Time for an implant registry
The PIP breast implant saga, following hip and stent implant problems, highlights the need for a compulsory implant registry in Australia. Up to 12,000 PIP implants have been used Australia-wide and nobody can say by whom, after an initial TGA tick. Dr Tim Cooper says he personally knows at least six surgeons who have implanted the prostheses in WA and he is working through his 134 patients (2005-08) on a case-by-case basis. He said ultrasound (not the government-offered MRIs) plus clinical assessment is 100% accurate in picking a rupture. He is offering to replace at cost. When Cochlear recalled their defective implants, replacement with an earlier model was offered free.
Invention at the sharp end
He says it will never fund his retirement, but after only two years in development, Perth anaesthetist Dr Chris Mitchell has German company Pajunk manufacturing and distributing his Sonoplex ultrasound-guided needle into many overseas countries. Most WA hospitals already use it. He did all the development and made prototypes at home using equipment from Bunnings. His ideas change the way ultrasound is reflected off a long local anaesthetic needle, improving greatly the picture generated, particularly at depth in non-fibrous tissues. The same echogenic technique is now to be used on other needles, for CVP line placement or to gain arterial access. Being able to visualise where the needle shaft is pointing makes it ideal for deeper regional blocks where the needle is at a sharp angle (e.g. axillary brachial plexus).
It’s got you covered
When we queried how HBF handles overdue payments of hospital insurance, their website swallowed our emailed question without offering to print, but a response came within two days. ‘Brooke’ told us HBF reminded members who pay by statement three times – six weeks before the due date, two weeks after, and six weeks after. Then comes three separate phone calls. If the policy was to lapse due to non-payment, HBF wait a maximum of six months (for long-term members), in which time they can reinstate and back pay their policy without losing any benefits.
Peel looks to palliative services
Peel Health Campus has appointed Dr Aji-Bola Oki as the new Palliative Care registrar at PHC, to improve palliative services there. Dr Oki is a GP Registrar who will continue to work part time at Murray Medical Centre and the new training position has been created in collaboration with Adjunct A/Prof Willie Walker of MMC (also chair of the PHC MAC), WAGPET, and the WA Palliative Care Network. Dr Oki will work closely with the community-based Peel Community Palliative Care service under Dr Sarah Pickstock, spanning community and hospital. PHC will increase its five dedicated palliative care beds under private operator Health Solutions (WA) Pty Ltd.