The Health News Australia October 21 2017

  • Medical cannabis could soon be easier to get for terminally-ill Australians after passing a first hurdle in Parliament today. A bid by the Australian Greens to give terminally-ill patients quicker, easier access to doctor-prescribed medicinal cannabis, by allowing access under the Therapeutic Goods Administration category A list, passed the upper house today.
  • The Productivity Commission has warned that the federal government will not meet its target of of 475,000 national disability insurance scheme participants by 2019-20, and is failing to grow the disability workforce fast enough to meet the looming demand. The growth of the disability workforce was found to be “way too slow”.
  • Bone health experts have said more needs to be done to reduce preventable deaths from falls and fractures. As many as 160,000 broken bones are reported each year in Australia due to poor bone health, costing billions of dollars. Last month experts released a national audit into hip fractures which showed the problem was getting worse, and up to 25% of patients will die in the year after leaving hospital.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 21th of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/bill-to-make-medicinal-cannabis-access-easier-for-terminallyill-australians-passes-senate/news-story/70a0cb2638a683565def681e714e9dcd

Medical cannabis could soon be easier to get for terminally-ill Australians after passing a first hurdle in Parliament today. A bid by the Australian Greens to give terminally-ill patients quicker, easier access to doctor-prescribed medicinal cannabis, by allowing access under the Therapeutic Goods Administration category A list, passed the upper house today.
It will now go before the lower house, where the government controls the numbers.
During debate today, Liberal Democrats senator Senator Leyonhjelm said the Turnbull Government had “blood on its hands” for not making access easier.
He said “They are responsible for terrible unnecessary suffering and very likely a number of premature deaths. ” Patients can already get the drug under category B, but the bureaucratic process made access too slow.

But Liberal senator Dean Smith dismissed concerns about wait times, saying the approval process could take a day. “The Australian community should trust the advice of the government, which is informed by specialist medical practitioners,” Senator Smith said.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson called on the government to stop making criminals of caring mums and dads by allowing access to the “miracle drug”. Independent senator Derryn Hinch said the government’s position was a disgrace.

In June, the Senate voted to scrap rules which made it harder for dying patients to access medical cannabis, prompting the government to tell importers to ignore the decision.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/19/ndis-timetable-wont-be-met-productivity-commission-warns

The Productivity Commission has warned that the federal government will not meet its target of four hundred seventy five thousand national disability insurance scheme participants by two thousand nineteen and two thousand twenty, and is failing to grow the disability workforce fast enough to meet the looming demand. The commission releases its report on the costs of the twenty two billion dollars National Disability Insurance Scheme or NDIS on Thursday, and offers a bleak assessment of its chances of meeting the tight deadlines set out in a series of bilateral agreements between the commonwealth and the states and territories.

About one hundred thousand people have already been signed up but the government must develop support plans for at least  four hundred seventy five thousand by two thousand nineteen and two thousand twenty. To meet that deadline, the NDIS – the biggest social reform since Medicare – is being implemented at a dizzying speed. Advocates have long voiced concerns that the pace of the rollout is compromising decision making and leaving people with a disability with inadequate support packages. Those fears were confirmed by the Productivity Commission’s report, which said the “[National Disability Insurance Agency’s] focus on participant intake has compromised the quality of plans and participant outcomes”.
“Quality plans are critical, not only for participant outcomes but also for sending the right signals to providers about demand for supports and containing long-term costs of the scheme,” the Productivity Commission said.
….
The growth of the disability workforce was found to be “way too slow”. At full operation, the scheme will require 70,000 additional disability support care workers. That means one in every five jobs created now need to be in the disability sector.The Productivity Commission recommended the looming shortages be addressed by a targeted approach to skilled migration, intervention in thin markets, and independent price monitoring and regulation.

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/10/19/18/14/australias-poor-bone-health-needs-to-be-addressed-experts-say

Bone health experts have said more needs to be done to reduce preventable deaths from falls and fractures. As many as one hundred sixty thousand broken bones are reported each year in Australia due to poor bone health, costing billions of dollars. A Ministerial roundtable was held in Canberra this morning to discuss the problem which experts say needs to addressed. “It’s huge and it’s underestimated,” Professor Kerrie Sanders, from Australian Catholic University’s Institute for Health and Ageing, told Nine News. She added:”Sixty six percent of Australians aged fifty years and over have poor bone mass.”

Last month experts released a national audit into hip fractures which showed the problem was getting worse, and up to twenty five percent of patients will die in the year after leaving hospital.
The report also revealed only sixteen percent of patients are on bone protection medication when leaving hospital, compared to sixty percent of patients in the United Kingdom.
….
Professor Mark Cooper, Deputy Chair of the Osteoporosis Australia Medical Committee said  “We could be preventing numbers of fractures in the tens of thousands, that would follow onto to people having less morbidity, less discomfort and living longer in their own homes. ” Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt indicated he would speak to his Federal Health counterpart about the issue, but said the responsibility of funding needs to be shared.

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