The Health News – 30 January 2014

Overview

  • Scientists at the Queensland University of Technology have discovered two key enzymes that make ovarian cancer resistant to chemotherapy.
  • In QLD the federal candidate for Griffith has effectively retracted his support for a General Practitioner co-payment for Medicare ahead of the seat’s by-election.
  • In South Australia, the opposition have made a pre-election promise to build a palliative care facility at Port Pirie Hospital, but the current government says they have significantly underestimated the cost.
  • The South Australian Government says a new mobile dialysis truck will provide a better level of service to Aboriginal kidney disease patients in South Australia’s outback.

Health News on HPR.

Ovarian cancer breakthrough by Qld scientists – by Stephanie Small
Scientists at the Queensland University of Technology have discovered two key enzymes that make ovarian cancer resistant to chemotherapy. The finding could lead to a treatment to inhibit the enzymes and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Professor Judith Clements of the QUT said “Women often become resistant to the chemotherapeutic drugs that are used, and so this is the major problem: that even though the chemotherapy appears to work for a while, once they become resistant to it, there are no other drugs at the moment to help those women. We already have inhibitors made for these enzymes by one of our colleagues here at QUT that we use in our test tube experiments, and it works very well. But we would have to design a more clinically useful drug that works the same way in order to be able to translate that into the clinic.” There are currently roughly 13,000 new cases of ovarian cancer in Australia each year, more than half of which are fatal.

Griffith LNP candidate, Bill Glasson, backs away from Medicare co-payment proposal ahead of by-election – by Latika Bourke
In QLD the federal candidate for Griffith has effectively retracted his support for a General Practitioner co-payment for Medicare ahead of the seat’s by-election. Bill Glasson previously supported a proposed $6 fee per GP visit for patients to make the public aware that Medicare is not free; despite most working Australians paying a 1.5% Medicare levy on their income. The government’s Commission of Audit was supposed release an interim report on the sustainability of the national health scheme by January’s end, but has extended this to mid-February, after the Griffith by-election. Dr Glasson recently said Labour was the only party to ever support a co-payment. He said “We need a complete review of our health system…We need a sustainable Medicare system, we need a sustainable bulk-billing system” and Liberal Deputy Julie Bishop echoed his sentiments, accusing the Labour party of spreading pre-election fear about a Liberal GP tax. But Labour’s health spokeswoman Catherine King believes otherwise, and said “Joe Hockey has made it loud and clear a GP tax is on the table”.

Opposition promises funding for Port Pirie palliative care facility – no author listed
In South Australia, the opposition have made a pre-election promise to build a palliative care facility at Port Pirie Hospital, but the current government says they have significantly underestimated the cost. Health Minister Jack Snelling said that opposition leader Steven Marshall’s $250,000 commitment is less than half the likely cost of building the proposed 3-bed facility. Palliative care patients at the hospital are currently situated in the general ward as there is no dedicated area for them. But Minister Snelling asserted the Labour government’s commitment to the hospital, saying “We’re very committed to improving palliative care facilities in the Port Pirie community and we’re working towards a solution to see how we can fund that.”

New mobile dialysis truck to visit kidney disease patients in outback SA – by Candice Marcus

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-29/new-mobile-dialysis-truck-to-tour-outback-sa/5225946

The South Australian health minister also announced the government’s recent provision of a new mobile dialysis truck to service the remote communities on the state’s APY lands. The minister said “It’ll be a massive improvement for services for Aboriginal people on the lands who need dialysis”, but did not mention whether the permanent facility the Labour government recently promised to construct would go ahead, leading to speculation that the purchase of the truck may be in place of the proposed permanent facility.

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