Category: Katy Gallagher


According to ACT Health Minister, Katy Gallagher MLA, 90% of Australians support organ donation, but only 50% of families give their permission when it comes to the crunch.

“Many Australians are not aware that, even if they are registered as an organ donor, their family will be asked to give permission for organ donation to proceed.  That is why it is so important to discuss your wishes with your family,” she said.

Gift of Life President, Anne Cahill Lambert AM, reported eight multi-organ donors (hearts, liver, kidneys, etc.) in the ACT this year, and more than sixty tissue donors (corneas, skin, heart-valves, etc.).

“Even skin is important, especially during the bushfire season when, sadly, a number of Australians require skin grafts,” she said.

The ACT has significantly increased its corneal tissue donations, with fifty-six so far this year.  It is also working with the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation Authority and is moving toward implementing the National Reform Package.

The ACT Organ and Tissue Donation Service has been re-named DonateLife ACT.

Dr Imogen Mitchell has been appointed Territory Medical Director for Organ and Tissue Donation, and Dr Craig Hollis has been appointed Deputy Director.

ACT Health is now recruiting for a range of positions, including a DonateLife Manager, a Nurse Educator, a Communications and Administrative Officer, and an additional Organ Donor Co-ordinator.

If you are not already registered as a donor, discover the facts about it on http://www.donatelife.org.au.  Then you can make your decision and discuss it with your family.

Mine already knows about my own registration and, if they refuse the donation of my organs and tissues when the time comes, I promise to come back to haunt them.

ACT Health Minister, Katy Gallagher MLA, has been working overtime during this Christmas period.  After her advice on food (see previous post), she has now reminded us of the dangers of sun and heat.

“There’s a high probability that the 2009-10 summer season will include extended periods of above-average temperatures, so people should take precautions,” she said. 

“Many of us take beach breaks at this time of year and make the most of the outdoors, but it’s important to follow the five sun-protection measures:  slip on some sun-protective clothing; slop on SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sun-sceen;  slap on a hat;  slide on some sunnies;  and seek shade whenever possible.

“This is important, not only for sun-protection, but also to minimise heat-related stress, which is serious and, if not addressed quickly and appropriately, can lead to death.

“Every year, many Australians suffer from heat-related stress and illness.  Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, faintness, nausea and vomitting.

“The risk of heat-related stress increases dramatically when temperatures rise above 35 degrees Centigrade.  This is especially so for the very young and the elderly, whose bodies do not adapt as well to temperature changes and extremes.”

The Minister recommends some simple precautions for avoiding heat-related stress, which include:  drinking plenty of water;  avoiding tea, coffee and alcohol – these can have a de-hydrating effect;  staying out of direct sun;  keeping an eye on vulnerable members of the community, including the very young and the elderly, and making sure that they get enough water.

With all this worrying about our holiday health, will the Minister find time to relax?  After all, we can’t have her becoming ill, can we?

ACT Health Minister, Katy Gallagher MLA, has been kind enough to furnish a list of precautions that should be taken with food this summer.  She is worried about the contamination of food with bacteria or other micro-organisms.

“The risk of disease spread by food is particularly high in Summer because bacteria multiply faster in warm environments, and this can cause serious illness,” Ms Gallagher said.  “The festive season is a time when we all tend to over-indulge and ‘graze’ over longer periods with family and friends, without thinking about leaving food out in summer temperatures.”

The Minister advises:

When shopping, do not leave food articles in a hot car;  buy chilled and frozen food last;  pack cold food in an insulated bag or Esky;  refrigerate food as soon as you arrive home;

At home, set your refrigerator to five degrees centigrade or below, and avoid cramming it;  set your freezer to minus eighteen degrees centigrade or below;  keep raw meat in a container, separated from fresh vegetables and fruit;  store cooked food in a container with a lid;  when preparing food, keep it out of the refrigerator for the shortest time possible;

For the barbecue, choose food items that are easy to handle outdoors;  prepare your meat at home (marinades, skewers, etc.);  wrap meats carefully so that juices do not leak onto other food;  cook meat so that the juices run clear when you prick it, and always put it on a clean plate;  carry food in a cool box – pack plenty of ice or frozen bricks;  carry plenty of water with you, and dispose of waste carefully.

Good advice.  However, I am a little disappointed; I think that she could have thrown in a few recipes while she was at it.  Along with another prawn on the barbie.  Why do our ministers never live up to our expectations?

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