Healthcare & Lifesciences Talking Points | 2/9/2016


In today’s talking points: Fears over potential asbestos- contaminated material in WestConnex project; Increasing healthcare costs may see a rise in medical tourism; WHO release new guidelines to tackle antibiotic resistance for sexually transmitted infections; British study finds thousands of female heart attacks are misdiagnosed

Fears over potential asbestos- contaminated material in WestConnex project

There are growing calls for further testing into the recycled concrete supplied to the WestConnex project, after a whistleblower claimed that the concrete supplied by Moits Company for the project could contain asbestos. A former employee Daniel McIntyre secretly filmed the Moits-owned Rock and Dirt Recycling Plant production. The video shows workers putting broken pieces of fibro sheeting from demolition material into a crusher to be recycled as aggregate. Peter Tighe, the head of the federal asbestos safety agency has said that the material in the video was almost certainly asbestos. Labor has voiced concern over the $17 billion road project, demanding that it be stopped until it can be sure that it poses no risk to public health. Safe work NSW is currently investigating the allegations.

Read more at ABC News

Increasing healthcare costs may see a rise in medical tourism

Rising healthcare costs and the perennial issue of waiting lists are driving some Australians to seek treatment in Asia. According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, in the final quarter of 2015, patients experienced the biggest increase in out of pocket healthcare expense in five years. Patients can receive treatment up to 50-60 percent cheaper in Asian countries said Donner, an anatomy and physiology lecturer at Griffith University. The most common procedures Australians go abroad for are cosmetic surgery, dental treatment and orthopedics. Others include cancer treatment, cardiac surgery and fertility procedures in Singapore. PWC, has argued that Australian healthcare providers can learn a lot from Asian countries who are embracing medical tourism. Australia lacks special visas and on- the-ground referrals for medical tourists, which could lead to greater growth in this area.

Read more at The Australian

WHO release new guidelines to tackle antibiotic resistance for sexually transmitted infections

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new guidelines for the treatment of three common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in response to growing antibiotic resistance. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are becoming more difficult to treat, as antibodies used to cue these bacteria are being misused or overused. Gonorrhea has developed the strongest resistance to antibiotics with some strains not responding to any antibiotics. “The new WHO guidelines reinforce the need to treat these STIs with the right antibiotic, at the right dose, and the right time to reduce their spread and improve sexual and reproductive health. To do that, national health services need to monitor the patterns of antibiotic resistance in these infections within their countries,” says Ian Askew, Director of Reproductive Health and Researcher, WHO.

Read more at World Health Organization

British study finds thousands of female heart attacks are misdiagnosed

A third of women are receiving the wrong diagnosis or are failing to be treated for heart attacks, a British study found. Every year, 68,000 British women suffer heart attacks. The University of Leeds Study found that amongst 600,000 patients in 243 NHS hospitals over the period of 9 years, 45 percent of women (65,976 patients) were diagnosed with another condition. This is 50 percent more than men, after adjusting for age and other illnesses. According to the study published in European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care, those who were misdiagnosed as opposed to having correct diagnosis were 70 percent more likely to die. Part of the reason for this problem is that women do not realize they are having a heart attack said Professor Chris Gale, who is leading the study. “It is not necessarily 20 minutes of crushing chest pain, it may be some chest pain and a funny turn, or feeling of palpitations and a bit of chest pain,” he said.

Read more at The Australian