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Category Archives: Health
The Royal Commission announced this week will have a full agenda. If it can help us get aged care back on track we will all be the richer.
“Each Australian story I’ve heard is etched on my heart, permanently shifting my views and perspectives on leadership. I pray that you also have the humility to silence the chatter in your own minds and be inspired by the people … Continue reading
BIANCA BRIJNATH. Improving dementia awareness in Australia’s multicultural communities can mean better care for all.
Sheila holds 10 teaspoons in her hands and every time the cooker whistles, she puts one down. After 10 whistles, she switches the cooker off. The rice is done. She takes down two pots and prepares one of the five … Continue reading
FRAN BAUM and TOBY FREEMAN. Time for the reform of primary health care in Australia: a ten-point plan (Croakey, 12.09.18)
12 September)marks 40 years since the World Health Organization member countries gathered for the International Conference on Primary Health Care in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and signed off on the declaration of Alma-Ata.
JOHN MENADUE. Beyond the political rhetoric,hard hats and akubras what do our political ‘leaders’ really believe.
Power does reveal substance. It tells us quite quickly about the values that drive political parties and political leaders. Scare tactics are always a sure sign that the values and policy cupboard is bare.
Over 40 years ago, I was fortunate to do some of my paediatric training with Berry Brazelton. He wasn’t famous then, but there was something about him that set him apart from the purely organic focus of most of the … Continue reading
MARK DANTA, CHUN MA, RICHARD DAY, DAVID MA. Dealing with the spiraling price of medicines: how “low” can it go?
New medications are increasingly expensive. In Australia, where the Pharmaceutical Beneﬁts Scheme (PBS) covers the vast majority of prescription medications, the spiraling cost of medicines has a signiﬁcant impact on the sustainability of our health system. In countries where patients … Continue reading
The 10th September is recognised as World Suicide Prevention Day. “The burden of suicide does not weigh solely on the health sector; it has multiple impacts on many sectors and on society as a whole. Thus, to start a successful … Continue reading
In 1974, the Whitlam Government decided to exclude dental care from Medicare for two reasons. The first was cost. The second was political in that Gough Whitlam felt that combatting the doctors would be hard enough without having to combat … Continue reading
Few challenges are a greater threat to the health of Australians than obesity. Weight gain has now become the norm—the biological and social path of least resistance. Within a decade and without significant government intervention, more Australians are expected to … Continue reading
Neal Blewett AC delivered the Hayden Oration at Ipswich on 15 August 2018. Neal Blewett as Minister for Health from 1983 under the Hawke government, and later Minister for Community Services and Health, implemented the Medicare universal health scheme, disability … Continue reading
Every day we hear stories about innovation in health care – new drugs, new machines and new tests that will help us live longer. We have got used to thinking that any improvements in health care will come at a … Continue reading
The noisy public debate about patients’ out-of-pocket costs and their consequences reaches a crescendo when it comes to oral health and dental care.
LESLEY BARCLAY, HANNAH DAHLEN, NIGEL LEE. Australia is breaking records for intervention in childbirth, and the costs are many.
Variation in rates of obstetric intervention, including caesarean section, were recently cited by the Grattan Institute’s Dr Stephen Duckett when suggesting that a new Code of Conduct for doctors should include a focus on over-intervention. In the article below, Emeritus … Continue reading
JOHN MENADUE. The failure of the National Party on rural poverty and rural health. Repost from 23 February 2018
Country electorates have the most disadvantaged people, the poorest health and inferior health services. But the National Party does very little about it. Does it care? The National Party record on climate change,NBN and irrigation is appalling.I have written previously on … Continue reading
Treating personal drug use as an administrative offence along the lines of a parking violation has worked well for Portugal. It has not only been a public health and public policy success but also a political one.
Australia’s drug policy regime is ruining people’s lives and causing more misery and cost than it saves. A new approach is needed, one that is evidence based and recognises the personal, social and economic benefits of policies other than mere … Continue reading
Current drug policy is based on the unrealistic belief that we can stamp out possession and use of illicit drugs, much like prohibition of alcohol in 1920s America. It also fails to account for the harm caused by our strictly … Continue reading
This is mostly a personal story, about my son Damien, who died from heroin use in 1997, at the age of 23. I feel sure that his death could have been avoided if we had at the time an approach … Continue reading
Every day people are imprisoned for drug-related crimes in line with ‘tough on drugs’ policies. It’s time to face the futility and unsustainability of this approach to drug use.
Australian prisons are severely overcrowded. Much crime is drug related. Some 75% of prisoners have a substance abuse problem. The majority of prisoners are not rehabilitated by their prison experience as evidenced by high recidivism rates, particularly for First Nation … Continue reading
We are finally seeing in Australia the first signs of a recognition by government of the important public health benefits of sanctioned pill testing programs. Law enforcement alone will never overcome the problems that can arise from drug use. Much … Continue reading
In the final analysis, drug policy based on prohibition fails to meet the test of fairness and justice in the lives of those most directly affected.
A careful assessment of our policy towards currently illegal drugs and our struggle with the trade in these drugs brings forth a somber but frank conclusion about the war on drugs. It should stop.
Policy on illicit drugs should be developed on the basis that supply can never be cut off. Production is like a balloon: squeeze it in one place, but it will only bulge out elsewhere. This applies all the way to … Continue reading
The failure and futility of drug prohibition has been well accepted among political elites in Australia for a long time. It is time we debated the merits of regulation, combined with targeted health and social intervention, rather than blunt prohibition … Continue reading
BILL BUSH. Drug Reform series- High drug incarceration – harms manifest and benefits hard to perceive
At 160 prisoners per 100,000 of population, Australia’s prison rate in 2016 was more than 3 times the rate of the 1940s and 1950s. The steep increase correlates with an increasingly repressive drug policy and the closure of mental health … Continue reading
MICK PALMER. Drug Reform series-The Blind Eye of History: from policing alcohol prohibition to policing drug prohibition
Australia has some unhappy laws which result in people using illicit drugs being severely punished. When thinking about this, one should recall laws used half a century ago to criminalise Aboriginal people who drank alcohol.
“What should I tell people about your son’s death”, asked our Minister. He was there to discuss arrangements for our son’s funeral. In my overwhelming grief it hadn’t crossed my mind, but now it immediately struck me. Our son had … Continue reading
Policies around drug decriminalisation should be evidence based, recognise the need for a nuanced rather than fundamentalist approach and take account of the advances made in the field of harm reduction, not just law enforcement. Reform measures should be premised … Continue reading