The News – 5 June 2014

Overview

  • There is some evidence patients are already going to emergency departments instead of their local doctor over concerns the proposed $7 co-payment will increase health care expenses, medical professionals have warned.
  • The state’s top scientist says fracking should be banned if the risk to human health can’t be known for sure.
  • Text messages and emails can be used to improve the eating habits of younger adults, according to researchers from the University of Western Australia.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 5th June 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-04/co-payment-impacts-emergency-wards/5500690

There is some evidence patients are already going to emergency departments instead of their local doctor over concerns the proposed $7 co-payment will increase health care expenses, medical professionals have warned.

Doctors at one Melbourne hospital told the ABC recorded its busiest day all year IN the emergency department the first weekend after the federal budget, the emergency department recorded its busiest day all year.

In the week following the co-payment announcement, there was a 17 per cent increase in patients presenting at this particular Melbourne Hospital.

Medicare figures show that in the lead-up to the announcement about the co-payment, there was a drop in standard GP visits.

The number of “consultation B” visits dropped from 7.4 million visits in April 2013 to 7.1 million this year.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-03/ban-fracking/5495786?section=nsw

The state’s top scientist says fracking should be banned if the risk to human health can’t be known for sure.

Chief Scientist Professor Mary O’Kane was commissioned by the New South Wales government to report on the potential impact of coal seam gas extraction in Sydney’s water catchment area.

A moratorium was placed on coal seam gas activity in the region until the findings were released on Friday.

It found the use of chemicals in the fracking process would need to be severely controlled or even banned.

Professor Mary O’Kane says there should also be strict controls on how companies manage produced water which contains high level of salinity and other harmful chemicals.

Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra says fracking must be banned and the risk of contaminants leaking isn’t removed by treating and storing produced water on-site.

The New South Wales Opposition says the government’s plan to get rid of the Sydney Catchment Authority runs counter to advice from the Chief Scientist.

The government wants to merge the catchment authority with the State Water Corporation to create a new organisation.

Labor’s environment spokesman Luke Foley says it would not work.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-04/study-finds-email-and-text-health-messages-effective-for-18-34-/5498368?section=wa

Text messages and emails can be used to improve the eating habits of younger adults, according to researchers from the University of Western Australia.

Prior to the study, participants were eating less than the recommended daily intake of two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetable a day.

They were eating on average 1.6 serves of fruit and 2.3 of vegetables.

The team, from UWA’s School of Psychology and School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, used electronic communication methods to promote fruit and vegetable consumption to 71 undergraduates.

The study found that suggestions based on positive eating habits improved their fruit and vegetable consumption, and that both email and text messages were equally effective.

Researcher Christopher Rompotis, from the School of Psychology, said people aged between 18 and 34 were in a risk group.

Mr Rompotis said general healthy eating messages, as well as those focused on habit-forming behaviour, worked in getting undergraduates to improve their diet over an eight-week period.

Suggestions to increase consumption included things as simple as moving the fruit bowl to the centre of the dining table and putting fruit and vegetables at the front of the fridge, he said.

The results of the study have been published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

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