tip off

MARIE MCINERNEY | December 15, 2014 | CANCER | 2 |

#MYEFO Budget update brings more cuts to foreign aid, health agencies

Australia’s leading international aid organisations have responded with dismay to another round of drastic cuts to foreign aid announced in the Federal Government’s Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which also contains news of more cuts to health agencies. Treasurer Joe Hockey said foreign aid had taken “by far” the biggest hit in the latest [...]

MARIE MCINERNEY | December 15, 2014 | AGED CARE | |

Federation reform: issues raised in the Health Issues Paper

The Federal Government last week released, with little fanfare, the Issues Paper on Health to inform the White Paper on the Reform of the Federation. See the media release from Prime Minister Tony Abbott and this snapshot of the “threshold questions” to be addressed. In response, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association today released a [...]


Peak medical groups vs individual advocates: who should GPs be listening to on the co-payment?

For a policy that ripped a significant chunk of funding out of general practice and, for many GPs, will mean more administrative hassles and possibly lower incomes, reaction to the Government’s copayment #2 policy from a number of stakeholder groups last week was extraordinarily mild. 

In fact, the initial response from the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) was tentatively supportive of the proposal – with a number of positive comments about the scheme and only one line on the $5 rebate cut.

“The RACGP is pleased the Government has listened to the profession and the community and compromised on its proposed $7 co-payment model.  We are disappointed the Government has proposed a $5 cut in Medicare rebates for standard GP consults.  The RACGP is pleased that the most vulnerable in the community are being protected and awaits further details on the proposed model.”


Solving Complex Problems: Adaptation vs Attribution

Systems thinking is increasingly being used to address complex public health problems, such as obesity and addiction, which do not easily fit within traditional, more linear approaches.  The applications of systems thinking to public health are the subject of a new open-access, quarterly, online journal published by the Sax Institute. Systems thinking in public health [...]


Review patient travel schemes and parking costs: Chronic Illness Alliance

Croakey contributors have provided a wealth of useful advice for the new Victorian Labor Government and its Health Minister Jill Hennessey.  Adding to this unofficial ‘incoming minister’s brief’ is the following piece from Dr Christine Walker, Executive Officer of the Chronic Illness Alliance (CIA).  Based on a recent survey conducted by the CIA, Dr Walker [...]

JENNIFER DOGGETT | December 10, 2014 | CO-PAYMENTS | 17 |

Plan B: the political appeal of a GP co-payment

It’s clear from the reaction to the Government’s ‘Plan B’ for the GP co-payment that most health groups and experts don’t think the proposal makes any policy sense.  Why, then, has the Government been so insistent on pursuing a co-payment for GP services in the face of ongoing opposition?  Why focus on general practice, a speciality that has become significantly more complex since the introduction of Medicare, when a number of other medical specialties have arguably become less demanding in terms of both time and skills, due to the introduction of new technologies? In the following piece, former political adviser (and former GP) Dr Ruth Kearon answers these questions and more in her analysis of the Government’s plan. She writes:

Simply put, the new plan is an immediate cut in the Medicare rebate and an ongoing effective cut over time as indexation is paused until July 2018.

Contrary to common perception, Medicare is a universal insurance scheme that provides a patient rebate, not a doctor payment, for medical services.

Until now, this rebate has been universal, not defined by your income, where you live or whether you see a fully trained GP or a trainee.

JENNIFER DOGGETT | December 09, 2014 | CO-PAYMENTS | 3 |

Government’s ‘Plan B’ for copayments widely criticised

*Updated to include responses from the RDAA, NACCHO and the AMA*         The Government’s announcement of its ‘Plan B’ for Medicare has generated a wave of responses from stakeholders.  The plan, in essence, is to reduce Medicare rebates for Level B consultations for non-concessional patients but has been dressed up as a [...]

JENNIFER DOGGETT | December 09, 2014 | HOSPITALS | 2 |

“Hello, my name is…..”, the simple phrase that can transform health care

As a patient, Kate Granger knows what it is like to be treated by doctors she doesn’t know and who don’t introduce themselves to her before delivering care.  As a doctor, she also knows how the simple things – like introductions – can easily get lost in the fast-paced, high-tech and high pressure world of modern health care systems.   

These twin perspectives motivated her to start the social media campaign #hellomynameis which is influencing health care providers worldwide to introduce themselves to patients as the first step in delivering care.  “It seems like such a simple thing,” Granger says “but knowing the name of the doctor who is treating you can transform the experience of care, I firmly believe it is not just about knowing someone’s name, but it runs much deeper. It is about making a human connection, beginning a therapeutic relationship and building trust. In my mind it is the first rung on the ladder to providing compassionate care.” 

The following piece by Anne Cahill Lambert, AM reflects on her experiences in trying to obtain the names of her health care providers in hospital and the need for this campaign in the Australian health care system. She writes:  

 The ‘Hello my name is’ campaign being run by Dr Kate Granger in the United Kingdom will hopefully hit Australia soon. 

By way of background, Kate is a youngish medical registrar who has cancer.  Her prognosis is not good.  Her blog muses about why all health care professionals don’t introduce themselves when approaching patients.  After all, she claims, it is drummed into everyone during training.



Indigenous Australians can take pride in disability policy gains

John Gilroy and Nicholas Biddle write: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), December 3, is important for commemorating the successes and efforts of the disability rights movement. The theme this year is Sustainable Development.

Along with other Indigenous peoples worldwide, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have much to celebrate. At the same time, the Australian disability services sector is undergoing its most [...]

MELISSA SWEET | December 07, 2014 | CO-PAYMENTS | |

On the many ways that federal policies are hitting Tasmanians’ health

Two recent Senate committee reports have raised concerns that federal policies are exacerbating health inequities (an interim report from the Senate Select Committee on Health, and another report, Bridging our growing divide: inequality in Australia). Such concerns are particularly acute in Tasmania, as was made clear in submissions to the Senate Select Committee on Health. [...]


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