- Western Australia’s health costs have tripled over the past decade, adding to the State Government’s significant budget woes and prompting a system-wide review of spending. Reducing the rate of growth in the health sector will be a monumental challenge for the Government, particularly given WA’s hospitals are more expensive than those in other states.
- Shocking new data shows that the number of Australians killed as a result of methamphetamine use has doubled in just 6 years, shocking new data shows. Professor Shane Darke from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and his team examined 1,649 fatalities linked to the illicit drug between 2009 and 2015 and found a mortality rate up to six times greater than the general population.
- DonateLife Week is urging people to join the Australian Organ Donor Register online and to share their decision with family and friends. Last year just over 1,440 Australians received a life-saving transplant – up 17% from the previous year.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 31st of July 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health New
Western Australia’s health costs have tripled over the past decade, adding to the State Government’s significant budget woes and prompting a system-wide review of spending.
Reducing the rate of growth in the health sector will be a monumental challenge for the Government, particularly given WA’s hospitals are more expensive than those in other states.
But why are health costs so high in WA and what can be done about it?
One of the reasons for WA’s elevated health care costs is the sheer size of the state.
“In WA we’ve got a lot of very small hospitals which are a long way away from the big services and that limits what we can do out near people’s homes,” Australian Medical Association WA president Omar Khorshid said.
Under the national Activity Based Funding or ABF model for hospitals, states and territories receive loadings based on the “remoteness” of a patient’s postcode.
Health Minister Roger Cook believes the formula is unfair, because Tasmania received a larger increase in funding due to remoteness loading than WA did when the ABF model was brought in two years ago.However, Grattan Institute health program director Professor Stephen Duckett argues location only contributes a small amount to WA’s higher costs.
“If you look at the costs of the major hospitals in Perth, they’re more expensive than major hospitals in other states and territories,” Professor Duckett said.
For the past seven years, wages for health professionals have outstripped the consumer price index or CPI. The divergence between wages and CPI varies, but for some professions, such as nurses, salary growth has been up to five times the rate of inflation.
The number of Australians killed as a result of methamphetamine use has doubled in just six years, shocking new data shows. Professor Shane Darke from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre described the findings, released today in the academic journal Addiction, as a public health crisis. His team examined one thousand six hundred forty nine fatalities linked to the illicit drug between two thousand nine and two thousand fifteen and found a mortality rate up to six times greater than the general population. “I hear it occasionally said that the extent of the methamphetamine problem has been overstated, but I think this many identified cases over seven years shows we have a major problem,” Professor Darke said.
On average, each death represented forty four years of lost individual life, he said.
There are different types of methamphetamine, generally distinguished by their appearance and purity, and the drug crystal meth — commonly known as ice — is the most popular among users.
Professor Darke found a “hidden danger” in meth-related deaths, in the form of damage to vital organs from even modest amounts of the drug. In twenty two per cent of cases, ‘natural’ disease like cardiac arrest or stroke were the common causes of death, Professor Darke said.
“Many users may be unaware that heart disease is a major factor in methamphetamine-related death.” Current projections indicate there are about three hundred thousand regular users of meth across the country. Popular perceptions centre on violence and while deaths from accident, misadventure and suicide are high, almost half of meth users perished from overdose.
Don’t assume you’re too old or not healthy enough to donate organs or tissue.
That’s the message of DonateLife Week, which is urging people to join the Australian Organ Donor Register online and to share their decision with family and friends. DonateLife Week, from July thirty to August six, is part of a government drive to increase organ and tissue donation.
Last year just over one thousand four hundred and forty Australians received a life-saving transplant – up seventeen per cent from the previous year – through the generosity of five hundred and three deceased organ donors or their families who agreed at the time of their loved one’s death. But despite this, one thousand four hundred Australians and their families await transplant, as do a further twelve thousand people on dialysis. And only one in three Australians have joined the organ donor register, even though four out of five believe registration of donation decisions is important.
“Many people think they’re too old, too young, or not healthy enough to donate,” said DonateLife Tasmania’s state medical director Andrew Turner. “The reality is almost anyone can donate their organs and tissue. While your age and medical history will be considered. You shouldn’t assume you are too old, too young or not healthy enough.” The senior clinician believes organ and tissue donation is the ultimate gift.