Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 15/06/2017

In today’s talking points: Soft drinks removed from NSW hospitals; Growing demand envisioned for private hospitals in China; Australian researchers attempts to treat BDD with visual retraining; Chinese authorities to intensity fight against irregularities in the health sector.

Soft Drinks Removed from NSW Hospitals

 The NSW Government will be the first state in Australia to remove sugary drinks from its hospitals and health facilities. “We are working towards a five percent reduction in overweight and obesity rates in adults by 2020, and there’s no better way to start than right here on our own doorstep”. Three local health districts in NSW had already begun to restrict the sale of sugary drinks at their healthcare facilities before the policy framework. Public health lawyer Alexandra Jones, from the George Institute for Global Health, welcomed the announcement. “This is a fantastic example of leadership from NSW. It demonstrates one way we can set up our health system to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay- not just treat them,” she said.




Growing demand envisioned for private hospitals in China

Foreign investors are seeking to tap into the growing appetite for private healthcare among China’s rising middle class. Traditionally, private hospitals generally cater to affluent mainlanders who can afford higher quality medical treatment. Nowadays, rising incomes and the ageing population are driving demand for more private healthcare services. In 2014, Beijing relaxed rules on foreign investment in healthcare and allowed the establishment of wholly foreign-owned private hospitals. However, private hospitals face challenges in attracting medical staff, especially since most leading heathcare professionals still view their career prospects as being better served in prestigious, government-funded, public hospitals.


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Australian researchers attempts to treat BDD with visual retraining

 Body dysmorphia disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition that results in exaggerated perception of personal appearance, which causes harmful insecurities and may lead to patients committing suicide. Researchers from Melbourne started a trial to apply eye-tracking technology to monitor how BDD patients view faces and bodies. Participants will then be put through visual retraining in the hope of aligning their visual patterns with that of an average person. The program is unique in that it focuses on addressing visual aspects of the disorder, whereas traditional treatment for BDD typically focuses on reducing distress and symptoms, and not changing visual perception.


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Chinese authorities to intensity fight against irregularities in the health sector

According to a recently released guideline issued by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (the “Commission”), a variety of means will be implemented to prevent corruption and improve professionalism and services at hospitals and clinics in China. This includes further education of medical staff, more severe punishment for irregularities and intensified supervision from health authorities. Targeted campaigns will be launched against violations such as overprescribing medicine, prescribing medicine for money, gender selection and theft of health insurance funds. The Commission will establish a credit system covering institutes and staff members, and those involved in irregularities will be publicly identified and banned from the sector.

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