The Health News – 16 May 2017

Overview:

• Disability groups want to increase the levy by 0.5 percentage points from 2019 to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which has reignited a debate about whether or not Labor left a multi-billion funding black hole. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has supported the Medicare levy, but only for the top 20 per cent of wage earners with a taxable income higher than $87,001.

• Personal stories of drug addiction and efforts to recover are being shared in regular group therapy sessions of the Matrix Model, an ice addiction treatment program which is on trial in Adelaide. Clinical psychologist Phillip Townshend said the program was considered a gold standard in addiction treatment.

• Frozen veg aren’t necessarily inferior, says Melanie McGrice, a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia. One recent British study found antioxidant levels in frozen produce can actually be higher than in fresh fruit and vegetables. “This was “quite surprising”, because people have always thought antioxidant levels would be higher in fresh vegies,” Ms McGrice said.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  16th of May 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-15/groups-tell-bill-shorten-the-medicare-levy-increase-is-fair/8527338

Disability groups have urged Opposition Leader Bill Shorten not to play politics with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), describing an increase to the Medicare levy as a fair way to secure its future.

The Coalition wants to increase the levy by 0.5 percentage points from 2019 to fund the scheme, which has reignited a debate about whether or not Labor left a multi-billion funding black hole.

Mr Shorten has supported the Medicare levy, but only for the top 20 per cent of wage earners with a taxable income higher than $87,001.

The tax increase has also been welcomed by Australian Federation of Disability Organisations chief executive Ross Joyce, who says it will “put an end to uncertainty”.

But Mr Shorten has brushed aside those calls, saying the Coalition should abandon its 10-year company tax plan rather than increase taxes for most Australians.

Mr Shorten said the Prime Minister was trying to “bully the Labor Party” into accepting the Medicare increase for almost all Australians.

Labor has repeatedly denied leaving the NDIS partially funded, pointing to series of long-term savings in the 2013-14 federal budget.

Key crossbench senators remain sceptical about increasing the Medicare levy, which means the Government needs Labor’s support to pass the legislation through the Upper House.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-15/matrix-model-ice-addiction-treatment-program-adelaide-trial/8521984

Personal stories of drug addiction and efforts to recover are being shared in regular group therapy sessions of the Matrix Model, an ice addiction treatment program which is on trial in Adelaide.

“It’s just open and honest — you can say what you feel, what you’ve been through and what you’re going through,” one participant explained.

Another was pleased with the absence of negative judgment…

The 16-week outpatient program was a United States creation during the cocaine epidemic of the 1980s.

Its elements include group sessions with a focus on social skills, positive decision-making, cognitive behavioural therapy and relapse prevention.

Clinical psychologist Phillip Townshend said the program was considered a gold standard in addiction treatment.

The free treatment program is funded by the national ice task force.

The program will soon operate at three sites across Adelaide and there are plans to roll it out in regional areas.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-05-14/fresh-vs-frozen-vegies/8443310

If you’re trying to cut down on food waste, yet often have piles of limp and discoloured vegies in your fridge by the end of the week, it might be time to rethink your view of frozen veg.

There’s a common belief fresh is best and buying frozen vegies is a cop out.

But certainly on the nutrition front, frozen veg aren’t necessarily inferior, says Melanie McGrice, a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

“Picking vegies from your own vegie garden out the back has to be the optimal situation. [But] in Australia, vegies often have to travel a very long distance to get to us. This can take several days.

“We know that the longer it takes to get fresh food to us from the farm, the more the nutrients [in the food] slowly decrease.”

On the other hand, the nutrients in frozen produce are sealed into the veg during the freezing process.

And if they last for weeks or more in your freezer, they can also save on food waste.

One recent British study found antioxidant levels in frozen produce can actually be higher than in fresh fruit and vegetables.

This was “quite surprising”, because people have always thought antioxidant levels would be higher in fresh vegies, Ms McGrice said.

It’s the water-soluble vitamins including vitamin C and some of the B vitamins that tend to be lost from our fresh produce the longer the vegies hang around, Ms McGrice said.