Every day one in five GPs will see a patient for whom they have little or no information at all - Health Minister Sussan Ley

More than four million Australians, about 17 per cent of the population, have registered for My Health Record, the Federal Minister for Health Sussan Ley has announced.

With a My Health Record, both a patient and their healthcare professional can gain immediate access to important health information on-line,” the Minister said. “This can improve co-ordinated care outcomes, reduce duplication and provide vital information in emergency situations.”

She said it enabled people to become more active in managing their health as well as providing links between the multiple services many may need through their life.

Ms Ley said a steady increase in registrations had followed the recent MH“Every day one in five GPs will see a patient for whom they have little or no information at all - Health Minister Sussan LeyR re-launch.

Research Assistant, Amelia Smith, University of Sydney

At first glance, saliva may not seem closely related to the risk of acquiring melanoma, but successful results from a pilot trial indicate that the genetic identification of higher-risk individuals could result in reduced rates of this cancer in hot spots such as northern NSW.

Some preliminary results from the trial have been presented at recent international cancer conferences, and more results will be presented at the Sydney Cancer conference and Australasian Epidemiological Association conferences in September 2016.

It is known that where we live affects our predisposition to melanoma: Australia and NZ have the world’s highest rates, with the greatest incidence in Queensland (and by association, far northern NSW), both nationally and internationally.

Who we are is also a key factor, as common genomic variants have a strong contribution to melanoma risk prediction.

Currently, the public is far more aware of the former risk factor than the latter, which is why this pilot trial* has such potential for improving prevention behaviours as well as psychosocial outcomes.

‘Precision prevention’ is how lead researcher Assoc Prof Anne Cust described it in a conversation with GP Speak.

The North Coast Primary Health Network has been chosen as one of Australia’s 10 lead sites for the roll-out of the national mental health reforms.

In this role the NCPHN will be a pioneer in primary mental health care reform, with work to include testing models of co-ordinated care for adults with severe mental illness and complex care needs, including approaches to assessment, referral pathways and packages of care.

These models are likely to be tested in small cohorts in some regions. Implementing a systems approach to suicide prevention will also form part of its Lead Site work.

Dr Megan Passey

A ‘gross disparity’ in the funding of research focused on rural and remote health issues continues, despite the fact that this 30 per cent component of the population has a higher rate of complex chronic disease and dies earlier than urban dwellers. Other challenges include a shortage of medical specialists, and the difficulty of accessing efficient and appropriate health services because of dispersed populations.

In the Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration’s newly released annual report, the Director, Associate Professor Megan Passey said that despite these challenges the ARHRC continues to work in partnership with rural health service providers to undertake rigorous research to generate locally relevant evidence on priority issues.

Book Reviews

We’re All Going to Die - Dr Leah Kaminsky (HarperCollins 293 pp)

A Long Time Coming  - Melanie Joosten (Scribe 232 pp)

Reviewed by Robin Osborne

Mirroring the demographics of our society, books about ageing, end-of-life-care and death have become increasingly frequent and these works from two well-regarded Australian authors are valuable additions to the burgeoning field.*

Both are well written, brimming with empathy for their subjects, and sharply analytical about the barriers and prejudices faced by Australians as we age.

While commenting on covers may be superficial, I would note the coincidence of both depicting butterflies - do they signify old age, and if so, how? - although in the case of the Kaminsky book an heirloom butterfly brooch makes an appearance.

Dr Kaminsky, a GP, observes that, “During thirty years of practice you get to see a wide range of ailments, a veritable litany of woes. Always at the back of my mind has been a rumbling sense of dread, loosely disguised by a morbid curiosity to know where and when I am going to die.