Australian Medical News Brief August 2017

Welcome to Medshop Australia’s monthly series, News Brief, where we talk about what you may have missed. These are mostly articles we’ve posted in our social media news feeds. We consider them the most newsworthy events in Australian health and medicine from the last month. You will find links to the original articles. Let’s look back and review the top stories from August...

 

No Sympathy for Antivaxxer Doctors Health Minister Warns

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As reported by the Herald Sun, federal health Minister Mr. Greg Hunt has warned that there will be no sympathy for anti-vaccination doctors.

This comes following the investigation of three Victorian General Practitioners who have been identified as part of an anti-vaccination movement group.

Hunt has issued the following statement, “I am astonished that there are any people who have been through medical degrees who would deign to stoop to the level of supporting the anti-vaccination movement.”

One of the Doctors in question Dr. Piesse has been under investigation for a year by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency after the health department raised concerns about the exemption applications lodged by him.

Legally in Australia, the exemption from vaccination has very strict and specific criteria that must be met for the exemption to be legally valid. Investigations are continuing, a defiant Dr. Piesse claims he has done nothing wrong.

 

From chronic to cured—could Australia be the first to eliminate hep C?

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As reported by Medical Xpress, a report released by the Kirby Institute shows that Australia is on track to eliminate hepatitis C by 2026.

The report praises the Australian government's hepatitis C treatment program, that has enabled broad access to hepatitis C for all Australians and has helped position Australia as a world leader in the elimination of hepatitis C.

In March 2016 highly curative treatments were placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and 40,000 Australian have begun treatment.

Australia is one of the only countries in the world to offer hepatitis C treatments free and without restrictions based on a patient's stage of liver disease or current IV drug use.

Treatments can also be prescribed by general practitioners making them more easily accessible to patients.

 

2 Australian start-ups sign medical tech, shipping deals with Singapore partners

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As reported by Channel News Asia, 2 Australian technology start ups have signed agreements with Singapore under the Australian Landing Pad programme.

The Landing Pad programme was established to assist Australian start-ups to integrate into a partner nation and region. The start ups, Anatomics and CEC Systems are currently operating in Singapore.

Anatomics is a medical technology company that creates tailored products for individual patient needs using 3D printing. The range of products includes smart implants and medical devices.

CEC Systems are an integrated technology and logistics start up from Sydney, they pioneered the COLLAPSECON® shipping container.

The container enables 4 units to be collapsed and joined to create a single container, reducing storage, handling, and transportation costs throughout the globe.

 

Perth Hub Fosters Medical Tech

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As reported by Business News Western Australia, a program that was launched in Western Australia last year is inspiring innovation and collaboration within the medical technology industry.

The program, Spark Co-Lab was established as part of a non-for profit group that runs medical research and commercialisation workshops.

The program brings together participants from varied backgrounds including engineering, medical, commerce, and technology to design novel solutions to medical problems.

Some of the ideas from this years program included a way to reduce the number of unnecessary cesarean sections, a way to decrease the frequency of operations required for skin infections, a device that reduced the risk of pneumonia for intensive care patients and a means to keep cystic fibrosis patients out of hospital.

 

Macquarie University launches $250,000 medical degree

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As reported by News.com, despite protest and controversy from the Australian Medical Student Association and other groups, Macquarie University in NSW have launched their private full fee paying, $256,000 medical degree.

Domestic students will pay $64,000 per year to enroll in the 4-year post graduate Doctor of Medicine degree, while international students will pay a total of $280,000 over the four years.

Vice president of the Australian Medical Students Association, Douglas Roche has highlighted the challenges that a degree like this will present for the medical workforce.

Presently there are many junior doctors desperately trying to get into specialist fields with limited positions available and a prestigious degree like this will exacerbate the issues.

“We have a large number of doctors who are now trying to qualify for specialist training and this is going to exacerbate that... Because of the debt, these students will be in they’re more likely to want to go into higher paying specialties, which is not what the community needs."

There is also the concern of creating a class division with students from public universities or lower socioeconomic backgrounds potentially viewed as holding less prestige.

To counteract this, the course will offer a range of scholarships and hold high entry level requirements and standards for candidates.

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