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Medical staff under huge pressure
Staff Reporter
update on Friday, January 21, 2011

Clinical staff in Beijing are working excessive overtime under enormous pressure, according to a study presented by a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Beijing committee, the China Daily reports. The study says more than 50 per cent of doctors and at least 30 per cent of nurses work more than nine hours a day, while 12 per cent of doctors and 5 per cent of nurses work more than 12 hours. Half of the doctors say they need to work overtime three times a week. Statistics also show that medical workers are more likely to have chronic diseases than the average Beijinger.

Health authorities agree to co-operate

Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong health authorities have agreed to strengthen mutual communication and co-operation in combating infectious diseases, including stepping up alertness in the prevention and control of dengue fever and other mosquito-borne diseases, enterovirus infection and measles, according to a Hong Kong government report.
The consensus was reached at the 10th Tripartite Meeting of Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong on the prevention and control of infectious diseases in Hong Kong last week.

Your voice will give the game away
Big night out? No matter how much coffee you consume, your voice could still give away your late night, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. An acoustician, Adam Vogel, found that as fatigue progresses, we maintain less control of the muscles that produce speech. This means speech slows, variations in pitch increase and tone diminishes. “Individual voice patterns diminish the more tired you become, so you lose your voice personality,” Vogel says. “You become a bit flatter.”

He says measuring fatigue by analysing a person’s speech and comparing changes with normal, rested speech patterns could allow doctors to make objective decisions about a person’s ability to function at work.

Australia eyes lucrative medical tourism
The Australian federal government is looking to cash in on the profitable medical tourism market, which is worth more than US$20 billion a year and projected to grow by 35 per cent annually.

According to the preliminary government analysis, Australia should target “sophisticated, wealthy” patients. The document suggests that Australia can exploit its proximity to Asia, capacity in private hospitals, safe and clean environment, and expertise with niche medical devices to attract health care tourists, particularly for implant surgical procedures.

However, the Australian Medical Association disagrees with that assessment, expressing a fear that the timing is wrong and warning that bringing in medical tourists could exacerbate pressure on the health system, pointing to a shortage of  practitioners in the country. Xinhua

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