WAIMR getting closer

waimr-new-building-april11The Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) announced Doric Contractors will build the institute’s new 10-storey, $100m research complex at QEII Medical Centre. WAIMR received $50m federal and $25m state funding, along with $25m from UWA, $5.4m from Lotterywest, and $1.5m from the McCusker Foundation. Completion is in 2013, making it the largest medical research and education facility in Perth.

Rural health bits 

Kim Hames, whilst distributing our taxes to rural health, has mentioned some interesting things. The WA Country Health Service has a $1billion operating budget – more ED presentations than combined metro hospitals and nearly as many births as King Edward. Builders have been appointed to construct the $170m Albany Health Campus. A $6m upgrade has gone into the Telehealth system so specialist consultations can happen long distance. The St John Ambulance services will be getting an additional 25 new vehicles, more staff and improvements to the communication centre. The RFDS gets $65m over five years for additional aircraft and crews.

Limping toward hip resolution

A class action has been launched against Johnson & Johnson subisidiary DePuy Othopaedics over their ASR XL Acetabular and the ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems. Apparently, 93,000 devices have been recalled worldwide and claimants say more than 5000 Australians have the hips (implanted post July 2003) that have a failure rate of 12-13% over five years. Normal lifespan is around 15 years and claimants suggest metal wear and tear is such that removal before failure may be indicated. Orthopaedic surgeons will be doing more hip revisions than they planned, it seems.

Bullseye research

The State Government has $5.2m in a new Targeted Research Fund (TRF) that it will hand out to medical researchers over the next five years – those who want to find new ways to improve the health of West Australians. Some goes to WA Health, while the remainder will be awarded “through a competitive process.” Primary care, chronic conditions, public health, emerging risks, health delivery models….all being considered.

couple_in_bed_TNJHC upgrade happening

The Colin and Kim duo recently opened the new $29m ED and $20.8m ward block at Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) as part of a $229.8m investment in public facilities there over the next two years. The ward block has 55 new public beds – aged care, rehabilitation and surgical ­- as part of the planned 60% inpatient bed increase to 451 beds by 2013. JHC has >150,000 public patients annually and >68,000 ED presentations. The new ED has 30 adult treatment bays, a 12-bed observation area, an 11-bed paediatric area, and three resus bays. A whiz-bang $350,000 digital radiography machine can x-ray patients with minimal patient movement and produce high quality images in five seconds. Watch out for the new specialist medical centre, 11 new operating theatres, and new CCU, coming soon.

Resus methods change 

Around 300 delegates – nurses from critical care, emergency personnel, hospitals, paramedics, and some doctors will be descending on the Sheraton for the Australian Resuscitation Council International Spark of Life Conference (April 7). The big news is that the resuscitation guidelines have changed – perform compressions (rate just under 2 per sec) before ventilations and give quality cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. UWA Winthrop Professor Ian Jacobs said getting help immediately was important as it takes two to perform consistent, uninterrupted, quality CPR.

Pneumococcal straining

0602elderly_man_readingPneumococcal pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia were targeted by the vaccination program introduced in 2001 for kids. Aboriginal kids particularly were doing it tough with hospitalisation rates 15 times their non-Aboriginal counterparts. The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research examined the efficacy of the vaccination program for Aboriginal children and said hospitalisation for severe pneumonia dropped by a third between 1996 and 2005. Improvements in socioeconomic indicators, including better access to out-of-hospital care, also played a part. How much, we don’t know, and our enquiries didn’t yield absolute figures or a cost-benefit analysis. In January 2005, when Prevenar was added to the Australian Childhood Immunisation invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) of all sorts in WA dropped for children under 5 – IPD notifications 49 (25% of total cases) in 2004 to 18 (14%) in 2006. Actual figures are thought to be much higher as antibiotics (which decrease laboratory detection rates and therefore notifications) are often given before patients are transferred to a regional centre.



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