Mobile medicine: Tyro medics take the bus.

By: Benjamin Millar - Maribyrnong Weekly

On board: Andrew Cornwall and Bill Jaboor with medical students. Picture: Scott McNaughton

On board: Andrew Cornwall and Bill Jaboor with medical students.
Picture: Scott McNaughton

A GROUNDBREAKING health screening program operating in Melbourne's west is really rolling thanks to a generous donation.

Ventura Bus Lines has donated a 26-seat bus to University of Melbourne medical students volunteering in a program to help people who might otherwise miss out on an important health check.

The bus will carry students between classes and practical sessions at Sunshine and Footscray hospitals and to health-screening sessions at Centrelink offices across the west.

Although most Victorian workers have access to health checks, Western Melbourne Regional Development Australia (WMRDA) identified a screening gap for people who are unemployed or in casual work.

The screening program involves the University of Melbourne, Western Centre for Health Research and Education, Western Health, the Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Ventura and the WMRDA.

The chairman of WMRDA, Bill Jaboor, said the students had been keen to support what had been a pilot program, which would now start in earnest, pending funding.

The program had screened 2000 people across Centrelink offices at Sunshine, Footscray, Werribee, Melton and Newport over six months.

"The University of Melbourne medical students were a great help and developed a real rapport with the participants," Mr Jaboor said.

Ventura managing director Andrew Cornwall said he was delighted to help. "They made a real contribution to a project that made a difference in our community," he said.

The project has been such a success it is being established in other regions across Australia.

Brimbank Council's general manager of community wellbeing, Kelly Grigsby, said the municipality faced dire health problems and needed all the help it could get.

"Figures released last year by Diabetes Australia-Victoria revealed that Brimbank is the number one 'hot spot' for diabetes in metropolitan Melbourne, with almost 12,000 residents living with the disease," she said.

"The rate of obesity in men and women is also higher than the Victorian average."

The bus was handed over during a student award ceremony at Sunshine Hospital on last week.


pXs goes iPad with its rapid health screening offering.

Posted by: David Stanley

" ... international and national research has shown unequivocally that screener bias is a significant barrier to truthful answers to sensitive lifestyle questions about issues such as depression, alcohol and drug use". Said pXs MD David Stanley. "Using an iPad platform significantly reduces this bias, and in testing late last year we have seen an embracing of the touch screen platform across all ages, gender and cultural backgrounds..." Stanley noted. It sets up an exciting 2012 for pXs with some initial enquiries from other health screening organisations who have only used a face-to-face one-on-one human screener in they're offering.


Multilingual health screening

Posted by: David Stanley

pXs has worked with its partners to develop touch screen rapid health screening that works in five languages. " when our clients want their workforce screened in a 10 minutes per person session, languages other than English become very important in engaging the person with a preventative approach to their health, said pXs MD David Stanley. "We are entering into some significant partnerships that require the platform to be genuinely screener friendly and it is impossible to have heath professionals at every site that has so many diverse cultural sensitivities and backgrounds as represented in the Australian population". We have developed this platform with our stake holders and computer linguistic experts. In testing we have had exciting uptake from people who speak English as a second language at home.


Community Health Screening Program launched in Victoria

Posted by: Bree Watkins

RDA Western Melbourne Chair Bill Jaboor, State Member for Western Metropolitan the Hon Martin Pakula MLC, State Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan MP, State Member for Keilor Natalie Hutchins MP, and Minister for Health and Ageing the Hon Nicola Roxon MP.

Left to right: RDA Western Melbourne Chair Bill Jaboor, State Member for Western Metropolitan the Hon Martin Pakula MLC, State Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan MP, State Member for Keilor Natalie Hutchins MP, and Minister for Health and Ageing the Hon Nicola Roxon MP.

RDA Western Melbourne and Australian Government Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, launched the Community Health Screening Program at the Substation Arts and Cultural Centre in Newport on Friday 30 September 2011. The launch was attended by more than 70 government, community and business representatives.

As part of its Social Inclusion priority, RDA Western Melbourne initiated the Community Health Screening Program for Centrelink clients across the region. The program was initially developed and implemented for use in the transport and logistics industries in New South Wales and Victoria. RDA Western Melbourne Deputy Chair, Bill Noonan, brought the program to the attention of the committee in the context of its Social Inclusion priority.

RDA Western Melbourne Chair Bill Jaboor said the western Melbourne region had a higher than average incidence of health issues.

"We saw an opportunity to implement this initiative in partnership with PreventionXpress, the University of Melbourne, the Institute for Breathing and Sleep and Centrelink," Mr Jaboor said.

The University of Melbourne has been involved in the program with third year medical students assisting with health screens. In just 10 minutes, Centrelink clients are screened for possible cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, sleep apnoea, certain cancers and a number of other conditions.

While people in employment are generally given access to health screening or health checks, this is often not the case for people who are unemployed or under employed. By delivering the program through Centrelink, unemployed people have access to free and confidential health screening. Each participant receives a written report which is available in multiple languages.

More than 700 people have already been screened resulting in a number of medical referrals and some requiring immediate attention.


IBAS Partnerhsip

Posted by: Vivienne Pearson

IBAS and PreventionXpress plan to offer basic health screening for visitors and staff at Austin Health. The first screening session was offered at the Austin campus in July. Anthony Carbines, State Government member for Ivanhoe, was one visitor who took advantage of the opportunity to check his risk levels for sleep disorders and lung disease as well as blood pressure, diabetes and other age and gender related conditions.

The screening takes around 10 minutes and is conducted by a combination of a nurse and a confidential computer portal. Each person receives their results in a simple yet detailed report to assist them with following up results with their GP.

Anthony Carbines is pictured here with nurse Ann DiStefano who conducted the screening.

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