Category Archives: Health

ALEX WODAK. Why is the drug policy debate in Australia stuck?

Drug policy in Australia has been debated for decades but doesn’t seem to be getting close to resolution. However some progress is being made. Examples include the Victorian government’s decision in 2017 to establish a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Melbourne … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Home (not so) sweet home

Medical homes, where you as a patient are known personally by name and history and where a team of health professionals, generally led by a general practitioner, arrange and provide your care, have not taken off as expected. Why? 

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PETER MARTIN. It’s time for sweetest tax of them all.

Never before has a tax been such an instant success. I am talking about what happened in Britain last Friday. That’s when new so-called sugar tax sprung into life, with much of its work already done. The whole idea was … Continue reading

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LEANNE WELLS. Private health care in Australia: health policy’s wicked problem.

The anguish expressed by many of the 1,200 respondents to the Consumers Health Forum’s Out of Pocket Pain survey highlights the widening gulf between the cost of modern medical care and the struggle of many Australians to pay for that … Continue reading

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RUTH ARMSTRONG*. Pathways to justice pass through health: six ways the health sector can help reduce the harms of over-incarceration.

A recent post at Croakey highlighted the major findings of the Australian Law Reform Commission’ s Pathways to Justice report on the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The report was tabled in parliament last week and is … Continue reading

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TIM WOODRUFF Who Cares About My Toothless Patients?

The inequities in the status of oral health in Australia are appalling because of a lack of political will and a resistance to recognising that all Australians deserve to receive adequate dental care. This resistance is rooted in the elitism … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Morality And Health.

Writing last Thursday in the Conversation about the South African cricket scandal, Michelle Grattan pointed to politicians “who would prefer to overlook awkward parallels with conduct in politics – for instance the endemic tampering with the ball of truth.” 

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BOB DOUGLAS. Changing drug law and practice to help rather than harm.

Last week Australia21, (www.australia21.org.au ), hosted a summit of experts on drug treatment, drug law and the social impact of drug use in Australia.  The signatories included a former Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, a former Vice-Chancellor of the … Continue reading

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UTA MIHM. How to avoid excessive surgery out-of-pocket costs

Tips on negotiating with your doctor and shopping around for a surgeon who doesn’t charge excessively.

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JOHN DWYER. Poor oral health in Australia; a costly chronic problem getting worse and which current strategies have no chance of resolving.

Australia’s health “system”, such as it is has two “Achilles’ Heels”. The left one is our lack of emphasis on the prevention of disease while the right one concerns our incompetence in integrating health services in a patient-focused way. Both … Continue reading

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MATTHEW FISHER. Malcolm Turnbull in denial on climate change: The Uses and Abuses of Complex Causation.

It is commonplace for political and corporate leaders to obfuscate public debate on issues they want to avoid by applying simplistic, linear concepts of cause and effect to events that have multiple causes. In the case of climate change, one … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health | 4 Comments

DR WARWICK YONGE. Corporate medicine: Illness or cure?

Australia has a unique mix of private, public, for profit and NFP stakeholders in its health system. This structure derives significantly from Constitutional issues. Corporate medicine now occupies a significant part of the health landscape. Is this a cause for … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Our cricketers The Ugly Australians. A REPOST

Repost from 01/04/2015. Things have only got worse with the cheating in South Africa.. We need a clean out not just of players but coaching staff,Cricket Australia and the media . They are very good cricketers, but the behaviour of … Continue reading

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RANJANA SRIVASTAVA From a frontline clinician: here’s what’s wrong with private health insurance

My patients often pay thousands of dollars annually for their cover, but it’s not cost-effective in many cases

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JAMES FERNYHOUGH. Half of Australians with private health insurance say it isn’t worth it

Half of Australians with private health insurance say it is no longer worth the expense, a new survey commissioned by comparison website iSelect has found.

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JENNIFER DOGGETT. 8th National Health Reform Summit to focus on equity, efficiency and sustainability.

On Tuesday, March 27th the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA) is hosting the 8th National Health Reform Summit in Canberra.  This biennial event brings together organisations, experts and individuals working to improve Australia’s health system.  This year’s Summit has a … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS and IAN KERRIDGE The Royal Australasian College Of Physicians Examination Debacle Leaves Serious Unanswered Questions.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), comprising more than 16,000 medical specialists, advises governments on matters of health and medical care, and has a respected voice in the community. However, its raison d’être is to train specialist physicians. 8,000 … Continue reading

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CAROL NIKAKIS and REBECCA BUNN. The impact of failed drug policies on our criminal justice system cannot be ignored

There is now indisputable evidence that the criminalisation of drug use causes significant harm to people who use drugs, their families and the wider community. Even the United Nations has conceded that the ‘War on Drugs’ has failed to curb … Continue reading

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MICK PALMER. Drugs policy – there has to be a better way.

Australia 21, a respected, independent, public policy, research and ‘think tank’ focused, organisation   is hosting its fourth roundtable forum on the issue of Australia’s illicit drugs policy, on 21 March 2018 at Victoria’s Parliament House.

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Is gambling reform possible?

Gambling reform has been in the headlines lately – perhaps more than at any time since the Wilkie-Gillard agreement was shot down by ClubsNSW between 2010 and 2012.

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LAURIE PATTON. It’s not about the size of the population, it’s about where we’re all going to live

This week the ABC’s Four Corners and Q and A programs are focussing attention on an important issue facing 21st Century Australia – the size of the population. As is commonly the case with this subject, the debate is creating … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health | 1 Comment

LESLEY RUSSELL. Ending the medical / dental divide (redux).

In a piece published in the Medical Journal of Australia in December 2014, I called for an end to the artificial medical/dental divide. At the same time, writing in The Conversation, I outlined six first steps towards the better integration … Continue reading

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NIALL McLAREN. ECT (electroconvulsive treatment) as high cost medicine in Australia.

Recent articles by John Menadue on health costs in Australia have emphasised the high fees charged by private procedural medical specialists. In a paper to be published next month (McLaren, N., “ECT in Context,” Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, April … Continue reading

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CATHERINE KING AND ANDREW LEIGH. It’s no wonder we’re questioning the value of private health care.

Australians are questioning the cost and value of private health more than ever.

Posted in Health, Politics | 3 Comments

STEPHEN LEEDER. Two roads converge in a yellow wood

Two roads converge in a yellow wood when it comes to preventing obesity – blaming the victim (eat less sugar, exercise more, you lazy sloth) and thinking that if we focus on children all will be well.  Follow either and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The AMA did its best to scuttle Medicare over 40 years ago.

 This week I posted an article ‘Health Ministers may be in office but they are seldom in  power’  I pointed out how doggedly and often quite selfishly the provider institution-  mainly the AMA, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Medicines Australia … Continue reading

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Michael Thorn. Will a sugar tax drive you to drink?

Imposing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has become the go-to policy for health and medical advocates wanting an effective population-wide intervention to deal with the world’s growing problem of obesity and poor diet.

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JOHN MENADUE Australians prefer government funding for dental care rather than private health insurance

Polling released by Essential Report on February 27 2018 revealed that 48% of Australians favoured abolishing the taxpayer subsidy to Private Health Insurance (PHI) and using the savings to establish a Medicare Dental Scheme. 32% opposed such a change and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Health Ministers may be in office but they are seldom in power

The major barrier to health reform is the power of providers. A succession of Australian health ministers Liberal and Labor for three decades have failed in any serious health reform.  It is a very sorry story. Any Minister, Liberal or … Continue reading

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LESLEY RUSSELL. Ageless At Altitude

Residents of Colorado’s most picturesque mountain towns in Summit, Pitkin and Eagle counties live longer than anyone else in the United States. Recent data collections, research and comparisons with the so-called Blue Zones – those few places where people live … Continue reading

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