The Health News – 10 November 2016

Overview:
•  The new Perth Children’s Hospital looks almost certain not to open until well into 2017, with completion of construction still weeks away and commissioning of the $1.2 billion facility predicted to take months beyond that.

• Some disability service providers in Western Australia are being forced to operate in three systems while they wait for the state and federal governments to agree on a model of the national disability scheme.

•  AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, recently said that obesity is the biggest public health challenge facing the Australian population, and called on the Federal Government to take national leadership in implementing a multi-faceted strategy to address the serious health threat that obesity poses to individuals, families, and communities across the nation.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  10th of November 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-08/perth-childrens-hospital-opening-put-off-into-2017/8007380

The new Perth Children’s Hospital looks almost certain not to open until well into 2017, with completion of construction still weeks away and commissioning of the $1.2 billion facility predicted to take months beyond that.

The continued setbacks relating to the construction of the Nedlands facility come just a little over a month after Premier Colin Barnett guaranteed the hospital would open this year, a claim the Government has now backed away from.

Health Minister John Day said the most recent date for practical completion provided by builder John Holland was November 30, which would be followed by a commissioning process expected to take 12 to 14 weeks.

Even on that timeframe, the hospital would not take patients until February at the earliest.

The hospital has been plagued by repeated construction delays and major faults during the building process, including lead-tainted water and asbestos-contaminated ceiling panels.

Mr Day told Parliament the continued problems were frustrating.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-08/wa-disability-scheme-uncertainty-for-service-providers-burden/8006954

Some disability service providers in Western Australia are being forced to operate in three systems while they wait for the state and federal governments to agree on a model of the national disability scheme.

The indecision is creating a financial burden for these organisations, many which are not-for-profit groups, and anxiety among clients and their families, according to National Disability Services (NDS), the peak association representing disability service providers in WA.

Two trials of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are underway in the state, a WA version of the scheme and the Commonwealth version.

The state and federal governments were due to announce at the end of last month which model would be adopted in the west, but have been unable to agree and are still negotiating.

NDS WA state committee chairperson Debbie Karasinski said in the meantime, many organisations were dealing with both trials on behalf of clients, as well as WA’s existing Disability Services Commission system.

A review of the two trials has been conducted.

Federal Minister for Social Services Christian Porter believed it was inconclusive in choosing the best model, but state Disability Services Minister Donna Faragher said the review showed the WA NDIS version was better.

Negotiations have stalled over how the NDIS will operate on the ground, with the state wanting to retain localised decision-making, but the Commonwealth pushing for a nationally consistent system with a central bureaucracy.

Ms Karasinski said the delay was causing anxiety among people with disabilities and their families.

https://ama.com.au/media/obesity-australias-biggest-public-health-challenge

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, [recently] said… that obesity is the biggest public health challenge facing the Australian population, and called on the Federal Government to take national leadership in implementing a multi-faceted strategy to address the serious health threat that obesity poses to individuals, families, and communities across the nation.

Releasing the AMA’s revised and updated Position Statement on Obesity 2016, Dr Gannon said that combating obesity demands a whole-of-society approach.

“More than half of all adult Australians have a body weight that puts their health at risk. More than 60 per cent of adults are either overweight or obese, and almost 10 per cent are severely obese.

“At least a quarter of Australian children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

“Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, musculoskeletal diseases, and impaired social functioning.

“Around 70 per cent of people who are obese have at least one established health condition, illness, or disease, which can increase the cost of their health care by at least 30 per cent.

“Obesity was conservatively estimated in 2011-12 to cost Australian society $8.6 billion a year in health costs and lost productivity. More recent studies have put the cost much higher.

The AMA recommends that the Federal Government’s national obesity strategy incorporates these key elements:

  • greater and more sustained investment in research, monitoring, and evidence collection to determine which …individual and population measures are working;
  • town planning that creates healthy communities, including safe access to walking and cycle paths, parks, and other recreational spaces;
  • a renewed focus on obesity prevention measures;
  • ban the targeted marketing of junk food to children;
  •  a ‘sugar tax’ – higher taxes and higher prices for products that are known to significantly contribute to obesity, especially in children;
  • subsidies for healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, to keep prices low, especially in remotes areas;
  • action from the food industry and retail food outlets to reduce the production, sale, and consumption of energy-dense and nutrient-poor products;
  • easy to understand nutrition labelling for packaged foods;
  • expansion of the Health Star Rating scheme;
  • greater support for doctors and other health professionals to help patients lose weight; and
  • local community-based education and information programs and services.

The AMA Position Statement on Obesity … is at https://ama.com.au/position-statement/obesity-2016