News Flash

WA GP Dr Mike Civil has his wish. It’s a contest, with RACGP vice-president Dr Liz Marles deciding to contest the RACGP presidency.  And Ian Morris, Chief Imaging Technologist at PMH is ‘ecstatic!’ after commissioning of the CT Flash Scanner, now up and running. The only one of its kind in WA – faster, lower dose, quieter – the ‘Flash’ does a complete body-scan in 1/16th of a second and reduces radiation doses by up to 40%. Kids at PMH may not appreciate the $1.9m price tag but the extra ‘Gs’ might be an enjoyable ride. Thanks to Telethon.

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Broken Bones Contracts

Orthopaedic surgeon Gig Pisano failed to get an interim injunction in the WA courts to stop Health Solutions (WA) from terminating his public patient contract at Peel Health Campus. We do not know the ins and outs of the case but readers are probably curious about ongoing orthopaedic services there. Health Solutions are a private company contracted to provide public patient services. Currently, eight orthopods have contracts to operate on public patients at PHC, and there are some transfers of patients to Fremantle and Rockingham hospitals for more specialised treatment. PHC has about a 70:30 public:private split of services overall and we assume substantial orthopaedic work would come via their busy ED.

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The Alcohol Debate

The medical press is being influenced like the lay press, with zealots one end and guzzlers the other. For a balanced view on alcohol consumption and health effects, try www.alcohol-forum4profs.org out of Boston University. It gives some insights on how research can be tainted with a purpose in mind. And it all depends which part of the U-curve you like, according to one lot. Alcohol consumption and pre-diabetes/diabetes – drink a little and it staves off diabetes but too much, and you are in trouble. Pushing moderate alcohol as a healthy message is the new mantra for some, with websites to prove it (see www.drinkingandyou.com)

Rock Star in our Midst

Periodontal disease with receding gums can delay conception by about two months, particularly in non-Caucasian women, according to KEMH researchers who quizzed 2000 women. They are looking at gum disease and a range of pregnancy outcomes. The effect was about as strong as being overweight, which has a public health message. This brings us to “the rock star of public health” (according to a Public Health Advocacy Institute e-newsletter), Prof Mike Daube, lauded recipient of the 2012 Luther L. Terry Distinguished Career Award. Luther is renowned for joining the dots in the 1960s between lung cancer and smoking. The award comes from the American Cancer Society, which has three board members and an award selection panel that singled out Australia this year. An award for Outstanding Leadership by a Government Ministry also went to the federal DoHA for its stand against tobacco, especially plain packaging laws, and an award for Outstanding Research Contribution went to Prof Melanie Wakefield PhD (Cancer Council Victoria) for her review “The cigarette pack as image”.

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Easy come, Easy go

The PMH Foundation, with $26m in assets, lost $1.6m of donated money in 2007 on bad investment advice, they say, and will now attempt recovery with the help of lawyers, at no further cost to the Foundation. The 2011 annual report says only 5% of funds raised comes from wills and bequests, but this figure varies considerably from year-to-year. PMH Foundation has a benchmark of 20% of revenue as admin and an average 30% limit on outgoings for any fundraiser. In a recent Supreme Court ruling the $3.7m estate of Mr Desmond Taylor will be split between PMH Foundation and Diabetes WA, according to the partly handwritten will. The Foundation will also receive sizeable amounts when PMH moves in a year or two (current grounds valued at $4.22m). New CEO Denys Pearce is injecting some welcome transparency into the organisation.

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How Risky are YOU?

Who are the high risk medicos when it comes to indemnity insurance? Looking at the stratification of risk categories, such as the MDA National Risk Category Guide, worst-to-best-risk picks include O&G specialists practicing as obstetricians, neurosurgeons, cosmetic surgeons (no FRACS), cosmetic surgeons (FRACS), orthopaedic surgeons, non-cosmetic ENT surgeons, GP obstetricians doing deliveries, non-surgical gastroenterologists, procedural GPs, non-procedural GPs, cardiologists then geriatricians

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