The Health News – 17 May 2016

Overview:
• The Queensland State Government has appointed six members to the new board of the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service. Chairman Paul Bell said that they will be making sure that we understand where we can build better and stronger partnerships with some of the private health providers within central Queensland.

• Health Minister Sussan Ley has moved to reassure patients with eating disorders that they will still be able to access specialist counsellors. The Butterfly Foundation runs the country’s only dedicated online and phone support service for people with eating disorders such as anorexia.

• The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has been told that Cancer Council Victoria’s reputation as a research body would be significantly damaged if it was forced to hand over confidential survey information on plain-packaged cigarettes to British American Tobacco.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  17th of May 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-16/six-members-join-central-qld-hospital-and-health-service-board/7416868

The [Queensland] State Government has appointed six members to the new board of the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

The board will be chaired by Central Highlands’ councillor and former mayor Paul Bell.

Cr Bell said the new board presented strong and diverse representation from across the region.

He said the main goal was to build on existing partnerships to improve health services for the region, forging strong relationships within the public and private sector.

“The big thing for us is to really [be] making sure that we understand where we can build better and stronger partnerships with some of the private health providers within central Queensland,” he said.

“Making sure that we’ve got good strong relationships with those specialists and specialist providers of services both in the medical and allied health areas … so that we get, I suppose, the best performance out of what the health board can do and public health can provide for our community.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-16/lifesaving-eating-disorder-helpline-to-remain-government-says/7418736

Health Minister Sussan Ley has moved to reassure patients with eating disorders that they will still be able to access specialist counsellors.

The Butterfly Foundation runs the country’s only dedicated online and phone support service for people with eating disorders such as anorexia.

The foundation’s chief executive Christine Morgan said the support service had only been guaranteed another 12 months of funding. She said the prospect of losing the service filled her with “horror”.

The Federal Government is developing a new centralised online “gateway” as part of its shake-up of mental health services.

People ringing in or using web chat would be asked a list of questions which would determine what kind of help they needed.

The Government’s expert reference group identified that some of the helpline services were doubling up on what they were offering patients.

But the ABC understands the Butterfly Foundation’s unique services would be safe under the changes.

Ms Ley said she simply wanted to make it easier for people to reach out for help.

“There are 20 phone numbers at the moment. We just want there to be one number, be triaged through to the expert advice that they need for their particular condition,” she said.

But Ms Ley stressed specialist mental health phone lines would still exist for those who need them.

She said the Mental Health Commission found there were over 30 phone and online mental health services in Australia, but no co-ordinated way to access them.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-16/cancer-council-fears-reputation-at-risk-over-foi-battle/7418574

Cancer Council Victoria’s reputation as a research body would be “significantly damaged” if it was forced to hand over confidential survey information on plain-packaged cigarettes to a big tobacco company, a Melbourne court has been told.

British American Tobacco is appealing the Freedom of Information (FOI) commissioner’s decision to knock back an application by the company to access a range of data, including the attitudes of school students towards smoking.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is hearing the appeal before Justice Greg Garde.

The court heard the Cancer Council was worried the data contained in six documents could be used “inappropriately” by British American Tobacco.

One of the documents contained unpublished information from surveys of children from independent and government schools across Victoria covering a range of issues, including when they started smoking and how they felt about plain packaging.

Another national survey tracked 400 smokers to monitor the short- to mid-term effects of the olive green packaging and the court was told that while British American Tobacco had access to the survey’s final data, it wanted to view a draft version.

The Cancer Council’s barrister, Peter Hanks QC, said releasing the data would breach the participants’ confidentiality and some of the information was still to be analysed.

Previously, the company said the information should be made public and questioned why the Cancer Council was spending so much time and money fighting the application.