South African officials were “negligent and reckless” in transfer of vulnerable patients to cut costs

BMJ 2017; 356: j632
Author: Pat Sidley
“At least 94 patients with mental illnesses and disabilities died in appalling circumstances after a contract between a private mental hospital and the Gauteng provincial government was cancelled last year.”
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Increased Service Use Among Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Associated With Mental Health Parity Law

Health Aff 2017 vol. 36 no. 2 337-345
Authors: Elizabeth A. Stuart, Emma E. McGinty, Luther Kalb, Haiden A. Huskamp et al
“Health care services for children with autism spectrum disorder are often expensive and frequently not covered under private health insurance. The 2008 Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was viewed as a possible means of improving access by eliminating differences between behavioral health and medical/surgical benefits. We examined whether the legislation was associated with increased use of and spending on mental health care and functional services for children with autism spectrum disorder compared to the period prior to implementation of the law.”
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South African scandal after nearly 100 mental health patients die

The Guardian, 2 February 2017
Source: Agence France-Presse
“At least 94 patients with mental health issues died after South African authorities moved them from hospitals to unlicensed health facilities. Many of the deaths were due to pneumonia, dehydration and diarrhoea. The centres also failed to provide seriously ill patients with enough food and water, leaving them severely malnourished, underweight and in some cases dying from dehydration.”
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Health Care Complaints Commission v CWY [2017] NSWCATOD 6

Decision date: 13 January 2017
“In June 2016, registered nurse, CWY, the respondent in these proceedings, was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She had been admitted as an involuntary patient at Goulburn Hospital after experiencing an acute psychotic episode. At the time of these proceedings, she was subject to a six months’ community treatment order made by the Mental Health Review Tribunal. The Health Care Complaints Commission (the Commission) has referred two complaints (the Complaints) about CWY to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for determination. In the Complaints the Commission alleges that on account of her diagnosed condition CWY has an “impairment” and, further, is not competent to practice nursing: see ss 5 and 139(a) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) (the National Law).”
Find decision here.

Are our busy doctors and nurses losing empathy for patients?

The Conversation, 12 January 2017
Author: Sue Dean
“Every day, doctors, nurses and other health professionals are presented with situations that demand empathy and compassion. With more demand on doctors and nurses and a push for quicker consultations, clinical empathy is being dwarfed by the need for efficiency. But this doesn’t mean patients have stopped wanting to be treated in a caring and empathetic manner. And there is a growing body of evidence that this need is often not being met.”
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Insurers ignoring calls to address discrimination: mental health groups

SMH, 2 January 2017
Author: Georgia Wilkins
“Mental health groups have accused the life insurance industry of ignoring calls to address discrimination, saying its treatment of people with mental health conditions is unethical and potentially unlawful.”
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Anonymous reporting vital to student mental health

MJA Insight, 5 December 2016
Author: Anonymous
“A Senate inquiry into hospital educational cultures occurred in November 2016. Being a medical student, I followed its coverage with interest. The inquiry heard evidence presented by the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) of widespread hostile teaching practices within hospitals, and of individual cases of students being bullied or overtly harassed by their medical supervisors.”
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Bill to boost medical research funding and speed drug approval passes US house

BMJ 2016; 355: i6498
Author: Michael McCarthy
“After two years of negotiations, the controversial 21st Century Cures Act was passed by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday 30 November by a vote of 392 to 26. The bill boosts funding for medical research and mental health and substance abuse care—but also contains provisions to speed up drug and medical device approval that consumer groups say will lower safety standards and put patients at risk.”
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Next of kin’s experiences of involvement during involuntary hospitalisation and coercion

BMC Medical Ethics 2016 17:76
Authors: Reidun Førde, Reidun Norvoll, Marit Helene Hem, Reidar Pedersen
“Norway has extensive and detailed legal requirements and guidelines concerning involvement of next of kin (NOK) during involuntary hospital treatment of seriously mentally ill patients. However, we have little knowledge about what happens in practice. This study explores NOK’s views and experiences of involvement during involuntary hospitalisation in Norway.”
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