The Health News Australia February 5 2018

  • Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says a proposal to cap private health insurance shows Labor is the only party that has a “fair dinkum” plan to deal with cost of living pressures.
    A Labor government would cap private health insurance increases to two per cent for two years compared with a 10-year average of 5.5 per cent, saving a family $344.
  • A former Victorian medical practitioner who practised the profession after being suspended by the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) has been fined one hundred thousand dollars for breaching the National Law. Mr. Mohamad Anwar, who did not attend the Magistrates Court at Melbourne, pleaded guilty through his legal representation and was convicted of four charges of ‘holding himself out’ as a registered medical practitioner when he was not. On August nineteenth two thousand sixteen, Mr. Anwar was suspended by the Board.
  • They say laughter is the best medicine, but singing is just as good, according to a group of people with Parkinson’s disease who took part in an Australian first trial. More than 70 patients from Queensland participated in the ground-breaking Griffith University study that looked at how song could help battle the disease. Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects speech and movement, and there is no cure.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 5th of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/shorten-turnbull-spar-over-pledge-to-cap-health-insurance-premiums

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says a proposal to cap private health insurance shows Labor is the only party that has a “fair dinkum” plan to deal with cost of living pressures. A Labor government would cap private health insurance increases to two per cent for two years compared with a ten-year average of five point five percent, saving a family three hundred forty four dollars. Labor would also task the Productivity Commission with the first significant review of the private health system in twenty years to improve the value, quality and affordability of health insurance.
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Senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese told Sky News there was increasing concern among families that private health insurance was serving the interests of “profits rather than patients”. But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described it as “policy on the run”. He told ABC television: “These are private companies. They’re in a very competitive market. The reality is Labor wants to destroy private health insurance.”

Health insurer NIB chief executive officer Mark Fitzgibbon said Labor’s proposal was a “dreadful overreaction”.
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The Australian Private Hospitals Association warned a cap could result in insurers limiting benefit payments. Its CEO Michael Roff said: “The easiest way for funds to do this would be to cut the amount they spend on medical “no-gaps” schemes.” However, the Public Health Association of Australia welcomed the Productivity Commission review.

Consumers Health Forum boss Leanne Wells also supported steps to improve health insurance affordability, saying it continued to be a double-edged sword for many consumers.

http://www.ahpra.gov.au/News/2018-02-01-suspended-doctor-convicted.aspx

A former Victorian medical practitioner who practised the profession after being suspended by the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) has been fined one hundred thousand dollars for breaching the National Law. Mister Mohamad Anwar, who did not attend the Magistrates Court at Melbourne, pleaded guilty through his legal representation and was convicted of four charges of ‘holding himself out’ as a registered medical practitioner when he was not.

The charges were laid following an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. On August nineteenth two thousand sixteen, Mister Anwar was suspended by the Board. This meant he could not practise as a medical practitioner. The court heard that a few weeks after being suspended by the Board, Mister Anwar breached the National Law by continuing to practise by providing services to patients as a medical practitioner at the Victorian Cosmetic and Laser Clinic.

At this time Mister Anwar is no longer registered as a medical practitioner in Australia.
AHPRA CEO, Martin Fletcher welcomed the court outcome as a strong message to anyone who thinks they can treat patients as a medical practitioner when they are not registered to do so. He added: ”This is the single largest fine against an individual in Australia for claiming to be a registered medical practitioner when they are not under the National Law.”
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The court recorded a conviction against Mr Anwar and imposed a total fine of one hundred thousand dollars as well as awarding costs to AHPRA in the amount of fourteen thousand eight hundred eighty four dollars and fifty six cents.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-04/parkinsons-singers-trial-australian-first/9394346

They say laughter is the best medicine, but singing is just as good, according to a group of people with Parkinson’s disease who took part in an Australian first trial. More than seventy patients from Queensland participated in the ground-breaking Griffith University study that looked at how song could help battle the disease. Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects speech and movement, and there is no cure.

Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre’s Professor Don Stewart said it did not matter if they could hold a note or not, they just had to commit to “trying” to sing for an hour once a week for six months. Professor Don Stewart found all participants experienced a better quality of life during the trial. He said: “But in particular one that stands out is stigma or perceived stigma for example where people felt they had to conceal their Parkinson’s from others or avoid situations which involve eating or drinking in public.”
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The group held their first Australian concert at the weekend at the Queensland Conservatorium.
As part of the performance, the group honoured Neil Diamond, who has just cancelled his fiftieth anniversary Australian shows in March and April due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
The choir got an encore and are planning to perform in public again.

In each session participants not only sang, but did vocal warm ups, breathing exercises and got to take part in social activities afterwards. The study was based on a UK program called ‘Sing to Beat Parkinson’s’ that had never been clinically tested.

The disease affects about three percent of the Australian population, which is about seven hundred thousand people. It also strikes more men than women and more frequently presents in people over fifty. Researchers said the next step is to extend the program through Queensland, then the nation.

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