Monday, October 08, 2007


Three articles below:

More deaths due to government medical services

Zoltan Fekete, 30, went into Maroondah Hospital for a routine operation to remove his appendix, but he never went home. The hospital, dubbed "The Killing Fields" by doctors who say it relies on under-trained doctors to manage critical cases, is being investigated by the State Coroner.

Great-grandmother Nancy John died after her doctor's call for an ambulance to respond to her "heart failure" was initially ignored in a mix-up. Paramedics were sent only after the doctor called a second time, demanding urgent help.

The family of 1.98m tall "gentle giant" Mr Fekete are too distraught to talk about their son's death, but they want answers. Mr Fekete checked himself into the hospital on August 22 suffering stomach pains and was told he needed to have his appendix out. But the next day, after he was anaesthetised for surgery, it is understood his heart failed and his brain was starved of oxygen. Family and friends were told there had been "complications". They went to the hospital and found Mr Fekete in a coma. On August 29 his life-support machine was switched off. Friend Mat Veale said: "It was meant to be a simple operation. That's what is so hard to take. We all want to know what went on."

Questions also hang over the August 29 death of pensioner Mrs John, a volunteer for the Red Cross and Dimboola East Ladies Hospital Auxiliary. Andre Coia, of Rural Ambulance Victoria, said a doctor at Mrs John's Dimboola home called for an ambulance at 7.55am. "The doctor said it was heart failure," he said. "It was categorised as a non-urgent case. The doctor then called back at 8.12am saying it was urgent and the patient was quite unwell. A crew arrived at 8.21am." Mrs John was dead when the ambulance arrived. RAV has admitted the case was wrongly categorised, but there has been no external investigation.

Opposition health spokeswoman Helen Shardey said the tragedies pointed to chronic problems in Victoria's health system.


Bloody-minded hospital bureaucrats again

Five doctors who alleged Melbourne Health tried to force them to work 60-hour weeks for only 36 hours' pay, have been paid $293,000 in compensation. The revelation is an embarrassment for the health service and State Government.

Doctors claimed the network tried to bully them into working the extra hours by warning their contracts would not be renewed. The Australian Salaried Medical Officers' Federation alleged harassment in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

The network yesterday confirmed it had settled with the doctors. A Melbourne Health spokesman said the service had "addressed the issues . . . and the matter has been resolved". Opposition Health Spokeswoman Helen Shardey said it was disgraceful the staff were treated in such a way.


Replace doctors with nurses??

When will they face the fact that they need to train more doctors? There is no shortage of applicants for university medical places -- just too few places

THE Australian Medical Association has slammed a Federal Parliament report suggesting practice nurses could do up to 70 per cent of the work now performed by GPs. The report comes as other GP groups call on both sides of politics to commit to funding a nurse for every general practice in Australia. The Practice Nursing In Australia research paper, by the Australian Parliamentary Library, said: "Review of research into the substitutability of nurses for doctors has also suggested that nurses could assume up to 70 per cent of the work currently undertaken by doctors and this could enhance the quality of primary care services."

But AMA president Rosanna Capolingua, a GP, said the idea was "simplistic" and "puzzling" and suggested the report was part of a Government agenda of "task substitution" directed at addressing the shortage of GPs. She said the current distinction between nurses and doctors, where the doctor is the natural team leader due to their superior medical knowledge, worked well.

On Friday, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners called for the Government to "provide a nurse with every doctor". The Howard Government has spent $234 million since 2001 to entice GPs to employ practice nurses for tasks such as immunisation, wound care and pap smears. Almost 60 per cent of doctors' surgeries now have at least one practice nurse. They cost the Medicare system less with a rebate of $10.60, rather than $30.

Dr Capolingua said practice nurses were not the solution to the GP shortage. "We need to make sure when an Australian needs to see a doctor they get to see a doctor." Australian Practice Nurses Association chief executive Belinda Caldwell said: "Nurses provide a different clinical experience which enhances the experience for the patient, rather than being a substitute for the doctor."


No comments: