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Child leukaemia progress shows way for brain cancer

David Ziegler, Associate Professor (conjoint), Children’s Cancer Institute
Brain cancers are the leading disease-related cause of death in Australian children. And survival rates have changed little in decades. As a paediatric oncologist, the worst conversation I can have with my patients or their parents is to tell them their tumour is incurable. My hope is that we can replicate for brain cancer what has been achieved for leukaemia.

NZ: reducing GP fees not so simple

Dr Bronwyn Howell*
In the recent New Zealand election campaign, one policy united parties from all parts of the political spectrum – their intention to reduce the fees patients pay for GP practice services. The only difference was by how much fees were promised to fall and which groups within the community would benefit from increased subsidies.

Hospital data untapped: patients should have better access

By Stephen Duckett, Director, Health Program, Grattan Institute, and Christine Jorm,
Associate professor, University of Sydney

Australia’s health system is an information industry – it is awash with data. Tragically, though, the data is not well collated, not put into the hands of the people responsible for acting on it. Nor is it shared with patients. Multiple “data sets” measure the safety of hospital care in Australia, but they are rarely linked, sometimes incomplete, and almost always delayed. We have lots of data about hospital safety, but it’s not used to make us safer when we have to go […]

Costly two-tier system, academic says

By Lesley Russell*

The government’s focus on private health insurance premiums ignores the real costs of a two-tiered system. Health minister Greg Hunt’s private health insurance announcement might have promised to make the system “simpler and more affordable” but it delivered more for private health insurers’ bottom lines than for Australians’ budgets. It also highlighted the contorted, confused and controversial logic that underpins the government’s push for taxpayers to finance a two-tiered healthcare system.

Health professionals warn Ministers on codeine safety

Australia’s health ministers must put people’s health first and resist pressure to water down codeine safety measures, an alliance of medical, pharmacy and consumer organisations has urged.

“We are concerned that some state and territory health ministers may bow to pressure from some pharmacy owners and seek to overturn in their states the decision supported by the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, to make codeine available only after consultation with their GP,” a joint statement from the RACP, painaustralia, RDAA, RACGP, CHF and […]

Trial practices modelling ‘to be opened up’

The Department of Health will open up the economic modelling of all general practices in the Health Care Home trials, including corporate participants. Assistant secretary Janet Quigley revealed the plan after being quizzed about the representative mix of the experiment to apply team-based, bundled-payment care systems for chronically ill patients.

AGPA to have presence at major GP conference

The Australian GP Alliance is having a stand at the General Practice Training and Education Conference 2017 (GPTEC17) in Sydney next week – Wednesday and Thursday, 16 – 17 August. The aim of the stand is build awareness of AGPA generally, its purpose and role, the success we had with the pathology-rent issue, other issues we are following/advocating/pushing – and, of course, to try and get new members.

Record bulk-billing, department says

More Australian patients are visiting their doctor without having to pay than ever before, with GP bulk billing rates for the March 2017 quarter increasing to 85.6% compared to 85.1% in the same quarter last year, according to the Department of Health.

This is the highest bulk billing rate for any March quarter since the inception of Medicare.

During July 2016 to March 2017, patients received 228.1 million bulk billed Medicare services – representing an additional 7.3 million fully subsidised services compared to the same period 12 months earlier.

Over this period Australians accessed 110.2 million GP services – […]