The Health News – 18 April 2016

Overview:
• Andrew Knox, cancer patient whose treatment was botched due to testing errors has called for a judicial inquiry into SA Health.

• A quiet revolution is going on in aged care, with the sector undergoing its biggest shake-up in 25 years. The changes are designed to help the sick and elderly stay in their own homes for longer by paying for services when government subsidies run out.

• An Australia-China research centre based at Adelaide University hopes to develop healthier wheat and rice, to boost diets and life expectancies.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  18th of April 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-17/cancer-patient-calls-for-judicial-inquiry-into-sa-health/7332776

A cancer patient whose treatment was botched due to testing errors has called for a judicial inquiry into SA Health.

SA Pathology executive director Ken Barr was stood down two weeks ago after revelations up to 100 men recovering from prostate cancer in South Australia were incorrectly told the disease had returned.

Mr Barr has since broken his silence over his dismissal and claimed he informed senior bureaucrats about false cancer diagnoses.

SA Health on Saturday released an internal memo authorised by Mr Barr and sent to the department, which it said failed to indicate the scale of the problem.

“That memo clearly refers to one patient complaint,” chief executive David Swan said.

The Government ordered an independent review into the matter.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-16/changes-to-aged-care-to-user-pays-system/7312008

A quiet revolution is going on in aged care, with the sector undergoing its biggest shake-up in 25 years.

The changes are designed to help the sick and elderly stay in their own homes for longer by paying for services when government subsidies run out.

Aged and Community Services Australia CEO John Kelly said aged care was becoming a user-pays model, particularly if people wanted to stay in their own home.

Mr Kelly said the way money was allocated in aged care was changing.

“At the moment it still goes to the provider, which is the old classic model,” he said.

But from February next year the money will go straight into people’s bank accounts, not to the care providers.

“So they have a choice about what they want to purchase and what they are prepared to chip in for themselves,” Mr Kelly said.

Caboolture Blue Care lifestyle manager Julie Smallhorn said home care was all about dignity, respect, choice and control.

“If you can tick all those boxes I think a lot more elderly people are going to be happy,” she said.

More than a million Australians are currently in the aged care system, which costs the Federal Government $17 billion a year.

Some 70,000 Australians are on stay-at-home packages and that number is expected to double in the next 10 years.

National Seniors Australia CEO Michael O’Neill said there were growing concerns about affordability, particularly from part-pensioners and self-funded retirees.

Mr O’Neill said it was possible that in-home care could involve means-testing the family home.

“I think increasingly it is the family home that will be the mechanism which will be the target of governments for you to pay for your aged care,” he said.

“I think the Government has been very clear in most of their commentary that there is not enough money any more in the taxpayer pool to provide everything that everyone wants.”

The new user pays scheme will be reviewed in 2023.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-16/australia-china-research-aims-to-make-rice-and-wheat-healthier/7331608

An Australia-China research centre based at Adelaide University hopes to develop healthier wheat and rice, to boost diets and life expectancies.

The centre will gather researchers in human health, nutrition and agricultural science and be run in conjunction with Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The director of the new Adelaide centre, Professor Bob Gibson, said the challenge was to generate new grains with proven long-term health advantages.

“We’re growing for quantity rather than quality and, to some degree, we have the skills now to be able to turn this around and grow grains specifically to meet specific nutritional needs,” he said.

“On current projections young adults in most countries will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of a worldwide rise in non-communicable diseases.”

Professor Gibson said chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes killed an estimated 38 million people annually.

“We can see the same trends happening now in China, and one of the things we agreed between the two universities is let us try to get in there to do things before it gets too bad,” he said.

Adelaide and Shanghai Jiao Tong universities already have a joint laboratory for plant science and breeding based at the Waite campus in Adelaide.

The Federal Government has just given $1 million to the new Adelaide centre, taking its total funding to $4.9 million in cash and other support from research and industry partners.

The backers of the venture include GrainCorp, Australian Grain Technologies, Bright Rice, China Agricultural University and Zhengzhao University.