tip off

JENNIFER DOGGETT | August 26, 2014 | FEDERAL BUDGET 2014-15 | 4 |

Is it time to revisit pharmacy ownership?

With the Government desperately trying to revive a co-payment policy that has been declared DOA by Senate balance-of-power holder Clive Palmer, attention is turning to other areas of health financing that could deliver Budget savings.  A senior health policy analyst and regular Croakey contributor who writes under the name of “William Foggin” has provided the following analysis of the current regulatory environment for pharmacy. He proposes a number of reform measures, in particular lifting current ownership restrictions, that would both save health dollars and leave the door wide open for major chain stores and corporations to enter the previously closed pharmacy market.

“William Foggin” writes:

As the Government struggles to find savings to replace those that may be lost in the Senate, it could usefully return to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.  The budget included significant savings to the budget from increasing co-payments under the scheme: a simple cost transfer from taxpayers generally to sick people.  But it did nothing to address the cost of the scheme as a whole.

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FRONJACKSONWEBB | August 25, 2014 | INDIGENOUS HEALTH | |

Indigenous smoking program cuts risk widening the gap

Kristin Carson writes: Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and early death among Indigenous Australians, with smoking responsible for about one in every five deaths. Among Indigenous Australians, tobacco use contributes to 80% of all lung cancer deaths, 37% of heart disease, 9% of all strokes and 5% of low birth-weight babies. And in central Australia, rates of pneumonia among children are reported to be the highest in the world, reaching [...]

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JENNIFER DOGGETT | August 25, 2014 | CHRONIC DISEASES | 2 |

Taking care of each other online

One of the benefits of the Internet is its use as a tool to create communities among people who previously would have been isolated from each other.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the growth of online forums for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.  These are playing an increasingly important role in providing information, support and assistance to people with serious and chronic illnesses but they remain an under-researched area of the health system.   Susan Stewart Loane, a PhD Researcher at Macquarie University, is addressing this gap through her research and provides the following report of her findings. She writes:

No one had heard from Tracey[*] for a while, which was a concern because Tracey had Motor Neuron Disease (MND).  Members of Tracey’s social circle tried valiantly to contact her with no success.  Finally, someone decided to drive 250km to her house and check that she was ok.  She was.  She’d had a fall and was too dizzy to use the computer.  The friend got the message out and everyone was relieved.  But a week later Tracey still hadn’t got in touch and they started to worry again.  Someone who lived closer (but who barely knew Tracey) offered to drive to her house and check on her.  Again Tracey was found to be ok, but still recovering.

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MELISSA SWEET | August 24, 2014 | @WEPUBLICHEALTH | 1 |

Is fear of social media stopping health services from listening to patients’ stories?

Michael Greco, a founding Director and the Chief Executive of Patient Opinion Australia, is tweeting for @WePublicHealth this week – so Croakey readers will have the chance to question him directly about the service on Twitter. To help kickstart the discussions, he answered a few questions below. It would be interesting to know why more health [...]

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MARIE MCINERNEY | August 24, 2014 | CHRONIC DISEASES | |

And still the evidence and argument mount against a $7 GP co-payment.

The Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee on Friday published its findings on out of pocket costs in Australian healthcare, saying that imposing additional costs would make it harder for people, particularly in vulnerable groups to access primary care, which would not only be at the cost of their own health but to the whole system, [...]

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MARIE MCINERNEY | August 22, 2014 | CHILD HEALTH | |

The uphill trek on obesity: convincing people that Coke is not part of the health “solution”

Why are consumers willing to overlook the contribution that Coca-Cola’s products are having in driving Australia’s poor health?  And why do organisations with public health objectives buy into the message that it is somehow part of the health solution when it comes to addressing obesity? Croakey has run a number of articles on the issue [...]

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FRANCES GILHAM | August 22, 2014 | ALCOHOL | |

The Health Wrap: the Ebola crisis deepens; poverty; rethinking health

By Frances Gilham The Ebola crisis deepens A dangerous new chapter has begun in the deadly Ebola epidemic, as crowds of people clashed with law enforcers trying to maintain quarantine zones to halt the disease spread in Liberia, the New York Times reported. Without a cure or vaccine for the disease, the World Health Organization [...]

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MELISSA SWEET | August 22, 2014 | PUBLIC HEALTH | 3 |

In which Rob Oakeshott responds to a Wonky Health review of his book

In his recent Wonky Health column, Dr Tim Senior reviewed a new book by former MP Rob Oakeshott, The Independent Member for Lyne. The review noted that “health as a topic is notable for its absence”, and also suggested the book would have benefited from a deeper analysis of the root causes of inequalities and [...]

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MELISSA SWEET | August 21, 2014 | INDIGENOUS HEALTH | |

The Koori Woman: You really need to know this history, Dude

Kelly Briggs writes: I woke up in a bad mood. Am pretty sure I’m not the only one who this happens to occasionally. Even the Dalai Llama probably has his off days. This was not the best day for me to wake up in a less than gleeful mood, because my first port of call [...]

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MARIE MCINERNEY | August 21, 2014 | ALLIED HEALTH CARE | 4 |

It’s about the wellbeing of all of us, not just doctors: concerns re AMA copayment deal

(This post has been updated to link to include the AMA’s co-payment proposal and some Twitter reaction) “When it comes to health costs, no decision about us should be taken without us.” The national peak community and health consumer groups – the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Consumers Health Forum, and Public Health Association [...]

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