August, 2015

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

, Aug 17, 2015

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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

, Aug 06, 2015

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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

, Aug 06, 2015

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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 […]

ALP national conference: experts respond

, Jul 27, 2015

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

, Jul 16, 2015

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

, Jul 14, 2015

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 […]

The Health Wrap: Windfarm woes, the vaccination conversation, hope for medicinal cannabis, improving organ donation rates

, Jun 19, 2015

                  This fortnight’s Health Wrap has been prepared by my colleague Ellice Mol, Digital Communications Manager at The Sax Institute. Send your ideas for The Health Wrap to me on Twitter via @medicalmedia. By Ellice Mol  Huff and puff on windfarms Prime Minister Tony Abbott sparked renewed discussion […]
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#JustJustice: Campaign to save the NSW Custody Notification Service: ‘lifeline’ for Indigenous people in custody

, Jun 16, 2015

Many Croakey readers will know that we recently reached the target to fund the #JustJustice campaign at Croakey, to look at the solutions to over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We will be starting work soon on the project, which aims to give a priority platform to community voices and stories. We’re very […]

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

, Jun 01, 2015

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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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The Health Wrap: A budget health check; medical school war of words; eyes on Ebola; pharmacy deal dispensed; all things equal

, May 24, 2015

                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 A budget health check The Federal Budget’s impact on health […]
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Don’t believe the hype, teens are drinking less than they used to

, May 22, 2015

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 […]

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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Seeing stars: time to cut through the breakfast ‘cereal spin’, plus the launch of #ChoosingWisely

, Apr 29, 2015

Today saw the launch of the #ChoosingWisely campaign in Australia which aims to encourage conversations between health professionals and patients about tests, treatments and procedures that may provide little or no value, and which may cause harm. See the series of Croakey posts on the initiative, some tweets from the launch at the bottom of […]

Six challenges facing Australia’s medical research sector

, Apr 17, 2015

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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 […]

The debate we’re yet to have about private health insurance

, Apr 02, 2015

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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 […]

Private health insurance ‘carrot and stick’ reforms have failed – here’s why

, Apr 01, 2015

Anne-marie Boxall writes: If your workplace is anything like mine, this week’s private health insurance premium increases might prompt conversations that go something like this: Can you believe our private health insurance costs $421 a month – and we are all really healthy! Some people baulk at the cost of private insurance – especially the […]

The real health issues facing NSW, without the spin

, Mar 25, 2015

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Andrew Wilson writes: What happens when you bring a state health minister face-to-face with her two main challengers, fronting a roomful of health experts, without any TV cameras or dictaphones to leap on any “gaffes” or stumbles? What you can get is a genuinely informative debate, largely free of three-second soundbites. I saw this late […]
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A Twitter tribute as @malcolmfraser12 falls silent: Vale Malcolm Fraser

, Mar 20, 2015

*Updated 22 March with additional responses and reflections Much is being written and broadcast about the life of former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser after his death earlier today – which came as a shock for many, despite his advancing age, given how energetic and engaged he remained to the end in public life. This […]

BMJ publishes ‘clusterbomb’ of evidence on benefits of tobacco plain packaging, but fight with companies ‘far from over’

, Mar 19, 2015

The British Medical Journal today published the findings of a series of studies in a special Tobacco Control supplement showing that Australia’s plain packaging laws are delivering on their promise. Cancer Council Victoria’s Professor Melanie Wakefield, whose team led the evaluation, said research shows plain packaging reduced positive perceptions of cigarette packs among teenagers and […]

Time for policy rethink as frequent GP attenders account for 41% of costs

, Mar 19, 2015

Stephen Duckett writes: The Commonwealth government’s big idea for primary health care in the past year was to charge everyone who visits the GP a A$7 co-payment. The idea had many problems – it could have led to a blowout in emergency department demand; it was inequitable; and it may not have worked anyway. It has […]