The following is an extract from Dr Binns's upcoming book.
The times “they are a’changin’” and they always have been, so that’s nothing new. What has changed, though, is the pace of change, driven by faster communication systems and everyone’s appetite to keep up to date. There’s even a condition to describe it, FOMO, “fear of missing out”. It may not be strictly diagnosable, but there’s no doubt it is affecting our wellbeing, especially that of younger people.
With today’s smartphones everyone has the equivalent of a newspaper press or a TV and radio studio in the palm of their hands. You may call social media a blessing or a curse, but the reality is that we are all e-connected, locally as well as globally, and it took a recent major telco crash, and then another outage (by the same blighted company) to realise just how much we rely on these systems.
What really matters is this pace of change. Humans are very amenable to slow change – and to the splendid ‘slow food’ movement - but not to when it becomes overly, unnervingly rapid. The best example of this is climate change which seems to be out of control now. So, what about the rate of change of primary health care? GPs are feeling the pinch now, and our patients know it. The workforce crisis, as it is now called, is upon us.
- Written by: Andrew Binns
We are nearing the end of 2023 and on behalf of the NORDOCS board I would like to wish all our readers and supporters Seasons Greetings - may you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
So far, 2023 has been blessed in regards to natural disasters, although the residual effects of major events can be very long-lasting. Our thoughts still go out to the many people affected by the terrible fires of 2019, especially on the Mid North Coast and the lower New England, and those impacted by last year’s flooding in the Northern Rivers and SE Queensland.
Already, counseling services are noting concerns being raised by residents who faced the fires of three years ago and are now reading that the approach of an El Niño phase has been confirmed, with very high temperatures and decreased rainfall predicted.
On the other hand, as the saying goes, having a break in the weather has been appreciated by all on the North Coast and allowed many to work on rebuilding their lives and homes, if they are able to.
- Written by: Nathan Kesteven Chair, NORDOCS
Succession - 4 SEASONS | 39 EPISODES HBO
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
After five years, four seasons and 39+ hours of broadcast the TV series Succession has come to an end. It has received much praise and commentary, so what’s it all about?
The series is set in the world of Logan Roy, a self-made billionaire and head of media conglomerate, Waystar Royco. Logan, now in his eighties, hopes that one of his four children will step up to lead the company after his departure. Over the course of the series the shifting fortunes of the children make each of them a potential successor, at least for a while.
On one level the show can be reduced to just a tale of a bunch of rich, white, mostly cis, mostly male sociopaths shouting at and manipulating each other. While this summary is superficially true, the ultra rich of New York business provide a rich canvas for showrunner, Jesse Armstrong, to paint a picture of today’s society.
- Written by: David Guest
Around the globe, health professionals are on the front line of climate change impacts. This is because of the intimate relationship between the environment and human health. Climate change affects health and well-being through more frequent and severe weather events, as well as increased infectious disease risk, impacts of reduced food security and higher incidence of mental ill-health.
In the four years since the Australian Medical Association recognised climate change as a health emergency, citing severe impacts for patients and communities, we have experienced and witnessed these impacts at a regional level (flooding, bushfires), globally, and in some cases personally.
Doctors and other health professionals are frequently called upon as first responders during natural disasters and, in general practice, provide long term care during the recovery period following these events, as well as supporting patients with chronic health or mental health problems triggered or worsened by climate change impacts.
- Written by: Dr Sarah Mollard, GP and Clinical Editor Lead, Healthy North Coast (based in Port Macquarie)
Notably absent from the new New South Wales Government’s first Budget, given the pre-election promise to hold one, was a drug summit to consider how to address the apparently ever increasing consumption of illegal, and in the main, harmful, substances, not the least of them being crystal methamphetamine, a.k.a. “Ice”, a stimulant with a high risk of addiction if used regularly.
Easy to conceal and deal, but somewhat harder to kick, ice has been a drug of major concern for at least the past decade. Back in 2015, as we reported, the Australian Government was so concerned that it responded to a national “Ice Taskforce” by providing $300M to reduce demand and help the Primary Health Networks to boost drug (and alcohol) treatment services.
The then and current MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, welcomed the package, saying, ‘We cannot arrest our way out of this - it is much more than simply a law-and-order issue.’
Time moved on and so did the consumption of ice, along with efforts to combat it, both by arresting and educating.
- Written by: Robin Osborne
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