Category Archives: Health

JENNIFER DOGGETT. 8th National Health Reform Summit to focus on equity, efficiency and sustainability.

On Tuesday, March 27th the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA) is hosting the 8th National Health Reform Summit in Canberra.  This biennial event brings together organisations, experts and individuals working to improve Australia’s health system.  This year’s Summit has a … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS and IAN KERRIDGE The Royal Australasian College Of Physicians Examination Debacle Leaves Serious Unanswered Questions.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), comprising more than 16,000 medical specialists, advises governments on matters of health and medical care, and has a respected voice in the community. However, its raison d’être is to train specialist physicians. 8,000 … Continue reading

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CAROL NIKAKIS and REBECCA BUNN. The impact of failed drug policies on our criminal justice system cannot be ignored

There is now indisputable evidence that the criminalisation of drug use causes significant harm to people who use drugs, their families and the wider community. Even the United Nations has conceded that the ‘War on Drugs’ has failed to curb … Continue reading

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MICK PALMER. Drugs policy – there has to be a better way.

Australia 21, a respected, independent, public policy, research and ‘think tank’ focused, organisation   is hosting its fourth roundtable forum on the issue of Australia’s illicit drugs policy, on 21 March 2018 at Victoria’s Parliament House.

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Is gambling reform possible?

Gambling reform has been in the headlines lately – perhaps more than at any time since the Wilkie-Gillard agreement was shot down by ClubsNSW between 2010 and 2012.

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LAURIE PATTON. It’s not about the size of the population, it’s about where we’re all going to live

This week the ABC’s Four Corners and Q and A programs are focussing attention on an important issue facing 21st Century Australia – the size of the population. As is commonly the case with this subject, the debate is creating … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health | 1 Comment

LESLEY RUSSELL. Ending the medical / dental divide (redux).

In a piece published in the Medical Journal of Australia in December 2014, I called for an end to the artificial medical/dental divide. At the same time, writing in The Conversation, I outlined six first steps towards the better integration … Continue reading

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NIALL McLAREN. ECT (electroconvulsive treatment) as high cost medicine in Australia.

Recent articles by John Menadue on health costs in Australia have emphasised the high fees charged by private procedural medical specialists. In a paper to be published next month (McLaren, N., “ECT in Context,” Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, April … Continue reading

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CATHERINE KING AND ANDREW LEIGH. It’s no wonder we’re questioning the value of private health care.

Australians are questioning the cost and value of private health more than ever.

Posted in Health, Politics | 3 Comments

STEPHEN LEEDER. Two roads converge in a yellow wood

Two roads converge in a yellow wood when it comes to preventing obesity – blaming the victim (eat less sugar, exercise more, you lazy sloth) and thinking that if we focus on children all will be well.  Follow either and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The AMA did its best to scuttle Medicare over 40 years ago.

 This week I posted an article ‘Health Ministers may be in office but they are seldom in  power’  I pointed out how doggedly and often quite selfishly the provider institution-  mainly the AMA, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Medicines Australia … Continue reading

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Michael Thorn. Will a sugar tax drive you to drink?

Imposing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has become the go-to policy for health and medical advocates wanting an effective population-wide intervention to deal with the world’s growing problem of obesity and poor diet.

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JOHN MENADUE Australians prefer government funding for dental care rather than private health insurance

Polling released by Essential Report on February 27 2018 revealed that 48% of Australians favoured abolishing the taxpayer subsidy to Private Health Insurance (PHI) and using the savings to establish a Medicare Dental Scheme. 32% opposed such a change and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Health Ministers may be in office but they are seldom in power

The major barrier to health reform is the power of providers. A succession of Australian health ministers Liberal and Labor for three decades have failed in any serious health reform.  It is a very sorry story. Any Minister, Liberal or … Continue reading

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LESLEY RUSSELL. Ageless At Altitude

Residents of Colorado’s most picturesque mountain towns in Summit, Pitkin and Eagle counties live longer than anyone else in the United States. Recent data collections, research and comparisons with the so-called Blue Zones – those few places where people live … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The curse of political mediocrity; The informed, bold, courageous policies that Australia needs in health are nowhere to be seen. (Part 3 of 3)

This “fair go mate” country of ours is wealthy but in reality ever less egalitarian. Increasing Inequity is palpable and most notable in the problems we have with housing, education and health. Health outcomes for Individuals are increasingly dependent on … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The failure of the National Party and Barnaby Joyce on rural poverty and rural health.

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? Yesterday I referred to the disproportionate political influence of the National Party despite its declining … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The curse of political mediocrity; The informed, bold, courageous policies that Australia needs in health are nowhere to be seen. (Part 2 of 3)

This “fair go mate” country of ours is wealthy but in reality ever less egalitarian. Increasing Inequity is palpable and most notable in the problems we have with housing, education and health. Health outcomes for Individuals are increasingly dependent on … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

JOHN WATKINS. An ode to nurses: hospital stay highlights immense compassion and skill

In hospital this week after surgery, I learnt some things I already half knew. That I don’t cope well with pain, that time slows down in the middle of the night, (I swear I saw the hands of the clock … Continue reading

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KEN HILLMAN. Patient safety, a new perspective.

Patient safety in acute hospitals is often described in limited terms such as infection rates and pressure areas without considering that many people gain little or no benefit from being admitted there in the first place. We also ignore the … Continue reading

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MICHAEL GRACEY. Closing the health gap – ten years on.

Warning signs were emerging many decades before, but by the early part of this century it was obvious that the health of indigenous Australians was much worse than that of other citizens. Indicators such as high infant mortality, widespread malnutrition … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Private health insurance is a con job

You won’t believe it, but my birthday was on Tuesday and I got a present from the federal government. I also got a card from my state member, sending his “very best wishes” for reaching such an “important milestone” in … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The curse of political mediocrity; the informed, bold, courageous policies that Australia needs in health are nowhere to be seen (Part 1 of 3).

This “fair go mate” country of ours is wealthy but in reality ever less egalitarian. Increasing Inequity is palpable and most notable in the problems we have with housing, education and health. Health outcomes for Individuals are increasingly dependent on … Continue reading

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RAY MOYNIHAN. Beware the hype on genomics and precision medicine.

Last week’s landmark report on personalised medicine plays down potential for harm and oversells uncertain benefits.

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STEPHEN DUCKETT, CHRISTINE JORM AND GREG MORAN. Hospitals are risky places – but some are better than others

One in every nine patients who go into hospital in Australia suffers a complication: when something preventable goes wrong with their care. They might develop an infection from a hygiene breach, for instance, or be given the wrong dose or … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Has Labor lost its nerve on private health insurance?

In his Press Club address last week Bill Shorten made some unflattering remarks about private health insurance. But every indication is that an incoming Labor government will maintain, or perhaps even strengthen, support for private health insurance. An opportunity to … Continue reading

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ROBERT WILLIAMSON. New medicine will transform Australia’s health system.

Medicine is changing.  In Australia a baby born today will live, on average, for 90 years or more.  The common infectious killer-diseases have been eliminated.  The treatment of cancer is becoming a success story, far different from the horror with … Continue reading

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JOHN THOMPSON. Private health insurers discriminate against country people

Private health insurers have asked the Commonwealth Government to prevent patients paying for public hospital services through their private health insurance (PHI).  This would be grossly unfair for those people in non-metropolitan Australia who are enticed into PHI through the … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Tasmanian Labor takes on the gambling industry

The Tasmanian election on March 3rd will provide a watershed moment in public health not just in Tasmania but for Australia as well.

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EMMA ALBERICI. Sugar tax and the power of big business: How influence trumps evidence in politics

Australia markets itself as a liberal democracy committed to the principles of equality and fairness.  But in practice, those with clout or money or both can influence public policy in a way other members of the public cannot.

Posted in Economy, Health | 3 Comments