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While the broader efficacy of the new shingles vaccine may not be gauged for some time, trials have delivered encouraging results, which is good news for GPs at the forefront of managing a debilitating condition that will take an ever-greater toll as our population ages.

The National Centre for Immunisation Research says 20-30 per cent of Australians will have shingles in their lifetime. It is estimated that by the age of 85, one in two people will have experienced the illness, which unlike its relation varicella can recur.

GPs, patients and family members are no strangers to the devastating impact of post herpetic neuralgia (PHN), with the associated chronic pain, physical disability and depression.

With this in mind it is pleasing to see that the National Immunisation Program for shingles will commence in November 2016 for all Australians aged 70 years, with a catch up program for those 71-79 years.


  • Metformin is safe to use in chronic kidney disease (CKD) when the eGFR is greater than 30ml/min.
  • Diuretics are often needed for volume control in CKD.
  • If your CKD patients are on metformin and a diuretic consider giving them the following advice:

"If your vomiting, diarrhoea or fever last longer than 24 hours do not take your metformin and diuretics and contact your GP for possible same day review."

(If the patient has concomitant heart failure you may just withhold metformin and continue the diuretic.)

Kevin Hogan MP with Lynne Weir, executive director of NNSWLHD’s Richmond/Clarence Health Service Group, in the newly refurbished ED at Casino Hospital.

The long-awaited upgrade of the emergency department at Casino and District Memorial Hospital was officially opened on 7 October, with Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan jubilant about the Federal government’s role in funding the extensive refurbishment.

The upgrade had long been advocated by community representatives, and patients and families, and supported by staff having to work within its confined, outdated space and unattractive ambience.

Networking Health NSW will cease operations tomorrow, 1 October 2015. 

The organisation under its former rubric, General Practice NSW, had provided State based support for NSW Divisions of General Practice since the inception of Divisions in the early 90s. Under the Labor government's Medical Locals, support organisations at both the State and Federal level were abolished. GP NSW had thus been operating on its accumulated funds, members fees and specific project funding since June 2011. The decision to defund State Based Organisations (SBOs) was not reversed by the Abbott coalition government following its election victory in September 2013. 


New, world-class treatment for breast cancer patients at Genesis CancerCare Queensland’s centre at John Flynn Private Hospital at Tugun is providing peace of mind and a reduced risk of potential cardiac side effects.

Whilst modern radiotherapy for left sided breast cancer is a well-proven treatment with low side-effects, the new treatment further reduces the risk of radiation injury to the heart.