Category Archives: Health

JOHN DWYER. Policy mayhem is stifling efforts to have more Australian doctors “in the bush” – part one

In this two part article, I am reviewing the basis for the serious problem we have in providing adequate health care for Australians who live in rural, and particularly, remote areas. Good intentions are, as ever, intertwined with political machinations … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. Policy mayhem is stifling efforts to have more Australian doctors “in the bush” – part two

In this two part article, I am reviewing the basis for the serious problem we have in providing adequate health care for Australians who live in rural, and particularly, remote areas. Good intentions are, as ever, intertwined with political machinations … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Doing without private health insurance

Every year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports on competition and consumer issues in private health insurance (PHI), and recent reports show increasing consumer dissatisfaction with PHI. Most complaints relate to unexpected charges when claims are made and confusion … Continue reading

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KERRY BREEN and M.TAFFY JONES. Why mandatory reporting of the ill-health of doctors is not in anyone’s best interests

“Sick doctors will delay seeking help because of fear of stigmatisation and a threat to their professional status and livelihood through premature and unjustified reporting by treating doctors who themselves are made to feel insecure by the legislation. The distress … Continue reading

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JUDITH CRISPIN. Indigenous Elders to Tackle Youth Suicide Using Mobile Technology

A groundbreaking collaboration between Walpiri Elders, cultural historians, technologists and a clinical psychologist aims to tackle youth suicide using traditional knowledge and mobile technology.  

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JOHN MENADUE. The unfairness and waste of private health insurance and the threat to Medicare.

History is repeating itself. Medicare was created by the Whitlam government because of the abject failure of private health insurance or, as it was then called voluntary health insurance.  As a result of the growth of private health insurance (PHI) … Continue reading

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DAVID JAMES. Deconstructing the privatisation scam

It is increasingly evident how pernicious the privatisation myth is. Two recent examples have underlined it: the failings in Australia’s privatised energy grid and the usurious pricing in airport car parks. Both examples demonstrated that it is folly to expect … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Specialists gaps and anaesthetists.

The article from David Scott and Peter Seal (‘Medical specialists – maintaining a high standard and duty of care‘) is not an unexpected response from the organisation they represent – the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. However … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Health Ministers may be in office but health providers are in power. Think medical specialists fees!

The special pleading of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) is not surprising for a group that represents the interests of medical providers. (DAVID M SCOTT and PETER SEAL. Medical specialists – maintaining a high standard and duty of care.) … Continue reading

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DAVID M SCOTT and PETER SEAL. Medical specialists – maintaining a high standard and duty of care.

In recent times, several articles have appeared in the print and electronic media about the alleged ‘high fees’ and ‘poor accountability’ of medical specialists. A few weeks ago on his ‘Pearls and Irritations’ blog, John Menadue posted one such piece … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Physicians ‘outed’ on fees – Time for Patients to take more control.

If all [of the above] fail to work perhaps a review of what Pierre Trudeau and his government did in 1984 when they took on a system not dissimilar to ours –uncontrolled fee for service- and legislated that doctors could … Continue reading

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And Jesus said unto Paul of Ryan …

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times on March 16, 2017, writes about a ‘discussion’ between Jesus and Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Ryan claims that Catholicism has shaped his political views. Is Nicholas … Continue reading

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MICHAEL THORN. Cricket Australia throw Aussie kids to the Lion

Alcohol and sport sponsorship is a toxic marriage, an ill-fitting and dangerous partnership. Like sport and tobacco sponsorship before it, it is anachronism; a throwback to a less enlightened era.  

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PETER BROOKS and JOHN WILLOUGHBY. A call for doctors to take a stand on the Adani Carmichael coal mine

The comprehensive investigation, published as The Adani Files  (adanifiles.com.au), provides a litany of stories of pollution, failed clean-ups of damaged environments, and allegations of corruption and of abuse of workers.  

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. Labor charts a health policy rethink

The Labor Party has released a summary of the proceedings of its ‘National Health Policy Summit’, held in Canberra on 3rd March. Good on the ALP for holding the summit. Trouble is, the ‘communique’, while summarising the views of the … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The parlous state of strategies to protect consumers from health care fraud. Part 3 of 3.

Credible scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness should underpin the delivery of health care. Satisfactory health outcomes and cost effectiveness require this approach. In Australia however pseudoscience flourishes as regulatory bodies fail to protect consumers from health care fraud. 

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JOHN DWYER. The parlous state of strategies to protect consumers from health care fraud. Part 2 of 3.

Credible scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness should underpin the delivery of health care. Satisfactory health outcomes and cost effectiveness require this approach. In Australia however pseudoscience flourishes as regulatory bodies fail to protect consumers from health care fraud and a … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The parlous state of strategies to protect consumers from health care fraud. Part 1 of 3

Credible scientific evidence of clinical effectiveness should underpin the delivery of health care. Satisfactory health outcomes and cost effectiveness require this approach. In Australia however pseudoscience flourishes as regulatory bodies fail to protect consumers from health care fraud and a … Continue reading

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TERRY LAIDLER. Reconstructing Juvenile Justice – a 7 point plan

A major public storm has erupted in Victoria about the government’s decision to locate a new juvenile justice detention centre at Werribee in the city’s south west. Locals see it as demeaning to their neighbourhood, but, in my view, it’s … Continue reading

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IAN WEBSTER. The need for more balanced media reporting of alcohol and illicit drug problems.

  To those who work in the health system, ‘ICE’ is but one problem among many and pales into the background of the prevailing problems of addiction and misuse of alcohol and drugs.  

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JOHN MENADUE. Medical specialists – high fees and poor accountability.

So much of the public attention is on care in general practice, but specialist healthcare has some very serious problems. The first is excessive remuneration of many specialists. In some cases it could only be described as greed. The second … Continue reading

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HAL SWERISSEN. Obesity: individual responsibility isn’t enough

When individual choices cost tax payers $5.2 billion in extra health and welfare services for obesity, the market has failed. When the market fails, it is legitimate for government to act.  

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PETER GIBILISCO. Where are the public intellectuals like Hugh Stretton.

“The worst kind of bad social science, Stretton argues, purports to select the things to be explained, and the ways of explaining them, without resort to values and valuation”  

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KAREN WILLIS AND SOPHIE LEWIS. Increased private health insurance premiums don’t mean increased value.

A topic of discussion at many barbecues this summer will inevitably be private health insurance. Is it worth it? Do we need it? Every year it gets more expensive. The average 4.8% increase in premiums just announced will have more … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. We are losing our sense of community

Markets are displacing society and community. Exclusion is winning out over inclusion. 

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THOMAS BABOR, DAVID JERNIGAN, CHRIS BROOKES. Alcohol marketing: the simple truth

According to the World Health Organization, there are 3.3 million deaths attributable to alcohol use worldwide each year. Alcohol marketing, promotion and sponsorship are widespread in most of the world today and marketers are moving increasingly to digital and social … Continue reading

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ALEX WODAK. Do large seizures of illicit drugs really make a difference?

Large seizures of illicit drugs always attract considerable publicity, and are no doubt very positive for the law enforcement agencies and politicians involved. But do they benefit the community?  

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RONALD MACKINNON. Do we as doctors always put our patients first?

After his retirement, Dr Chris McCaffrey requested that his gravestone be inscribed: ‘I was always on the side of the patient‘. 

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PHILIP CLARKE & PETER SIVEY. Why don’t we know how many people die in our hospitals?

Unfortunately no one yet has been able to overcome the federal/state divide in order to combine Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data held in Canberra with hospital and mortality data from each state. Making this type of data available would facilitate research … Continue reading

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IAN WEBSTER. A tribute to Anne Deveson – understanding the homeless mentally ill

Anne Deveson’ s media presence spearheaded the media’s involvement in public health and mental health. She contributed at so many levels – social commentaries and documentaries -which challenged our sensibilities.

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