Category Archives: Health

GRAEME STEWART. Growing inequality in access to health care is curable.

It has been sad to observe the growth in out-of-pocket expenses for patients seeking expert medical consultation and the resultant rising inequality in access to timely care and in health outcomes (“Specialists charging extreme fees”, March 6. These twin inequities … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. The extraordinary determination of China to have the world embrace its Traditional Medicine. (Part one of three)

The child was six years old. His parents were struggling to manage his Diabetes. He had Type 1 diabetes, the most serious form of the disease caused by his own immune system destroying his pancreas. As a result he could … Continue reading

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CATHERINE STUBBERFIELD. UNHCR urges Australia to evacuate off-shore facilities as health situation deteriorates.

The following is a transcript of the remarks by Spokesperson for the UNHCR Regional Representation in Canberra, Catherine Stubberfield  at today’s press briefing(12 October 2018) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. 

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JOHN MENADUE Vale John Deeble – an architect of Medicare

Every Australian owes a great debt to John Deeble who died this week in Canberra, aged 87.  Together with Dick Scotton he provided Gough Whitlam from 1967 onwards with the essential advice on how to establish a compulsory public insurance … Continue reading

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JOHN INVERARITY. Do we have a higher priority as a society than the raising our children: We must end alcohol advertising in sport.

As responsible adults we need to do all we can to ensure that our young are provided with the best opportunities to live purposeful, fulfilling lives and are encouraged to partake of these opportunities. We need to strive to provide them … Continue reading

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LESLEY RUSSELL.Tackling the wicked problems in health – by building bridges with social services.

None of the “wicked’ problems in health – obesity, mental illness and suicide, chronic illness, ageing – will be solved with just hospitals, doctors, nurses and prescription pads. They all require resources beyond those provided by the health care system. … Continue reading

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JONATHAN PAGE. How Buddhism helped this cancer doctor care for his dying patients (ABC Science interview)

Medical oncologist Jonathan Page says being more in the moment helps him to be a better doctor.  His relationships with his patients were once characterised by “coldness…. and a lack of grieving”.  But a mental health crisis that led him … Continue reading

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JENNIFER DOGGETT. AIHW Health Expenditure Australia 2016-17 report – five key lessons.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)  has released its Health expenditure Australia 2016–17 report. This report contains detailed data on expenditure throughout our health system and is a valuable resource for governments, policy makers and health stakeholders.

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JERRY ROBERTS. Is Ken Wyatt’s position tenable?.

Ken Wyatt is one of the few high-class acts in a low-class environment known as the Australian Federal Parliament. If he is driven out of the place it will be the Parliament’s loss, not Ken’s

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JOHN GOSS. Health care is getting cheaper (unless you need a specialist, or a dentist) (the Conversation, 28.09.18)

Public and private health expenditure amounted to 10.3% of gross domestic product in 2016-17, almost exactly the same percentage as in 2015-16, according to figures released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

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BRIONY DOW. Do we need a Royal Commission into Aged Care?

With the recent announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care, debate is raging in the aged care sector and beyond as to whether it is really needed. 

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ISABELLE LANE. Six big players dominate Australia’s scandal-hit aged care sector (The New Daily, 19.09.18)

Aged care providers are expected to rake in $1.7 billion worth of profits in 2018-19, but reports of poor living conditions in nursing homes have raised concerns that the industry is putting profit before people.

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Employing less qualified people in aged care

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.

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NICOLE GIBSON. A Letter to Canberra from a young Australian.

“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

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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

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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.

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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.

Posted in Economy, Health, Politics | 3 Comments

KIM OATES. Viewpoint: “Always say something positive about the child” (Berry Brazelton 1918-2018)

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

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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

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IAN WEBSTER: Preventing suicide

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

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JOHN MENADUE. Why dental care was excluded from Medicare and why it should now be included

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

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ALESSANDRO DEMAIO. An evidence-based five-point plan to tackle child obesity in Australia.

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

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NEAL BLEWETT. Establishing, defending and improving Medicare.

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

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STEPHEN DUCKETT. A hospital win-win: improving care and saving money.

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

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LESLEY RUSSELL. The dental divide – and the decay of public dental services (ABC News, 21.08.18)

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.

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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

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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

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ALEX WODAK. Drug Reform Series- Portugal’s successful drug law reform in 2001

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.

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CHRIS PUPLICK. Drug Reform series -The evidence for drug policy reform is clear.

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

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PETER BAUME. Drug Reform series- Drug policy: None so blind

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

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