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THE CONVERSATION |

Six challenges facing Australia’s medical research sector

This is an edited version of a speech about the challenges facing medical research given by outgoing National Health and Medicine Research Council (NHMRC) CEO Warwick Anderson at the National Press Club on Wednesday: It’s been a great privilege to have been the head of NHMRC for going on a decade. That’s four governments, six [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

The debate we’re yet to have about private health insurance

In the final instalment of The Conversation’s series Private health insurance in Australia, Lesley Russell, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the University of Sydney, asks whether Australians need private health insurance, and what a two-tiered system means for quality, access and equity: The six previous papers in this series highlight [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

Private health insurance ‘carrot and stick’ reforms have failed – here’s why

Anne-marie Boxall writes: If your workplace is anything like mine, this week’s private health insurance premium increases might prompt conversations that go something like this: Can you believe our private health insurance costs $421 a month – and we are all really healthy! Some people baulk at the cost of private insurance – especially the [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

The real health issues facing NSW, without the spin

Andrew Wilson writes: What happens when you bring a state health minister face-to-face with her two main challengers, fronting a roomful of health experts, without any TV cameras or dictaphones to leap on any “gaffes” or stumbles? What you can get is a genuinely informative debate, largely free of three-second soundbites. I saw this late [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

A Twitter tribute as @malcolmfraser12 falls silent: Vale Malcolm Fraser

*Updated 22 March with additional responses and reflections Much is being written and broadcast about the life of former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser after his death earlier today – which came as a shock for many, despite his advancing age, given how energetic and engaged he remained to the end in public life. This [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

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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THE CONVERSATION |

Time for policy rethink as frequent GP attenders account for 41% of costs

Stephen Duckett writes: The Commonwealth government’s big idea for primary health care in the past year was to charge everyone who visits the GP a A$7 co-payment. The idea had many problems – it could have led to a blowout in emergency department demand; it was inequitable; and it may not have worked anyway. It has [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

FactCheck: can you change a violent drinking culture by changing how people drink?

Peter Miller writes: “You can’t change a culture by simply changing drinking. It is, of course, justifiable to explore the effectiveness of small measures such as advertising restrictions, increases or decreases in price, relaxation or restriction of hours, but such things tinker at the margins of culture and it is doubtful that they will alter [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

For real health reform, turn the spotlight on specialists’ fees

With thanks to The Conversation for allowing us to cross publish this piece by Lesley Russell. By Lesley Russell, University of Sydney The impact of specialist fees on government and patient budgets has received little reform attention. This is despite the government’s push for controls in health-care spending and growing evidence of the affordability problems faced [...]

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THE CONVERSATION |

Queensland health has a better outlook, so who deserves credit?

Andrew Wilson writes: It’s a sign of how much has changed in a few years that health has barely featured in the Queensland election campaign, despite being one of the issues that voters still say they care most about. That doesn’t mean that everything has gone smoothly in Queensland health over the past three years. But [...]

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