Health Briefing


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Commuting takes its toll on women

Commuting is a lot more stressful for women than for men, research suggests. The daily grind of travelling to and from work has a negative effect on the mental health of women, a study has found.

Men, on the other hand, are generally unaffected, even though commuting takes up more of their time.

The research, published yesterday in the J ournal of Health Economics, found that women with pre-school age children were affected the most.

Thousands of children in hospital for window falls

Every year, more than 5,100 American childen go to hospital with injuries from falling out of windows, and a quarter of them are serious enough for the child to be admitted, according to a US study. Over 19 years, researchers found, the rate has dropped only slightly.

“It really is nothing to take comfort in,” says Dr Gary Smith, who heads the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “We continue to see this problem, especially in younger kids, despite the fact that we know how to prevent it,” adds Smith, who led the new work.

Between 1990 and 2008, an estimated 98,415 children under 18 were treated at hospitals for injuries they had sustained after falling out of a window. That’s about 7.3 injuries per 100,000 children, Smith and his colleagues report in the journal Pediatrics.

Toddlers led the injury statistics, accounting for two-thirds of all cases. According to Smith, that’s because they’re curious, don’t understand danger, and have a high centre of gravity.

“As they lean over, their high centre of gravity will make them topple,” he explains. “They almost invariably land head-first.”

Nearly half the children had damages to their heads or faces, but only two in 1,000 cases were fatal.

Most of the falls happened from the second floor. “We need to look beyond the major cities,” Smith says. “Most children don’t live in high-rise apartments, they live in homes.”

The way to prevent falls, he adds, is to ensure that kids don’t have access to a window, for instance by removing furniture they can climb to get there.

New South Wales tries to recruit 200 Irish nurses

AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST state, New South Wales, is attempting to recruit 200 Irish nurses to fill critical staff shortages in its hospitals.

The state, which includes Sydney, needs 1,400 nurses immediately in a number of specialities, most notably mental health, intensive care and midwifery.

It has enlisted the Galway-based ICE Group to aid in the recruitment. Interviews will take place in Dublin on September 8th and 9th.

Those eligible for consideration must have more than two years’ experience as a nurse. The state’s health service will aid successful applicants with visas to get started.

The state’s chief nursing and midwifery officer, Debra Thoms, said Irish nurses are well regarded in Australia and fit in with their health system very well.

Speaking on RTÉ radio last week, she described the recruitment drive as a “bit of an immediate issue” for the state.

Nurses are expected to stay at least a year and take up their post by June next year.

New South Wales is also recruiting nurses for a new 135-bed high-security mental-health facility in Sydney.

New South Wales claims to have the highest salaries in Australia, while Australia says it has some of the highest-paid nurses in the world.

It remains one of the few developed countries which largely escaped the recession. The boom in the commodities market and a tight fiscal strategy has ensured that its economy has continued to grow while the US and Europe remain in deep economic trouble.