25 March 2013
Brisbane health professional, Phil Browne, urges ordinary citizens to speak up against the planned closure of the Brisbane sexual health clinic, located at Roma St, Brisbane.
Browne has 30 years experience as a Registered Nurse, and his professional duties have included providing treatment, and sexual health education to, people diagnosed with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's).
Browne says "the decision to close a major sexual health clinic is alarming when you consider the skyrocketing STI rates in recent years", he adds " at times when STI's are continually rising, this demands greater effort, not closing the city sexual health clinic."
Browne is speaking up because "this is a public health issue and to remain silent would be inconsistent with my training and health knowledge."
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a disturbing picture of a massive rise in STI's in the period 2001 till 2011 (these being the latest available statistics). http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features10Jun+2012
Chlamydia infections rose from 129.5 per 100,000 population (15 years and over) in 2001, to 434.9 in 2011.
The Courier Mail reported that in 2009, Queensland "accounted for the largest rate of chlamydia in the nation with more than a quarter (17,000) of 62,000 Australians testing positive." http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/sex-infections-including-hiv-soar-to-record-in-queensland/story-e6freoof-1225872728627
Every effort must be made to encourage more testing, resulting in greater detection of STI's, followed by effective treatment to stop the spread of STI's.
It's essential to retain sexual health clinics, where people can be seen by specialist heath staff, for free, with no appointment necessary, and the necessary education, counselling and contact tracing be performed.
"Many people will simply stop being tested if they have to make an appointment in advance, and then have to pay to see a GP for a sexual health check. Many people will not be comfortable discussing their sexual activity with their family GP."
"This will result in more people with undiagnosed and untreated STI's, spreading their infections to more sexual partners.
"If this decision is not reversed we can expect a further increase in STI rates in Queensland - though more new infections will remain undetected, as fewer people at risk of STI's will be getting tested.
"There are up to 600 HIV clients currently using this clinic. They must be transferred to a limited number of GPs who are certified S100 prescribers, as not every GP can prescribe HIV medications. Of the GPs who are S100 prescribers, how many can accept new patients, and how many bulk bill? How many of these up to 600 HIV clients can be taken on as new patients by the small number of S100 prescribers?
"This clinic hosts many important clinical trials to further improve health treatments. If the clinic closes, will busy GPs have the time, or the facilities, to continue these clinical trials?"
There is a lot that people can do, including:
For further information contact Phil Browne on 0428 140 359
Phil Browne is currently employed as a Registered Nurse. As Browne is not currently employed by Qld Health, he if free to speak publicly on this important public health issue.