The Health News Australia February 7 2018

  • Victoria’s only specialist school for the blind is facing closure because the Department of Education is discouraging parents to enrol their children, according to its founder and chief executive. The Insight Education Centre for the Blind and Vision Impaired was founded in 2012, after Vision Australia closed its school in 2009.  The independent school offers a dedicated primary school campus in Berwick in Melbourne’s south-east, and three mobile outreach classrooms. A 2012 study by Vision Australia found 58% of people who are blind or have low vision and want to work are unemployed.
  • Australian radiologists have escalated a campaign against the Turnbull Government’s inaction on Medicare with a new national television commercial. Produced by the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association, the campaign is titled MEDICARE – IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY and began with a thirty-second television commercial running on high rotation on Sky. More than 9 million Australians need radiology each year, with 26 million radiology scans and services undertaken.
  • Social isolation has been shown to pose a greater health threat than smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise – but that message is failing to get through to the community. However, a new study led by University of Queensland School of Psychology researcher Professor Alex Haslam shows that people remain largely unaware of the importance of social connectedness for health. UQ researchers surveyed more than 500 people from the United States and the United Kingdom to assess their views about the importance of social and behavioural risk factors for life expectancy.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 7th of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-05/insight-education-centre-school-for-the-blind-facing-closure/9396792

Victoria’s only specialist school for the blind is facing closure because the Department of Education is discouraging parents to enrol their children, according to its founder and chief executive. Alan Lachman told ABC Radio Melbourne the school was “heavily underutilised”. He added: “The issue is that we’re not getting kids. We’re not getting referrals of students out of mainstream.”

Mister Lachman is the father of a blind student and founded the Insight Education Centre for the Blind and Vision Impaired in two thousand twelve, after Vision Australia closed its school in two thousand nine.  The independent school offers a dedicated primary school campus in Berwick in Melbourne’s south-east, and three mobile outreach classrooms. Mister Lachman said the poor uptake was concerning, as many vision impaired children could be missing out.

A two thousand twelve study by Vision Australia found fifty eight percent of people who are blind or have low vision and want to work are unemployed. Currently, the Insight campus in Berwick has only eleven children enrolled, while the outreach program has enough children for one mobile classroom. The school has an overall capacity for approximately one hundred children. The school needs about ten new enrolments to stay open. Mister Lachman said the Department of Education had not assisted in promoting the school and had actively discouraged parents and schools from using it.

Mrister Lachman said fees were not the issue, and that the school — which charges annual tuition fees of nine thousand dollars per student — worked extensively with the community to provide scholarships for those parents who could not afford it.

A Department of Education spokesman said the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority was waiting for the school to respond to “a review of its quality and operations conducted last year”.

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/medical-imaging/10/news/nc1/new-campaign-targets-government-inaction-on-medicare/3156/

Australian radiologists have escalated a campaign against the Turnbull Government’s inaction on Medicare with a new national television commercial. Produced by the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association, the campaign is titled MEDICARE – IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY and began with a thirty-second television commercial running on high rotation on Sky Tuesday February six, two thousand eighteen.

More than nine million Australians need radiology each year, with twenty six million radiology scans and services undertaken. One in ten general practitioner visits results in a referral to a radiologist, with radiology essential for diagnosing, treatment and managing all cancers.

ADIA President Doctor Siavash Es’haghi said the Government “must be held responsible” for the impact its policies are having on Medicare and patient care.
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He added:“Patients are suffering. The funding black hole means that 10% of Australia’s most vulnerable patients – pensioners and concession card holders – are not able to access bulk billed x-rays and scans and that more patients each year are forced to pay gaps. Average gaps are at one hundred dollars and are still rising.”

Around three hundred thousand Australians are forgoing treatment every year because of cost.

http://health.uq.edu.au/article/2018/02/social-isolation-health-message-fails-cut-through

Social isolation has been shown to pose a greater health threat than smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise – but that message is failing to get through to the community. However, a new study led by University of Queensland School of Psychology researcher Professor Alex Haslam shows that people remain largely unaware of the importance of social connectedness for health.
UQ researchers surveyed more than five hundred people from the United States and the United Kingdom to assess their views about the importance of social and behavioural risk factors for life expectancy.

Professor Haslam said: “Our survey indicated that only around fifteen percent of people saw these social factors to be as important for mortality as they are. Men, younger participants, and those with a lower level of education were more likely to underestimate the importance of social factors for health, as were people who believed in the importance of authority and convention.
These results suggest that education has a role to play in increasing awareness, in the same way that we have seen very successful campaigns to quit smoking, exercise more, and have a healthy diet.”
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He said a study recently published in Psychological Science showed that loneliness increased the risk of premature death by about thirty percent.
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He added: “In the UK, for example, there is a strong push to encourage GPs to offer ‘social prescribing’ as part of their treatment for patients with a range of conditions including stress, trauma, ageing, depression, addiction, eating disorders and brain injury.”
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The research is published in Social Science and Medicine, and the  importance of social connected is  documented in The New Psychology of Health: Unlocking the Social Cure, co-authored by Professor Haslam and colleagues from UQ’s School of Psychology.

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