- Written by Staff
- Published: 01 March 2014
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) In-Home Telemonitoring for Veterans Trial that started late last year in Armidale and Toowoomba has been extended to the NSW North Coast. The trial aims to determine if telemonitoring is a safe, effective and efficient complement to face-to-face GP consultations, and will contribute to providing better care for DVA Gold Card holders with high risk for admission. Veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, coronary artery heart disease or diabetes will have access to videoconferencing and remote monitoring of their vital signs by their usual surgery’s chronic disease nurse.
The trial, which will run until June 2015 extends the Department's existing Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program. This program has proven very popular on the North Coast and provides funding to support coordinated care for eligible at risk DVA patients. Both projects hope to catch a deterioration in a patient's condition early so that emergency and possibly prolonged hospital admissions can be avoided.
In mid February the project team from DVA and Tunstall Healthcare (the supplier of the remote telemonitoring equipment for the project) did a whirlwind tour of the North Coast visiting over 30 practices from Tweed to Coffs Harbour. The project hopes to recruit 300 at risk patients for the trial and will match them against a control group to determine the effectiveness of early intervention.
- Written by David Guest
- Published: 24 February 2014
Like so many of the ED staff in our local hospitals – and those throughout Australia - Bangalow GP Graham Truswell, knows only too well the devastating long term consequences of alcohol fuelled violence. In his contribution abut the "Last Drinks @ 12" campaign for Byron Bay, he details the statistics and issues, and posits some solutions.
The recent acknowledgement of this issue by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell is a major triumph for the campaign that continues to be conducted both locally and in Sydney, and is the first time in decades that there has been a response from either political party to the problem. From the start of March, the recently enacted NSW legislation will enforce last drinks at 3.00 am, a 1.30 am lockout and the closure of bottle shops at 10.00 p.m. in the Sydney CBD, Darling Harbour and Kings Cross.
The "coward's punch" that recently killed young Daniel Christie in the Cross has made alcohol violence a mainstream issue. Fears that the new legislation will result in a prohibition-style rebound in illicit alcohol sales and consumption are speculative at best. Nevertheless, legislation is only one component of reducing alcohol fuelled violence.
- Written by Kevn Hogan
- Published: 16 February 2014
I was recently invited to the opening of the $175,000 State Government-funded Northern Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service and Northern NSW Rural Spinal Cord Injury Service perfectly located next to the rehabilitation unit at Ballina Hospital.
We have many outstanding health professions across numerous disciplines here on the North Coast. We also have some fantastic state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Lismore Base Cancer Unit and the soon-to-be upgraded emergency departments at Ballina and Lismore, and hopefully I will be able to announce an upgrade of Casino ED in the near future.
We also have a great network of dedicated and talented GPs, who are usually the first people we turn to when we have an ailment. Then there are the allied health workers who provide on-going care in the home.
Yet I am also acutely aware that as the population ages the demand for health care will increase. We are not alone in having to deal with this demographic shift, it’s a national trend.
- Written by Rohit Singh - North Coast Radiology
- Published: 03 February 2014
With the growth of MRI examinations which can now be referred by GPs for both adults and children, it is timely to present a summary here – not least because Medicare eligibility is tied to the clinical indications. This article intends to summarise the correct clinical indications along with a high level reminder of the contraindications to support GP’s and Patients and minimise Medicare compliance issues for everyone involved!
- Written by David Guest
- Published: 02 February 2014
The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) in conjunction with North Coast Medicare Local (NCML) is to trial the co-location of community health staff in general practice. The focus will be on patients with respiratory, cardiac and renal disease as frequent readmission of these patients is a significant draw on hospital resources.
- Written by Andrew Binns
- Published: 03 February 2014
A recent paper published in the MJA (1) discussed concerns expressed at the National Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference in Nov 2012 relating to the high rate of unintended pregnancies and associated costs in Australia. Compared with countries in Northern Europe we have a relatively high rate of unintended pregnancy and abortion (19.7 per 1000 women aged 15-44 years compared with 17 per 1000 in Northern Europe).
- Written by Robin Osborne
- Published: 07 February 2014
By way of synchronicity, The Railway Man, a new film based on the bestselling autobiography by British WW2 officer Eric Lomas, covers similar ground – the construction of the Thai-Burma ‘death railway’ by prisoners of Imperial Japan captured mainly in the fall of Singapore.
Played superbly by Colin Firth, as Lomax, and Nicole Kidman, as his wife, it is also based on flashbacks as Lomax contemplates his torture by the Kempetai, harrowing experiences he relives when he returns to the scene of his capture, and begins to track down his tormentor, Japanese officer Takashi Nagase.