Jenny Gill, recently appointed as Nurse Unit Manager of Byron Central Hospital’s Emergency Department, with some of the 700-plus visitors at the community open day on 9 April.

Nearly 800 visitors turned up to the community open day at the new Byron Central Hospital at Ewingsdale on Saturday 9 April, availing themselves of the opportunity to tour the $88 million facility before it opens in May.

The guided half-hour tours included the inpatient ward, the well equipped Emergency Department, non-acute inpatient mental health unit and ambulatory care consult rooms and clinic spaces.

Byron Central Hospital was funded by the NSW Government, and the project was overseen by Health Infrastructure NSW. Construction work began in late 2014 and was largely completed within a year, ahead of schedule.

Currently, the NNSW Local Health District is engaged in the commissioning process, ensuring that all systems are working as intended and staff are fully orientated to their new workspaces.

Billed by the federal government as a “revolutionary reform package”, the Healthier Medicare changes announced on 31 March have the better management of patients with chronic illness firmly in their sights.

The package is also aimed at supporting Aboriginal Medical Services to tackle the growing prevalence of complex chronic conditions amongst Indigenous Australians.

The government has adopted the ‘Health Care Homes’ moniker for the trial program, which was one of the key recommendations of the clinician-led Primary Health Care Advisory Group’s (PHCAG) report Better Outcome for People with Chronic and Complex Conditions.

The Health Care Homes trial with run for two years from 1 July 2017 and will involve 200 practices and 65,000 Australians at a cost of around $21 million.

In consultation with a gastroenterologist, hepatologist or infectious diseases specialist experienced in the treatment of hepatitis C, GPs can now prescribe the new interferon-free treatments for the disease.

North Coast Public Health Director Paul Corben said, “The three main public treatment services in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Lismore (and their respective outreach clinics) will be using a faxback service, although it is still early days and not all clinics have access to the full range of specialists yet.” 

Faxback forms and details of referral requirements are available from the clinics in the first instance.

The clinics are in the process of updating the Health Pathways website and the LHD websites and information on management will be posted there soon.” Mr Corben added.

Preoperative iron deficiency and anaemia increase the risk of both intra and post-operative morbidity. The condition is common, particularly in planned gynaecological and gastrointestinal disease surgery and in major joint replacement. Emergent treatment with blood products exposes the patient to infection and cross match risks and may delay surgery. 

General practitioners are ideally placed to recognise the problem, since they are frequently involved in the diagnosis and early management of all these conditions. Detection of iron deficiency, with or without anaemia, is often the starting point for diagnosing the underlying pathology. 

Lismore Mayor, Jenny Dowell

Council is disappointed and frustrated that the [Lismore Base] hospital administration has not responded to the genuine concerns of their staff…” - Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell

Lismore City Council (LCC) has weighed in to the stoush over the lack of adequate and affordable car parking for Lismore Base Hospital (LBH) staff.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell and LCC’s Manager of Development & Compliance, Peter Jeuken, issued a strong statement expressing concern about “the failure of Lismore Base Hospital to provide support for its employees and ensure adequate parking is available for staff.”

They criticised both hospital management and the NSW Government for failing to make suitable parking arrangements in the busy hospital precinct.

Their comments followed criticism of LBH management by the Health Services Union, angered by plans for LBH to charge fees of $7 per day for staff parking at the car park in Uralba Street, due to open in late April. According to the union, 700 staff members have applied for 300 spaces in the new car park building.