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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/01/2320961.htm

Whistleblower vows justice for Bega victims

Graeme Reeves is accused of mutilating or molesting scores of women.

Graeme Reeves is accused of mutilating or molesting scores of women. (Channel 9, file photo)

The woman responsible for exposing banned Bega doctor Graeme Reeves says she will continue fighting to get justice for his victims.

Health Minister Reba Meagher yesterday released an interim report of an inquiry into the state’s hospital system.

It found Graeme Reeves lied and cheated his way into a position at the former Southern Area Health Service. He had previously been banned from working as an obstetrician.

It is alleged Mr Reeves abused scores of women, mutilating or molesting them at hospitals in Sydney, Pambula and Bega.

The interim report recommended the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) be asked to consider charging Mr Reeves, but made no finding against the three people involved in his recruitment.

Commissioner Peter Garling QC found there was no clear and comprehensive policy followed by the Health Department and Area Health Service regarding the employment of visiting medical officers.

Carolyn Dewaegeneire, one of the first patients to speak out against Mr Reeves, says the battle has only just begun.

“The ACCC, the AMA and all the other professionals at the top of the ladder knew about him years ago,” she said.

“I will continue fighting. All those women who came forward with their trauma and tragedies, I will go forward to get justice.”

 

‘Let down’

 

Lorraine Long from the Medical Error Action Group says she is glad the DPP will now be looking at laying charges against Graeme Reeves.

But she too says his victims will feel let down that there is no action planned against people in the health system.

“I think that they will be appalled and very, very disappointed because you just can’t blame one person for this,” she said.

“The doctors in the Bega Valley knew about Reeves as well, and what about the area health service? What about the chief executive of the hospital? What’s going to happen to them?”

Bega MP Andrew Constance says Mr Reeves’ former patients have been left short changed.

He says there has been no justice for the women.

“There’s no grief counselling been forthcoming. There’s no accountability forthcoming,” he said.

“I guess the best thing is the fact that we now have a referral through to the DPP. A referral, I might add, which should of happened in 2004 by the State Government when Reeves was struck off by the medical tribunal.”

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/25/2314417.htm

Plans to allow chemists to dispense repeats

The Pharmaceutical Society of Western Australia has backed a plan to allow chemists to dispense repeat prescriptions.

They say it will improve healthcare in regional areas.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is proposing pharmacists be able to offer repeats for up to two years, to cut the number of unnecessary visits to GPs.

The society’s president, Lenette Mullen, says the idea would benefit people in rural areas, where GPs are in particularly short supply.

“So the doctor would do the diagnosing and plan the therapy, and then the pharmacist could just make sure it’s continued for a year,” he said.

“It would mean, particularly in rural areas where there’s a shortage of [GPs], it would make it a lot easier for the person.”

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/08/2297395.htm

Study links diabetes, advanced breast cancer

An international study has established a link between type 2 diabetes and advanced breast cancer.

An international study has established a link between type 2 diabetes and advanced breast cancer. (ABC TV)

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An international study has established a link between type 2 diabetes and advanced breast cancer.

It has been known for a while that being overweight puts post-menopausal women at greater risk of breast cancer.

But now it has been found that women who are resistant to insulin, or who are overweight, are 50 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with the cancer, and only when it is in its advanced stages.

The finding comes after an international research team followed more than 60,000 Swedish women over 20 years.

Dr Anne Cust from the University of Melbourne is a collaborator in the study and will present the findings at a medical conference in Brisbane today.

Dr Cust told AM the study looked at the stage of breast cancer and the diagnosis.

“We found that women who were overweight or with insulin resistance were more likely to be diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer,” she said.

“We don’t know the exact reasons why that might be. It might be that the cancer is growing more quickly or that it wasn’t diagnosed early but we need to do more research to find out exactly why that might be.”

She says there are a number of hypotheses as to why overweight or diabetic women aren’t diagnosed earlier with breast cancer.

“It may be that the hormones that are involved, that are linked with being overweight or having insulin resistance, might be making the tumour grow more quickly but we need to do more research to find out exactly why that might be the case,” she said.

But Dr Cust says that does not necessarily mean that women who are at risk of type 2 diabetes should be screened for breast cancer more often.

“The question of screening is something that would need to be looked at separately but I think it is just providing another indication that being overweight is linked to lots of different health problems and this is another reason to get off the couch and try to stay active and maintain a healthy weight,” she said.

“And also, the link with insulin resistance may provide a new avenue of research for looking at the causes of breast cancer and possibly new treatments.”

Based on an interview by Simon Lauder for AM

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/10/2300502.htm

Hospital apology to war veteran


War veteran waits 17 hours for treatment

Long wait at hospital for treatment (ABC News)

Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital has apologised for letting a blind war veteran wait almost a day for a bed.

80-year-old Edward Webster waited more than 17 hours at the hospital
overnight despite having a letter from his doctor saying he needed
urgent treatment.

His wife Helen says the war veteran was left sitting in a wheelchair
until he was transferred to Hollywood Hospital this morning.

The Executive Director of Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital Amanda Ling has apologised.

“I am sorry this patient’s been so distressed and we offered our apologies,” she said.

” I will do everything I can to ensure that we handle things as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has renewed calls for more
funding and extra hospital rooms in light of the incident.

AMA spokesman for Emergency Medicine David Mountain says cases like this occur too regularly in Perth hospitals.

“I’d like to say it’s a one off but in fact I think it’s standard
for many nights in our emergency departments that people can’t get seen
at appropriate times,” he said.

Dr Mountain says a combination of more funding and greater capacity would improve the situation.

“It’s not as simple as more funding, but it’s certainly as simple as creating more capacity.

“Any system that runs like this on a routine basis is clearly severly under capacity.”

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/18/2278403.htm

‘Millions more needed’ to stave off dementia crisis

A leading scientific researcher says Australia needs to increase funding for dementia now in order to avoid a health care crisis in the future.

A report released today says annual funding for research should be increased to $36 million a year to tackle the growing dementia epidemic.

It also recommends that dementia be included as a national health priority.

Report co-author Professor Henry Brodaty says there are more than 200,000 people with dementia at the moment, but the number could be 730,000 by 2050.

“Australia is ageing, the aged are ageing, so the old are getting older, so we really have to think about the best way to tackle this,” he said.

“For every dollar spent in research, the Australian Society for Medical Research estimated we get a $5 return.

“It makes sense to try to understand how to tackle this better.

“If you compare research for dementia compared to other chronic conditions, it’s well below those,” Professor Brodaty added.

“If we compare it on the disability-adjusted life years which is a measure of disease burden, we have only a fraction of what’s being funded in other conditions.”

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/12/2272086.htm

Dementia forcing older Aussies in care for longer: study

The report shows 70 per cent of permanent aged care residents needed a high level of care.

The report shows 70 per cent of permanent aged care residents needed a high level of care.

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A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has found older people are spending longer in aged care facilities and need a higher level of attention, partly because so many of them have dementia.

The report shows 70 per cent of permanent aged care residents needed high-level care last financial year, compared with 58 per cent a decade ago.

Institute spokeswoman Ann Puet says more residents have dementia which means many require care for longer.

“On average people stay for 146 weeks now, whereas 10 years [ago], it was 131 weeks,” she said.

She says there has also been a rise in the number of people aged 90 and over who are being admitted to residential care.

“We are seeing an increasing proportion within the residential aged care sector of very old people, simply because of female longevity,” she said.

“That population its still dominated by women, although as men live longer we may see some change in that.”

Council on the Ageing spokesman Paul Flint says the findings reflect Australia’s ageing population.

“It’s the 80-plus age groups that are increasing at the fastest rate at the moment,” he said.

The report also reveals more high care places were allocated to meet increasing demand.

Catholic Health Australia chief executive officer Martin Laverty says the Government needs to step in.

“I had as recently as last week a senior Labor backbencher acknowledge to me that they were not aware of the pressure on aged care providers in their own electorate,” he said.

“A very genuine question was asked – what can we do as a government to help? Well it can assist with the pressure, relieving the pressure on capital works.”

The Aged Care Industry Council represents 95 per cent of the church, charitable and privately-owned and operated nursing homes in the country.

Spokesman Rod Young says the Government will have to face up to the extra costs associated with an ageing population.

“We’ve actually just started a new funding scheme which has changed the parameters and changed the funding methodology, he said.

“The Government claims that that will fix many of our problems. We don’t believe it will, but only the next couple of years is going to tell.”

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/12/2273155.htm

Govt pledges $50m to mental health

The Federal Government has announced a $50 million funding boost for mental health services.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says $20 million will go to suicide prevention programs.

Ms Roxon has also unveiled the make-up of a new national advisory group on mental health, to be led by former head of the Mental Health Council, John Mendoza.

Ms Roxon says the new council fulfils an election commitment.

“The advisory council is a mechanism to provide the Government with independent, balanced and confidential advice from a wide range of experts to inform national mental health reform efforts, and provide continuing impetus for reform,” she said.


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