The Health News – 16 October 2014

Overview

  • Apple and Facebook are reportedly offering to pay up to $20,000 for female employees to freeze their reproductive eggs, in a bid to hold on to their best workers.
  • UnitingCare says Queensland’s first digital hospital sets a precedent for health care across the country. St Stephens Hospital in Hervey Bay, which opened today.
  • Cancer Council Victoria says its latest figures show thyroid cancer is now three times more common among women than men.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-15/facebook-and-apple-offer-to-freeze-employees-eggs/5815368

Apple and Facebook are reportedly offering to pay up to $20,000 for female employees to freeze their reproductive eggs, in a bid to hold on to their best workers.

The companies are covering up to $20,000 for the procedure and annual storage costs, NBC said, citing sources at the Silicon Valley firms.

“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple recently introduced new benefits including extended parental leave, while Facebook said it offers four months of paid leave for both new mothers and fathers.

“We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families,” the tech giant said.

Queried about the reports by AFP, Facebook and Apple declined to comment.

Egg freezing is an increasingly popular way to delay child bearing. It costs about $US10,000 initially and then $500 each month after that.

In the raging war for talent, Silicon Valley companies are offering an array of new family-planning perks.

Apple said it also reimburses eligible expenses associated with the legal adoption of a child.

Microsoft reported earlier this month that its staff was 29 per cent women. At Google, the figure was 30 per cent.

For Facebook, the percentage of women was 31 per cent, but just 15 per cent in technical jobs.

The new benefits are expected to help companies like Facebook and Apple attract more women.

At the same time, experts point out that freezing is a relatively new procedure that does not guarantee a successful pregnancy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-14/queenslands-first-digital-hospital-opens-in-hervey/5812132

UnitingCare says Queensland’s first digital hospital sets a precedent for health care across the country.

St Stephens Hospital in Hervey Bay, which opened [this week] … was in part funded by a $47 million Federal Government grant to be a pilot healthcare model.

The 96-bed facility has completely digitised record and patient management, including electronically dispensed drugs and monitoring patients during surgery.

It joins Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia and Macquarie University Hospital in New South Wales as one of the country’s few paperless facilities.

The executive director of UnitingCare Health, Richard Royle, says the digital system is among the best in the world.

Mr Royle says the $96 million hospital has extensive safeguards in place to protect records.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-15/thyroid-cancer-rates-among-women-now-three-times-higher-than-men/5814828

The rate of thyroid cancer among young Victorian women has increased by more than six per cent in the past two decades, new figures show.

Cancer Council Victoria says its latest figures show thyroid cancer is now three times more common among women than men. The charity says the figures are likely to be representative of the rest of Australia.

Rates for men have increased 4.6 per cent over the same period.

Chief executive Todd Harper said the figures were “the first snapshot of what we’re likely to see” around Australia.

“We do not know why women are more represented than men,” Mr Harper said.

He said improved diagnosis and detection was also behind the increase in incidents.

“We are detecting smaller cancers at an earlier stage,” Mr Harper said.

The survival rate for thyroid cancer is one of the highest among cancer sufferers with 85 per cent of women and 90 per cent of men alive five years after diagnosis.

Mr Harper said more research was needed to pinpoint the causes and improve survival rates.

He reinforced that adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake were the best ways to prevent cancer.

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