Feeling Freo’s pain
Transition of services to Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) can be painful but when it comes to the Fremantle Pain Clinic, it’s possibly terminal. The head of the successful clinic, Dr Stephanie Davies, resigned in August over the slashing of staff numbers who would make the journey up South St. Despite lobbying from the Faculty of Pain Medicine and PainAustralia to the Minister and the Director-General, there has been no backdown. The Government’s contract with Serco may have some bearing. As Medical Forum went to Press Stephanie was meeting with Fremantle chief Dr David Blyth to put a compromise deal that would see the clinic stay in Fremantle until a resourced transition could be made. Currently only one of the clinic’s four pain doctors, Dr Roger Tan, is at FSH but he will be concentrating on inpatients.
An idea before its time
We have known for some time that gene APOE inheritance (e4 allele) is related to the risk of Alzheimer Disease (AD). Now researchers from WA say they have an easier accurate way of screening for AD risk using retinal amyloid levels. When we ran this by some local clinicians, the response was surprising – it’s unethical to do a test for a future condition you can’t successfully treat. Now we know why the researchers were keen to see retinal screening used to assess AD drugs! The full peer-reviewed study on the test method finalises this year.
Peel Health credentialing
Orthopaedic surgeon Gig Pisano’s law suit against Peel Health Campus (PHC) has failed. He was suing PHC for no longer referring public patients to him or making theatres available to him in 2012. We understand the surgeon claimed these rights arose from being a credentialled practitioner at PHC. The WA Supreme Court disagreed, saying a credentialing agreement simply binds both parties to comply with the hospital by-laws, which do not grant unlimited rights of practice at PHC. This was one that Ramsay Health inherited from Health Solutions.
Toll of merger failure
The member vote for the MDA National and MIGA merger failed, after which the Mutual chair A/Prof Julian Rait and insurance board chair Mr John Trowbridge resigned. Longtime board member, Dr Rod Moore, is acting chair of the mutual and Mr Steve Scudamore is the new chair of the insurance board. Both are West Australians, which will probably please MDAN members who voted. CEO Peter Forbes has stalled his retirement until December 31 to help with a stable transition to a new CEO. Prior to the vote the AMA WA president wrote to members requesting their undirected proxy. The mutual board is now: Dr Rod Moore (WA), Dr Beres C.A. Wenck (Qld), A/Prof Max Baumwol (WA), Dr Reg Bullen (WA), A/Prof Rosanna Capolingua (WA), Dr David Gilpin (QLD), A/Prof Michael Hollands (NSW), Dr Andrew J. Miller (WA), Dr Robyn Napier (NSW), and Mr Steve Scudamore (WA).
Aged care developments
Alzheimer’s Australia WA (AAWA) has opened its $2m respite centre in Albany, Hawthorn House, recently. It has been built with $1m grant from Royalties for Regions and other grants. CEO Rhonda Parker said it was the only respite service in Australia that was fully accredited under the Eden principles, which guide person-centred care for community elders. The home-like environment encourages staff, families, volunteers and people with dementia to contribute to its running. This includes cooking the lunch, planting vegetables or walking the dog. Also opened recently are the Joondalup Older Adult Mental Health Service and the Older Mental Health Hospital in the Home service at Shenton Park to extend those older people living in the community with mental illness. And in the Hills, what became a state election issue has found some traction. The Kalamunda Shire Council and the WA Planning Commission is looking to rezone a site in Wilkins Rd Kalamunda to accommodate an aged care facility. Planning Minister and local member Mr John Day said the proposal was open for public comment until December.