August, 2015

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‘Drink Coke, Exercise More?’: where conflict of interest is a Real Thing

, Aug 14, 2015

The New York Times prompted much public health concern this week with a report in its Well section that Coca-Cola “is backing a new ‘science-based’ solution to the obesity crisis: to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.” It said: “The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists […]
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Governments shouldn’t be able to censor research results they don’t like

, Jul 21, 2015

Kypros Kypri writes: Government departments and agencies routinely commission research to help them understand and respond to health, social and other problems. We expect such research to be impartial and unbiased. But governments impose legal conditions on such research that can subvert […]
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As the pictures show, the Border Force Act has opened a new health front for the Government

, Jul 13, 2015

Since its first Budget, the Abbott Government has been on a collision course with much of the health sector over its health policies. But the Australian Border Force Act, whose assault on ethical health and medical practice has previously been covered at Croakey, is creating another health front for the Government. A series of headline-generating […]
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Working with asylum seekers in immigration detention: clinical and medical ethics update

, Jul 05, 2015

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A chilly protest in Melbourne is the latest in a series of actions by the medical profession against attempts by the Government to prevent doctors working in detention centres from talking publicly about their experiences. This follows a national ‘call-out’ organised by the Australian Medical Students Association which involved medical students around the country calling […]
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Coke really is part of the solution! And not just for obesity…

, Jul 03, 2015

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Outsourcing our foreign aid to the Coca Cola corporation sounds like something The Chaser would come up with but in fact it’s a proposal being seriously floated by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.  In the following piece Dr Melissa Stoneham discusses this idea and explains why Coca Cola’s impact on health in developing countries is no […]
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Australia’s health bodies unite to protest “appalling gag” on doctors, nurses working in detention centres

, Jun 20, 2015

Australia’s peak health professional bodies have voiced collective concern about the “appalling secrecy provisions” in the Australian Border Force Act 2015 which threaten jail for up to two years for health and medical professionals who disclose information about the conditions in immigration Detention Centres. In a joint statement released on World Refugee Day, the peak bodies […]
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‘Friends of the MJA’ call for reversal of AMPCo decisions to sack editor, outsource to Elsevier

, May 22, 2015

A Friends of the MJA group has been set up to protest the recent decision by the Australian Medical Publishing Company (AMPCo) to sack the Medical Journal of Australia’s editor-in-chief Professor Stephen Leeder and outsource production and sub-editing to global publishing giant Elsevier. The group’s Steering Committee is calling for: a reversal of the decision […]
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A call for women MPs to come together, across party lines, on abortion reform in NSW, Qld

, May 22, 2015

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Significant reform in 2008 in Victoria of the state’s abortion law was achieved – say Professors Heather Douglas and Caroline de Costa – because women MPs overwhelmingly voted, across party lines, to support the Bill. In the article below, they say New South Wales women MPs should now get behind Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi and […]
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Right to die campaigner Rodney Syme accuses RACP of “stifling debate” on euthanasia

, May 20, 2015

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Dying with Dignity campaigner Dr Rodney Syme has accused the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) of “cowardly” and “insulting” behaviour and of trying to stifle debate, after withdrawing his invitation to speak at its upcoming annual conference. “The outcome is an act of academic censorship of the worst kind – they did not know […]

Outsourcing puts Medical Journal of Australia at risk: former editor Stephen Leeder

, May 06, 2015

There’s been shock and dismay in the Australian health and medical community over the news that leading medical academic Stephen Leeder was sacked as editor-in-chief of the Medical Journal of Australia over  his opposition to the outsourcing of sub-editing and production work to global publisher Elsevier. See Croakey’s coverage of the news, which prompted the […]
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Update: Medical Journal of Australia editorial advisors resign over Leeder sacking, Elsevier outsourcing

, May 02, 2015

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*Updated 3 May with response from AMA President Brian Owler and Open Letter from AMPCo to the medical community and on 4 May to clarify number of editorial committee signatories. Nearly all of the editorial advisors to the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) have resigned en masse in protest at the sacking of editor-in-chief Professor […]

Why Senator Madigan needs to know about non-invasive prenatal testing

, May 01, 2015

A private member’s bill sponsored by Independent Victorian Senator John Madigan seeks to remove Medicare funding for abortions “procured on the basis of gender selection”. Debate on the bill is due to resume this month. Before it does, writes Caroline de Costa in the post below, Senator Madigan – and all of us – should […]
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A fair shot: MSF launches global #AskPharma campaign for fairer vaccine prices

, Apr 28, 2015

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) last week launched a global campaign —‘A fair shot’. It’s calling on pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer to slash the price of the pneumococcal vaccine in developing countries to US$5 per child, so more children can be protected from this childhood killer, and to disclose what they currently […]

How GPs balance the dilemmas of prostate testing: study results

, Apr 01, 2015

The evidence suggest the harms of population screening for prostate cancer outweigh the benefits, so why does it remain so popular? It’s a complex issue, particularly for GPs who are on the frontline on decision-making, says Kristen Pickles from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. Pickles led a recent study of 32 […]
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The Health Wrap: NSW election, new smoking findings, and other health policy news

, Mar 03, 2015

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By Frances Gilham NSW election news With a NSW state election coming up in March, discussion of state health policy has started to creep into the news. SMH journalist Amy Corderoy reported on a public health debate held between NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, Labor’s opposition spokesman on health Walt Secord, and Greens’ spokesman John […]
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Doctors in distress: join the #dochealth conversation on Twitter

, Feb 14, 2015

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Enormous interest was generated by a recent Croakey article urging medicine to confront “the dark side” of its institutional culture in the wake of the recent deaths of four junior doctors. The article was by Dr Kimberley Ivory, Senior Lecturer, Population Medicine and Sub-Dean of Student Support in the Sydney Medical School at the University […]

Tired, sluggish, bloated? Time to detox? “Don’t buy the hype”

, Jan 07, 2015

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Thanks to Loretta Marron OAM, CEO of Friends of Science in Medicine for this very timely post. *** Loretta Marron writes: Feeling tired, sluggish and bloated? Recycling bin rattling with empty bottles & cans? Belt a bit tight? What about  that New Year’s Resolution to live healthier this year? This might be the perfect time […]

Why aren’t paramedics registered?

, Nov 07, 2014

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Ruth Townsend writes in this post below that if  you completed a first aid course last weekend then you could call yourself a paramedic. She asks how the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council can justify its decision last month to defer the inclusion of paramedics on the Australian Health Practitioner register, a move that has […]

Simulation and scepticism: reflections on road blocks to integrated health care

, Nov 06, 2014

Croakey recently published this report on an Integrated Care Simulation run by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) in Canberra that invited around 85 health leaders to come together to road test three major potential health policy initiatives: the introduction of bundled care packages for people with chronic diseases a role for private health […]
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Airborne? Memories of another virus and panic’s rise and fall

, Nov 03, 2014

Thanks to Hilda Bastian and Scientific American for permission to republish this very timely article that looks back on a Medical Tribunal review sparked by by an HIV AIDS in Sydney in the 1990s and considers the role of trust and transparency when panic is in the air. *** Hilda Bastian writes: She started by […]