Category Archives: Health

JOHN DWYER Chiropractic manipulation of infant’s spine

Recently social media and then the mainstream media exploded with outrage following the publication of a photo showing a Melbourne chiropractor “treating” a newborn baby by suspending the child in midair, holding its foot high as it thrashed around in … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Australian Pharmacy Guild continues to dud taxpayers and patients.

In last night’s budget the Government had been proposing to deliver cheaper medicines by doubling the number of medications that could be dispensed from a single prescription  for conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Taxpayers and patients would … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Labor’s proposed Australian Health Reform Commission is a welcome start.

For many years several of us in Pearls and Irritations have argued that we need an independent and professional health commission to lead an informed public discussion on health issues and recommend to the Commonwealth Government and COAG on how … Continue reading

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TIM WOODRUFF. Out of Pocket Costs: Who is missing out on health care?

One of my patients has epilepsy. She sees a neurologist for that and he charges $200 out of pocket per visit. He has controlled her epilepsy very well. She is on a disability support pension. She believes she will get … Continue reading

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ALEXANDER HOLDEN and HEIKO SPALLEK. Laying Out the Road Map for an Australian Universal Dental Scheme

Can you imagine an Australia where visiting a dentist was as simple as visiting a GP? The Grattan Institute has released a report: Filling the dental gap: A universal dental scheme for Australia, that does just this. The report begins … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. Health Reform’s “Holy Grail”;Medicare must fund the “team Medicine” approach to Primary Care.

  Surely my disgust at the Coalition’s decision to spend more than a billion dollars re-opening the Christmas Island detention centre to make sure that none of those nasty murderers, rapists and paedophiles ever get to real Australia for any … Continue reading

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HEIKO SPALLEK and ALEXANDER HOLDEN. Oral health – an essential component of a healthy life.

“Oral health is fundamental to overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. It is an important part of general health, affecting not only the individual, but also the broader health system and economy.” So says the 2017 Performance Monitoring Baseline … Continue reading

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JENNIFER DOGGETT and LESLEY RUSSELL. Tackling Out-of-Pocket Costs

  At the end of February the Federal Government released the report, twelve months in the making, from the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-Pocket Costs and outlined a national strategy to tackle excessive out-of-pocket costs. It is our opinion that … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Will teenagers’ involvement in the climate change debate be a ‘game changer’?

March 15 has been flagged as a coordinated day of school strikes by teenagers around the world. Let us hope that they will start a new movement to bring home the urgency for real action around the world, but particularly … Continue reading

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LESLEY RUSSELL. Can Primary Health Networks (PHNs) Drive Needed Primary Care Reforms?

LESLEY RUSSELL. Can Primary Health Networks (PHNs) Drive Needed Primary Care Reforms? A strong primary care system is essential to the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system and for improvements in health outcomes. However, the structure and funding … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Hospitals should be the last resort, not the first resort.

Politicians, the media and the public focus on iconic hospitals rather than health.  We have too many hospitals and too many hospital beds.  We need to focus health improvement not in hospitals, but in primary care in the community – … Continue reading

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IAN WEBSTER. Of minds imprisoned.

Beyond the image of the vagabond and the impaired bodies and minds of homeless people there are untapped veins of intellect and potential; this is where our focus should be. “The homeless are our most important dreamers, prophets and poets … Continue reading

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KERRY BREEN, M TAFFY JONES. Mandatory reporting: Health ministers still have their heads in the sand.

There are a number of unsatisfactory elements of the so-called “national” scheme for regulating doctors (and all health professionals) but the most problematic from day one in 2010 has been the requirement for mandatory reporting of ill doctors by their … Continue reading

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JILL MARGO. Why Denmark is reducing hospitals while we are building more. (AFR 19.2.2019)

“About 15 years ago, we realised the solution to these problems is not more hospitals but to think about how we can deliver healthcare in a different way,” says Hans Erik Henriksen, CEO of Healthcare DENMARK. “We aim to deliver … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS. Will Labor Really Be Brave On Health Reform – Response To National Press Club Address By Catherine King.

The major challenges that beset our health system are well articulated with the obvious commitment to strengthening Medicare, making it fairer and tackling some of the major funding deficits introduced over the past decade such as the Medicare rebate freeze. … Continue reading

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TIM WOODRUFF. Health Reform From Labor: Does the Policy Match the Vision?

ALP health spokesperson Catherine King addressed the National Press Club this week to expound Labor’s vision of health care changes if it wins office. Perhaps the highlight of the address was a restatement of Labor’s vision  ‘of a truly universal … Continue reading

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KERRY GOULSTON. Healthcare Reform at last?

Will meaningful and significant reform of the Australian health care system occur at last? Will there be bipartisan political support for the initiatives proposed by Labor? 2019 could be the year that delivers.

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JOHN DWYER. Labor unveils the health care reform initiatives to be pursued if elected.

Shadow health minister, Catherine King, in an address to the National Press Club, has detailed the major health initiatives Labor would embrace if elected in May. Her plans indicate that she has heard and accepted many of the priorities for … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN, TIM COSTELLO, ROBERT MANNE, JOHN MENADUE. Boat Turnbacks and Medical Transfers.

It’s time to stop the shrillness.  The boats have stopped.  Both sides of politics are now committed to turnbacks.  Both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will do whatever it takes to stop asylum seekers setting sail from Indonesia.  If asylum … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Refugees, Immigration | 18 Comments

MARIE McINERNEY. Labor would set up Aust Health Reform Commission if it wins 2019 poll (Croakey).

Labor’s announcement on Wednesday that it would establish a permanent Australian Health Reform Commission has been welcomed though all eyes will of course be on the detail and the funding commitments to emerge in the leadup to the next federal … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE . Heath ministers may be in office but they are seldom in power

The Rudd/Gillard governments muddled through on health policy. There was very little  to show in the way of useful reform,with one exception. That was plain packaging of cigarettes.    The record is not encouraging, and will not be  better in future … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. Health care reforms and the Federal election: A guide for voters

Our health care system provides, at least for metropolitan based Australians, world class management of medical emergencies. A stent in a coronary artery in the middle of the night can save a heart in danger and our dedicated stroke units … Continue reading

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LIZ HANNA. A warming Australia spells serious trouble for human health

Climate change. Global warming. A hotter planet. A hotter Australia. Yet few are asking the difficult question of ‘how hot is too hot?’. We have so many elephants in the room at present that ‘the room’ is getting pretty crowded, … Continue reading

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HUGH MACKAY. A Culture of Compassion (Edited extract of Australia Day Address)

We humans are, by nature, social beings who need each other. We need the sense of belonging to communities that sustain, nurture, support and protect us and even give us our sense of personal identity – you can’t make sense … Continue reading

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TIM WOODRUFF. What’s wrong with Labor’s Private Healthcare Discussion Paper? (Croakey)

In 2017 I referred a patient for relatively simple orthopaedic surgery on her wrist to enable her to get back to working in a café.  She had been advised that she was a category 3 patient and should be operated … Continue reading

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MARK PROOST. Millions of Americans flood into Mexico for health care – the human caravan you haven’t heard about. (Truthout 23.1.2019)

The Trump administration is trying to convey panic that there’s an immediate crisis on the southern border, pointing to caravans of desperate people who have traveled thousands of miles. It’s true that Latin and Central Americans are coming to the … Continue reading

Posted in Health, International Affairs | 1 Comment

LESLEY RUSSELL. The recommendations from the MBS Review for reforms in primary care: who will ensure these proposals are properly considered?

Hidden in a pack of draft reports from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce that were released by the Morrison Government without fanfare just before Christmas are a series of recommendations that, if effectively funded and implemented, could begin … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Private Health Insurance is a con job. Is Labor being conned again?

 The ALP does not seem to understand its own creation- Medicare- and that the $11 b taxpayer subsidy to PHI is like a Damocles sword that  hangs over  Medicare.  Ian McAuley in  Medicare under threat from Labor  points out that … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Medicare under threat – from Labor!

Last year Labor announced that if elected it would refer health funding, particularly private health insurance, to the Productivity Commission, it being 50 years since the value of PHI was last examined by government. It appears, however, that Labor is … Continue reading

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‘CHRIS HARRINGTON. Care? The scourge of the ward station’

The professionalism in hospitals may have contributed greatly to better data collection and use of technology, but after a visit to a hospice and an ICU unit recently, I wondered what has happened to care. Our system is failing us.

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