The Albanese Labor government’s first health minister, Mark Butler, has raised what he considers to be the alarming state of both general practice and aged care in Australia, telling the AMA’s national conference on 31 July 2022 that, ‘At the heart of the parlous state of general practice is very substantial financial pressure, much of which has been aggravated by the freeze on the MBS rebate over the last several years.’
The minister added that while that freeze has ‘thankfully been lifted’ is remains ‘baked into the system and results in an ongoing reduction or cut of more than $500 million every year in MBS funding that otherwise would be there if the MBS rebates had not been frozen.’
Mr Butler also pointed to ‘a crisis in the GP workforce’, calling it ‘a recurring theme right through the healthcare system - I still think that the abolition of Health Workforce Australia was a deep mistake by Tony Abbott when he came to Government.
At the end of July 2022, 19 University of Wollongong (UOW) medical students were welcomed to the North Coast. Their long stay placements are occurring across the whole Northern Rivers footprint, from Murwillumbah to Lismore and down to Grafton, including many places in between.
GP and hospital preceptors have supported the various orientation programs across the UOW student hubs to ensure students are educated in NNSWLHD and GP processes and site specific compliance requirements.
Given the recent flooding events impacting all levels of community, across the whole region, a talk for the students at UCRH Lismore was hosted by psychologist Ben Schiller, “Understanding trauma and the impact of natural disasters on the community”. The students will have direct contact with patients, communities, peers and clinicians during their 12-month stay and it is important these students have an understanding of the impact the 2022 natural disasters continue to have on the region.
The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner
Macmillan Australia 342pp
Book Review by Robin Osborne
One of the best-known names in Australia, Grace Tame has penned a memoir that is courageous, outspoken and predictably quirky. Noting from the outset that she has both autism and ADHD, the 27-year-year-old describes a life which, despite terrible tribulations, has been ‘on the whole… wonderful.’
Ms Tame is the second woman in recent years to become Australian of the Year (in 2021) for having spoken out against sexual or domestic abuse, the other being Rosie Batty (2015). Both have attracted abuse as well as widespread acclaim. She concedes that giving then-PM Scott Morrison the ‘stink eye’ did not win her friends in certain quarters.
- Written by: Robin Osborne
Wendy Roulston - Manager Virtual Care
Ph: 0438 497 318 Email:
NNSW LHD is embarking on an ambitious journey across the next five years to integrate Virtual Care across the health system.Virtual Care (VC), also called Telehealth, is delivered in combination with face to face care across the patient’s health journey.
What is happening now?
We are developing a VC Strategy and Action Plan to guide implementation of short, medium, and long-term goals by 2026. Short-term goals include educating our staff, rolling-out VC models across outpatient services and building our technical foundations. Medium-term goals include partnering to design remote monitoring, and our long-term goal is working towards integration of technologies and systems.
Sleep is a critical aspect of patients’ health and wellbeing, but sleep disorders can be challenging to diagnose and manage, says a leading North Coast sleep expert.
Dr Joe Duncan, who works out of St Vincent’s Private Hospital at Lismore, said about 7.2 million Australian adults were impacted by sleep issues.
“Daytime sleepiness can affect mental health and cognitive function, and lead to cardiovascular disease and diminished general wellbeing. It also puts people at a heightened risk of things like motor vehicle accidents,” he said.
A new GPs Ask video has been developed by St Vincent’s to help GPs diagnose a range of sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, idiopathic hypersomnolence, narcolepsy and circadian rhythm disorders.
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