Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Macro View - General And Health News Relevant To E-Health And Health In General.

October 15 Edition
Well this is the week when we see the Government back in Parliament and trying to keep up the positive momentum the new PM while the Opposition tries to re-set its approach to become seriously competitive again.
Elsewhere we have all sorts of changes emerging with the funding of railways and so on - as opposed to the previous administration. Just how real any innovation agenda we will have to wait and see about.
As always politics and policy inevitably get mixed up in all this so a wide range of views get canvassed.
Here is some other of the recent other news and analysis.

The Political Scene.

  • Oct 9 2015 at 2:39 PM
  • Updated Oct 9 2015 at 7:27 PM

The Brit who taught Scott Morrison tough love

As far a political role models go, Iain Duncan Smith is an unlikely candidate.
A failure as leader of the UK Conservative Party in 2001-03, the former Scots Guardsman was destined for the political scrapheap. For a while, it seemed his contribution to British public life would be confined to a universally-panned political thriller titled The Devils Tune, and a much-ridiculed speech that attempted to make a virtue out of his lack of charisma with the warning "do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man".
Yet slowly IDS, as he is sometimes known, has rehabilitated his career. He studied up on welfare and founded the Centre for Social Justice, an influential centre-right think tank that has tried to reclaim the notion that the Tories are interested in the topic. Then, in 2010, newly-elected Prime Minister David Cameron surprised almost everyone by installing him in cabinet as work and pensions secretary.

AMA NT president never to support abortion drug over the phone

October 5, 2015 2:48pm
AUSTRALIAN Medical Association NT president Dr Robert Parker says he will never support women accessing medical abortion drug RU486 over the phone.
Dr Parker said he was being cautious when he made the claims that RU486 could potentially kill women if they had an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.
He was speaking in reference to the news the Tabbot Foundation would allow women to seek early medical abortions — up to nine weeks — through a phone call.
The only face-to-face consultation with a doctor is for a blood tests and ultrasound.

High Court rejects breast cancer gene patent

Nicola Berkovic

Academics, pathologists and consumer groups have welcomed a landmark High Court ruling against the patenting of human genetic material but pharmaceutical companies have warned the decision could undermine investment in new research.
Queensland cancer survivor Yvonne D’Arcy, who has twice survived cancer, brought the legal challenge against US company Myriad Genetics after it was granted a patent over the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. ­Mutations in the genes increase a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Yesterday, the High Court ruled unanimously in Ms D’Arcy’s favour, finding that an isolated nucleic acid was not a “patentable invention”.

Better way to decide policy

As last month’s leadership coup demonstrates, when it comes to choosing a leader, our politicians primarily base their decisions on opinion polls. The science behind polling is that a snapshot of opinion can be obtained from a randomly selected sample of population.
A search of Hansard reveals that the words opinion poll did not appear in our political lexicon until 1946, when it was used by a future prime minister, Harold Holt.
At the time, such polls did not always get it right.
The Chicago Tribune’s editors put too much faith in opinion polls in the lead-up to the 1948 US presidential election. Polls had predicted that Republican challenger Thomas Dewey would win easily. Up against an election night deadline, the paper published the headline “Dewey defeats Truman” — a blunder preserved for posterity in the famous photograph of Harry Truman holding up a copy of the newspaper after his comprehensive win.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Some answers, some questions, says PHAA

Editor: Dr Ruth Armstrongon: October 06, 2015
After a very long and often anxious wait, the federal Minister for Trade and investment, Andrew Robb, announced this morning that negotiations on the “landmark” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement had finally concluded.
You might think this spells an end to the suspense for the health advocates and experts who have been expressing concerns about what was being negotiated on Australia’s behalf for many months, including here at Croakey.
As outlined below however, while the deal is done, the details of the Agreement are still far from clear. Below (in a media statement made last night), Michael Moore and Deborah Gleeson from the Public Health Association of Australia announce their intention to scrutinise the TPP, and oppose anything that is not in the interests of furthering health.

General Budget Issues.

Budget balance depends on growth: Turnbull

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists the economy needs to grow faster than the growth in government expenses if the budget is to be brought back into balance.
Under the new stewardship of Mr Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison the government faces a mammoth task if it is to return a surplus in 2019/20 as predicted by former treasurer Joe Hockey.

Scott Morrison praises 'innovative' idea to trade tax credit for any future penalty rate cuts

Date October 7, 2015 - 2:43PM

James Massola

Political correspondent

Malcolm Turnbull: Reduced penalty rates inevitable

Workers and unions will need to know they will be 'better off' under any workplace reform, says the Prime Minister speaking to 3AW's Neil Mitchell.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has praised as "innovative" a proposal that could see workers rewarded with tax credits in exchange for a reduction in penalty rates, a day after the Prime Minister signalled changes to weekend rates would take place over time to reflect the seven-day economy.
Momentum is building in the Liberal Party for the adoption of industrial relations reforms, including potentially the reduction in weekend penalty rates, as part of a broader package of measures that is also expected to include tax reforms.

Health Budget Issues.

Mental health shake-up imminent, Health Minister Sussan Ley says

Date October 5, 2015 - 12:15AM

Nicole Hasham

Environment and immigration correspondent

Health Minister Sussan Ley says Australia's mental health system will soon be overhauled after a review found the current regime was disjointed and must get better at "catching people before they fall".
Ms Ley is on Monday expected to foreshadow the root and branch reform, which would refocus the system on the needs of the individual. The full details would be announced before the end of the year.
The announcement is likely to frustrate some in the mental health sector who wanted urgent action, however Ms Ley has previously said there is no "easy fix".
The structural reform follows a review by the National Mental Health Commission into whether existing services were effective.

‘Limited dollars’ to keep aged care on toes: Sussan Ley

  • The Australian
  • October 6, 2015 12:00AM

Rick Morton

Aged care and responsibility for older Australians will be explicitly included in the remit of the ­nation’s Primary Health Networks that co-ordinate services in local communities and ensure funding is used efficiently.
The new Aged Care Minister, Sussan Ley, volunteered to take on the portfolio because, she says, there are “natural synergies”. She will waste no time soldering the portfolios together, reclaiming ageing from social services.
“I think the best systems and policies always come about where there is financial constraint,” she told The Australian.

Preventive focus for Naturopathy Medicine Week

It’s Naturopathy Medicine Week, and the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association is encouraging Australians to investigate naturopathy as preventative health.

“Australians who regularly visit a well-trained Naturopath can prevent and turn around many common lifestyle conditions,” says Eta Brand, President of ANPA.
She says naturopathy offers the public safer and, in many cases, more cost-effective care for common conditions such as hypertension, raised cholesterol, overweight, fatigue, type 2 diabetes, sleep problems including insomnia, and mood variations such as anxiety and depression.
“Naturopaths focus on a wellness model of care and are trained to identify and treat conditions much earlier, preventing invasive and problematic conventional treatments costing the government billions,” says Brand.

Where is the outrage about this threat to primary health care?

Editor: Melissa Sweet Author: Lesley Russell on: October 04,
Primary health care research in Australia is about to be dealt a major blow, warns health policy analyst Dr Lesley Russell.
The Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development (PHCRED) Strategy and two related agencies – the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute and the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service – are heading for the chopping block.
But where are the cries of protest?

Lesley Russell writes:

It’s a recognised and international mantra that primary care is a vital part of an integrated and sustainable healthcare system (and primary health care is vital to a health system).**
Health Minister Sussan Ley has highlighted the Australian Government’s commitment to primary care as part of building a sustainable Medicare and improving health outcomes.
But now it appears that the key driver for research and building research capacity in this area – the Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development (PHCRED) Strategy – is about to disappear.

Pharmacy and PBS Issues.

TPP: Division over benefits for pharmaceuticals

  • The Australian
  • October 7, 2015 12:00AM

Sean Parnell

Australian consumers are caught in the middle of a debate over the impact of the TPP on the ­availability and affordability of pharma­ceutical drugs.
The government reportedly stood firm on competition rules for new drugs, refusing to extend ­Australia’s five-year exclus­ivity period to a proposed eight-year period, let alone the US protection of 12 years, which places a greater value on the intellectual property.
Maintaining Australia’s five-year exclusivity period is a win for manufacturers and downstream providers of cheaper generics and also biosimilars, which are similar to the original biologic drug but, unlike generics, have a different composition.
It has been an interesting time with the new Government settling in and all sorts of options now back on the table. Health is also clearly under review as far as its budget is concerned. Lots to keep up with here! The next few weeks in Parliament will be telling as we run up to Christmas.

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