The Health News – 4 Dec 2014

Overview

  • Tasmanians say assistive technology and the National Disability Insurance Scheme are vastly improving lives across the state.The success was celebrated [yesterday] today as part of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Australia’s suicide rate has dropped, but males are still four times more likely than females to kill themselves, according to a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
  • More than a decade of work towards a trans-Tasman scheme to regulate medicines and other bio-medical products has been quietly scrapped by the Federal Government.


News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 4th December 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-03/ndis-and-technology-prove-a-life-changer-for-tasmanian-teenager/5939022

Tasmanians say assistive technology and the National Disability Insurance Scheme are vastly improving lives across the state.
The success was celebrated [yesterday] today as part of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Harry Bolch, 16, is among hundreds of Tasmanians signed up to the NDIS.
He has a severe form of cerebral palsy that has rendered him non-verbal and requiring assistance to get around.
Harry’s mother Kelly Bolch said the NDIS and technology had changed her son’s life dramatically for the better.

Through the scheme, Harry has been provided with a specialised computer with an in-built camera to communicate.
The blink of an eye allows Harry to send a verbal message to friends and family.
“This is giving him a voice for the first time in his life and he’s finally having his say, so it’s pretty spectacular,” Ms Bolch said.
The machine also allows Harry to play music, a function that has gotten him into trouble at school.
“Other students will be sitting in class and then suddenly Harry will blast music,” Ms Bolch laughed.
“He can be quite the mischievous teenager.”

Emma Marsh, who helps students with disabilities at Taroona High School in Hobart, said Harry’s social skills had improved dramatically since he was given the equipment just over a year ago.

Almost 18 months after the NDIS was rolled out across the state, 98 per cent of Tasmanians on the scheme said they were completely satisfied.
“It not only has allowed him to communicate more effectively, the NDIS has also given Harry access to social groups,” Ms Bolch said.
“Instead of always hanging out with mum, Harry can now interact with other like-minded teenagers.”
The NDIS is expected to extend beyond the 15 to 24-year-old age bracket to cover all age groups by mid-2016.

ttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-03/suicide-rate-has-dropped/5936098

Australia’s suicide rate has dropped, but males are still four times more likely than females to kill themselves, according to a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
There were 2,282 suicides in 2010-11 compared to the peak of more than 2,600 deaths in 1997-98.
However, the rates of suicide per 100,000 population remained relatively static according to AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.
“Suicide death rates for males, adjusted for age, have fluctuated at around 20 deaths per 100,000 people between 1921 and 2010,” Professor Harrison said.
During most of the same period, the suicide rate among females was about five deaths per 100,000 people per year.
By 2010, the rates per 100,000 fell below 20 for males and below five for females.
Suicide rates among Indigenous people were twice as high as for non-Indigenous Australians.
The report also looked at generational differences in suicide.
“For females, we haven’t seen any marked variation among different generations,” Professor Harrison said.
“Suicide rates at about 20 years of age were higher for men born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s than for men born earlier or later in the 20th century,” he said.
Females had a much higher rate of hospitalisation as a result of self-harm, particularly in teenage age groups since 1999.
Girls aged 15 to 19 had the highest rate of hospitalised self-harm with 430 admitted to hospital per 100,000, while the rate for males the same age was 144 per 100,000.
Rates of self-harm among Indigenous Australians were two-and-a-half times higher for males and twice as high for females.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-03/government-scraps-trans-tasman-scheme-to-regulate-medicines/5937482

More than a decade of work towards a trans-Tasman scheme to regulate medicines and other bio-medical products has been quietly scrapped by the Federal Government.
Although the medical sector had wanted a single regulatory system, it has not complained about the Australian and New Zealand governments walking away from the drawn-out negotiations.
Instead, the industry is hopeful Australia will adopt a system of accepting European or American certifications of medicines.
The cross-border negotiations to establish the Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA) had been ongoing since 1999.
Labor’s assistant health spokesman, Stephen Jones, said he could not understand why the Government had walked away from the work that had been done.

ANZTPA would have taken over the role of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and its Kiwi counterpart, Medsafe.

AusBiotech chief executive Anna Lavelle said the industry had backed the push for a joint regulatory agency.

Dr Lavelle said the benefits were not worth the amount of time and money the TGA was devoting to the process.

Health Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment.

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