Medical Services
Access the latest medical services news, updates, advances in medical technology and services in the Australian Medical Services industry from experts, doctors, professionals and associations on Top4 News.
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Victorian children with epilepsy to take part in medical marijuana trial

Victorian children with epilepsy to take part in medical marijuana trial | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Premier Daniel Andrews announces that Victorian children living with epilepsy will be part of an international clinical trial of synthetic cannabis.


Austin Health has signed on to a trial by US pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeautics into whether a synthetic cannabidiol treatment could help children with refractory epilepsy, the state government has revealed. The drug is made from a synthetic version of a therapeutic compound usually found in the cannabis plant.


Premier Daniel Andrews said he had seen first hand how medicinal cannabis could change lives and that it should be made available to families in need "as quickly as possible."

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Iron Curtain remedy redeployed to fight superbugs

Iron Curtain remedy redeployed to fight superbugs | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Phage therapy involves infecting patients with viruses known as bacteriophages, which are the natural predators of bacteria, to kill the germs that antibiotics cannot. Scientists hope these harmless viruses will cure patients who have been infected by bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, causing chronic ear, nose and throat infections as well as life-threatening illnesses such as sepsis.


One of the best sources of bacteriophages was in faeces, which researchers would access by raiding the fecal specimens of patients in the Westmead Hospital intensive care unit to build up a library of phages.


"We use multiple viruses, so instead of sending in a single assassin we send in a hit squad," Professor Jon Iredell, Head of Westmead Hospital's Infectious Diseases Department, said.

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Doctors want more diverse medical students

Doctors want more diverse medical students | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Students from low socio-economic backgrounds should be given fair opportunity to become doctors, say two medical school selection interviewers. Writing in The Conversation on Wednesday, doctors Evelyn Chan and Paul Leong say two-thirds of Australian medical students come from affluent backgrounds while less than one in 10 come from low socio-economic backgrounds.


The doctors say it's unsurprising most students come from affluent backgrounds, given selection criteria is biased against low socio-economic candidates.



But given just 25 per cent of Australians are classified as affluent, there's a risk the medical community is out of touch with its patients. They say doctors who've come from low socio-economic backgrounds are better equipped to understand patients from similar backgrounds.

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Doctor used Medicare to pay off mortgage

Doctor used Medicare to pay off mortgage | Medical Services | Scoop.it

A doctor who used Medicare to pay off the mortgage of his Sydney home has been found guilty of professional misconduct.


Dr Roger Leigh Flekser, who earns $272,000 a year, has admitted to committing fraud while working at St George Hospital in 2012 and 2013 as a surgical trainee in order to pay off his two-storey Maroubra home. The Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Dr Flekser used Medicare to claim and receive fees from private health insurers despite not being qualified to practise privately, News Corp reports.


Whilst investigating Dr Flekser’s financial records, the tribunal revealed he owed $200,000 on his $800,000 home loan in 2012. The home was fully paid for by the following year.

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Wayne Swan muddies the waters on prostate cancer testing

Wayne Swan muddies the waters on prostate cancer testing | Medical Services | Scoop.it

After decades of controversy, experts had finally agreed on testing for prostate cancer. Then Wayne Swan chimed in.


They represent a truce between clinicians, researchers and advocates, who have been at loggerheads over whether the benefits of the test outweigh its harms, particularly among men who are not at high risk of developing the condition or those aged over 70. Men should be fully informed about the benefits and harms associated with the PSA test, which overdiagnoses prostate cancer in 20 to 40 per cent of men who produce high measurements of prostate-specific antigen, the guidelines say.


"Early detection is only possible if you get tested, so I urge all men, especially those with a family history of prostate cancer, to consult with your general practitioner and arrange to be tested – it might save your life." Mr Swan said.

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Funding for our medical centres

Funding for our medical centres | Medical Services | Scoop.it

THREE medical centres will now be able to priovide patients with new facilities and more doctors thanks to Federal Government funding of $460,000. Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt visited Burnett Medical Centre on Barolin St, where two new consultation rooms have been constructed with the help of a $79,000 grant.


"Burnett Medical Centre is committed to supporting the Bundaberg community in any way we can. That's why we ensured the new consultation rooms were built and fitted out by local tradespeople. We are also working towards further Federal Government grants for further improvements to our practice, to assist people within our community living with a physical disability. Burnett Medical Centre is becoming a centre of learning excellence and the RRTG funding is assisting us in the achieving this goal. I thank Mr Pitt and the Federal Government for delivering funds that support medical training in regional Australia." Burnett Medical Centre principal practitioner Drew Speight said.

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Medicare surcharge may increase for high earners: health funds

Medicare surcharge may increase for high earners: health funds | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The Medicare levy surcharge may have to be increased to ensure high-income earners continue to opt in to private insurance, the peak body for health funds says. The surcharge was introduced to reduce pressure on the public hospital system by encouraging those who could afford it to buy private health insurance.


Private Healthcare Australia represents 21 funds that combined insure 12.5 million Australians.


"We note that if private healthcare premiums continue to rise faster than wage levels, the relative cost of even highly restricted policies might exceed the extra tax incurred," the submission says.

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Govt retains tight controls on medical marijuana trials

Govt retains tight controls on medical marijuana trials | Medical Services | Scoop.it

THE Qld Government will do targeted trials into medical cannabis but there will be no broader dispensation despite a 12,000-strong petition calling for changes. The petition, driven by Bec Bridson of Mons was presented to Parliament late last year by Buderim MP Steve Dickson.


It claimed that the United Nations stipulated cannabis should be available for medical and research purposes and that the Queensland Government's position failed to uphold human rights, was discriminatory in that it excluded thousands of people from the benefits of whole plant cannabis therapies; failed to support local farmers, jobs and the economy in favour of offshore pharmaceutical companies; increased the cost of the PBS scheme; supported the $11bn personal cannabis use black market; was wasteful of public resources; that prosecution of medicinal cannabis use was not in the public interest and failed to facilitate research.


Health Minister Cameron Dick said he appreciated there was growing community interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis-derived compounds for a number of conditions, including neuropathic pain, muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and cancer-related nausea. But he said the Queensland Drugs Misuse Act 1986 made the production, possession and supply of cannabis an offence where such activities are done "unlawfully".

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SA MP calls for review of hospital system bureaucracy

SA MP calls for review of hospital system bureaucracy | Medical Services | Scoop.it

A review of South Australia's hospital system needs to examine the number of bureaucrats after documents show administrators outnumber doctors, Family First MP Robert Brokenshire has said.


Mr Brokenshire called for an independent review after obtaining the data under Freedom of Information which showed administrators now outnumbered doctors by three to one.


The number of administrators has jumped by more than 1,600 to 13,477 in the past 10 years compared to the number of salaried doctors which rose to 3,897.


The documents also showed the number of executives increased to 113 from 84 - 10 years ago.


Mr Brokenshire said the disparity needed to be examined.

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2015, the year that was: Health + Medicine

2015, the year that was: Health + Medicine | Medical Services | Scoop.it

This was the year of the health review – on mental health care, the response to ice, Medicare, private health insurance, the pharmacy industry … and the list goes on.


But while little new policy was announced in 2015, debates continued about where the health system should be headed.


Keeping a lid on rising health costs:  After 17 months on life support, the GP co-payment finally died and was “burned and cremated” in March. Just as well; while the co-payment mark II was reduced to A$5, non-concession patients may have ended end up paying a A$30 more, according to Grattan Institute analysis.

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NSW South East Regional Hospital prepares to open

NSW South East Regional Hospital prepares to open | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The new South East Regional Hospital, near Bega, on the New South Wales far south coast is inching closer to opening, with more than 700 staff members now undergoing training at the facility.


It is due to open in March next year and change manager, Wendy Grealy, is counting down the days.


"There's a lot of excitement in the air and it's nothing to do with Santa Clause," she said.


"It's to do with the [less than 80] sleeps we have to come into this new facility."


Ms Grealy said the staff orientation, which includes becoming familiar with emergency, security and nurse call systems, should be finished by early February.

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A new hope for hepatitis C sufferers: breakthrough drugs listed

A new hope for hepatitis C sufferers: breakthrough drugs listed | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Stakeholders have welcomed the announcement yesterday that a range of curative breakthrough hepatitis C medicines will be added to the PBS next year.


Health Minister Sussan Ley announced that the Turnbull Government will invest more than $1 billion to give Australians access to the medicines.


Minister Ley says the announcement will see the listing of multiple drug combinations to ensure cures for all types of Hep C were made available to the entire patient population through the PBS from March 1 2016. The medicines are: Sofosbuvir with ledipasvir (Harvoni); Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi); Daclatasvir (Daklinza); and Ribavirin (Ibavyr).


“This combination of breakthrough cures has a success rate of more-than 90 per cent across the entire Hep C patient population and is faster and has fewer side effects than anything currently available,” she says.


Hepatitis Australia CEO Helen Tyrrell says the move is “simply terrific”.

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ACT tops the country for hospital-associated staph infections

ACT tops the country for hospital-associated staph infections | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The ACT has the highest rate of potentially fatal golden staph infections of public hospitals across Australia, a national report has found.


An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on staphylococcus aureus infections in public hospitals found 30 cases in Canberra with an infection rate of 0.84 cases per 10,000 patient days in 2014-15.   Across Australia both infection rates and the number of cases had fallen and were below the national benchmark of two cases per 10,000 patient days in all states and territories.


NSW and Western Australia had the next highest rates of the infection, also known as golden staph, with infection rates of 0.78 cases per 10,000 patient days.  A spokesman said ACT Health had successfully worked to drive down its staph infection rates from 1.3 cases per 10,000 days of patient care in 2012-13.


"It is important to note the results achieved by the ACT were impacted by smaller number of hospitals in the ACT compared with other states.

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Health in 2016: a cheat sheet on hospitals, Medicare and private health insurance reform

Health in 2016: a cheat sheet on hospitals, Medicare and private health insurance reform | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The health care headaches in 2016 are, in fact, the same ones we faced a decade ago, albeit different in severity and symptoms. They include population growth, ageing and the rise of chronic disease; inequality in access to care and health outcomes; technological change (the good, the bad and the expensive) and the seemingly inexorable rise in health costs.


Circling for landing are three major reviews on private health insurance, primary care, and low-value care. Their recommendations, and the government’s response to them, are very much up in the air.


Adding to the uncertainty is the broader review of federalism and its consequences for public hospital funding, along with speculation around the 2016 federal election date and what each party’s Santa sack of election promises might contain.

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Australian Medical Association report shows public hospitals under the pump

Australian Medical Association report shows public hospitals under the pump | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The Australian Medical Association's annual Public Hospital Report Card says hospitals are facing "a growing funding crisis" – with their performance virtually stagnant and even declining in certain areas – and lays the blame squarely at the feet of the federal government.


It rejects claims health spending is unsustainable, saying there have now been two years when growth has been well below the long-term average annual growth of 5% over the last decade. AMA president Brian Owler said that from July 2017 the Commonwealth would limit its contribution to public hospital costs, with rises in its funding restricted to indexation using CPI and population growth only.


“As a result, hospitals will have insufficient funding to meet the increasing demand for services. Things will get much worse in coming years unless the Commonwealth reverses its drastic cuts from recent budgets."  Owler said.

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Genetics change people's response to bipolar treatment lithium, research finds

Genetics change people's response to bipolar treatment lithium, research finds | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The mood stabiliser drug lithium only works on one third of bipolar patients, new research shows, with scientists concluding that a person's genetic make-up determines how they respond to the drug.


Despite being the most effective bipolar treatment available, the study found that lithium only works for about a third of the people who take it. University of New South Wales' head of psychiatry Philip Mitchell, one of the co-authors of the study, said they had found that while one third of patients did partially well, one third did not respond at all.


Mental health organisation SANE Australia said about one in 50 people would develop bipolar at some point in their lives.

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Medical clinic adds midnight run

Medical clinic adds midnight run | Medical Services | Scoop.it

HOBSONS Bays sick will be able to access bulk-billing medical treatment until midnight on weekdays following the opening of a new GP clinic in Spotswood.


The after-hour clinic operates with one GP working six days a week, with plans to expand to four GPs and a nurse within two years.


North Western Melbourne Primary Heath Network chief executive Christopher Carter said the after-hour clinics would reduce the number of people clogging hospital rooms for issues that could be dealt with by a GP.

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Regional training key to keeping medical graduates

Regional training key to keeping medical graduates | Medical Services | Scoop.it

As hundreds of medical graduates start year-long internships in hospitals across New South Wales, the push is on in Tamworth for interns to work in the local hospital after their training.


The Hospital's General Manager, Catherine Death, said a big part of keeping the interns in Tamworth long-term was making sure all training could happen locally.


"In this hospital a lot of time and money has been put into building both telehealth and telemedicine." she said.

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Rise in hospital interns for the new year

Rise in hospital interns for the new year | Medical Services | Scoop.it

THEYRE the new kids on the block but they might just save your life on their very first day in the job.


A record 983 medical ­interns will start work across NSW public hospitals ­tomorrow after completing years of gruelling university study which ensures that only the very best graduate.


Over the next two years, the interns will rotate across metropolitan, regional and rural hospitals and work across a number of departments including emergency and surgery.

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Second Legionnaires disease outbreak in a hospital at Brisbane, QLD

Second Legionnaires disease outbreak in a hospital at Brisbane, QLD | Medical Services | Scoop.it

LEGIONNAIRES disease is back at one of Queensland’s leading hospitals, finding its way into an ice machine despite strict measures being put in place at the facility in the wake of a deadly 2013 outbreak. A palliative care patient has tested positive for legionella pneumophila at The Wesley Hospital and an ice machine has also returned a positive result. Queensland Health has confirmed an investigation is under way. Seriously ill patients in hospitals are often offered pieces of ice to refresh their mouths.


In 2013 legionella bacteria brought the Brisbane UnitingCare Health facility to its knees when a cancer patient died from the lung infection and a second patient ended up in intensive care after contracting the disease.


Legionella pneumophila thrive in warm water and in man-made environments such as inside plumbing fixtures and pipes. Patients with a chronic medical condition are at more risk than others. The bacteria was then found in the hospital’s hot water system.

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Only half of Medicare savings will go towards listing new procedures

Only half of Medicare savings will go towards listing new procedures | Medical Services | Scoop.it

The Federal Government says only about half the savings made through cuts to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) will go towards listing new procedures.


The Government earlier this year started a review of the MBS, which subsidises about 5,700 medical services.


The first stage of the process identified 23 items — worth nearly $7 million in 2014-15 — that should no longer be funded.


Health Minister Sussan Ley said savings would be split between Treasury and listing new procedures on the MBS.


"I've said to doctors right from the beginning, I see this as roughly investing half for sustaining Medicare and half for new items, but the intention of this process is not a savings exercise," Ms Ley said.

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Medicare cuts shouldn't cost people more: Ley

Medicare cuts shouldn't cost people more: Ley | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Health Minister Sussan Ley insists removing several procedures from Medicare "shouldn't" increase costs for patients.


The federal government's review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule has flagged 23 items for removal, worth almost $7 million in 2014/15.


Ms Ley said in a statement yesterday that the 23 items, which also include gastroenterology, obstetrics and thoratic medicine services, cost $6.8 million in the past year and were used 52,500 times.


Ms Ley admited some of the savings will be handed over to Treasury instead of being reinvested in health, but told ABC radio on Tuesday costs for patients shouldn't rise as a result of the changes.


"This first stage of work has provided recommendations about the immediate removal of lower-volume MBS items in some specific specialities where there is clinical consensus that they are ‘obsolete’ and no longer represent clinical best-practice," she said.

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Best Asthma Medicine, Remedies & Inhalers

Best Asthma Medicine, Remedies & Inhalers | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Are you an asthma patient? Well, there is good news for you. Although there is no cure for it yet, there are some highly effective medicines that will make sure you stay symptom free and get on with your life normally.


Dr. John Bottrell from Health Central has listed out the top medicines that can help you lead an easier life. Here are the top picks.


Inhaled CorticosteroidsFlovent, QVAR, Asthmanex and Pulmicort form the major part of these inhalers. These are proven to be the best method for treating chronic inflammation in your airways.


Leukotriene modifiers - Singulair and Accolate are some of top medicines that work well for Ashtma patients. They block the allergic response effectively and control inflammation. Although this works well with combination healers like Advair, and Formoterol.


Combination inhalers - The combination of Flovent and Serevent in one inhaler called Advair, and Formoterol and Pulmicort in another called Symbicort, makes one of the most effective combinations in Asthma history. People are often scared to take this due to FDA warnings, but this greatly controls Asthma in most patients according to Dr. John.

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Tasmania named lap band surgery capital of Australia

Tasmania named lap band surgery capital of Australia | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Tasmania is now the lap band capital of Australia with about 1.5 per cent, or 7,500 Tasmanians having undergone bariatric, or lap band surgery.


It is perhaps no surprise that Tasmania has the highest rate of bariatric surgery of any state or territory, given 65 per cent of its population is overweight or obese.


A national health survey released this month found that while Australians were drinking alcohol and smoking less, the national rate of obese/overweight adults had risen from 56 to 63 per cent.


Hobart woman Michelle Gunn underwent the procedure to tackle her own weight issues seven years ago.  She was told she would develop diabetes if she did not lose weight.


Ms Gunn said her life has improved a lot since the surgery.

"I lost 35 kilos, I went from a size 24 down to a size 10," she said.

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Hopes Hepatitis C could be wiped out in Australia as the Federal Government pledges $1b to subsidise 'breakthrough' cures

Hopes Hepatitis C could be wiped out in Australia as the Federal Government pledges $1b to subsidise 'breakthrough' cures | Medical Services | Scoop.it

Australians with Hepatitis C will no longer have to spend up to $100,000 on a course of treatment, after the Federal Government announced $1 billion in funding to subsidise the cost of four so-called “miracle treatments”.


The treatments cure the virus in 90 percent of patients in a short course between eight and 12 weeks.


Minister for Health Sussan Ley said Australia would become one of the first countries to publicly subsidise the cures, with the program an attempt to “all but eradicate” the disease within a generation.


The funding will lift the burden of the debilitating condition on Australia’s health system, Ms Ley said.

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