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Health News

UOW to train more future doctors for rural and regional Australia

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An extra 30 medical students will do their medical studies each year in the University of Wollongong’s end-to-end rural medical program.

UOW to train more future doctors for rural and regional Australia

 

GOVERNMENT, UOW COMMITMENT WILL SEE AT LEAST 30 STUDENTS START RURAL MEDICAL PROGRAM EACH YEAR

An extra 30 medical students will do their medical studies each year in the University of Wollongong’s end-to-end rural medical program as part of a $90 million Australian Government investment to support rural medical students nationally.

Students in the rural end-to-end program, undertake all of their studies in a rural or regional setting.

The Government is providing an additional 15 Commonwealth Supported Places to UOW each year for students to undertake the end-to-end rural medical program. The University will match and potentially exceed that number from its existing allocation of medical student places.

The additional places and funding were announced by Health Minister the Honourable Mark Butler MP today (4 December). The initiative is designed to train more students in rural areas in order to attract more doctors to work in regional and rural Australia.

Evidence shows that medical students who are placed for a year or more in rural and regional settings are more likely to stay and practise in rural and regional areas after they graduate.

The Government is also providing $16.3 million funding to UOW to invest in infrastructure and staff rurally, which will be used to increase medical classrooms, equipment, facilities and staffing to accommodate students in the end-to-end rural medical program.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson welcomed the announcement, which recognised UOW’s successful track record in creating rural and regional medical specialists.

“The University of Wollongong is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Australians living in rural settings,” Professor Davidson said.

The UOW Graduate School of Medicine was set up to train doctors for rural, regional and remote areas, and was the first medical school in the country in which up to 70 per cent of students spend a full year of clinical education in a rural community.

“This announcement will enable us to expand our efforts to improve the quality of care given to patients in country hospitals and rural practices.”

An extra 30 medical students will do their medical studies each year in the University of Wollongong’s end-to-end rural medical program.

An extra 30 medical students will do their medical studies each year in the University of Wollongong’s end-to-end rural medical program.

UOW Dean of Medicine Professor Zsuzsoka Kecskes said the Graduate School of Medicine was a recognised leader in the provision of medical education in rural areas.

“UOW is committed to a strong rural focus in our medical education program. Each year we know that a significant proportion of our alumni will choose to live and work in rural communities, which we are very proud of,” Professor Kecskes said.

“This investment by government allows UOW to strengthen and grow its high-quality education of medical students in rural communities, continue to invest in rural communities to ensure high-quality medical training for our students, which is a strong pathway to addressing the medical workforce shortages in rural areas.

“UOW commends the government on initiatives like this where universities can work with rural communities to embed medical education and ensure that future doctors continue to learn about, with and from communities.”

Senior Professor Eileen McLaughlin, Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life), said the government investment was testament to UOW’s regional and rural focus.

“The UOW medical program already has a strong rural focus with at least 56 per cent of its students having a rural background, and 70 per cent of students completing a year-long rural clinical placement, in communities including Milton/Ulladulla, Forbes, Mudgee, Grafton, Lismore, Griffith, Broken Hill, and elsewhere,” Professor McLaughlin said.

“Seventy-two per cent of all UOW medicine graduates who have attained specialty registration have specialised as General Practitioners and 40 per cent of these work rurally.”

There are UOW Graduate School of Medicine alumni practising in every Australian state and territory, from Kalgoorlie to Alice Springs to Cooktown, from Warrnambool to Yackandandah to Launceston, from Broken Hill to Grafton to Wagga Wagga.

 

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Health News

New Study Predicts Nearly 100% Increase in Cases by 2054

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Increase in dementia Cases

New Study Predicts Nearly 100% Increase in Cases by 2054

 

New data from Dementia Australia indicates that the prevalence of dementia is set to nearly double by 2054. According to research conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on behalf of Dementia Australia, dementia rates are projected to increase by 93% by 2054.

In 2024, Australia has over 421,000 individuals living with various forms of dementia. Without medical advancements, this number is anticipated to escalate to 812,500 by 2054, as cautioned by Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM.

McCabe emphasised the significance of these findings in informing strategies for service provision and funding to address the evolving needs associated with dementia. She stressed Dementia Australia’s commitment to supporting those affected, encouraging individuals and their families to seek assistance via the National Dementia Helpline, available 24/7.

New data from Dementia Australia indicates that the prevalence of dementia is set to nearly double by 2054

New data from Dementia Australia indicates that the prevalence of dementia is set to nearly double by 2054

The study highlights a nationwide trend of rising dementia diagnoses over the next three decades, with varying degrees of growth across states and territories. Western Australia is projected to experience the highest increase at 109%, followed by the Northern Territory (106%), the Australian Capital Territory (104%), Queensland (100%), Victoria (96%), and South Australia (59%), with Tasmania exhibiting the lowest growth at 52%.

Catherine Daskalakis, a Dementia Advocate at Dementia Australia diagnosed with younger onset dementia, underscored the importance of accessing Dementia Australia’s support services. Reflecting on her own experience, Daskalakis encouraged individuals to reach out to the National Dementia Helpline, emphasising the invaluable emotional support and counselling it provides during challenging times.

For more details about dementia prevalence data, see here.

 

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Health News

Government Grants $50 Million for Australian Scientists Pioneering World’s First Long-Term Artificial Heart

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BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart

Government Grants $50 Million for Australian Scientists Pioneering World’s First Long-Term Artificial Heart

 

In a landmark initiative poised to revolutionise cardiovascular medicine, Australian scientists are spearheading the development of the world’s first long-term artificial heart. With a significant boost from the federal government, which has pledged a grant of $50 million towards the project, researchers are advancing towards a transformative breakthrough in cardiac care.

The artificial heart, conceptualised as an off-the-shelf alternative to organ donation, holds immense promise for patients suffering from end-stage heart failure. For individuals like Jayden Cummins, whose life was irrevocably altered by a viral infection that led to severe heart deterioration, the prospect of a long-term solution represents a beacon of hope.

Cummins, a Sydney-based filmmaker, vividly recounts his battle with heart failure, attributing it to a viral assault that left him operating at a mere 7 percent heart function. While he underwent a temporary solution with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) followed by a heart transplant, his journey underscores the critical need for innovative interventions to address the scarcity of donor organs.

Enter Dr. Daniel Timms and his team of bio scientists, who’s pioneering BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart promises to be a game-changer in the field of cardiac medicine. Unlike conventional devices that mimic the pumping action of the natural heart using balloons prone to wear and tear, the BiVACOR heart utilises magnetic levitation technology to propel blood circulation efficiently.

Dr. Timms elucidates on the innovative design, likening it to the magnetically levitated trains in Japan and China, which ensure smooth and frictionless motion. Supported by a multidisciplinary team, including Associate Professor Shaun Gregory of Monash University’s Artificial Heart Frontiers Program, the project unfolds with regular visits to the local hardware store, where components for heart replication are sourced.

The journey from laboratory bench tops to animal testing has yielded promising results, with the titanium hearts demonstrating remarkable durability and efficacy. Human trials are slated to commence in the United States later this year, marking a significant milestone in the quest for a viable long-term solution to heart failure.

BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart

BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart

Professor Garry Jennings from the Heart Foundation of Australia underscores the urgency of such innovations, citing the stark reality of organ shortages and the pressing need for alternatives. With heart failure claiming one in 50 Australian lives annually and a limited number of heart transplant procedures performed each year, the advent of artificial hearts offers a lifeline to countless patients awaiting salvation.

The federal government’s generous funding injection signals a resounding vote of confidence in Australia’s scientific prowess and commitment to advancing medical innovation. With hopes pinned on accelerated progress, scientists aim to make these groundbreaking devices available to patients within the next few years, heralding a new era of cardiac care.

For transplant recipient Jayden Cummins, the potential impact of these advancements is profound. Reflecting on his journey post-transplant, Cummins marvels at the newfound lease on life, cherishing precious moments with loved ones made possible by the gift of a donor heart. His story serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of medical innovation and the enduring spirit of resilience in the face of adversity.

As Australia embarks on this bold frontier of medical innovation, the promise of artificial hearts offers solace to those grappling with the debilitating effects of heart failure, embodying the triumph of human ingenuity and compassion. With each beat of progress, the collective hope is for a future where life-saving technology transcends boundaries, enriching and extending lives with boundless possibility.

KEY FACTS:

  1. Revolutionary Technology: The BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart represents a groundbreaking advancement in cardiovascular medicine. Unlike conventional devices that mimic the pumping action of the natural heart using balloons prone to wear and tear, the BiVACOR heart utilises magnetic levitation technology for efficient blood circulation. This innovative design, inspired by magnetically levitated trains in Japan and China, promises enhanced durability and efficacy, offering hope to countless patients grappling with end-stage heart failure.
  2. Government Funding: The federal government’s pledge of $50 million towards the project underscores its commitment to advancing medical innovation and improving healthcare outcomes. This substantial investment not only signifies confidence in Australia’s scientific prowess but also accelerates progress towards making artificial hearts available to patients within the next few years. Such funding injections play a pivotal role in driving research initiatives and fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government entities.
  3. Human Impact: Jayden Cummins’ personal journey serves as a poignant testament to the transformative potential of medical innovation. Having navigated the harrowing challenges of end-stage heart failure and subsequent transplantation, Cummins embodies resilience and hope. His story highlights the profound impact of artificial hearts on patients’ lives, offering a lifeline to individuals awaiting organ transplantation. Through advancements in medical technology, Cummins and countless others find solace and renewed optimism for the future, underscoring the profound human dimension of scientific progress.

 

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Health News

Northern NSW Health District Welcomes Record New Graduates

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Nurses and Midwives Northern NSW

Northern NSW Health District Welcomes Record New Graduates

 

In a significant boon to local health services, over 190 graduate nurses and midwives are set to commence work within the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) this year, contributing to the enhancement of healthcare provision in the region.

The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) is poised to experience a substantial influx of fresh talent as more than 190 graduate nurses and midwives prepare to embark on their professional journeys within its healthcare facilities. Across the state, this cohort represents a portion of the over 3,400 graduate nurses and midwives set to join the NSW public health system, underscoring the government’s commitment to bolstering the state’s healthcare workforce.

Expressing gratitude to the incoming graduates for their dedication to the noble profession, Katharine Duffy, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at NNSWLHD, emphasised the pivotal role these new recruits will play in delivering high-quality and compassionate care to patients across a diverse range of clinical settings. The graduates will have the opportunity to gain invaluable experience not only within hospital settings but also in community healthcare, thus contributing to the holistic healthcare landscape of the region.

Ms. Duffy further highlighted the district’s commitment to nurturing and supporting these new graduates, emphasising the presence of dedicated mentors and teachers who will guide them in their professional development and specialisation. Moreover, the district is proud to offer these new staff permanent roles, reflecting its dedication to cultivating a sustainable local health workforce.

Nurses and Midwives Northern NSW

the first cohorts who commenced orientation this week in the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed-Byron regions

The NSW Government’s comprehensive strategy to fortify the state’s health workforce includes various initiatives such as implementing safe staffing levels in emergency departments, making permanent over 1,100 nursing roles, abolishing wage caps, and providing record pay increases for healthcare workers. Additionally, the government is expanding recruitment efforts in regional, rural, and remote communities and enhancing incentives for healthcare professionals, including increased subsidies for tertiary health study and attractive salary packaging options.

Aspiring nurses and midwives interested in pursuing careers within the NSW public health system are encouraged to explore opportunities and resources available through the NSW Health website, further underscoring the government’s commitment to fostering a dynamic and robust healthcare workforce.

SIDEBAR:

  1. Record Number of New Nurses: Northern NSW Health District has welcomed over 190 new graduate nurses and midwives, marking a significant addition to the local healthcare workforce.
  2. Boost to Healthcare Services: The influx of new graduates will provide crucial support to Northern NSW’s health services, enhancing patient care across various clinical settings and community healthcare.
  3. Government Initiatives: The NSW government’s initiatives to strengthen the healthcare workforce include implementing safe staffing levels, creating permanent nursing roles, and offering financial incentives to attract and retain healthcare professionals.

 

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