The Health News – 27 October 2015

Overview:
• Ella Ingram 21-year-old Melbourne woman is challenging insurance giant QBE over its blanket exclusion of mental illness in its travel insurance policy, in what could be a watershed legal case for the industry.

• A plan to fix Brisbane’s troubled Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital will be released by the Queensland Government in the coming days. The Australian Medical Association of Queensland (AMAQ) has demanded changes at the year-old hospital, including more beds, resources and an improved IT system.

• More than a quarter of people calling a helpline for adult survivors of child abuse are now over the age of 60, a leading support group says. The figures have been released to mark Blue Knot Day, which aims to raise awareness of the estimated five million Australians who have suffered childhood trauma and abuse.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th October 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-26/melbourne-woman-takes-on-qbe-over-mental-illness-exclusion/6886240

A 21-year-old Melbourne woman is challenging insurance giant QBE over its blanket exclusion of mental illness in its travel insurance policy, in what could be a watershed legal case for the industry.

Ella Ingram, who developed depression when she was 17, was refused reimbursement for a 2012 school trip to New York, after she became too mentally ill to travel.

QBE’s travel insurance does not cover trip cancellation due to mental illness, even if the mental illness is not a pre-existing condition.

QBE declined to comment to 7.30, and attempted to delay reports on the matter by pursuing an injunction, which was denied late on Monday.

However, documents submitted to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal by QBE show it will argue the company would suffer “commercial hardship” if it covered mental illness, because of the number of Australians who experience it.

Nearly one in two Australians will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetimes.

Insurers are permitted to refuse coverage on the basis of “reasonable statistic data”, but Ms Ingram’s lawyers will argue the blanket exclusion is unreasonable and that insurance companies should look at each individual case when deciding whether to provide coverage.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-26/lady-cilento-children’s-hospital-crisis-meeting-plan-within-days/6886486

A plan to fix Brisbane’s troubled Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital will be released by the Queensland Government in the coming days.

The Australian Medical Association of Queensland (AMAQ) has demanded changes at the year-old hospital, including more beds, resources and an improved IT system.

The AMAQ had an urgent meeting late on Monday afternoon with Health Minister Cameron Dick.

AMAQ president Dr Chris Zappala said Mr Dick had a support plan, which was expected to be announced within days.

“I believe that those concerns have been listened to by the Minister and he understands them,” Dr Zappala said.

“He also understands completely how those difficulties and very fatiguing conditions impact very negatively on patient care.

“I think it represents a very large step forward for the hospital.

“I think that both staff and patients and families of patients can have confidence now when they go to the hospital that they will be receiving the best care on offer in Queensland at our premier tertiary paediatric hospital.

“I don’t know why it’s taken this long and I think that’s been unfortunate because that’s allowed frustrations to build and build, not just among people who work their [sic] but patients and spectators as well.”

Families of sick children have used Facebook to highlight their own circumstances of what they see as compromised care.

Mr Dick would not comment after the meeting, but earlier hinted at more funding.

“At my direction, the Department of Health has been working with the hospital on securing a proper funding base for the hospital for the future and I hope to say a little bit more about that in the near future,” he said.

“The time for reviews is over.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-26/child-abuse-survivors-aged-over-60-seeking-help-blue-knot-day/6886152

More than a quarter of people calling a helpline for adult survivors of child abuse are now over the age of 60, a leading support group says.

The figures have been released to mark Blue Knot Day, which aims to raise awareness of the estimated five million Australians who have suffered childhood trauma and abuse.

“Older people who may have kept this secret their entire life are now ringing up and reaching and seeking help.

“We have people in their 80s ringing our line and saying they have never told a soul, but then hearing how it has profoundly affected their life.”

Dr Kezelman said the findings on the age of those seeking help lent new urgency to calls for the government to support a national redress scheme, as recommended by the royal commission.

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.