Health news



As of 08:30 this morning Health Districts in NSW have been directed by Elizabeth Koff, NSW Health Secretary to escalate to Amber Risk Status.

Today the JHH Executive, along with Dr John Ferguson gave an update via Broadcast, the link to this broadcast can be found here.

One key requirement is that all health staff are required to wear standard, level 2 surgical masks if they are within 1.5m of patients. Visitors will also be asked to mask.

During our usual weekly JHH ALL Staff Information Broadcast on Wednesday, Dr Ferguson referred to a handwashing technique video which can be accessed via this link.  

Please keep an eye on the CE news, Webinars and COVID site on the Intranet as to how you can help us keep us all safe.


Injections are two-and-a-half times safer when nurses use revamped guidelines

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is changing the way it writes its guidelines for giving injections in hospitals, following new research from the University of Bath. The study found that hospital nurses make far fewer mistakes when administering medicines intravenously if they follow instructions written with nurses in mind. Current NHS guidelines on intravenous injections are written by pharmacists with little input from their primary audience - nurses. These instructions can be confusing or overly complicated, which contributes to 30-50% of intravenous doses being incorrect in some way. Researchers used a process called 'user testing', which identifies where mistakes are being made and introduces changes so the instructions are easier to use.

READ full article...
WATCH - Lead author Matthew Jones discuss the study...

Mask use provides significant protective effect on the spread of respiratory viruses in healthcare workers

This recent meta-analyses based on 21 studies found that use of masks by healthcare workers (HCWs) and non-healthcare workers (Non-HCWs) can reduce the risk of respiratory virus infection by 80% and 47%. Masks had a protective effect against influenza viruses, SARS, and SARS-CoV-2. The protective effect of wearing masks in Asia appeared to be higher than that of Western countries.

READ full article...

COVID -19: Implementing sustainable low cost physical distancing and enhanced hygiene

SARS-CoV-2 continues to disseminate globally and there are likely to be recurrent waves of infection into the foreseeable future. We would argue that low cost interventions including physical distancing and enhanced hygiene have increasing relevance. They will protect against the emerging concern for pre-symptomatic transmission and their optimisation will better enable the more restrictive and economically damaging constraints to be relaxed.

READ this article in the MJA by local public health physician Craig Dalton
Or this one by the same author in the Conversation

New PubMed has now replaced legacy PubMed

Legacy PubMed has been retired, and New PubMed has become the default PubMed site. If it’s been a while since you ran a search on PubMed – or feel a little anxious about the changes – don’t worry, here’s an article that will walk you through the new features.

They include: mobile-friendly design; a cite button - that lets you toggle between different formats, or download citations as an Endnote-compatible file; social media sharing buttons; and a button to copy a permalink. All collections and saved searches stored in your ‘My NCBI’ account are available in the new site.

Find out how to build a search strategy, manage results, save records and see comparisons to legacy PubMed on the Library webpage – ‘Tutorials and Guides’ - PubMed .

For more search tips – see the National Library of Medicine support page

COVID-19 research has overall low methodological quality thus far: case in point for chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine

This article examines recent hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin research, and finds that it is underpinned by very low-quality methodology. The authors, who include researchers from Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact and the GUIDE Research Methods Group at McMaster University, consider the overall body of recent COVID-19 research to be unreliable. Flawed methodology and sub-optimal reporting of research findings could lead to biased estimates of effect. This could lead to substandard treatment decisions, and may be detrimental to patients. The article provides specific suggestions for improving on COVID-19 research methods and reporting, with a focus on issues that researchers must consider in their methodology and reporting if we are to have confidence in the estimates of effect.

READ full-text article
Discussion on the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine website

Surviving Sepsis Campaign: Guidelines on the management of critically ill adults with COVID-19

A panel of 36 experts from 12 countries, proposed 53 questions relevant to the management of COVID-19 in critically ill patients in the ICU. All panel members completed the World Health Organization conflict of interest disclosure form. They identified relevant and recent systematic reviews on most questions relating to supportive care. The certainty of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. The panel then generated recommendations based on the balance between benefit and harm, resource and cost implications, equity, and feasibility. Recommendations were either strong or weak, or in the form of best practice recommendations. No recommendation was provided for the following topics: infection control, laboratory diagnosis and specimens, hemodynamic support, ventilatory support, and COVID-19 therapy. When available, the panel will provide new recommendations in further releases of the guidelines.

READ SSC guidelines
LISTEN to author discussion
VIEW full-size infographic

How safe are library books?

Current research says that in ideal lab conditions, the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. We want to help you stay safe in the library – so we’ve implemented book quarantines, social distancing, and regular cleaning of surfaces such as tables, door handles and computer keyboards and mice.

LISTEN: CDC guidance on mitigating COVID-19 when managing paper-based, circulating, and other types of collections
SOURCE: National Institutes of Health news release
NEJM: Aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) compared to SARS-CoV-1
13.03.20 (updated)

COVID-19: get the latest research

Coronaviruses are important human and animal pathogens. At the end of 2019, a novel coronavirus was identified as the cause of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei Province of China. It rapidly spread, resulting in an epidemic throughout China, with sporadic cases reported globally. In February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the disease COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019. Previously, this virus was referred to as 2019-nCoV.

The COVID-19 update presented to interns on 11 March 2020 is now available via the Library website. Presenters included: Dr Tony Merritt (Public Health Physician, Population Health), Dr Catherine Berry (Staff Specialist, Immunology and Infectious Diseases Unit, JHH), and Assoc Prof Chris Grainge (Staff Specialist, Respiratory and General Medicine, JHH)

This UpToDate topic discusses the epidemiology, clinical features, diagnosis, management, and prevention of COVID-19

Understanding of this novel coronavirus is evolving try this PubMed filter to locate recent literature

Access BMJ Best Practice resources on coronavirus including BMJ topic page, learning modules and patient leaflets

A counter showing in real time the global number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries from Johns Hopkins University

MJA RESEARCH SKILLS – Stepped wedge cluster randomised trials


The health effects of fine particulate air pollution (bush fire smoke)


Telephone-delivered CBT can provide lasting benefits for people with IBS


Exercise training improves physical capacity after lung cancer surgery


Diagnosis and management of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in 10 steps


Position statement on the hormonal management of adult transgender and gender diverse individuals


How long does a hip replacement last?


Reducing the use of broad spectrum antibiotics may help to cut rates of hospital-acquired VRE


Review of patient relevant outcomes of partial vs. total knee replacement


UpToDate Practice Changing Update: Use TAVI in patients with aortic stenosis and low surgical risk


ICARUSS is superior to usual care in achieving best-practice recommendations for traditional risk factors, as well as behavioural and functional outcomes, in stroke survivors


Local recommendations for perioperative management of antihyperglycemic medication


Exercise prevents falls in older people living in the community


MJA RESEARCH SKILLS – Cluster randomised trials


Clinical Practice Guideline for the management of Infantile Hemangiomas (aka strawberry birthmarks)


MJA CLINICAL SKILLS – The Timed Up and Go test


Glucocorticoids for croup in children


MJA RESEARCH SKILLS – Network meta-analysis in health care decision making


Additional physical therapy services reduce length of stay and improve health outcomes in people with acute and subacute conditions


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy reduces the rate of major complications in high risk patients with acute cholecystitis – compared to percutaneous catheter drainage


CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINE: Atraumatic vs. conventional needles for lumbar puncture


Assessing evidence quality: the GRADE approach


Effect of aspirin on cardiovascular events and bleeding in the healthy elderly: ASPREE clinical trials


MJA RESEARCH SKILLS – Survival studies: competing risks, immortality & censoring


Increasing omega-6 fats reduces total serum cholesterol, but not other blood fat fractions or adiposity


Early, intense rehabilitation aids recovery after serious traumatic head injury


MJA RESEARCH SKILLS - Understanding statistical principles in linear and logistic regression


Fewer side-effects and similar benefits from shorter chemotherapy after bowel cancer surgery


In-hospital 24 hour delay before surgery not a risk factor for complications in patients with acute appendicitis


MJA CLINICAL SKILLS – Bedside cognitive assessment


Physiotherapy before abdominal surgery helps prevent pneumonia


Atraumatic needles reduce headaches following lumbar puncture


RANZCP clinical practice guidelines for mood disorders: Bipolar disorder summary


MJA RESEARCH SKILLS – Guided by the research design: choosing the right statistical test


Stopping biological drugs for rheumatoid arthritis can lead to twice the relapse rate


MJA RESEARCH SKILLS – Distributions and what to do when they are non-normal


Biological therapies for psoriasis do not increase serious infection risk


MJA CLINICAL SKILLS - Spirometry: key to the diagnosis of respiratory disorders


Local nerve blocks can improve outcomes for people with hip fracture


Using mesh does not improve results in vaginal prolapse surgery