I am off to Canberra as a keynote/guest speaker to talk with our Politicians

Next Monday 14 July 2014 PGARD (Parliamentary Group on Asbestos Related Diseases) have organised a luncheon at Parliament House, Canberra for various party politicians to be present. Also ASEA (Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency) are also supporting this important event to raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos. I have been invited to be a keynote/guest speaker. It is an honour to have been asked and I am looking forward to this event.I will be flying up on Sunday afternoon and staying with good friends for the night rather than an early flight on the Monday morning that could leave me feeling exhausted and a bit short of breath.Our winter weather has well and truly set in today. We were lucky to get above 4 degrees celcius. …

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Pet scan Weds 31 Aug 2013 – my meditation time!

This morning was my PET scan at the Austin hospital, Melbourne. Fasting for 6 hours and allowed to drink water only.The Nuclear medicine department is situated in a very dark hole of the hospital – a rabbit warren to find lifts, follow the blue line on the floor to a visitor lift then down a floor and entering via a door where no windows are situated, hence a closed in feeling can overtake the patient as it did the first ever PET scan held there.My previous PET scans have been in the duration of 2 hrs to 3 hours, this one took 1.5 hours due to the new machines and rather than undressing and putting a gown on – it is now possible to leave clothes on apart from anything with …

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Operative death rates higher at weekend, warn researchers

May 29, 2013 — There is a higher risk of death for patients who have elective surgery later in the week and at the weekend, compared with those earlier in the week, a new paper suggests

Previous research has suggested a significantly higher risk of death if admitted as an emergency patient at the weekend compared with a weekday. Plus, other papers have described the “weekend effect.”

Researchers offer two potential explanations for this: poorer quality of care at the weekend (which can be attributed to staffing levels and / or less senior / experienced staff) and patients who are admitted or operated on at the weekend being more severely ill.

In this, the first study to focus on day of elective surgery to report a ‘weekday effect’, researchers from Imperial College London investigate death rates for planned admissions by day of the week of procedure, hypothesising that if there is a quality of care issue at weekends, higher death rates would be seen.

National hospital administrative data were used, linked with death certificates. Information was used on patients’ age, gender, source of admission and diagnoses. Mortality outcome was defined as any death occurring within 30 days of the index procedure.

The researchers focussed their study on five higher-risk major surgical procedure groups: excision of esophagus and / or stomach; excision of colon and / or rectum; coronary artery bypass graft; repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm and excision of lung.

There were 4,133,346 elective inpatient surgical procedures with 27,582 deaths within 30 days of the date of procedure during 2008/2009 to 2010/2011. 4.5% of this surgery was performed at the weekend.

Weekend patients tended to have fewer diseases, fewer admissions, longer waiting time and lower-risk surgery.

The overall risk of 30-day death for patients undergoing elective surgery increased with each day of the week the procedure was performed (by an odds ratio factor of 1.09 per day from Monday). Compared with Monday, the risk of death was significantly higher if procedures were carried out on a Friday. There were also significant differences in the observed rates of death for each day of the week, compared with Monday, for all procedures.

The 30-day mortality rates (for the five selected major survival procedures) per 1000 admissions were: 35 for excision of esophagus and/or stomach; 24 for excision of colon and/or rectum; 20 for coronary artery bypass graft; 34 for repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm and 20 for excision of lung. All procedures, apart from repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm, had statistically significant trends towards higher mortality at the end of the working week and weekends compared with Monday.

The findings suggest that the weekend effect might be more pronounced for patients with more diseases and for patients with three or more previous admissions, than for patients with none.

The researchers say that their analysis confirms their hypothesis that there is a ‘weekday effect’ on mortality for patients undergoing elective surgery. They say that serious complications are more likely to occur within the first 48 hours post-operatively and a failure to rescue the patient may be due to well-known issues relating to reduced, and / or locum, staffing and poorer availability of services.

They conclude that without more information related to surgical care processes, including the organisation of services / staffing, it remains unclear if the estimated risks can be entirely attributed to differences in quality of care and provision needs to be made for adequate services to support these patients and ensure the best outcome.

In an accompanying editorial, doctors from the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto say that reassuringly, the “weekend effect” is not due to reduced staffing levels. They say the paper’s findings do however beg the question, what makes these patients different? Doctors Kwan and Bell question whether there are any differences between “surgeons who operate or the surgical teams who work at weekends and those who work in the week.” They conclude the scheduling of elective procedures can be controlled but ask whether we are willing to “sacrifice the safe provision of care for shorter procedural wait times and length of stay.”

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