The Health News – 1 August 2016

Overview:
• Childhood cancer specialist Dr Antoinette Anazodo is the clinical leader of an application currently under consideration to list the procedures on the Medicare Benefits Scheme.Collecting reproductive tissue prior to treatment and freezing it is considered a valuable strategy and one of the only options for young patients, particularly for those yet to reach puberty, doctors say.

• Government reports from the South Western Sydney Local Health District state that Bankstown Lidcombe Hospital should have at least 13 special care nursery beds by 2016 to meet the region’s growing needs. The news comes less than a week after it was revealed a newborn died and another received suspected brain damage after nitrous oxide was incorrectly administered instead of oxygen at the hospital.

• The Federal Government is heralding its "no jab, no pay" policy as having led to an extra 5,700 children being vaccinated since its implementation at the start of the year. The policy involves the withholding of family payments worth up to $15,000 per year to parents who fail to have their children vaccinated.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  1st of August 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-31/fertility-beyond-cancer-medicare-cover-push-by-doctors/7674076

Doctors want more fertility preservation procedures covered by Medicare for young people with cancer.

They say one-in-10 cancer patients can expect to face fertility issues after cancer treatment.

Collecting reproductive tissue prior to treatment and freezing it is considered a valuable strategy and one of the only options for young patients, particularly for those yet to reach puberty, doctors say.

But the procedures can leave people thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Childhood cancer specialist Dr Antoinette Anazodo is the clinical leader of an application currently under consideration to list the procedures on the Medicare Benefits Scheme.

“Less than 50 per cent of our young adults are told about the risks of infertility as a result of cancer treatment and even fewer go on to have a fertility consultation with a specialist,” she said.

She said expense was cited as a big hurdle.

While harvesting and storing eggs through IVF is a more common procedure for female cancer patients, and is subsidised through Medicare, it is not suitable for young people.

Doctors said collecting and storing reproductive tissue in males is an alternative to providing a sperm sample for storage, but the application goes further.

It proposes Medicare item numbers for fertility testing before and after cancer treatment, and counselling for people making decisions about the reproductive future.

While the changes would apply to anyone with cancer, youth cancer support group CanTeen said wider Medicare coverage could bring huge benefits.

Chief executive Peter Orchard said many people simply could not afford fertility preservation at present.

A decision on the Medicare coverage application is not expected until next year.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-31/nsw-government-‘not-meeting-own-targets’-at-bankstown-hospital/7675266

The Baird Government is not meeting its own targets to support mothers and newborns who need special care at Bankstown Hospital, the NSW Opposition says.

Government reports from the South Western Sydney Local Health District state that Bankstown Lidcombe Hospital should have at least 13 special care nursery beds by 2016 to meet the region’s growing needs.

The hospital’s website says it has 10.

The news comes less than a week after it was revealed a newborn died and another received suspected brain damage after nitrous oxide was incorrectly administered instead of oxygen at the hospital.

Opposition Health spokesperson Walt Secord said it was another worrying statistic for the troubled hospital.

South Western Sydney Local Health District released a statement in response to the claims.

“South Western Sydney Local Health District continues to plan on the delivery of clinical services, to meet its strategic priorities by 2021,” the statement said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-31/government-labels-‘no-jab,-no-pay’-policy-a-success/7675172

The Federal Government is heralding its “no jab, no pay” policy as having led to an extra 5,700 children being vaccinated since its implementation at the start of the year.

The policy involves the withholding of family payments worth up to $15,000 per year to parents who fail to have their children vaccinated.

Parents who conscientiously object to vaccination for philosophical or religious reasons are also not able to collect the payments.

Since the policy was introduced in January, the immunisation rate for one and five-year-olds has now reached 93 per cent, up from around 90 per cent when the plan passed Federal Parliament.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said while it was not ideal to threaten to withhold family welfare payments, it was clear the policy was working.