- Figures in the federal budget papers confirms the ACT will lose out on health funding from 2017, the Territory’s Health Minister, Simon Corbell, says.
- With Ebola nearly stamped out in West Africa, vaccine trials will probably fail to provide enough useful data on how well they protect people against the deadly virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
- The Federal Government will change the bonus payments for rural doctors, after complaints from health groups.
This is the news on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 14TH May 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Figures in the federal budget papers confirms the ACT will lose out on health funding from 2017, the Territory’s Health Minister, Simon Corbell, says.
Mr Corbell said the change from National Health Reform funding to population-based health funding from 2017-18 would rip hundreds of millions of dollars from the ACT budget.
He said the ACT was the only state or territory to receive less Commonwealth funding in 2017-18 than in 2014-15.
Budget papers show the ACT will get $327 million in health funding next financial year and $347 million in 2016-17.
But that figure will drop to $299 million in 2017-18 – about $14 million less than what was allocated for that year in the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook for 2014-15.
“In the long term, the budget confirms that the damage done in last year’s budget remains,” Mr Corbell said.
Over 10 years the ACT will be $600 million worse off under population-based health funding, according to ACT Government modelling.
The shift to population-based health funding from 2017-18 was announced last year.
“The Commonwealth has failed to undo the damage from last year’s budget that saw them tear up the National Health Reform Agreement,” Mr Corbell said.
Mr Corbell said the ACT would also lose nearly a $1 million next year in Commonwealth Dental Funding and $250,000 of Indigenous Early Childhood Development funding.
With Ebola nearly stamped out in West Africa, vaccine trials will probably fail to provide enough useful data on how well they protect people against the deadly virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
Liberia was declared free from Ebola by the government and the WHO on Saturday after 42 days without a new case of the virus, which has killed more than 4,700 people there during a year-long epidemic.
Guinea reported seven cases last week while Sierra Leone had two, Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, told a news briefing in Geneva.
“The best news is we are going to zero cases, there is absolutely no doubt about that,” she said.
But two experimental Ebola vaccines — developed by GlaxoSmithKline and jointly by Merck and NewLink Genetics — being tested on volunteers may not yield sufficient data on efficacy as case numbers fall, Ms Kieny said.
“It is not clear whether it will be possible to have even a hint of efficacy from these two vaccines,” she said, noting that they already had been proven safe.
“To have efficacy we must see if people are actually protected.
The UN agency this week hosted a two-day experts’ meeting on Ebola research and development after the world’s largest epidemic that has killed more than 11,000 since December 2013.
The aim is to draw up a plan to speedily develop vaccines and drugs for use in clinical trials during any future outbreak.
The Federal Government will change the bonus payments for rural doctors, after complaints from health groups.
The way rural and remote communities are defined, for the purposes of doctor pay incentives and scholarships, will be revamped under a new geographical classification system.
Rural health groups have been arguing for years that the current system of geographical classification did not properly target rural and remote areas, with large regional cities like Cairns eligible for doctor incentive programs.
The rebadged General Practice Rural Incentives program will be based on a new classification system which measures both the geographical location of a place alongside a town’s size.
Known as the Modified Monash Model, it targets rural and remote communities rather than outer metropolitan areas and large regional centres, and is based on independent research by Professor John Humphrey from Monash University.
Incentive payments will be adjusted, based on where doctors choose to practise and their years of service.
Indicative modelling by the Health Department shows a doctor who stays in a very remote area for five years could earn up to $60,000 as an incentive payment, whereas a doctor choosing a less remote region and only staying for two years could receive about $4,000 in incentive payments.
The government also plans to streamline existing scholarship programs for health workers, merging six current scholarships into one Health Workforce Scholarship Program.
Nurses, medical undergraduates, and those from diagnostic imaging and general practice schools will all be able to apply for the Health Workforce Scholarship Program, with the government expecting a one-year commitment to a regional or rural area.
It says the one year obligation will “ensure exposure to practices in rural settings, and to the lifestyle and types of work available to encourage healthcare professionals to continue to work in rural areas”.
The current system of Bonded Medical Places will remain, and will include transferred scholarships from the Medical Rural Bonded program.
Whereas current students have an obligation to compete four to six years in a rural setting, the remodelled scheme will only require one year of service.
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