Government to launch hospital rating website

The federal government will launch a public website giving the community access to data comparing hospital elective surgery and emergency department waiting times, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The website is expected to launch in August. Western Australian hospitals will not be included because the state has not signed on to the Gillard government’s health reform plans.

National registration board swamped

The  Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency has been swamped by 3000 calls a day in its first weeks of operation as concerns grow that the national body is underresourced, the ABC reported. Several media outlets have reported health practitioners are facing delays in trying to re-register under the national scheme.

GPs in the UK could control health dollars if a controversial plan is adopted
The delivery of primary health care in the UK could be on the brink of a radical overhaul, with a key white paper advocating that local primary care trusts be scrapped and over $100 billion in health dollars be placed directly in the hands of GPs.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the UK model proposes that GPs administer the payment of health services for their patients. The plan is attracting broad debate in the UK media.

Tasmanian Attorney-General prepares euthanasia law
Tasmania could be set to become the first state to legalise euthanasia with the state’s Attorney-General announcing plans to draft the relevant legislation last month, The Mercury reported. The law is expected to come before Parliament in 2011.

Pressure on Health Minister to backtrack on diabetes plan
The RACGP is urging the government to consult with the profession over its $450 million diabetes plan, which involves general practices receiving $950 annually to treat patients with type 2 diabetes outside the Medicare system, according to The Australian.
The AMA has opposed the plan and published findings from a poll of 487 GPs that showed less than 3% of doctors believe the program would improve current funding arrangements.

Scientists solve the ultimate conundrum
UK scientists have identified a protein which activates the conversion of calcium carbonate into calcite crystals so eggs can be formed in chickens.
According to a report in The Australian, the protein is produced in the ovaries of pregnant chickens and therefore answers the age-old question.

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s set to change
A proposed revision of diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease, the first since the 1980s, would see lumber punctures and brain scans used for diagnosis, according to a New York Times report. The revised guidelines, which could detect the disease a decade before symptoms emerge, could be adopted internationally in months.

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