The Health News – 16 June 2016

Overview:
• The Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital music therapy room is an essential part of the hospital’s oncology care. Music therapist Lauren Miller designs her sessions to give patients back part of their childhood pre-diagnosis.

• Twenty-seven babies survived late-term abortions in Queensland hospitals last year but were not rendered care and allowed to die, figures released by Health Minister Cameron Dick have shown. Queensland senator Larissa Waters, who has been campaigning for abortion to be removed from the criminal code, says decriminalising abortion would lead to less late-term terminations.

• Australian Medical Association President Dr Michael Gannon said the nation’s public hospitals are under severe pressure to meet growing demand for their services, and Labor’s plan to restore the National Health Reform Agreement and provide an additional $2 billion for public hospital funding over four years would help relieve some of the strain on the system.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  16th of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-15/music-therapy-easing-pain-for-children-with-cancer/7510226

There is one room in the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital oncology ward where there are no doctors, no beds and no mention of cancer.

Instead, every Wednesday morning, it is full of seriously ill children who clap their hands, sing and laugh.

This is the music therapy room, an essential part of the hospital’s oncology care.

Music therapist Lauren Miller designs her sessions to give patients back part of their childhood pre-diagnosis.

“It connects them to their healthy self and provides some normalisation to the hospital experience,” she said.

“It’s the familiarity of activities and knowledge from what life was like before their diagnosis.

“Quite often you see this little snippet of the person they were before they came in here.”

At a regular music therapy session, two-year-old Harvey came into the room screaming and clinging to his mother.

As Ms Miller strummed her guitar and began singing the regular hello song that each week’s session opens with, Harvey’s crying softened and he lay against his mother’s chest with one eye observing the rest of the room singing.

The founder of the program, Beth Dun, said the perception of pain was one area in which music therapy could make great differences.

“If a patient is anxious and distressed they’re going to feel their pain more acutely, so if we can help them feel better and less distressed then they’re going to experience less pain,” she said.

The Royal Children’s Hospital music therapy program has been operating for 25 years on philanthropic funding.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-15/babies-of-late-terminations-left-to-die-without-care/7512618

Twenty-seven babies survived late-term abortions in Queensland hospitals last year but were not rendered care and allowed to die, figures released by Health Minister Cameron Dick have shown.

The babies were of five months gestation or more.

The information was released by Mr Dick this week after he was asked a Question on Notice by Member for Cleveland Dr Mark Robinson in May.

Mr Dick also provided the number of ‘live birth’ abortions for the last 10 years, which shows a steady increase of those that survive. 

Queensland Health confirmed that in such cases, care is not rendered to the baby after a decision to terminate is made and it is left to perish in the clinic.

But the release also shows the actual number could be a lot higher.

Mr Dick said such procedures were done in accordance to the Queensland Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Guideline: Therapeutic termination of pregnancy.

Teresa Martin from Cherish Life Queensland said the revelation was shocking and called for an inquiry into the abortion industry in Queensland.

Queensland senator Larissa Waters, who has been campaigning for abortion to be removed from the criminal code, says decriminalising abortion would lead to less late-term terminations.

https://ama.com.au/media/ama-welcomes-labors-2-billion-commitment-public-hospitals

The AMA welcomes Labor’s commitment to inject an extra $2 billion into the public hospital system and to provide $100 million for a trial of patient-centred medical homes in primary care.

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said the nation’s public hospitals are under severe pressure to meet growing demand for their services, and Labor’s plan to restore the National Health Reform Agreement and provide an additional $2 billion for public hospital funding over four years would help relieve some of the strain on the system.

“Public hospitals have never been busier. The ageing population and health problems like obesity, diabetes and other complex and chronic illnesses are seeing more and more patients turning up to hospitals in need of care,” Dr Gannon said.

“Government funding is not keeping pace, forcing hospitals to do more with less, exacerbating problems like crowded emergency departments and long waiting lists for elective surgery.

“Labor’s commitment to provide an extra $2 billion over four years is a welcome short-term boost. It will help take a lot of the pressure off hospital emergency departments and reduce waiting times for treatment.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reached agreement with the States and Territories to provide an additional $2.9 billion for public hospitals over the next four years, but the Commonwealth will provide 45 per cent, rather than 50 per cent, of growth funding, and it will be capped at 6.5 per cent.

Labor says it will provide an extra $2 billion on top of this and increase the Commonwealth’s share of growth funding to 50 per cent.

The AMA’s recent Public Hospital Report Card shows that recent cuts to hospital funding are affecting services. It found that improvements in hospital performance have stagnated and, in some instances, have begun to fall back.

Earlier in the campaign, Labor pledged to reinstate Medicare rebate indexation from next year, and Dr Gannon challenged the Coalition to match Labor’s commitment.

“The rebate freeze is unfair and it is wrong,” Dr Gannon said.

“We know that it is pushing many practices to breaking point. Some are being forced to introduce patient charges for the first time, others are having to increase their fees. Either way, patients lose out and health suffers.

“Whatever happens at the 2 July poll, the freeze of Medicare rebates must end.”

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