March, 2015

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2015 #ClosetheGap: focus on remote communities, funding cuts, & improving the Indigenous ‘Heart Health Story’

, Mar 19, 2015

*Post updated with new statement from Close the Gap campaign Close The Gap Campaign Co-Chairs Kirstie Parker and Mick Gooda have called on the West Australian and Federal government to properly assess the health and wellbeing impacts of closing remote communities in WA, saying decisions that are being made without consultation are “premature and damaging”. […]
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Clinical variation – how does Australia fare?

, Oct 23, 2014

Many thanks to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care for these insights from the recently published OECD study on geographic variations in health care. In May 2014, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) released a discussion paper on how provision of common hospital procedures varies across […]

As the costs of skin cancer treatment soar, it may be time for another instalment of Sid the Seagull

, Dec 13, 2012

Is it time to resurrect Sid the Seagull and skin cancer prevention campaigns? That’s the suggestion from Dr Melissa Stoneham, in her latest report from the JournalWatch service of The Public Health Advocacy Institute WA. *** Slip Slop Slap…do we need this iconic campaign to re-emerge? Melissa Stoneham writes: Remember Sid the Seagull? The life-size sun safe seagull who […]

Do hospital clinicians have too much power?

, Nov 16, 2012

The distribution of power within the health system has a profound impact upon how the funding cake is divided and to what effect. In the article below, health economist Professor Gavin Mooney suggests that hospital clinicians – and particularly some types of hospital clinicians – wield too much power. He asks: how can we get a […]
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Social media: an opportunity for health professionals to contribute to wider social debates (and to #destroythejoint)

, Sep 29, 2012

Health professionals have much to gain – and to contribute – from engaging with online discussions and sharing of news and information. In the article below, Victorian surgeon Dr Jill Tomlinson shares some of her online experiences, including her recent involvement in the #destroythejoint Twitter campaign against misogyny. *** My social media journey Jill Tomlinson […]

A call for private obstetricians to publish their intervention rates

, Sep 24, 2012

What impact would it have if private obstetricians were required to publish their caesarean section rates and other indicators of their professional practice? It’s an intervention worth testing, suggest the authors of the article below, Hannah Dahlen, Associate Professor of Midwifery at the University of Western Sydney, and Bashi Hazard, a solicitor and mother of […]

What does it take to get our media to cover health issues affecting low and middle income countries?

, Jul 26, 2012

The separation of Bangladeshi conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna in Melbourne in November 2009 was a huge news story. It accounts for a staggering 90% of health-related stories mentioning Bangladesh that are held in the University of Sydney’s health-related television news and current affairs database, which goes back over seven years. But who were the […]

ShareLife responds: organ donation rates should be much higher

, Jan 23, 2012

In the article below, Sara Irvine from ShareLife Australia responds to a Croakey article about organ transplant policy by Anne Cahill Lambert that was published last month. *** We should be doing better on organ donation rates Sara Irvine writes: The Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King recently announced: “In 2011, 1001 Australians […]

The argument for a federal takeover of health in Tasmania

, Nov 24, 2011

The likelihood of a “federal takeover” of health (as mooted by Kevin Rudd in 2007) looks ever more remote. However, there seems to be a growing chorus of support for this in Tasmania. Earlier this month, the independent MP Andrew Wilkie joined the Tasmanian Premier’s calls for a federal takeover of public hospitals in that […]

How can we ensure a sustainable health system? Plus recent articles on surgery waiting lists, e-health and gambling reform

, Nov 21, 2011

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Library’s FlagPost blog has published a number of articles recently that may be of interest to Croakey readers – on health expenditure, elective surgery waiting times, e-health and gambling reforms. More info below… What is the most effective and fairest way of keeping a lid on health expenditure? Anne-marie Boxall writes: The […]
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Physician assistants win support of rural/remote doctors – and a report from the coalface

, Nov 15, 2011

Regular readers will know of Croakey’s interest in the potential for physician assistants (PAs) to help improve access to health care in rural, remote and other under-served areas. The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) recently endorsed a policy statement giving strong support to the potential of PAs “to extend the reach of […]

The Tax Forum: so much for “health in all policies”

, Oct 07, 2011

How different might the Tax Forum have been if a “health in all policies” framework had been one of its driving forces? The tax system is not only important for specific health issues, with tobacco and alcohol being the obvious examples, but also for how it can help shape the social and economic factors that […]

A stack of reading: the latest health and medical news from The Conversation

, Aug 29, 2011

Thanks to Reema Rattan, for providing this update of the latest health and medical reading at The Conversation. The stories below cover medical mishaps, men’s health, breast cancer screening, alcohol labelling, media reporting of suicide, hospital care of patients with mental health problems, puberty, the NT Intervention, bariatric surgery and type 2 diabetes, and the […]

The latest analysis of health news – we hear too much about early research

, Aug 10, 2011

This post continues a series of regular updates from the team at Media Doctor Australia about their latest analyses of media coverage of new drugs and medical treatments. Amanda Wilson writes: An ongoing issue/problem with Media Doctor Australia is the lag-time between stories appearing in the news and our reviews of them being posted on […]

More reflections on health reform: so much more is needed

, Jul 29, 2011

In the previous post, the University of Queensland’s Professor Philip Davies asked whether we’d been having “cappuccino-style” health reform – an approach focused on the milky froth of health sector institutions while leaving the underlying, thick, rich espresso of health care delivery largely untouched. Robert Wells, Director of the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute […]
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Surgery waiting times are not a useful indicator of hospital performance

, Apr 29, 2011

The performance of hospitals is again in the news, thanks to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s release today of Australian Hospital Statistics 2009-2010. You can download the full report here, and the Institute’s own summary is reproduced at the bottom of this post. It seems, on an admittedly quick reading, that the bulk […]

The Conversation: a new opportunity for health discussions

, Mar 24, 2011

Croakey contributors and readers – you now have another place to find in-depth discussion of public interest issues, including health and medical matters. Meet The Conversation, which is produced by a non profit company based in Melbourne and backed by the university and research sector (its partners are listed here). It is self-described as “an […]
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Is this ethical? Selling front row seats at brain surgery?

, Jan 27, 2011

At a cancer fundraising function in Sydney late last year, amongst the offerings at an auction was the chance to attend an operation by a prominent neurosurgeon. Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney by day and singer in a band called the Original Faux Pas by night, happened to be […]

What should we make of the MyHospitals website?

, Dec 16, 2010

In health policy, it is rare to find an initiative that is universally blessed. This is partly because health policy is frequently about finding the “least worst option”, there being few measures that don’t have some downside. It also reflects the “strife of interests” that so often drown out reasonable intentions. So it’s not surprising […]

What do Australians REALLY think of our health system? (not quite what the Minister told you)

, Dec 07, 2010

When research investigating what Australians think of our health system was released recently, Minister Nicola Roxon was quick to trumpet the findings as “evidence that the Government’s health reform agenda has widespread support”. There was no mention in her release though about the significant concerns many people have about access to and affordability of aged […]