Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 23/06/2017

In today’s talking points: New Melbourne study highlights the significance of gene mutations in cancer detection; Dental services in the lead for private health insurance claims; Drug shortages in Australian hospitals; NSW Premier’s $600 million dollars budget 

New Melbourne study highlights the significance of gene mutations in cancer detection

According to a recent study from the University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, which was published on Wednesday and assessed almost 10, 000 women from around the world over the period of 20 years, there are clear correlations between certain gene mutations and the likelihood of contracting breast and ovarian cancer. In particular, the research found that carriers of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations (in which tumor-suppressing genes are misplaced) were at a much higher risk, women with the BRCA1 mutation had, on average, a 72 percent chance of developing breast cancer by the time they were 80 years old and a 44 percent likelihood of contracting ovarian cancer. For women with the BRCA2 mutation, the chances were slimmer but likewise worrisome at 69 and 17 percent respectively for breast and ovarian cancer.

John Hopper, lead researcher from the University of Melbourne, noted that the research should make women around the world with the mutations to have constant checks for breast and ovarian cancer, especially once they pass the age of 30, although; “They need not undertake extensive screening at young adult ages unless there were other indications, such as strong family history of early onset disease, but need to be vigilant once their risk have achieved their maximum plateau – and maintain screening,” he said.

Read more at Xinhua

Dental services in the lead for private health insurance claims

Recent figures show that dental services make-up more that half of ‘extras’ claimed under Medibank, a private health insurance company. These figures come as no surprise, as according to Medibank dental care has always made up the majority of the claims, and physiotherapy (along with ‘other’ services) are the next most claimed categories. Interestingly, demand for podiatry claims is growing, which, according to Midibank’s chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan, “could mean people are learning more about how caring for their feet can help reduce other health issues”.

The data also shows that dental claims are in the lead in Queensland, whilst optical claims ranked first in New South Wales (NSW), showing that there are observable inter-state variations.

Read more at Business News


Drug shortages in Australian hospitals

Medication shortages in hospitals are a lot more common as thought, which can be seen with how the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia found 280 metropolitan, regional, and rural health service facilities in shortage.

Over 30 per cent of medication shortages have a detrimental effect on patient care. Hospitals have been able to find some stopgap solutions such as ordering medicines. The lack in the types of drugs is antibiotics, anesthetics, cardiology medicines, endocrinology drugs and chemotherapy.
Read More at ABC

NSW Premier’s $600 million dollars budget 

NSW Premier has planned to give a budget of more than $600 million dollars. Campbelltown Hospital will be receiving $632 million dollars , which will allow for upgrades on extra space for the emergency department, improvements in mental health facilities and an expansion in pediatrics services

A population growth has been witnessed in this hospital and the emergency department has also seen a 6 per cent increase in demand per annum.

Many other hospitals also look to receive similar funding.  This budget will focus on health and education and funds have already upgraded or built new facilities across the state.

Read more at ABC