- Laws governing how electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) can be administered in Victoria will be tested for the first time in the Supreme Court today. Each year, there are around 700 hearings in which the tribunal decides whether a patient receives ECT or not.
- Insurer NIB says that the young and healthy need more convincing about the benefit of taking out private health insurance, and government reforms should show “imagination” and aim at making insurance more “attractive” to that market. NIB proposed amending the lifetime health cover, which now has people paying two percent loading on top of their premium for every year they fail to take out private health insurance after the age of thirty one.
- More than 20,000 people have signed up for a free online course to better understand dementia. The University of Tasmania’s Understanding Dementia Massive Online Course (MOOC) is a nine-week online course drawing on the expertise of neuroscientists, clinicians and dementia care professionals.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 14th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
Laws governing how electroconvulsive treatment or ECT can be administered in Victoria will be tested for the first time in the Supreme Court today. A woman with schizophrenia, known only as NJE, is fighting a Mental Health Tribunal order forcing her to undergo twelve sessions of ECT against her will. On two occasions in March, the woman’s treating team failed to get an ECT order to treat the woman from the Mental Health Tribunal. At both hearings she had a lawyer present. However, at a third hearing the tribunal ordered the treatment without allowing the patient time to get legal advice. Victoria Legal Aid is now appealing a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing upholding the mandatory ECT order in the Supreme Court.
VLA spokesman Dan Nicholson is concerned current safeguards are not working, with the majority of patients not legally represented. Mister Nicholson said that any decision to carry out ECT against a person’s will is a significant one and it’s a treatment that many people find invasive and distressing.
Each year, there are around seven hundred hearings in which the tribunal decides whether a patient receives ECT or not. Under Victorian law, electroconvulsive treatment can be forcibly administered if the tribunal decides the patient cannot give informed consent or no other “less restrictive” treatment will work. However, ECT without consent needs to be agreed to by a legal member, a qualified psychiatrist and a community member, and patients have the right to a lawyer. Legal Aid is also representing a man diagnosed with schizophrenia who underwent six treatments against his will, until his psychiatrist determined he had the capacity to consent and the treatment stopped.
The young and healthy need more convincing about the benefit of taking out private health insurance, and government reforms should show “imagination” and aim at making insurance more “attractive” to that market, insurer NIB says. In its submission to the Senate inquiry into the value and affordability of private health insurance, NIB said “current sticks and carrots, including the Medicare levy surcharge, lifetime health cover and the private health insurance rebates” were not working well enough to attract healthy under-thirties. “For older consumers, the private health insurance value proposal can be summed up as ‘peace of mind’,” the submission says.
“For younger people, however, the message is ‘just in case’. Younger people, especially teens and twenty somethings, usually are in the peak of their health and fitness. Major illness and injury are seen as things that happen to other people. “The private healthcare sector and government need to show flexibility and imagination to do more to not only bring younger people into Private health insurance, we need to make it worth their while in terms of their budgets, and to help them see private health insurance cover is relevant to them.” NIB proposed amending the lifetime health cover, which now has people paying two percent loading on top of their premium for every year they fail to take out private health insurance after the age of thirty one. It is designed to encourage them to take out hospital insurance earlier in life and to maintain their cover. It suggested a “reverse” lifetime health cover to encourage people to get private health insurance before the age of thirty – giving them a two percent private health discount for every year between their age of joining to thirty. The discount would be capped at ten percent.
Politicians and experts have proposed removing the private health insurance rebate for “extras” that often go unused, such as dental, physio or optical, as a savings measure. But in its submission, Private Healthcare Australia warned that this would be a mistake, in part because such a move would further dissuade young people.
More than twenty thousand people have signed up for a free online course to better
understand dementia. And there’s still time to log on to the University of Tasmania’s Understanding Dementia Massive Online Course or MOOC – a nine-week online course drawing on the expertise of neuroscientists, clinicians and dementia care professionals.
The course is free and anyone can join and it is run by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre in the university’s Faculty of Health. Wicking Centre co-director James Vickers said the growth of the Understanding Dementia MOOC, which was introduced in two thousand sixteen, is driven by its strong research base and up-to-date content.
Professor Vickers said the course was aimed at anyone from people in the early stages of the disease, their families and carers and individuals with a general interest in dementia to allied health workers, nurses and aged care workers. “It’s about putting out knowledge about dementia and making people not so scared of it,” he said. The Understanding Dementia MOOC is open for enrolments until August eighteen.