Senator Sussan Ley

The interim report of the Federal Government’s clinician-led review of all 5700 items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) has found that one in every four surveyed patients believed they or an acquaintance had received, or been recommended to have, an unnecessary consultation, medical procedure or test.

The report released on 6 Sept by the Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley resulted from consultations with 2000-plus health professionals and patients across stakeholder forums, written submissions and an online survey.

Health behaviours of many 45-64 year olds ‘do not bode well’

An acclaimed but now-shelved program of The University of Sydney has left a valuable legacy to general practice in Australia, with its final two reports on the clinical activity of GPs focusing on the impact of chronic disease and health status of 45-64 year olds.

After 18 years of continuous data collection the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health project, known as BEACH, closed recently. It was run out of the Family Medicine Research Centre in the Sydney School of Public Health, and its mine of data will continue to be available at the FMRC website.  

The latest BEACH reports, General Practice Activity in Australia 2015–16 and a decade of general practice activity 2006–07 to 2015–16, provide a valuable snapshot of the changing demands on practitioners, even if they deliver few surprises.

Social Futures launch

It may be a late starter in streamlining its moniker but for the past 40 years the Northern Rivers Social Development Council has stayed ahead of the game in every other way, becoming the provider of the most diverse range of social services in the region.

From today it will be known as Social Futures - “Thriving People/Strong Communities” - with an ‘infinity’ logo that encapsulates the optimism to help clients in areas such as disability and housing who are supported by the NGOs under its umbrella.

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.