Pharmacies broadband deal

While urban GP practices are receiving a subsidy of $700 to connect to broadband, it is interesting to note the deal pharmacists have struck with government. Up until June 30 this year, $1300 was paid by government direct to any accredited broadband provider who connects a pharmacy. Interestingly, iinet, one of WA’s biggest providers, has not signed on. As expected, most retail pharmacies have jumped on board to get the fast connections as computer linkage to the HIC etc is routine in pharmacies.

Ralph quits IPN

IPN CEO Ralph Shreeve formally resigned on July 26 after a four-year tenure that commenced after the departure of founding board member and GP Dr Ken Jones (then Foundation Health Care). Ralph Shreeve is credited with turning the company around by improving day-to-day running of its medical centres, soon after IPN was created through the merger of Foundation and LifeCare. IPN survived a hostile takeover bid by Sydney based Primary Health Care and the trumping offer from Sonic HealthCare netted it around 73% of IPN in 2004. Sonic then bought Endeavour Health Care medical centres. When an attempt to cancel all shares not owned by Sonic was defeated at a special general meeting, Ralph disposed of his entire holding in IPN shares the same day. He remains CEO until November 30.

Eye for telemedicine

Lions Eye Institute (LEI) and BHP Billiton have recently recruited and trained Aboriginal eye care workers to screen 110 indigenous patients for cataract and diabetic retinopathy in remote Pilbara communities. Aboriginal workers use a portable camera to conduct the screenings and LEI has set a target of 5000 completed cases by the start of 2007.

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