Groups reject secret co-payment talks when it’s about the well-being of ALL of us

Australian Council of Social Service, Consumers Health Forum, Public Health Association of Australia, statement 21 August 2014
“National peak community and health consumer groups today called on the Parliament to reject any deal struck by the Health Minister and the doctors union, declaring that a Medicare co-payment posed an unwarranted burden on the chronically ill and the most vulnerable in our community.”
Find statement here.

AMA model protects vulnerable patients from co-payment pain

AMA, statement 21 August 2014
“AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, today called on the Government to dump its seriously flawed GP co-payments proposal and adopt the AMA model, which exempts the most vulnerable patients from extra cost burdens for their health care.  A/Prof Owler said the AMA has vigorously opposed the Government’s proposal since Budget night and has worked to produce an alternative model that is fairer and more equitable.”
Find statement here.

Central African Republic: Red Cross volunteer killed in Bangui

ICRC, statement 20-08-2014
“The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is deeply shocked by the death in Bangui today of Bienvenu Bandios, a Central African Red Cross volunteer, who was hit by a bullet while evacuating casualties in the “km 5″ zone of the capital. Bienvenu, who had served as a Red Cross driver and first-aid worker for five years, was open-minded, cheerful, motivated and always ready to help others….Once again, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is urgently appealing to all parties to the conflict and to all those taking part in the fighting to guarantee the security of humanitarian workers and to refrain from harming Central African Red Cross volunteers or other members of the Movement.”
Find statement here and statement ‘Afghanistan: Abducted ICRC staff members released’. See also WHO statement: ‘World Humanitarian Day: WHO calls for protection of health workers in conflicts, disasters’.

US dermatologists call for more oversight of nurse practitioners and physician assistants

BMJ 2014;349:g5253
Author: Michael McCarthy
“US dermatologists have called for more oversight and regulation of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, after a study found that they were performing millions of dermatology specialty procedures without physician supervision.1″
Find extract here.

Including mental health among the new sustainable development goals

BMJ 2014;349:g5189
Authors: Graham Thornicroft, Vikram Patel
“The United Nations will soon decide what will follow its millennium development goals, which expire in 2015. The case for including mental health among the new sustainable development goals is compelling, both because it cuts across most of the suggested new goals and because of the unmet needs of the 450 million people in the world with mental illness.1″
Find extract here.

Israel’s health minister stuns experts by ending mandatory fluoridation

BMJ 2014;349:g5240
Author: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
“After nearly 45 years of mandatory fluoridation of tap water throughout Israel, the country’s health minister—a left leaning politician who was formerly mayor of the city of Herzliya—has decided unilaterally to prohibit it. Fluoridation is now mandatory only in Ireland and is optional elsewhere except in the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Holland. Opponents of the minister’s ruling may take the matter to court.”
Find extract here.

Cosmetic surgeon is struck off for putting commercial interests ahead of his patients

BMJ 2014;349:g5236
Author: Clare Dyer
“A cosmetic surgeon who provided liposuction at private clinics has been struck off for “subordinating his proper responsibilities as a doctor to the pursuit of a commercial enterprise.””
Find extract here.

Unhealthy haste? What are the implications of outsourcing Medicare, PBS claims and services?

Croakey, the Crikey Health Blog, online 19 August 2014
Author: Marie McInerney
“Less than two weeks ago the Federal Government called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from the private sector to provide claims and payment services for Medicare (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), a $29 billion operation currently managed by the Department of Human Services. The EOI closes this Friday, 22 August. Such a privatisation not only poses major implications for public sector jobs but looks like a major step towards dismantling Medicare as a public system. It has yet to be subject to public discussion.”
Find article here.

E-cigarette ban proposed in Toronto

CMAJ August 18, 2014 cmaj.109-4873
Author: Adam Miller
“A proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces throughout the City of Toronto could be a bold first step in capping the widespread use of the unregulated products — as well as highlighting the lack of action by the provincial and federal governments.”
Find article here.

Controversy over doctors’ right to say “no”

CMAJ August 18, 2014 cmaj.109-4873
Author: Wendy Glauser
“Religious groups, doctor’s organizations, ethicists and abortion rights advocates are raising concerns around the review of an Ontario policy that outlines, among other things, physicians’ right to object to patients’ requests for services on moral grounds.  The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s Physicians and Ontario Human Rights Code is up for its five-year review, with both public and expert opinion being sought.”
Find article here.