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:42 am 
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Location: Australia
Woman is left brain-damaged after routine surgery to remove small tumour went wrong

A 63-year-old woman has been left brain damaged after undergoing routine surgery to remove a small tumour.

Michelle Peters from the Northern Territory went in for an operation last month to remove a tumour on her adrenal gland when a surgical mishap saw carbon dioxide being pumped through the her liver and into her bloodstream.

The incident forced doctors to place Mrs Peters in an induced coma for two days, spending the next five days in intensive care at the Royal Darwin Hospital.

'You put a lot of trust in them and you think they’re going to do the right thing and when they don’t you do feel betrayed,' Mrs Peters told the NT News.

Mrs Peters has been left with memory loss and hindered motor skills.

'It's about the worst thing that could happen to you at this stage in life,' she said.

'They're going to take my licence away from me and I won't be able to go back to work because I'm a chef,' she said. 'I want to go back to work ... I loved my job.'

Mrs Peters also fears how she will get by in life without 'any income coming in'.

Four-years ago the 63-year-old widow was given a chance at new life, marrying subcontractor Garry Peters.

Mr Peters has been left devastated and uncertain with what the future holds.

'She’s just not same... They can’t tell us how long it’s going to take to get better or if it is going to get better,' he said.

Now a full-time carer to his wife, Mr Peters has had to turn down jobs to look after his brain damaged wife.

'I had to turn down a really good opportunity ... it would have been a big break for us, I’ve lost a lot of money.'

The incident has forced the couple to have to rely on Centrelink.

'I’ve had to apply for a disability pension for Michelle and a carer’s pension for me,' Mr Peters said.

Sharon Sykes, the acting chief operating officer of Top End Health Service, said senior management at the hospital were 'aware of this case'.

'The Division of Surgery has been in discussion with the family and is sensitive to the distress they are experiencing,' Ms Sykes said.

'Royal Darwin Hospital is a fully accredited facility that practices under the national standards. Should an adverse event occur within any of our hospitals we observe national incident management processes which include undertaking a full investigation; observing National Open Disclosure processes by discussing the event openly with patients, families and carers; and ensuring any remedial systems improvements and leanings are implemented as part of our safety and quality focus.'

Despite everything, Mrs Peters still has the small tumour on her adrenal gland.

The hospital has offered to fly her to any hospital in Australia to have the operation.

'I won’t have the operation here after everything, would you?' ... rgery.html

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