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Health News

Report reveals ongoing pressures on NSW healthcare system

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Report reveals ongoing pressures on NSW healthcare system

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) has today released its latest Healthcare Quarterly report, showing activity and performance for public health services in NSW during April to June 2022.

BHI Acting Chief Executive Hilary Rowell said patients typically waited longer for hospital and ambulance services during the quarter, as activity remained at historically high levels across most
parts of the system.

“NSW healthcare services continued to experience pressures in April to June, with sustained COVID19 case numbers and the arrival of the winter flu season,” said Ms Rowell.

Ambulance

There were 375,215 triple zero (000) calls for an ambulance and 333,927 responses, up 21.1% and  7.8%, respectively, compared with the same quarter in 2019.

Ms Rowell said: “Demand for ambulance responses remained high, particularly for patients requiring an emergency (P1) response, and patients waited longer for an ambulance than in any quarter since BHI began reporting in 2010.”

Half of the 175,892 responses to emergency patients took more than 16.3 minutes – the longest since 2010. Additionally, the response time for half of the 12,134 highest priority (P1A) cases was more
than 9.1 minutes.

Emergency department

There were 793,987 emergency department (ED) attendances, up 5.2% compared with April to June 2019, but short of the record high in April to June 2021.

Around six in 10 patients (62.8%) were seen on time, the lowest of any quarter since BHI began reporting in 2010.

The number of patients who left without, or before completing treatment (76,117) was up 67.6% when compared with 2019 and the highest on record. This includes patients who were triaged but left the ED before treatment began, and patients who began treatment but left before it was completed.

Ms Rowell said: “Our additional analysis shows that one in five patients who leave without, or before completing treatment, tend to re-present to an ED within three days.”

Of those patients who arrived at an ED by ambulance, 72.5% had their care transferred to ED staff within 30 minutes.

Elective surgery

There were 53,712 elective surgeries performed in April to June 2022.

Ms Rowell said: “Fewer elective surgeries were performed than the historically high numbers a year earlier, but activity was up 41.1% (15,649) compared with January to March 2022, when non urgent surgery was suspended for a period of time.”

Waiting times for non-urgent surgery continued to increase – half of those patients waited longer than 339 days before receiving their surgery.

There were 98,625 patients on the waiting list at the end of June, down 2.3% (2,286) from the end of March. At the end of the quarter, 18,748 patients had waited longer for elective surgery than clinically recommended, the highest any quarter since BHI began reporting in 2010.

Detailed results are available at bhi.nsw.gov.au

Find and compare results, including for the 77 larger hospitals and 91 local ambulance areas, in the Bureau of Health Information Data Portal. Snapshots of hospital results can also be found in the
Activity and performance profiles.

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Health News

Time for action on a NSW Autism Strategy

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Time for action on a NSW Autism Strategy

 

STATE Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin says she welcomes the Australian Government’s recent release of the Draft NSW Autism Strategy.

Ms Saffin says “it provides the State and Territory governments with the opportunity to engage with the Draft National Autism Strategy.

“We need a NSW Autism Strategy and I have had discussions with the relevant Minister in the Minns Labor Government, Kate Washington,” Ms Saffin says.

“I raised the importance of an autism strategy in the NSW Parliament last year. South Australia is way ahead of us.  Now we have the Draft National Autism Strategy, we need to seize the momentum and get a New South Wales strategy to break down barriers for autistic children and adults and their families.”

President of the Northern Rivers Autism Association Micheal Lynch has teamed up with Business NSW Northern Rivers Regional Director Jane Laverty to co-host an Autism@Work business luncheon at the Ballina RSL Auditorium from noon today (Tuesday, 9 April).

The event, titled Embracing a Neurodiverse Workforce, celebrates Autism Awareness Month and guest speaker will be former dual-code international for rugby league and rugby union Mat Rogers.

Ms Saffin says she will be an apology as she is recovering from Covid.

“A panel of speakers for today’s event is sure to discuss the Draft National Autism Strategy,” Ms Saffin says.

“It is clear from the draft that the states and territories and Federal Government need to work together because the strategy covers polices across both levels of government.

“The states have primary responsibility for the key areas of education, health, justice and housing.

“It is the states that have responsibility for pre-schools for example, where children are at critical age for early intervention which can make a huge difference.

“This is an opportunity for National Cabinet to tackle the crossover of responsibilities and ensure that this is an effective, properly funded strategy without gaps for people to slip through.

“Being in a rural or regional area can add another layer of disadvantage, so it is important that people from this region give their feedback to the national strategy.”

For more information on the Draft National Autism Strategy and to give feedback, visit here.

 

For more health news, click here.

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Health News

AI-Powered MedTech Breakthrough: CSIRO and Singular Health Unveil Revolutionary Spinal Vertebrae Segmentation Technology

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An example of spinal segmentation software. CSIRO

AI-Powered MedTech Breakthrough: CSIRO and Singular Health Unveil Revolutionary Spinal Vertebrae Segmentation Technology

 

A groundbreaking AI-powered medical technology, developed through collaboration between CSIRO‘s Data61 and Australian Medical Imaging Company Singular Health, swiftly segments spinal vertebrae with an impressive 95% accuracy rate within a mere two minutes. This innovation holds the promise of revolutionising surgical planning and facilitating the design of customised implants for medical professionals.

Traditionally, the segmentation of spinal vertebrae in computerised tomography (CT) scans has demanded extensive manual labour, involving countless hours of meticulous identification and markups. However, the advent of AI automation heralds a transformative shift in this arduous process, significantly reducing time and effort while ensuring exceptional segmentation precision and localisation accuracy, as elucidated by Dr. Dadong Wang, Research Lead at Data61.

Singular Health’s Executive Director of Innovation, Dr. Guan Tay, underscores the game-changing potential of this automated segmentation technology. By integrating AI-driven automation into the segmentation process, medical professionals will now only need to make minor adjustments and validate the software’s outputs. This semi-automated approach empowers surgeons and radiologists to fine-tune the results according to their interpretations, ensuring meticulous compliance with image analysis standards while substantially streamlining processing time.

The utilisation of artificial intelligence in medical imaging, particularly in radiology, stands poised to profoundly reshape workflow dynamics for radiologists.

Leveraging a comprehensive dataset comprising over 200 CT scans of labelled data, the Data61 team meticulously explored various AI models and pre-processing techniques to achieve precise instance segmentation, labelling, surface meshing, and spatial localisation of individual vertebrae.

Dr. Wang elaborates on the AI development process, highlighting the adaptation of deep learning-based instance segmentation methodologies such as nnUNET, SC-NET, and Dense-NET. These models were rigorously trained using the VerSe’2020 dataset, comprising 100 CT scans of spines from individuals spanning diverse age groups and genders. Subsequently, the trained models underwent rigorous testing on an additional 100 CT scans, generating segmented labels of the spine, individual vertebrae, spatial coordinates, and vertebra identification.

The integration of this cutting-edge technology into Singular Health’s MedVR software represents a significant milestone, offering a transformative solution for hospitals, clinicians, educational institutions, and universities alike. This milestone achievement was made possible through the CSIRO Kick–Start initiative, which extends funding and support to innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses, granting access to CSIRO’s unparalleled research and development (R&D) expertise and capabilities.

 

For more health news, click here.

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Health News

Northern Rivers Business Community gets behind Autism Awareness Month

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Autism Awareness Month

Northern Rivers Business Community gets behind Autism Awareness Month

 

Aprils is National Autism Awareness Month where recognition raises awareness about autism acceptance and promotes inclusion and connectedness for people with autism.  Social and community support can help people with autism achieve optimal health and reach their full potential.

Business NSW Northern Rivers is co-hosting the Autism@Work Business Luncheon with the Northern Rivers Autism Association on Tuesday 9 April 2024 in Ballina as part of Autism Awareness Month and the official launch of the Northern Rivers Autism Association.

“Micheal Lynch, Chair of the Association has been working tirelessly with our team on this event and we hope to demonstrate the support we can put behind such a great initiative to embrace a neurodiverse workforce in our region.”  Said Jane Laverty, Regional Director Business NSW

The luncheon will feature guest speaker, Mat Rogers a dual code international with a prominent career in both rugby league and union.  After a stella career representing Queensland, the Kangaroo’s and the Wallabies, Mat finished his career back in the NRL with the Gold Coast Titans, retiring in 2011.

With his wife, Chloe Maxwell, Mat is devoted to the charity they established, 4ASDKIDS, after discovering their son was autistic, so they could help other families with autistic children.

“We are excited to have Mat lead the conversation along with an expert panel sharing thoughts on the amazing value we can bring to our businesses and employees with a neurodiverse workforce and inclusive workplaces.”  Mrs Laverty said.

“This is going to be an inspiring event and an opportunity for Micheal Lynch to share his vision for the Association.  The Northern Rivers business community is looking forward to being part of this month of awareness raising and promoting inclusion and acceptance.

The expert panel includes:

  • Luke Terry, CEO of Whitebox Enterprises/Beacon Laundry (located in Bangalow and newly formed social enterprise)
  • Andrew Cashin, Professor of Autism and Intellectual Disability with Southern Cross University
  • Samantha Albertini, Senior Manager People & Culture with Social Futures
  • Jodi Rogers, locally based counsellor (Birds & Bees) who has just authored a book called Unique – what Autism Can Teach Us about Difference, Connection and Belonging

“Most of us know someone on the spectrum and know that autism can be a superpower.  With more than ¾ of Australians on the spectrum being young (between 5 and 24) it is important that we look at how our workplaces can adapt for neurodiverse people and enable greater inclusivity.”

 

For more health news, click here.

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