- Written by Staff
The North Coast NSW Medicare Local (NCML) has been chosen by the federal government to run the North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN), operating from 1 July 2015.
It is understood that the same geographical/clinical footprint will apply under the new structure – in North-South terms, from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie.
While operating across this large area will continue to be a challenge, the announcement can be seen as a major ‘win’ for NCML as the nation’s present 61 Medicare Locals will be halved to 31 PHNs.
The restructuring is the latest iteration of the Commonwealth’s involvement in primary care provision, and follows a review of the Medicare Local structure.
One key recommendation of Professor John Horvath’s review was to change the program’s name in order to avoid public confusion: are Medicare Locals a place to visit to get Medicare refunds? Apparently many patients think they are.
Better alignment with Local Health Districts was another aim. As before, the boundary of the new NCPHN will dovetail with the Northern NSW and Mid North Coast LHDs (formerly the single North Coast Area Health Service).
- Written by Staff
The eagles weren’t soaring when I visited Wedgetail Retreat nestled above the Dulguigan valley beyond Murwillumbah, although the kookaburras, butcher-birds and magpies made up for their absence.
Enhancing the idyllic scene were the distant cloud-capped mountains, a sweep of glistening canefields, and the tranquil gardens of the facility itself, fringed by remnant rainforest trees.
While resembling a North Coast pamper-resort, the facility caters not to ‘health junkies’ but to people (adults and children) with truly life-limiting illness. This is a hospice where the terminally ill, after suitable medical assessment, can spend their end days, or enable respite for their carers, in the most delightful of settings.
Residents may be accompanied or visited by family members, even a companion pet, with the added assurance of nursing supervision. An on-call physician based in Pottsville is also part of the clinical team.
- Written by Staff
High-profile federal MP Andrew Wilkie is advocating more support for allied health providers, saying their greater involvement in patient care helps free up hospital beds, speeds patient recovery and saves on health expenditure.
Mr Wilkie, the independent member for the Tasmanian seat of Denison, has long been an active participant in the health debate in his own state, and nationally.
He is co-chair of the parliamentary rural and remote allied health group.
His comments came at the launch of two reports conducted for Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) as part of an ANU research project.
Book Review by Robin Osborne
This 78-page essay by hospital staff physician Karen Hitchcock is a timely contribution to the end-of-life discussion that is attracting ever more attention from the medical and nursing professions, patients, families and advocates.
Still largely missing from this debate are the voices of our politicians – many of whom would have elderly and/or ailing family members – whose leadership is vital to the better planning, and funding, of how society supports the waning days of our lives.
The reverse applies at present, as Dr Hitchcock notes: “There are many ways to show that we devalue our elderly, are repulsed by them, terrified of becoming them, ”she writes early in her powerful and pointed analysis.
- Written by Dr Edwin Kruys
The numbers are telling: About 1,500 UK doctors move to Australia and New Zealand each year. This exodus is causing havoc in England. A GP-shortage creates high workloads and overstretched doctors, and a survey showed that over half of UK GPs plan to retire before the age of sixty. This stressful situation has prompted a coming home campaign to entice doctors to go back to the United Kingdom.
Why are doctors leaving, and, will they move back to save the NHS?
Dr Nathalie Departe is a UK-trained GP working in Fremantle, Western Australia. “I moved to Australia in 2009 for a change of scenery. I had visited Australia before and loved it, so when my husband found himself in a career hiatus, we thought we would enjoy the sunshine for a few years.”