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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Causes of death, 2018

Recently the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the 2018 Causes of Death (cat no. 3303.0) report which provided detailed information on the number and nature of deaths in Australia in 2018. According to the ABS report: In 2018, there were 158,493 registered deaths in Australia and the number one cause was Ischaemic heart disease with 17,533 deaths (11 per cent of all deaths). Even though the leading cause, the age-standardised death rate from Ischaemic heart disease has decreased by 22.4 per cent since 2009, consistent with declines in heart disease mortality observed now for more than 50 years. Read more...

International Men’s Health Week

International Men's Health Week is marked every year around the world in the middle of June. It is an important opportunity to highlight men's health and to discuss some of the more difficult subjects, including mental health and suicide. Since 2014, on average, six men have committed suicide every day in Australia. The number of men who die by intentional self-harm every year is nearly double the national road toll—2,348 suicides compared to a total of 1,225 road deaths in 2017. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2017, suicide ranked 10th as a leading cause of death for men (same ranking in 2008), while for women, it does not appear in the top 20 leading cause... Read more...

Personal Safety of People with Disability

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released further results from the 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) which focus on experiences of violence and personal safety of people with disability. This FlagPost provides a summary of these results. Read more...

Law enforcement access to My Health Record data

My Health Record (MHR) was introduced in June 2012 by the Gillard Labor Government originally as an opt-in system known as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) before legislative amendments in 2015 introduced by the Abbott Coalition Government renamed it and laid the groundwork for it to become an opt-out system. Law enforcement access to MHR data is among the privacy concerns raised about the program, but this provision was in the original legislation and received little attention when the Bill was debated. Read more...

Health care homes: an update

Health Care Homes: an update In March 2016, the Government announced the Healthier Medicare package. The centrepiece was a trial of Health Care Homes (HCHs), an innovative model of health care to manage and coordinate care for patients with complex and chronic conditions. An estimated one in five Australians has two or more chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and arthritis. But their care is often fragmented and uncoordinated. The HCH trial involves enrolling 65,000 patients with complex and chronic conditions across some 200 medical practices (including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS)). Each practice, or HCH, is expected ... Read more...

The pros and cons of pill testing

Last weekend saw Australia’s first state government sanctioned pill testing trial at the Groovin the Moo music festival in Canberra. Noffs Foundation chief executive, Matt Noffs, who is a member of the Safety and Testing and Advisory Service at Festivals and Events (STA-SAFE) consortium, suggested that the trial was a success in terms of reducing harms to festival attendees. In recent years, there have been a number of deaths in Australia as a result of toxic quality pills being consumed at music festivals and nightclubs, as well as party drug-related overdoses. In response, public health experts and other commentators have promoted pill testing as an intervention that should be intro... Read more...

Whither the private health insurance rebate?

The private health insurance rebate is an important element in maintaining the attractiveness of private health insurance membership. The government rebate subsidises the cost of private health insurance premiums (hospital, general, and ambulance policies). It is usually applied in the form of an upfront discount to the consumer on the price of the premium, although it can be claimed back through the tax system. The rebate amount varies, depending on income levels and age. In 2017–18, the federal government expects to spend around $6.4 billion on the rebate, according to Budget Paper no. 1 (p. 6-21). The rebate was introduced by the Howard Government in the late 1990s, as one of a sui... Read more...

What's the buzz about bees?

There’s been a lot of attention given to European honey bees (Apis mellifera) recently. Even the Federal Parliament has got into the act, introducing bee hives to Parliament House in March and celebrating the first honey harvest this month. But why should we care about European honey bees? Do they really affect our lives in any meaningful way?  Read more...

Not working, nor looking for work, then what?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the 2017 results from their survey of Participation, job search and mobility. This survey data provides information on job seekers and job switchers, as well as people who are not in the labour force; that is, those who are not working, nor looking for work. Within this group of people, there are various reasons as to why people do not need or want a job. The main reasons people are not in the labour force is the focus of this article.  Read more...

Pharmacy Review: change ahead or business as usual?

On 22 June 2017, the last day of the winter session for the Australian Parliament, the Independent Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation released its Interim Report. The release did not receive much coverage in the mainstream media, even though the Report canvasses significant changes for pharmacists and consumers. It has, however, drawn a strong response from key stakeholders. Read more...

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