Wednesday, 10 August, 2022

FOCUS: MEDICAL PRACTICE

Medical posts added to revised Critical Skills List – finally

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In a major concession by government to the growing medical staff crisis, the revised Critical Skills List – gazetted on 2 August – includes five pages of medical posts, with at least a dozen specialist categories. None of the drafts or previous lists did. The inclusion of medical posts comes amid a growing shortage of healthcare professionals, with the past year seeing an exodus of 35,000 from the country, particularly specialists, and predictions of more emigrations before the National Health...

FOCUS: POLICY

Critical need for national strategy to address chronic surgical backlog

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National Department of Health statistics reveal that more than 107,000 non-emergency or elective surgeries were put on the back burner during the COVID-19 pandemic. But challenges in addressing surgical backlogs were there long before COVID-19, writes Alicestine October for Spotlight. Professor Kathryn Chu, director of the Centre for Global Surgery at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said compared with infectious diseases like HIV, TB, and COVID-19, surgical conditions and care were not a major priority in the...

FOCUS: MEDICAL PRACTICE

How therapeutic fashion trumps medical evidence

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Profit motives and fear of missing out or going against the trend, has led to health professionals following therapeutic fashions instead of questioning accepted procedures and following medical evidence instead, notes Medical Brief. Writing in Medscape, Dr John M Mandrola writes: "I’ve been thinking a lot about how the standard of care in medicine is established and then becomes resistant to critical appraisal,  and these were not happy thoughts. In fact, I’ve come to believe that too often, therapeutic fashion trumps medical...

NEWS UPDATE

Gauteng health boss ignored Deokaran’s plea for probe, claims acting HoD

Gauteng Health boss Lerato Madyo lied when she told Babita Deokaran that her discovery of R850m in dubious Tembisa Hospital payments had been bumped...

Government slashes already under-funded health budget

South Africans using state health facilities should gird their loins for the government’s planned and extensive cuts to public health budgets, Wits adjunct professor...

Nursing Council resists training of new nurses, despite dire shortage, HASA conference told

Despite the chronic shortage of and desperate need for more qualified nurses, the SA Nursing Council (SANC) is stubbornly blocking the training of new...

South Africa ‘on the cusp’ of a major measles outbreak, say experts

Some local experts fear small measles outbreaks recently reported in Gauteng may be precursors to much larger outbreaks. This comes after recently released survey...

Critical staff shortage affects East London’s Frere Hospital surgeries

East London’s tertiary Frere Hospital, which serves nearly half – 2.8m – of the province’s 6m plus population, has reached crisis point, says a...

Gauteng Health denies written warning issued to whistle-blower doctor

Dr Tim de Maayer, the paediatrician who spilled the beans in a whistle-blowing letter about the shocking conditions at the Rahima Moosa Mother and...

Fort Hare speech therapy students face extra year after alleged 'low standard course'

Students studying speech-language therapy at Fort Hare University, who have accused the institution of offering a low-standard course barring them from graduating, have been...

Africa fears monkeypox vaccine side-lining as disease spreads

While monkeypox has spread to around 16,000 people in more than 70 countries, with the first deaths reported in Spain and India, and been...

Doctor commits suicide after being hounded by anti-vaxxers

Austrian medical representatives have called for greater protection for doctors after a GP, who faced months of violent threats from anti-vaccination activists and pandemic...

Public Protector to probe health, safety hazards at Phoenix mortuary

The Public Protector is launching an “own-initiative systemic investigation” into the Phoenix mortuary in Durban, where, as reported in MedicalBrief last week, there had been...

Psychiatric patients go hungry and barefoot at Eastern Cape hospital

Komani Psychiatric Hospital in the Eastern Cape has been accused of gross mistreatment of patients – that they go to bed hungry and share...

Western Cape legislature to set up TB caucus by month-end

More than 12 months after a proposal by the South African TB Caucus (SATBC), the provincial legislature has agreed to set up a tuberculosis...

Civil society report on medication collections at North West health facilities

Data collected by civil organisation Ritshidze, in the second edition of the North West State of Health report, said there were still problems in...

MEDICO-LEGAL

HPCSA: Medics fined, suspended, and bogus doctors arrested

The Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has revealed that 55 people were arrested between 2021 and 2022 for either being bogus doctors...

Mkhize accuses SIU of delaying Digital Vibes probe

Deliberate delaying tactics by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) are stalling progress in the Digital Vibes probe, lawyers acting for former Health Minister Zweli...

Inquiry recommends urgent compensation for infected blood victims as death toll rises

The victims of Britain’s contaminated blood scandal should receive at least £100,000 in compensation each “without delay”, the chair of the inquiry examining the...

UK Supreme Court rejects bid to intervene in life-support battle for 12-year-old

In a massive blow to the parents of brain-damaged Archie Battersbee (12), Britain’s Supreme Court has turned down their application to intervene in a...

NEWS RELEASES

Deafening silence on Tembisa Hospital payments scandal – Jack Bloom

The DA deplores the deafening silence of the Gauteng Health Department concerning the News24 investigation that has exposed how corruption whistle-blower Babita Deokaran tried...

SOME OF THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

CORONAVIRUS

South African research sheds light on microclots’ role in long COVID

There is no global consensus among researchers and clinicians on a definition for long COVID, no adequate diagnostic test for the debilitating condition, and...

DERMATOLOGY

How skin oil turns infection-fighting cells into accomplices, making acne bacteria thrive – US study

Cutibacterium acnes, a crunchy bug that lives on human skin, loves the oily pocket around hair follicles. No face is quite as greasy as...

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Green tea extract promotes gut health, lowers blood sugar – Ohio study

Research in people with a cluster of heart disease risk factors has shown that drinking green tea extract for four weeks reduces blood sugar...

HIV RESEARCH

Fourth person cured of HIV, fifth success in the wings: AIDS 2022 conference

A 66-year-old man, diagnosed with HIV in 1988, has been in remission for more that 17 months after stopping antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the...

Doxycycline slashes STI risk among MSM, trans women – US study

New studies presented at AIDS 2022, the 24th International AIDS Conference (29 July-2 August) hosted by IAS – the International AIDS Society – demonstrated...

ONCOLOGY

Resistant starch effective in preventing wide range of cancers – global trial

A trial in almost 1,000 people with high hereditary risk of a wide range of cancers has shown a major preventive effect from resistant...