Ready for the Fred’s Place Tweed Heads community sleepout on Thursday 29 August are (l-r) Jessica Peebles, Alysia Hopkins (Fred’s Place coordinator), Megan Claeys (standing), Paula Vermunt and David Holmes.

They call it the “field of dreams” scenario – build it and they will come, and they have been doing just that in Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour where the St Vincent de Paul Society, a.k.a. Vinnies, has developed weekday drop-in centres offering a range of services to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so

In the border location, where it is the only such centre in a highly populated area, Fred’s Place – named after the Society’s founder, Frederic Ozanam – is now seeing more than one hundred people a day through its doors. While registration is requested, anonymity is respected and no IDs are checked, hence a number of visitors from “Mars’” and clients claiming to be “Superman” and “Mickey Mouse”. Mental health issues are relatively common amongst the homeless population. 

Drs Katrina McLean, Michael Rice, Nick Tellis

This article first appeared in MJA Insight+. The authors and administrators of the GPs Down Under Facebook group

In our earlier article we described the concept of “passing the baton” when talking about transfers of patient care. All patients come from their communities and to their communities they shall return. In this transition from tertiary hospital to primary care, they benefit from timely, safe, effective clinical handover as defined in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.

The report of a federal parliamentary inquiry into sleep health awareness was released in April 2019

It was drafted by eight Members of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, following a reference from the Health Minister. Over several months it held interstate hearings, received 138 expert submissions and 30 exhibits, and considered key previous studies, including 318 NHMRC-supported research grants relating to sleep or sleep disorders from 2000-2018.

It seems fair to ask, given the exhaustive (and expensive) nature of the exercise, whether all this work tells us anything new. The temptation is to suggest not, as clinicians and the broader community seem well aware that, “Sleep is a fundamental human need and, along with nutrition and physical exercise, it is one of the three pillars of good health.”

As everyone agreed, “Sleep is a crucial element in the maintenance of health and wellbeing.”

Superbugs

Superbugs - The Race to Stop an Epidemic

Matt McCarthy

Scribe 290pp

This study of the nature, causes and possible cures of microbial infections is as complex as the human body itself but far leaner than the recent works of Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies, and The Gene) whose jacket quote is effusive: “An amazing informative book that changes our perspective on medicine, microbes, and our future.”

Trainee Oenologue Joe Duncan with a barrel of Riesling during the 2002 harvest at Hugel et Fils cellars in Riquewhir, Alsace, France.

Dr Joe Duncan savouring a glass of tasty Shiraz.

Not to be confused with ‘oncology’, although the similarity would make an ideal game show question, Oenology is the science and study of wine making, oinos being the Ancient Greek for wine.

While obviously linked with viticulture, the term for vine-growing and grape-harvesting, oenology is the end stage of the process (apart from the drinking) and along with a good nose and palate the mastering of it requires tertiary study.

Although Joseph Michael (“Joe”) Duncan says he only “stumbled into wine making” he did complete a BSc (Wine Science) at Charles Sturt University, reflecting during our interview that because he was no good at art, “wine making became my version of painting… there are so many things you can change.”