Calls for greater mining safety after black lung resurgence

Coal miner in Colorado completing paperwork for the Enhanced Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (black lung screening)

A leading dust diseases lawyer has called on the mining industry to focus on stronger preventative safety measures for workers, following the re-emergence of black lung disease in Queensland. Slater and Gordon lawyer Martin Rogalski said there is now an opportunity to not only eradicate black lung but also reduce the occurrence of other respiratory diseases in the industry.

Emergency department times key to decreasing deaths

Providence_Newberg_Medical_Center_emergency_room

We now have strong evidence that improvements in admission processes through hospital emergency departments leads to a decrease in patient deaths, according to the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. Dr Simon Judkins was a part of this research, which he says helps close the loop, showing that improving hospital processes and access targets not only reduced the time patients spent in ED, but led to fewer patients dying.

More Aussies heading online after GP visits

person-woman-apple-hotel

Five million Australians pay for a doctor’s visit in an average four week period—but an increasing proportion of them are also going online to look up health and medical information themselves, Roy Morgan Research shows. Roy Morgan communications writer Shaun Ellis says that Queenslanders are among the most likely to access the internet after a doctor’s visit.

Calls for better Medicare coverage in prisons

5242520722_605e5950a7_b

Despite prisoners having some of the highest rates of mental illness and communicable diseases, Medicare exclusions mean that they are rarely able to access appropriate health services before they return to the community. Researchers have found prisoners are missing out on certain treatments and medications, as they are too expensive to provide without access to Medicare. I spoke to Professor Stuart Kinner, whose research on this topic was  published this week.

Leaked TPP agreement raises concerns

Secretary_Kerry,_U.S._Trade_Representative_Froman_Prepare_for_the_Trans-Pacific_Partnership_Discussion_(10151813153)

The release of the Trans Pacific Partnership’s completed intellectual property chapter by Wikileaks on 10 October has raised fresh alarm amongst health organisations. The legal text agreed between the twelve countries at the conclusion of negotiations includes many provisions that appear harmful by reducing access to affordable medicines at the global level, resulting in much avoidable suffering and death. I spoke to Dr Deborah Gleeson, spokesperson for Public Health Association of Australia, about the issue.  

Report finds Indigenous blindness preventable

Eye-testing_Photo-courtesy-of-the-Brien-Holden-Vision-Institute

A new report from the University of Melbourne and the PwC shows that a future 32,000 cases of Indigenous blindness can be prevented. The report looks at the cost of preventing and treating long and short-sightedness, old-age vision degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and the communicable disease, trachoma. I spoke to Professor Hugh Taylor, Chair of the University of Melbourne Eye Health, about the report, and the impact of vision disorders on the economy.

New Mental Health Bill enhancing treatment

475603-mental-health

A draft Mental Health Bill will be introduced to parliament soon, promising to enhance the way people with mental illness are treated, improve access to support, and ensure the involvement of families. Continue reading New Mental Health Bill enhancing treatment