In The Media

Cheapest, most expensive regions to visit a GP in Tasmania

Tasmania’s cheapest and most expensive areas for doctors’ visits have been revealed in a new analysis of Medicare data. Out-of-pocket costs for patients in Tasmania’s south in the federal electorate of Franklin are the highest in the state at $40.80 on average, according to federal Health Department figures. Braddon in the state’s north west had the lowest out-of-pocket costs at $34.67, an analysis by the…

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Aussies in poorer areas 50pc more likely to be obese and die earlier than wealthy suburbs

Highlighting just how important it is for all Australian children to have access to sporting facilities, a national report today shows if you live in poorer, regional areas, you’re likely to be less healthy. A rural GP says there’s an urgent need for more sports facilities to be built outside of the cities. And health experts are also calling on the Government to put controls…

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Concern hospital staff will leave as health crisis mounts

THE deteriorating state of Tasmania’s health system could mean doctors, nurses and paramedics leave the state in droves, the State Government has been warned. With ambulance ramping and bed block plaguing the Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmanian medical professionals fear a mass exodus of staff will add to the state’s poor reputation and make it impossible to recruit medics from interstate. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian…

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Royal Hobart Hospital junior medical staff set to issue ultimatum over ‘safety’

Key points: The ABC understands more than 70 junior medical staff have put their names to a letter which alleges a “lack of commitment to the safety of its most junior staff and their patients” by Tasmanian Health Service managementThe letter says junior staff are “so very tired of a culture that tolerates our fatigue in the pursuit of ‘patient flow'”The letter also says “either…

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How does access to basic services impact personal success?

The ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey discovered that 69 percent of us believe that, in Australia if you work hard, you can be successful, no matter what circumstances you were born into. The logic is that Australia is a developed country with solid public education and health systems that should offer everyone a baseline of opportunity, and let talent and hard work shine through. So,…

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Doctor ‘made to feel guilty’ for asking patient be treated sooner, as wait list worsens

Key points: Sally McShane, who was hurt in a car accident in 2014, says she has been told to expect to wait another three years before she can have elective surgeryA doctor who requested a patient be moved up the list was told in writing “other unfortunate patients will have to be cancelled to make space”The Tasmanian Health Department declined to specify whether the contents…

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Surging prescriptions, deaths: Australia faces opioid crisis

The opioid epidemic was once considered an American phenomenon, but Australia is facing an opioid crisis of its own as drug companies aggressively market the drugs abroad and warnings go unheeded by KRISTEN GELINEAU Associated Press6 September 2019, 00:53• 6 min read BLACK RIVER, Australia — Half a world away from the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, Australia is facing a crisis of its own, with skyrocketing rates…

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Australia faces opioid crisis as companies push drugs abroad

BLACK RIVER, Australia — The coroner’s sense of futility was clear, as he investigated the death of yet another Australian killed by prescription opioids. Coroners nationwide have long urged officials to address Australia’s ballooning opioid addiction, and to create a tracking system to stop people from collecting multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors. Yet even as thousands died, the coroners’ pleas were met largely with silence. “For what…

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What is naloxone, the ‘EpiPen of overdose’, and why are so few Tasmanians using it?

Unintentional overdoses claimed the lives of 30 Tasmanians in 2017, and once again the leading cause was opioids. So why are so few Tasmanians accessing naloxone, the reversing agent that’s been called the “EpiPen of overdose”? What is naloxone? Naloxone is a lifesaving drug that can temporarily reverse an overdose from opioids. In North America, where an opioid crisis fuelled by fentanyl and oxycodone has…

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Australia’s porn problem

It was around the time Steve* tried to pressure his third girlfriend into making porn that he realised he had an issue. He had always enjoyed watching porn, the “hardcore stuff”, ever since he first found a magazine stash as a kid. The fact it was hidden gave him an extra little thrill back then. But it’s only been recently the now 31-year-old has started…

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Tasmanian men are some of the unhealthiest in the nation

TASMANIAN men spend more time and money caring for their car than themselves, so it’s no wonder they are dying six years earlier than Tasmanian women, a leading GP says. The Australian Men’s Health Forum 2019 report card shows men’s health in Tasmania is among the worst in the country, ranked only behind the Northern Territory. It shows Tasmanian men, who live to 78 years…

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Reducing social media use and staying active can help fight off winter blues

As the days get colder and shorter, many of us become susceptible to the winter blues. In Tasmania, six to 10 per cent of the population experience some form of winter depression — about 3 per cent will suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a condition experienced only at certain times of the year, particularly in autumn and winter. While there’s limited research,…

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Lack of priority access for doctors on Bruny Island ferries is delaying appointments and causing concern

DOCTORS and nurses are not being given priority access on Bruny Island ferries — forcing much-needed medical appointments to be delayed. Community concerns have been raised over doctors’ appointments having to be rescheduled because doctors were unable to get on the morning ferries. SeaLink, operator of the ferry service from Kettering to Bruny Island, said it was aware of the issue, which happened when services…

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Huon Medical Group signs contract for GP services on Bruny Island

BRUNY Island will finally have consistent access to general practitioners and comprehensive primary healthcare — and it will be led by one of Tasmania’s top doctors. Former Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Bastian Seidel’s Huon Medical Group has signed a 10-year contract to deliver GP services to Bruny Island. The agreement will deliver face-to-face consultations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with telehealth services…

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GPs call for radical rethink of health funding in Tasmania to ease pressure on state’s hospitals

Lainie Hurle says accessing a GP on Tasmania’s remote west coast is “almost impossible”. She and her disabled son had to endure nine months of two-hour trips along the winding Murchison Highway to Burnie’s North-West Regional Hospital before he was diagnosed with arthritis. Key points: West coast residents are dying younger because of medical shortagesTasmanians have second-lowest life expectancyPatients are bypassing GPs for ambulances “He…

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Cafe Society: Community care the key for our health

DR Bastian Seidel has learnt croissants do not travel well on his bicycle. The Huonville GP, who completes his two-year presidency of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners today, often rides to work from his Mountain River home. But not on Saturdays, when he travels by car so his colleagues receive their pastries intact from the Summer Kitchen Bakery at Ranelagh. Taking his car…

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Provision for abortion delayed in Australian state

Hobart, Australia, Oct 3, 2018 / 14:23 pm Government authorities in the Australian state of Tasmania have promised that low-cost surgical abortion will be provided starting in October, but general practitioners and the state’s Women’s Legal Service say they have not been provided any information on who the provider will be and how abortions will be delivered, according to local media reports. The state’s only…

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Tasmanian health providers still in the dark about state’s new abortion service

Tasmania’s GPs and the Women’s Legal Service say they have not yet been given any information about a new low-cost surgical termination provider in the state, despite government promises that the service would begin in October. The state’s only low-cost abortion clinic closed at the end of last year and some women have since been forced to fly interstate for the procedure. In July the Government announced…

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‘We were desperate’: Family turns to black market for medical cannabis

Alice* watched her four-year-old son Rhys* be loaded onto an air ambulance bound for Sydney, and thought, this can’t go on. It had been the second time in two months that Rhys had been airlifted from his home in Canberra to Sydney for a five-day stay. The month prior, his condition was so bad that Alice and her family had thought they’d lost him. Rhys was born…

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‘Robbed of precious time’: chemical restraints and aged care

Nearly two-thirds of aged care residents are prescribed psychotropic drugs regularly. Questions that must be urgently asked This is part of a series about aged care in Australia Mary’s 85-year-old husband had been in an aged care home for just over a week. He had been getting frailer but was still sharp mentally. However, Mary* became extremely worried when her husband started sleeping all day.…

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60 Minutes: How ‘doctor shopping’ is letting addicts access deadly painkiller

While Sandra McGivern can’t do anything to bring her son back, she’s doing everything she can to make sure his death wasn’t in vain. Sandra’s son, Angus, died from a fentanyl overdose in September last year in Queensland. She’s dedicating her life to campaign politicians and warn others about her son’s death. “I can’t bring him back, but I will spend the rest of my…

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‘Antibiotics don’t cure colds’: Calls for prescription crackdown

Many Australians have a stack of paper prescriptions stuffed in a drawer or at the bottom of a cupboard – either leftover repeats or scripts that haven’t been filled but are yet to expire. Now a leading expert on drug resistance has suggested that in numerous cases, prescriptions for antibiotics should not be offered on repeat, nor handed over with a lengthy, 12-month expiry. It…

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Code of Conduct changes spark 700 submissions

THE Medical Board of Australia has been inundated with submissions on the proposed update of the doctors’ Code of Conduct, receiving about 700 submissions and counting. One day before the closing date of the consultation on Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia (June 2018), a spokesperson for the Board said it welcomed the “massive” number of submissions. “The Board is very grateful…

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Australian Institute of Health and Welfare releases data on out-of-pocket medical expenses

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is calling for the Medicare rebate to increased amidst concern people are being deterred from regular doctor appointments due to out-of-pocket expenses. The body’s president and Tasmanian-based general practitioner, Bastian Seidel (pictured), said GPs were regularly being asked by patients to bulk-bill them which placed them in a precarious ethical position. He said more regular visits to the GP would clearly lead…

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Meningococcal vaccination program needs to be wider in Tasmania: GP body

Tasmania should follow South Australia’s lead and fund free vaccinations for type B meningococcal disease, a national GP body says. A second case of meningococcal disease was confirmed on Saturday, two days after the bacterial disease claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl on Thursday. A 20-year-old man is being treated for a meningococcal infection at Royal Hobart Hospital, and is in a stable condition. Authorities…

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Royal Australian College of General Practitioners want free meningococcal-B vaccinations

Doctors have recommended at-risk Tasmanians be vaccinated against the B-strain of meningococcal. The National Centre for Immunisation says meningococcal-B remains the most common cause of the disease in children, adolescents and young adults. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Bastian Seidel said it had regrettably not been included as part of free vaccinations because of the cost. “It is recommended that people are immunised but…

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Port Arthur massacre health workers call on Tasmanian Government not to weaken gun laws

Health workers who responded to the Port Arthur massacre are calling on the Tasmanian Government to abandon its proposal to water down gun laws. The Liberals’ policy to weaken Tasmania’s gun laws was revealed in the media on the eve of the March state election. The Government promised changes to gun laws that would allow greater access to Category C firearms — such as self-loading rifles, pump-action…

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Senator Eric Abetz joins fight for meningococcal B-strain vaccination

A FREE meningococcal immunisation clinic will be held this weekend at the Derwent Entertainment Centre to administer ACWY vaccine to people aged between six weeks and 21 years of age between 9am-7pm on Saturday and 9am-6pm on Sunday. Further clinics will be held on the weekend of 18 and 19 August, with more than 4000 vaccinatipons expected each weekend. “These clinics are for eligible people…

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Australian GPs will accredit offshore detention centres if given full access

Doctors’ body says findings of audits must be available to public with ‘no caveats’ in order to give their blessing The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has said it is willing to work to accredit the medical services in offshore immigration to Australian standards, but only if the government gives it full and free access to the centres offshore, and makes its audit public.…

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Turnbull government backs down over My Health Record rules and will force police to get a court order to access private files

Privacy provisions for My Health Record will be strengthened so that a court order is needed for information to be released without consent. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the changes following talks with the Australian Medical Association and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel welcomed the move, calling it ‘a very positive step towards the meaningful use of My Health Record’.…

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Health groups urge action from coronial inquiry into death of Manus detainee Hamid Khazaei

Doctors and refugee groups have called on the Australian Government to act urgently on coronial recommendations for better health care for asylum seekers in Australia’s offshore detention facilities – including that decisions about medical transfers to Australia be guided by “clinical considerations” rather than “bureaucratic and political imperatives”. Health groups, including the Royal Australian College of GPs, have repeated long-standing calls for independent oversight of…

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Hamid Kehazaei: Australia responsible for ‘preventable’ death of asylum seeker

The family of the Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei, whose death from infection on Manus Island was caused by a cascading series of errors and systemic failures in the Australian-run offshore detention centre, say “nothing will replace the life of their beloved son and brother”. But they have urged the Australian government to heed the findings of the Queensland coroner Terry Ryan, which were handed down on Monday.…

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Asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei’s death from leg infection was preventable, Queensland coroner finds

The death of Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei was preventable and the result of “compounding errors” in health care provided under Australia’s offshore immigration detention system, the Queensland coroner has found. Coroner Terry Ryan found 24-year-old Mr Khazaei, who died in a Brisbane hospital in September 2014 after he contracted a leg infection in Manus Island detention centre, would have survived had his rapid deterioration…

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Doctors alarmed by unsecured Child Protection Tasmania website

The website used to make reports about child abuse and neglect in Tasmania appears to have been made secure just hours after an ABC report raised concerns information about the state’s most vulnerable children and those who make notifications has been at risk for years. Electronic notifications of child abuse can be made to Child Protection Tasmania via a form on a Department of Health and…

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Medical groups urge Hodgman Government in fight against proposed gun law changes

FRONTLINE medical professionals will today demand the State Government strengthen rather than water down gun laws, with submissions to an inquiry into the proposed changes closing this week. Representatives from across the medical professions will front the media to send a message to the Liberal Government that the post-Port Arthur laws work and changes promised to gun users breach the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). A…

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More free vaccines to be rolled out

Doctors are urging all Tasmanians aged between six weeks and 20 years to get free meningococcal vaccines. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Dr Bastian Seidel commended Health Minister Michael Ferguson’s decision to expand the government’s vaccine program after the fifth confirmed case of meningococcal disease. “The message is simple –  if you are older than six weeks and under 21 go to your GP and get your vaccine,”…

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Northern Hobart cases of meningococcal disease an outbreak, says infectious diseases expert

The three cases of meningococcal disease that have appeared in northern Hobart in the past two weeks can be described as an outbreak, even though there were no direct links between them, an infectious diseases expert says. “We can call it an outbreak because it’s geographical, not because of physical contact between people,” said Professor Robert Booy, head of clinical research at the National Centre…

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State to roll out free meningococcal vaccinations for under-21s

ALL Tasmanians under the age of 21 will be eligible for a free vaccination against meningococcal as the State Government rushes to respond to the growing health concern. It is understood Health Minister Michael Ferguson will on Thursday announce that any Tasmanian born after August 1, 1997 will be able to receive the vaccine against four strains — A, C, W and Y – of…

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It’s healthy to communicate

THE State Government’s commitment to extend the ACWY meningococcal vaccine scheme to all Tasmanians born after August 1, 1997, is welcome. That means every Tasmanian child will be eligible to get the vaccine for free. Improving access to vaccines to protect more at-risk Tasmanians is sensible public health policy and few would argue against the extra funding needed to ward off such a dangerous and…

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Doctors want meningococcal updates daily

THE State Government is under fire over claims it has failed to provide enough information quickly on the meningococcal outbreak. General practitioners inundated with calls from anxious parents want daily updates on the unfolding situation as the number of cases climbs. Two men diagnosed on Wednesday with the potentially deadly disease took the number of cases over the past two weeks to five. Royal Australian…

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Australia Wants to Be the World’s Top Medical Marijuana Exporter, But Many Nationals Can’t Get a Prescription

Many Australians are struggling to get access to legal medical cannabis, despite government leaders suggesting the country could become the largest exporter of the plant for medicinal use in the future. Australia allows medical marijuana in certain cases, but the application procedure is long and tedious, according to national broadcaster ABC. Bastian Seidel, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, told the TV channel that…

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Medical cannabis in Australia ‘pretty much inaccessible’, leaving patients looking to US

A father who escaped jail time for juicing cannabis to treat his two daughters is now considering sending one of them overseas for treatment. Stephen Taylor’s daughters, Morgan, 21, and Ariel, 25, suffer from Crohn’s disease, a debilitating bowel disease. “We’ve been thinking about me going to America for a while,” Morgan told 7.30. “We may have to do that,” Mr Taylor said. “Such a…

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How many have to die before free jabs? Docs want vaccines for meningococcal free for everyone

ALL Tasmanians should be given access to government-funded vaccinations against meningococcal disease — or more people will die, the nation’s peak GPs body says. An outbreak of the disease has killed a teenager and hospitalised an infant and an adult male in Tasmania in the past 10 days. President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Bastian Seidel said the current approach to vaccination…

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Meningococcal disease fears grow for Tasmanians with vaccines months away, as calls mount for subsidies

Tasmanian chemists are reporting a surge in demand for meningococcal disease vaccinations, with customers being told one much-requested shot for children aged under 12 months won’t be available before the end of the year. The news comes less than a day after the Director of Public Health confirmed a three-month-old baby boy had tested positive to the disease in Hobart. The boy is reported to…

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New meningococcal disease case reported in Tasmania, with baby hospitalised

A three-month-old baby is being treated for meningococcal disease at the Royal Hobart Hospital, in the third case of the disease detected in Tasmania in just over a week. Public health authorities said the baby boy was in a stable condition after tests last night and this morning confirmed the presence of meningococcal infection. Key points: The baby is doing “reasonably well’, doctors sayThe boy…

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Increase in requests for vaccinations against meningococcal disease

CLINICS across the state have been flooded with phone calls about meningococcal vaccines after health officials confirmed a second case of the potentially deadly disease. A 20-year-old man remained in a stable condition at the Royal Hobart Hospital yesterday after the acute bacterial infection was detected during tests on Saturday. His case follows the death of 16-year-old Hobart girl Sarah Rose Beltz from meningococcal disease…

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Pressure grows for ‘visionary reform’

A push is under way within the AMA for Medicare reform to reward GPs for continuity of care and wind back the current “perverse incentives” in general practice. The Medical Republic understands the proposal has been the subject of substantial discussion among AMA members after being floated at the peak body’s national conference in May. Putting a draft motion to the conference floor, NSW delegate Dr…

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Second case of meningococcal at the Royal Hobart Hospital increases pressure for access to vaccines

PRESSURE is mounting on the State Government to increase availability of vaccinations against meningococcal disease as a second case is confirmed. Health officials said yesterday a 20-year-old man had been admitted to the Royal Hobart Hospital with the infection. His case follows the death last week of a 16-year-old Hobart girl from the killer bacterium. Deputy director of Population Health Services Scott McKeown said a…

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Warning issues on jabs as flu season nears

THE flu season is off to a slow start in Tasmania this year, with a full-scale winter outbreak still around the corner. Doctors have urged Tasmanians to get vaccinated against the flu if they have not already, as the season is still a couple of weeks away and likely to peak next month. Commonwealth health data shows 128 cases of the flu were recorded in…

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Finally, medicinal cannabis is on a roll

Medicinal cannabis is putting down roots in Australia with an expansion of clinical education, federal support and the start-up of local supply due by the year’s end. The shape of change has been evident in the past few months, after NSW became the first jurisdiction to withdraw from a two-step approval process in which states can stonewall a doctor’s application despite the TGA’s assessment of…

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