iron infusion

Iron deficiency is a common problem in general practice. Traditionally it has been treated with oral tablets, intramuscular injections or intravenous administration. Each of these modalities have their own problems.

While tablets are first line therapy, they take several months to work and are associated with significant gastro-intestinal side effects. Intramuscular injections are painful and may lead to staining of the skin. Previous intravenous formats of iron have been associated with serious side effects during administration, most notably anaphylaxis.

Rapid replenishment of blood and iron stores is needed for pre-operative patients where blood loss during or prior to surgery can be expected. Bowel surgery, gynaecological operations and major joint replacements are those where haemoglobin and iron replacement needs pre-operative optimisation.

The Federal MP for Page, Kevin Hogan (Centre), with his wife Karen, and Paul Murphy, manager of The Winsome & Lismore Soup Kitchen, at Homelessness Connect day.

I would like to congratulate our North Coast Primary Health Network, which has been selected as one of four lead sites across Australia to implement the new $192 million suicide prevention program. This is exactly what I have been advocating to reduce suicide in our community.

Any suicide is tragic and unfortunately we have far too many in our community. Under this new programme, the North Coast PHN will receive millions of dollars in additional resources to develop localised methods to help prevent suicides.

Suzy (not her real name) went to a leading Northern Rivers high school but at 15 was lured away to Sydney by an older man who introduced her to the drug scene. During the next five years in “a different place and a different world” she got into speed, alcohol and marijuana, and eventually came into contact with the police, and the hospital system.

Back home, she felt estranged from family, and rebelled again, seeking out the local drug scene, and ending up involved with a biker club:

“I felt like I fitted in. I gained some protection and felt secure. I was being supplied drugs, so my addiction soared… there were a lot of females in my situation… it just ruined their lives really. I was hitting the drugs and alcohol really hard and notched up a few criminal records of my own.”

Suzy now finds her past haunting her - when she applies for jobs her record often “bites me on the backside.”

On the positive side, “I feel the only work I can do now is in the Drug and Alcohol field and I’ve studied to support that. I think they are the only people who are going to value my experience, so I’ll keep following that path.”

Told by Indigenous Elders of the Northern Rivers NSW

Published by Arts Northern Rivers, which funded production through donations from local residents and trusts, Our Way Stories in a beautifully illustrated collection of life stories recounted by ten Bundjalung Elders from this area.

Collected by Dale Simone Roberts over a two-year period, these oral histories are a valuable legacy of times past but not forgotten, and a reminder that here, like elsewhere in Australia, Indigenous people have survived despite terrible odds: “There were a lot of massacres… White fellas killing black fellas”, says Aunty Gwen Williams about the early days in Evans Head.

The book was launched at a packed event at the Byron Writers Festival on 5 August, with the Elders sharing music and songs, and speaking of their experiences growing up in and around the Northern Rivers towns.

“All of the Elders have embraced the project understanding that it is a unique opportunity to have their lives recorded in their own words and to pass on their knowledge before the stories are lost,” Dale writes in the introduction.

The eHealth component of Practice Incentive Program was tightened on 1 May 2016. Practices are now required to upload Shared Health Summaries (SHS) for 0.5% of the Standard Whole Patient Equivalent (SWPE) population each quarter to qualify for the Incentive. Quarters commence on the first of February, May, August and November. The incentive for a practice can be up to $12,500 per quarter. 

The North Coast Primary Health Network has developed a guide to assisting practices in meeting their ePIP requirements. Section 4.6 of the guide shows how to determine the number of uploads in the preceding 3 months for three of the commonly used general practice electronic health records, Genie, Medical Director and Best Practice. 

Uploads to the PCEHR

Medical Director has a specific tool to calculate the number of uploads for the quarter. For Genie users the guide runs through the process for extracting the details of uploaded Shared Health Summaries.