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MELISSA SWEET | January 18, 2015 | HEALTH REGULATION | 4 |

Concern over Medicare changes that will restrict patients’ access to Aboriginal Health Workers

While the Federal Government’s determination to introduce a copayment for general practice consultations has been dominating headlines, a recent change to the Medicare Benefits Schedule is causing great concern for services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Louise Lyons, Acting CEO of  the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), says the change undermines the [...]

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MELISSA SWEET | January 18, 2015 | COCHRANE COLLABORATION | 4 |

Professor Peter Gøtzsche to deliver a powerful critique of psychiatry

No doubt there will be plenty of debate generated by a series of lectures in Australia next month by Danish physician Professor Peter Gøtzsche, managing director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre based at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen (details here). In a preview below, Professor Gøtzsche and two Australian colleagues, psychiatrists Professor Jon Jureidini and Dr Peter Parry, argue [...]

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JENNIFER DOGGETT | January 16, 2015 | PUBLIC HEALTH | 1 |

#illridewithyou: more than just a hashtag

          When people around the world responded to the recent tragic attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by using the Twitter hashtag #jesuischarlie it became impossible to deny the potential of social media to harness and galvanize public opinion on current events.   This followed on from Australia’s experience only a month or so earlier when the #illridewithyou hashtag was used in [...]

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JENNIFER DOGGETT | January 15, 2015 | CO-PAYMENTS | 1 |

New paper offers alternatives to co-payment and rebate cuts

The announcement by Health Minister Sussan Ley that she has abandoned the planned Medicare rebate cut, flagged by her predecessor Peter Dutton, and is going to “pause, listen and consult” with the health sector and cross-benchers makes both political and policy sense.  The rebate cut was unlikely to pass the Senate and had been widely [...]

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FRONJACKSONWEBB | January 15, 2015 | ALCOHOL | 2 |

Should scientists work with industry on alcohol policy?

Kypros Kypri writes: It’s undeniable that there’s an irreconcilable conflict of interest in the alcohol industry being involved in developing health policy. And by participating in meetings involving industry representatives, scientists risk giving credibility to a fundamentally flawed process that’s unlikely to produce sound policy.

Let me explain why this is with examples of two such meetings I have [...]

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JENNIFER DOGGETT | January 14, 2015 | HEALTH REFORM | |

What does 2015 have in store for the health system?

As more of us head home from holidays and start back at work for the year, it is timely to turn our thoughts towards the health policy landscape for 2015 and to share our own individual commitments to improve health care within our spheres of influence.  As you can see from the following piece, when [...]

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JENNIFER DOGGETT | January 13, 2015 | DENTAL CARE | 47 |

Water fluoridation: why is it still being debated?

For most Australians, the public controversy over fluoridating their water supply is a distant memory, if they remember it at all, but there are still parts of Australia where this demonstrably safe and effective health measure is strongly resisted. It’s a classic case of emotion and scaremongering winning out over evidence-based studies.  In the following piece, dentist and educator Michael Foley outlines the public health argument for fluoridation and calls on the scientific and health care communities to combat mis-information and anti-scientific arguments against this practice. 

The not-completely-in-jest term ‘crazification factor’ was coined when the wildly eccentric Alan Keyes was surprisingly well supported in a 2004 US Senate campaign against then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama.  It refers to the percentage of the population with a tenuous grasp on rational thought and an eagerness to embrace the conspiracy theory du jour.

Yes, we live in a wonderful world where the gullible can freely believe that vaccinations and ‘chemtrails’ are killing us.  Lots of people believe in fake moon landings, alien abductions, and homeopathy too.  But while many conspiracy theories are harmless nonsense, promotion of others can impact adversely on public health.  One of the longest running relates to the supposed dangers of water fluoridation, wonderfully satirised in the 1964 movie Dr Strangelove as an ‘…international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.’  Amazingly, this belief lives on, despite fluoridation safely reducing dental caries (tooth decay) around the world for 70 years, and being labelled by the US-based Centers for Disease Control as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. 

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JENNIFER DOGGETT | January 12, 2015 | DENTAL CARE | |

The “Inverse Care Rule” still rules in Dentistry in Australia

In the second of two articles on dental education contributed to Croakey, leading Australian dental academics look at the “Inverse Care Rule” and how it applies to dentistry.  The first article in the series on dental education priorities and equity in dental care can be read here.

***

Professors Estie Kruger and Marc Tennant write:

The “Inverse Care Rule” still rules in Dentistry in Australia

The definition of the inverse care law was coined in the early 1970′s [1].  The law “The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served” defined what has been observed for many years.  Today, even after the clarity of its definition, it remains an all-to-often seen occurrence in modern health care.

Modern dentistry is no exception, in fact, in many developed economies, it could be argued that it’s an extreme example of the rule.  In Australian dentistry, all the ingredients for extreme inverse care law have been present for decades.

Oral health care is predominately provided on a fee-for-service basis in the private sector.  In fact, more than 80% of care is provided in this way.  Dentists are, on the whole, small business owners, partners off small businesses, or other types of “employees” of businesses, with the total sector income estimated at near $8billion per annum.

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MELISSA SWEET | January 11, 2015 | CANCER | |

Paying tribute to Dr Nigel Gray, a pioneer of global tobacco control

Tributes to the late Dr Nigel Gray AO are being inscribed here on the Cancer Council Victoria website, and the World Health Organization has also published a warm acknowledgement of one of the “pioneers and cutting edge thinkers” of its global tobacco control network. In the article below, Rob Moodie, Professor of Public Health at the Melbourne [...]

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MARIE MCINERNEY | January 11, 2015 | MEDIA-RELATED ISSUES | |

Portraying suicide: research on UK arts coverage & shifts in stage and screen practice in Australia

Australian research has found an increase in the quality of suicide reporting (and the total number of reports) following the release of the Mindframe guidelines for journalists. There have been similar moves in the UK, but an interesting research paper recently – Suicide reporting within British newspapers’ arts coverage: content analysis of adherence to media guidelines [...]

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