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HEALTH REGULATION |

Private health & private hospitals: how does the new landscape look for patients & equity?

(Updated 23 July to add Medibank response). Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler today issued a stern warning over “more aggressive” negotiations emerging between private health insurers and funds in Australia, demonstrated by the dispute on rates and quality of services between Calvary Hospital Group and health insurer Medibank Private. Owler was particularly concerned over [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

Making the case for registration of naturopaths

Should naturopaths be registered? It’s a controversial debate that’s hit the headlines again recently, following the near-death of a baby in Sydney. Dr Jon Wardle, from the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney, who has been taking plenty of media calls on this question, argues below that [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

A call for clarity in policy around drugs known as “biosimilars”

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and the Therapeutic Goods Administration have been urged to clarify their policies around “biosimilars” – drugs which act in the same way as patented biological drugs, although they may not be exactly the same. Dr Ruth Lopert, who was the TGA’s Principal Medical Adviser from 2008-2011 and Director of the [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

Prof Andrew Wilson announced as new Chair for Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)

(Note from Melissa Sweet on 24 May: See bottom of post for a comment by Professor Andrew Wilson on his appointment). Health Minister Sussan Ley today announced the appointment of Professor Andrew Wilson as the new Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), the independent expert body whose primary role is to recommend new [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

‘The Coal Face’: fateful decisions & more questions on the ongoing public health crisis of the Hazelwood coal mine fire

The Coal Face by Melbourne journalist and author Tom Doig is a compelling read about the 2104 Hazelwood coalmine fire, which began on 9 February 2014 and burned for 45 days, sending smoke and ash over the town of Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. The book is short and sharp, and details fateful decisions made [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

Lessons from a social media stoush

Many thanks to  Wendy Oakes, Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager, Heart Foundation NSW for this insight into using social media for public health advocacy. Wendy writes: Mentioning e-cigarettes on any public platform  can be a daunting experience. While social media is a potential tool for public health advocacy  the reality is that in the area [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

Vending machines – exercising your choice?

Many thanks to Dr Melissa Stoneham and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia for this latest instalment of Journal Watch. *** Melissa Stoneham writes: Vending machines – they are certainly versatile. You can get almost anything in them today. In Perth and Adelaide right now, 4 hot chip vending machines are being trialled. In [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

BMJ publishes ‘clusterbomb’ of evidence on benefits of tobacco plain packaging, but fight with companies ‘far from over’

The British Medical Journal today published the findings of a series of studies in a special Tobacco Control supplement showing that Australia’s plain packaging laws are delivering on their promise. Cancer Council Victoria’s Professor Melanie Wakefield, whose team led the evaluation, said research shows plain packaging reduced positive perceptions of cigarette packs among teenagers and [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

Your health in their hands: time for a zero tolerance approach to hospital hand-washing?

The latest statistics (see above, from Hand Hygiene Australia) show that doctors in Australian hospitals comply with hand washing requirements less than 70 per cent of the time. In the post below, ACT MP and former dentist Dr Chris Bourke asks whether or not it’s time we adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ approach on failure to [...]

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HEALTH REGULATION |

Health policy reform: principles for reform & how to get there

It’s hard to pick where health policy will go now under the Federal Government, with a new Minister and the likely shift (mark 3?) on a GP co-payment – if not because they accept the evidence against it but because of the politics. But there was an interesting intervention in the lead up to this [...]

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