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Australians are undergoing unnecessary surgery – here’s what we can do about it

Peter Breadon and Stephen Duckett from the Grattan Institute write: For decades, clinicians and researchers have been concerned about patients getting treatments, including operations, that don’t work. As well as failing to treat the original health problem, ineffective care exposes patients to complications and side-effects and waste [...]

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Hospital patients are more likely to die at weekends but seven-day rosters are no panacea

Peter Sivey writes: If you are admitted to a hospital on the weekend, you have a higher chance of dying than if you are admitted during the week. This is known as the “weekend effect”. Evidence from the United Kingdom suggests an 11-16% increased risk of death for patients [...]

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How the battle over biologics helped stall the Trans Pacific Partnership

Deborah Gleeson and Ruth Lopert write: Talks that were meant to finalise the Trans Pacific Partnership wound up in Hawaii late last week without reaching a final deal. Over the last five years, 12 countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – have been [...]

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ALP national conference: experts respond

Bill Shorten survived an internal push for a future Labor government to ban turning back asylum seeker boats at the ALP’s three-day national conference, which concluded in Melbourne on Sunday. The Conversation’s experts were watching the conference with an eye across key policy areas, including health. Health: Lesley Russell, Adjunct Associate Professor, Menzies Centre for [...]

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Forget health takeovers, here’s how to fix hospital funding and chronic disease care

Stephen Duckett and Peter Breadon write: After a shaky start, the Commonwealth Government is finally starting a debate about how Australia’s future health system should look. Next week, the prime minister and premiers will meet to discuss some big reform options, such as a radical centralisation or devolution of health care. It looks like Treasurer [...]

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FOOD|

A year on, Australia’s health star food-rating system is showing cracks

Mark Lawrence and Christina Pollard write: The government has started the second phase of its awareness campaign for Australia’s year-old health star food-rating system. The A$2.1 million campaign is aimed at educating grocery buyers about how to shop for healthy food and encouraging the food industry to adopt [...]

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We can cut Indigenous smoking and save lives – here’s how

David Thomas writes: More and more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers are quitting and fewer young people are taking up smoking. In ten years, the proportion of former smokers who have successfully quit has jumped from 24% to 37%. In recent years, Indigenous families, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and governments have increased attention [...]

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Don’t believe the hype, teens are drinking less than they used to

Michael Livingston and Amy Pennay write: Ask your friends and colleagues about young Australians and alcohol and I bet they’ll say something about a generation out of control or a binge-drinking epidemic. The media regularly brings the worst outcomes of young people’s drinking to our attention and points to a problematic drinking culture supposedly unique to [...]

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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 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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