The Health News – 12 June 2017

Overview:

• Medical groups have largely welcomed a shake up of after-hours doctor visits recommended by the Federal Government’s Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce. The report found “many urgent after-hours services claimed as urgent are not truly urgent … and the distinction between ‘urgent’ and ‘non-urgent’ appears to be not well understood by many medical practitioners”.

• An extra dose of pneumococcal vaccine for Indigenous infants could prevent ear infection that causes 90 per cent of toddlers in remote communities to have a level of deafness, researchers say. The Menzies School of Health Research is conducting a clinical trial in remote communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and hope the results will change the public health approach and give more help to families.

• The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) revealed about 93 per cent of Australian five-year-olds were fully immunised in 2015/16, an improvement on previous years. But Perth — in the north and south metropolitan areas — lagged behind at a rate of 91 per cent. “We have to do better,” Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller said. “There are areas that are down in the 80s and that’s not good enough — these are diseases that can be fatal for little children,” he said.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  12th of June 2017. Read by Wayne Bucklar. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-07/crackdown-on-after-hours-doctor-visits-welcomed-health-groups/8598024

Medical groups have largely welcomed a shake up of after-hours doctor visits recommended by the Federal Government’s Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce.

The report found “many urgent after-hours services claimed as urgent are not truly urgent … and the distinction between ‘urgent’ and ‘non-urgent’ appears to be not well understood by many medical practitioners”.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Doctor Bastian Seidel said the report was a positive step towards better supporting continuity of care between patients and their regular GPs.

Investigations into the inappropriate use of Medicare rebates found some practitioners were claiming for urgent services which could “more appropriately be managed through ordinary GP attendances,” the report found.

Australian Medical Association president Doctor Michael Gannon said after-hours services should complement the services provided by a patient’s usual GP or general practice, not displace them.

The findings of the review are open for public consultation. Once that is complete, Health Minister Greg Hunt will consider implementing recommendations.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-08/vaccine-trial-targets-rates-of-ear-disease-in-indigenous-kids/8599912

An extra dose of pneumococcal vaccine for Indigenous infants could prevent ear infection that causes ninety per cent of toddlers in remote communities to have a level of deafness, researchers say.

The Menzies School of Health Research is conducting a clinical trial in remote communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and hope the results will change the public health approach and give more help to families.

For many, the condition continues until school age, which means they have not developed language skills and other essential childhood learnings, Professor Amanda Leach from Menzies said.

Experts say symptoms of infection, like fever and pain, does not heal in Indigenous children on its own as it does in non-Indigenous patients.

Professor Leach said it was not known why, but it does mean Indigenous children were disproportionately affected because of the difficulty to pick up the condition.

Professor Leach said the ultimate goal of the vaccine trial was to reduce the 90 per cent rates of otitis media, which had seen no improvement in overall prevalence in the past twenty years.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-08/perth-immunisation-rates-among-the-worst-in-australia/8598924

Perth has one of the worst child immunisation rates in the country, with the suburbs of South Perth and Subiaco the worst performers, according to new figures.

The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) revealed about ninety three per cent of Australian five-year-olds were fully immunised in two thousand fifteen to two thousand sixteen, an improvement on previous years.

But Perth — in the north and south metropolitan areas — lagged behind at a rate of ninety one per cent.

“We have to do better,” Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller said.

“There are areas that are down in the 80s and that’s not good enough — these are diseases that can be fatal for little children,” he said.

Nationally rates have improved by one point four per cent since two thousand twelve to two thousand thirteen.

Doctor Miller said it was too early to tell if the Federal Government’s “no jab, no pay” policy was working.

The policy, which was introduced in January two thousand sixteen, withholds family payments worth up to fifteen thousand dollars per year to parents who fail to have their children vaccinated.