Tag Archives: Health

Health warning on PFAS

Unless you were living under a rock you would know that Erin Brockovich was here in Oz earlier this week announcing a Landmark class action over PFAS contamination in Australia.

PFAS has notoriously been used by the defence institutions in firefighting foam across the country. The chemicals have leaked into the surrounding environment. Now Shine lawyers are about to file a class action on behalf of up to 40,000 people who live and work on land contaminated by PFAS, suing the Australian Government, arguing their property values have plummeted.

The focus is on eight defence bases in particular, but there are plenty of hotspots around, as this map shows:

As it happens, on the weekend I read an article in the New Scientist Takeaway food packaging may be source of synthetic chemicals in blood which in the dead tree version carried the more accurate title Eating out can bring a side serving of suspect chemicals, also fingering PFAS. Continue reading Health warning on PFAS

Climate clippings 206

1. Revival of pathogens as permafrost melts

As linked by zoot on the last CC, pathogens are emerging as the permafrost melts, some capable of becoming active after long periods of time, even millions of years. There has been one case of anthrax becoming active after being frozen in a dead reindeer for 75 years. Continue reading Climate clippings 206

Saturday salon 17/12

1. Do we need a new conservative party?

One Nation would tell us we’ve already got one, but Essential Report has now conducted a poll about an Abbott-based party, asking the question:

    If a new conservative party was formed and included people like Tony Abbott, how likely would you be to vote for them?

Overall the answer is ‘not very likely’ with ‘Total unlikely’ at 58% and ‘Total likely’ at 23%. However the Lib/Nat preference is evenly split at 41% each way. Continue reading Saturday salon 17/12

Saturday salon 15/10

1. Australian managers are second rate

Martin Parkinson, head of the PM’s department, told CEDA what we need to do to become truly innovative.

What caught my eye was what he said about Australian management in manufacturing:

Moving beyond Mediscare

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One of the reasons Mediscare worked, if it did, was because of the Abbott government’s record on broken promises. After being in government for eight months, by May 2014, the Abbott government had chalked up at least nine broken promises. Abbott had promised no cuts to the ABC or SBS, no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no shutting any Medicare locals, no one’s personal tax will go up, no changes to pensions, foreign aid would go up in line with the CPI, on Indigenous affairs Closing the Gap activities would be sustained at former levels, and ARENA (the Australian Reneweable Energy Agency) would have over $2.5 billion in funds to manage. Continue reading Moving beyond Mediscare

The giant Medicare scare campaign

Back on 22 May I did a post Labor makes health central in its election bid:

    In revving up his election spiel Shorten said spending on health was an investment, not a cost. He says investment in health is basic to economic growth. It would be an important battleground if Turnbull would engage. The pointy end is that Labor is choosing to invest in Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme rather than spending money on company tax relief. Continue reading The giant Medicare scare campaign

Saturday salon 21/11

1. Brazil dam burst could devastate the environment for years

River Doce translates as “Sweet River”. After two tailings dams burst the focus was on the local town of Mariana, much of which was swept away. Now the concern has shifted to downstream where 500 km of river is becoming biologically dead, the silt is affecting nearby farmlands and is expected to contaminate fishing grounds when it reaches the sea. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/11

Climate clippings 155

1. Climate change affects the brain

    In a landmark public health finding, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. These impacts have been observed at CO2 levels that most Americans — and their children — are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes, and cars.

Continue reading Climate clippings 155

Climate clippings 144

1. Business, investor, environment, research and social groups look for climate consensus before Paris

    Business, investor, environment, research and social groups have formed an unprecedented alliance to establish common ground on which the climate debate can be conducted, as the Abbott government finalises the position it will take to Paris climate talks later in the year.

    The Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, Investor Group on Climate Change, the Australian Aluminium Council and the Energy Supply Association of Australia have joined forces with the Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service and the Australian Council of Trade Unions to set down some basic markers on climate policy which they hope will allow for future political consensus on the issue.

Continue reading Climate clippings 144

Climate clippings 141

1. Indian heat wave

At Climate Progress Extreme Heat Wave In India Is Killing People And Melting Roads. Temperatures have reached 122°F (50°C), that’s 1°F less than the all-time record. Continue reading Climate clippings 141

Climate clippings 137

1. Unburnable Carbon: Why we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground

That’s the title of a new report from the Climate Council.

    To have a 75% chance of meeting the 2°C warming limit, at least 77% of the world’s fossil fuels cannot be burned.

Real health policy required

The federal Government’s forays into health policy show no signs of becoming realistic. The 2014 budget foreshadowed that the Commonwealth might get out of the funding of hospitals in favour of the states accepting a higher and broader GST.

The problem here, as Gillard pointed out in her book, is that health expenditure expands faster than the GST revenue.

Then we had $7 co-payments for GP visits in an effort to keep poor people out of doctors’ surgeries.

This was followed by the fiasco of proposing and dumping the $20 cut to the rebate for short GP visits. According to recent news reports, the plan was originally opposed by Joe Hockey and then health minister Peter Dutton. Abbott insisted and then unaccountably backflipped.

Now Joe Hockey reckons we are living too long. Some kid just born somewhere is bound to live to 150.

dwyer

John Dwyer, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of NSW, has long been an advocate for preventative health care. He says in a paywalled article in the AFR that many hospital admissions (costing $5000 each) could be prevented by primary care intervention in the three weeks prior to admission.

Medicare expenditure of $19 billion each year is dwarfed by hospital expenditure of $60 billion.

There is now an abundance of evidence that a focus on prevention in a personalised health system improves outcomes while slashing costs. Some systems have reduced hospital admissions by 42 percent over the last decade.

The Brits have just been presented with a review that concluded that an extra $132 million (in our money equivalent) spent on improving primary care would save the system $3.5 billion by 2020.

Worth a look, I would think!

There is another problem in the works. Only 13% of young doctors express any interest in becoming a GP.

The discrepancy in income potential for GPs when compared to that of other specialists is now huge. Young doctors looking at the professional life of our GPs are uncomfortable with the current “fee-for-service” model that encourages turnstile medicine that is so professionally unfulfilling. Many GPs join corporate primary care providers preferring a salary.

New Zealand has facilitated 85% of GPs away from fee-for-service payments. The same is true in the US for 65% of primary care physicians.

Finally, says Dwyer, we could take the $5 billion cost of the private health insurance rebate and spend it on all of the above.

Once again we are embarrassed by the incompetence of our politicians.