The Health News – 20 May 2016

Overview:
• Far West Home and Community Care Services (HACC) says a grant of $100,000 will allow it to set up a "lounge" to reduce boredom among the city’s ageing population. HACC provides bus transport and home maintenance services to elderly residents and people with disabilities.

• Ten million people could die by 2050 unless sweeping changes are agreed upon to tackle mankind’s increasing resistance to antibiotics, which can turn common ailments into killers, according to the new report Commissioned by the British Government. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance outlined steps to fight the emergence of ‘superbugs’ as infections become immune to existing drugs, allowing minor injuries and common infections to become deadly.

• The Federal Opposition will make the first big-ticket promise of the election campaign and vow to spend $12 billion over a decade to unwind the controversial freeze on Medicare rebates the Government pays doctors for services.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  20th of May 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-19/nsw-government-funds-seniors-lounge-in-broken-hill/7429338

An aged care provider at Broken Hill in far west New South Wales says a grant of $100,000 will allow it to set up a “lounge” to reduce boredom among the city’s ageing population.

Far West Home and Community Care Services (HACC) provides bus transport and home maintenance services to elderly residents and people with disabilities.

The organisation is one of 24 successful applicants for money from the State Government for community hubs, and [they] competed with more than 400 other applicants.

Far West HACC manager Sue Johnstone said the organisation had identified a gap in activities and social spaces for older people in Broken Hill, especially since another centre closed several years ago.

“We used to transport a lot of the clients to the centre [but] they were at a loose end with nowhere to go [when it closed],” Ms Johnstone said.

“Since then, we’ve been lobbying and trying to put in applications to fill this gap and get some funding to open another centre.”

Ms Johnstone said the grant would be used to set up a seniors’ lounge, purchase equipment for it and employ two new staff members.

The lounge will provide a space for elderly residents to participate in activities like knitting, scrapbooking and board games.

It will also have sections for hairdressing, computer use, and a space for performances or concerts.

Ms Johnstone said the grant provided enough money to fund the lounge until mid-2017.

She said Far West HACC hoped the centre would be ready for use by July.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-19/superbug-threatens-millions-report-warns/7428450

Ten million people could die by 2050 unless sweeping changes are agreed upon to tackle mankind’s increasing resistance to antibiotics, which can turn common ailments into killers, a new report warns.

Commissioned by the British Government, the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance outlined steps to fight the emergence of “superbugs” as infections become immune to existing drugs, allowing minor injuries and common infections to become deadly.

“It needs to be seen as the economic and security threat that it is, and be at the forefront of the minds of heads of state,” said Jim O’Neill, the economist who led the review.

The overuse of antibiotics should be reduced by cutting the vast quantities of medicines given to farm animals, improving diagnoses to stop unnecessary prescriptions, and a global public awareness campaign, the paper urged.

At the same time, researchers should be encouraged to develop new antibiotics through a global fund for research, and rewards for those who manage to develop new drugs.

The cost of the measures was estimated to be $US40 billion ($55.37) over 10 years.

The review found the cost if ignoring the … problem would be far greater, with authorities facing the cost “sooner or later”.

The World Health Organisation has already warned antimicrobial resistance may result in “a return to the pre-antibiotic era,” when millions of people died in pandemics before drugs were discovered that could treat them.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-19/labor-to-unveil-$12b-medicare-rebate-freeze-rollback/7426958

The Federal Opposition will …make the first big-ticket promise of the election campaign and vow to spend $12 billion over a decade to unwind the controversial freeze on Medicare rebates the Government pays doctors for services.

In 2013, the then Labor government introduced an eight-month cap on the amount of money it paid doctors who provided services under Medicare.

The current Coalition Government froze the rebate in 2014.

That decision enraged GPs who said they were being starved of funds they needed to provide quality care.

In this month’s budget Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the freeze on indexation for Medicare rebates would continue until the 2019-20 financial year.

That is estimated to save the Government $925 million over the four-year forward estimates.

But despite the freeze on the rebate, bulk billing rates have continued to grow and are at a high of 84 per cent.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will announce a Labor government would reverse the freeze of Medicare rebates from the start of 2017 and shell out an additional $12 billion over the next 10 years for doctors.

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