The Health News – 13 February 2017

Overview:
• Cases of surrogacy in increasing in Australia after several Asian countries banned foreigners from paying women to carry babies for them.

• The builders of Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and the South Australian Government had an agreement that ended legal actions. The Government now promises building work will be completed in March.

• West Australian-based insurer HBF will increase its health insurance costs by almost 6 per cent this year, despite insisting it “hates” increasing premiums.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  13th of February 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-10/surrogacy-booming-in-australia-despite-legal-issues/8255966

Fertility professionals and advocacy groups say surrogacy is experiencing a quiet boom in Australia after several Asian countries banned foreigners from paying women to carry babies for them.

Dr Glenn Stirling, the medical director of Brisbane IVF clinic Life Fertility, says the number of patients they see has risen dramatically, and that new patients arrive almost daily.

“We’d be doing at least, two or three couples a week that are doing surrogacy,” he told Background Briefing.

In Australia it’s illegal to get paid to be a surrogate, but in practice it’s not that simple.

Finding a surrogate can be hard work for couples, and the journey is full of risks, according to Sam Everingham from the international advocacy and support group Families Through Surrogacy.

“It’s a very much do-it-yourself model in Australia in terms of finding a surrogate and managing the journey,” he said.

“There’s lots of hush-hush around finding a surrogate. It’s a really tough thing to manage and pull all the pieces together for a couple who just wants to have a family.”

Couples often look for surrogates online, on websites that resemble online dating services.

…several women who advertise as surrogates …said they had been offered money “on the sly”. One surrogate said she was offered close to $30,000.

There have been no prosecutions under Australian surrogacy laws in the last 10 years, but it’s clear they are being flouted.

The reasons are complex and raise deep ethical questions for all parties.

But now that India, Cambodia and Thailand have closed shop, Surrogacy advocates like Sam Everingham say it’s time for the government to change the rules when it comes to surrogacy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-12/new-royal-adelaide-hospital-court-action-ends/8263538

The builder of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and the South Australian Government have reached an agreement that has ended legal action, and the Government now promises building work will be completed in March.

In December, the Government won a court fight against the building consortium SA Health Partnerships over construction defects at the site in North Terrace in the city, but cost issues were ongoing.

A court heard the defects included room sizes that differed from the plan, a loading dock of the wrong height and water pipes that were laid through a data equipment room.

Health Minister Jack Snelling said an independent arbitrator had been appointed to help rectify any problems with the $2 billion health project.

He said the agreement between the parties would now see the hospital reach technical completion this month and hopefully be ready to open for patients before the peak of the winter flu season.

The new RAH at the western end of North Terrace will replace the current ageing public hospital at the eastern end of North Terrace.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-10/hbf-premiums-rising-above-average/8259482

West Australian-based insurer HBF will increase its health insurance costs by almost 6 per cent this year, despite insisting it “hates” increasing premiums.

The 5.96 per cent increase is more than 1 per cent higher than the average increase of 4.84 per cent approved by new Health Minister Greg Hunt.

HBF is WA’s largest health fund with 528,000 insurance policies, covering more than 1 million members.

HBF’s Group Public Relations spokesman Andrew Walton said policy holders would begin paying more from April 1.