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The Health Wrap:  The Vegemite news spread; On your bike (sans helmet); a chronic problem; funding medical research and teens' troubling mental health.

The Health Wrap: The Vegemite news spread; On your bike (sans helmet); a chronic problem; funding medical research and teens' troubling mental health.

                  This week’s Health Wrap is compiled by my colleague Megan Howe, the Sax Institute’s Publications Manager. Enjoy the Wrap and tweet us via @medicalmedia or @meghowe68 if you have any ideas for future issues. By Megan Howe The Vegemite news spread The use and abuse of […]

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

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 […]

Winter hospital bed crisis – could we be doing better?

Winter hospital bed crisis – could we be doing better?

Most non-urgent elective surgery in Adelaide’s public hospitals was cancelled last week and some patients transferred to neighbouring regional hospitals after SA Health faced its busiest day (so far) this winter. In the post below, Professor Jon Karnon asks what could have and should be done better to both prevent and manage demand, with the […]

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

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 […]

Will #COAG calls for new focus on primary care, keeping people out of hospital mean reform goes beyond GST, Medicare levy hikes?

Will #COAG calls for new focus on primary care, keeping people out of hospital mean reform goes beyond GST, Medicare levy hikes?

‘Frankly, if we can have a conversation rather than a scare campaign, our country will be so much better off,’ said Prime Minister Tony Abbott as the 40th Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting wound up on Thursday. Chance would be a fine thing perhaps – particularly with lifting the rate of the GST and […]

Private health & private hospitals: how does the new landscape look for patients & equity?

Private health & private hospitals: how does the new landscape look for patients & equity?

(Updated 23 July to add Medibank response). Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler today issued a stern warning over “more aggressive” negotiations emerging between private health insurers and funds in Australia, demonstrated by the dispute on rates and quality of services between Calvary Hospital Group and health insurer Medibank Private. Owler was particularly concerned over […]

"Suddenly, nothing happened!" Health Minister Sussan Ley leaves mental health reform "in limbo"

Health Minister Sussan Ley yesterday announced the Federal Government’s next step in taking the National Mental Health Commission’s landmark Review “from paper to policy” – with the first meeting held of an expert reference group “tasked with guiding the implementation of its recommendations”. She said the 13-person Expert Reference Group (see the full list in […]

National Ice Taskforce stakeholders seek comprehensive action

National Ice Taskforce stakeholders seek comprehensive action

UnitingCare ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis participated in the recent Prevention and Treatment roundtable sessions of the National Ice Taskforce hearings in Sydney. With Taskforce public consultations having now closed, the following provides a summary of his notes on the key issues raised by roundtable participants. Overall, the roundtable participants stressed the need for comprehensive, long-term […]

Australia's ice 'epidemic': 'service cuts, scare campaigns, stigma not the answer to complex issue'

Australia's ice 'epidemic': 'service cuts, scare campaigns, stigma not the answer to complex issue'

The Federal Coalition last week announced it was launching a new advertising campaign aimed at educating families and the broader community about the dangers of the drug ice, or crystal methamphetamine. Health Minister Sussan Ley said it would assist the National Ice Taskforce, announced last month by the Prime Minister. See its key points in […]

Health funding: time for the states to impose a

Health funding: time for the states to impose a "hospital" levy on property?

The Federal Government appears to have gotten away, politically at least, with the massive cut it made in last year’s Budget to funding promised to the states for hospitals, says the Grattan Institute’s John Daley. For all the protests, he says most of the states will respond as they usually do, “with piecemeal increases to […]