The Health News – 07 August 2015


Overview:

• AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said … that an article in The Australian newspaper by Medibank Private Managing Director.  George Savvides, shows yet again that Australia’s biggest private health insurer is out of touch with the realities of quality in health care.

• Supporters of medicinal cannabis rallied outside Newcastle court yesterday morning, saying not legalising the drug is inhumane. The Medical Cannabis Users Association’s Gail Hester said Australians should have access to the plant without fear of prosecution.

• Shivering through winter and breaking a sweat in summer can help you lose weight according to Professor Gary Wittert the head of medicine at the University of Adelaide.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 7th August 2015. Read by

Rebecca Foster.

https://ama.com.au/media/medibank-private-out-touch-reality-quality-health-

care

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said … that an article in The Australian newspaper by Medibank Private Managing Director, George Savvides, shows yet again that Australia’s biggest private health insurer is out of touch with the realities of quality in health care.

Professor Owler said that Mr Savvides claims that Medibank Private wants to work on improving quality and minimising preventable complications in hospitals … but the insurer’s recent

behaviour has been quite the opposite. “Medibank Private has been operating in a vacuum,” Professor Owler said. “In his article today, Mr Savvides seems to have confused ‘mistakes’ with ‘known

complications’.

“The healthcare industry accepts that health insurers should not have to pay

for mistakes such as wrong site surgery, but hospitals and health

professionals are managing known complications, such as infections in

patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and who are known to be

susceptible.

“These are things that are unavoidable despite all the checks and balances that are designed to minimise them.

“Instead of working collaboratively with hospitals and doctors to improve quality and eliminate waste, Medibank Private has been using aggressive behaviour with private hospitals in negotiations

over new contracts to get out of paying benefits for their members. “They are ignoring the fact that doctors work on improving the quality of health care every hour of every day of their working

lives. That is our job. That is our vocation.”

Professor Owler said that Medibank Private’s actions ignore the fact that quality standards for hospitals are set and assessed independently by accreditation agencies like the Australian Council on

Healthcare Standards. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-06/medicinal-cannabis-supporters-

rally-outside-newcastle-court/6677146

Supporters of medicinal cannabis … rallied outside Newcastle court …[yesterday] morning, saying not legalising the drug is inhumane. Malcolm Ronald Lee was …told he will be sentenced on October 16, after pleading guilty to three offences.

Police say he was growing 119 cannabis plants in his Newcastle home, and was supplying local cancer patients. Last month, the Premier Mike

Baird announced Newcastle’s Calvary Mater Hospital will host Australia’s first medicinal cannabis trial. Local woman Karen Burge said a trial is not necessary.

“Medicinal cannabis equals better quality of life for all sick Australians,” she said. “It’s the best, safest, natural sedative, laxative, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory.

The Medical Cannabis Users Association’s Gail Hester said Australians should have access to the plant without fear of prosecution.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-06/is-your-heater-making-you-fat-

winter-stimulates-fat-burning/6676522

Shivering through winter and breaking a sweat in summer can help you lose weight according to the head of medicine at the University of Adelaide. 

Professor Gary Wittert told 891 ABC Adelaide’s breakfast hosts Matthew Abraham and David Bevan that reaching for the air conditioning control in hot and cold weather can actually stop the

body from processing fat. “Apart from prolonged exposure to cold, particularly in elderly people, it is probably quite good to keep a little … cold some of the time,” Professor

Wittert said. The professor said the modern habit of controlling our exposure to cold and hot conditions, via heaters and air conditioners, was actually working against our body’s natural

temperature regulation functions. “We are designed to cool down when it is hot and heat up when it is cold, and those processes consume energy,” Professor Wittert said.

Humans have a type of fat known as “brown fat”, Professor Wittart explained, and when the body responds to heat variations it burns brown fat for energy.

“When it is cold, we switch the brown fat cells on and they go from normal yellow fat, to beige, to brown,” he said. Brown fat is interspersed through white fat cells and specifically clustered

around the back and kidney areas. “It is recognised now that fat cells are a little more changeable than we thought before,” Professor Wittert said. “It ain’t that bad to … shiver a little.”

Professor Wittert explained that burying yourself in a large pile of blankets until you almost sweat can be disruptive to sleep patterns. Temperatures over 16 degrees Celcius in the bedroom can

prevent a good night of sleep. “If you maintain an artificially high temperature, that could well inhibit the normal sleep process,” Professor Wittert said. He said for normal, healthy people,

exercising in the cooler times of winter was beneficial to stimulating fat cell loss and could actually help those wanting to shed a few kilograms prior to summer.

This has been the news on Health Professional Radio. For more information on today’s items head to hpr.fm/news and subscribe to our podcast on itunes.

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