Great Wall of China

A total of 25 health and exercise science students from Southern Cross University will undertake study and work placements in Vietnam and China next year with the held of Australian Government grants.

Announcing the support, the federal MP for Page, Kevin Hogan said the placements are part of the New Colombo Plan program aimed at fostering a better understanding of Asia-Pacific countries by Australian students.

The ‘old’ Colombo Plan, launched in 1951 and continuing to a lesser degree today, was focused on sponsoring Asian students to come to Australia for their studies. The new version has been sparked by the realisation that Australians lack knowledge about the countries where our economic, and perhaps cultural future lies.

Sir Michael Marmot

Australian audiences can hear a valuable series of weekly talks by the distinguished President of the World Medical Association (WMA), Professor Sir Michael Marmot. The first lecture is 'Health inequalities and the causes of the causes', and airs on Saturday 3 September at 1 pm. All four lectures will be available at the ABC's Boyer Lectures.

The annual Boyer Lectures, to be broadcast on ABC Radio National, will be the 57th of the 4-part weekly series prepared and delivered by distinguished people with a close Australian connection.

While born in England, Prof Marmot was schooled at Sydney Boys High, and later graduated from the medicine program at The University of Sydney. He is Director of the Institute of Health Equity, a leading researcher on health inequality issues for more than three decades, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians.

He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and in 2000 was knighted for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities.

On the Far North Coast there is currently no support group specifically for family members of crystal meth users, although the NCPHN's Substance Misuse Program is hoping to set one up before the end of the year. In the meantime, patients' families can access the existing alcohol and drug, family support groups.

With the latest group of students arriving in the Northern Rivers to undertake placements at local GP practices and hospitals, the program run by the University Centre for Rural Health/North Coast is proving its appeal to undergrads from metropolitan universities.

During stays ranging from 4 to 18 weeks, the 39 students will gain a good understanding of what it means to practice medicine in the community, and the importance of the relationship between patients and their family doctor.

The students are from Western Sydney University, University of Newcastle and University of Wollongong. They join the current group pf 16 ‘long-stay’ students from the University of Sydney, who spend a year in the latter phase of their studies.

The UCRH has educational campuses in Lismore, Murwillumbah and Grafton. It is committed to addressing rural health workforce shortages, and these placement programs play an important role in this.

Frozen rebates. They sound like they could be a new dessert - cold, quite tasteless but certainly not fattening. Some thought they were just a passing fad but it looks like there here to stay.

As a result many general practitioners will be disappointed by the return of the Coalition. Health financing was one of the key areas of difference between the two major parties in the recent election.

Bulk billing rates are at record highs. To the economists of the Liberal Party this means the rebates are at least adequate. The market has spoken and in these times of austere government spending it would be reckless to increase them.