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What the Dutch can teach us about private health insurance in general practice

We need to start thinking outside the square – here is one such example we could look at in Australia. Maybe, maybe not – but unless we do more than allow knee-jerk reactions in Canberra, we will end up with a USA-style health system.

Doctor's Bag

What the Dutch can teach us about private health insurance Image:

The Dutch healthcare system has received international praise. This year the Netherlands are again topping the chart of the Euro Health Consumer Index. What makes the system so good? To get some answers, I caught up with old friends from the Netherlands.

Dutch philosophy

The country’s philosophy is to cut costs and stimulate quality by introducing regulated competition. The Dutch have attempted to create a system that ensures universal health care, offers transparency and choice for consumers, and avoids risk selection. GPs play a key role coordinating care and preventing unnecessary use of hospitals.

‎Dr Pieter van den Hombergh, GP trainer and a former senior policy adviser at the Dutch Association of General Practitioners (LHV), is full of praise:

“In 2006, the country switched to a regulated market-oriented healthcare system: Insurers got purchasing power and the Government withdrew from healthcare, but set strict regulations for insurers and…

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Medicare is not the problem

This article continues from Sussan Ley updates the nation on Medicare.

I spent several hours last night looking at the Medicare statistics. I came to a conclusion which may send a few readers reaching for their smelling salts. I ask that after you’ve taken a whiff, you stick with me. My conclusion may seem radical a first, but I believe there is method in my madness.


Australia has to make a decision on a very simple question. Do the majority of Australians want universal health care? I believe the answer is yes, on the basis over 80% of Australians support Medicare. As we can see above, this country’s largest single expense line is Health. 17.8% of the taxes you and I pay is spent on Health. If we group all the Welfare lines together, Welfare accounts for 36.8%, more than  double Health.

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Sussan Ley updates the nation on Medicare

As any regular reader of this site is aware, I have been very vocal about the various changes to Medicare proposed by the LNP government. A list of past articles is provided at the end of this article should you have missed out. I also appeared on the ABC News supporting the RACGP in their “You’ve Been Targeted” campaign.

Earlier this week I wondered what was happening. Minister Ley had promised to consult with doctors before making any changes. I’d suggested Ley not forget about the most important demographic: the patients. I Googled and didn’t find much. I checked Ley’s Twitter feed and found the odd tweet about consulting with doctors.

Meeting with doctors and

more doctors.

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The Do Not Call Register

Years ago I registered my phone numbers on the Do Not Call Register. Lately I have been getting more and more “marketing” calls on both numbers. Many of them, annoyingly, are from private numbers. With four three teenagers and one young adult, I always feel a compulsion to answer calls. Who knows what trouble young people can get themselves into these days!

Today I got yet another call and I really saw red. My boss happened to be in my office at the time and said those three little words. Do Not Call Register. OK, be picky – four little words. I’d forgotten completely that my original registration had probably expired.

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The joys of MyGov, Centrelink, Medicare, The Tax Man and eHealth

Please allow me to introduce you to the joys of MyGov. As an IT professional anything I can do on-line, I will. Certainly saves standing in queues.

For overseas readers (or newish arrivals to Australia) we have a few government services we can access through a central portal and single log on. I quite like it. When it works.

The services  at the time of writing are:

The login screen looks like this:

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Open letter in support of the Australian Human Rights Commission

If you support the Australian Human Rights Commission, click through to add your name in support. Do it now, otherwise you’ll forget!

Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

The following open letter was sent to editors of a number of Australian media publications regarding recent political attacks on the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs. Its signatories included a number of Castan Centre academics. If you would like to add your name in support of this letter, please do so in the comments section below

Dear Editor

Independent public office holders are an important part of modern democratic societies.  Their task is to ensure accountability for abuses of power by government.  Their capacity to perform this role depends on their independence and ability to act impartially. The Australian Human Rights Commission is one such institution.

The Commonwealth law under which the Commission operates empowers it to ‘inquire into any act or practice that may be inconsistent with or contrary to any human right’.

The Commission has done exactly this in its report, titled

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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ – a young woman shares her thoughts

This article was originally submitted as a comment on What does ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ teach young women? I felt the Caitlin Mary’s words deserved a solo performance. I am publishing this as Caitlin wrote it, from the heart.

Montage by Caitlin Mary

Montage by Caitlin Mary

I have SO much to say on this topic so I apologise in advance for the essay I’m about to write (and potential spelling and grammar slip ups). To give some of my background I’m an avid reader of both young adult fiction and fanfiction. I’ve also studied a little bit of psychology and at one point was heavily interested in a career in sex ed. I’ve very interested in sexuality, gender and other such sex topics. SO suffice to say, I have just a few opinions on this 🙂

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Abbott is not amused with Triggs

Click the image to visit The AIM Network article



What does ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ teach young women?

I have three daughters. The oldest is married and thirty-something (she’ll kill me if I quantify the “something”). The next in line is twenty and still relatively new to western civilisation although adapting remarkably well. The youngest is twelve.

Click on the image for the best worst reviews of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’


I remember some discussion when ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ first came out. Now the movie is out. I thought it was one book – I learnt today it is actually three books. The hype surrounding the books seems to be exceeded by the hype surrounding the movie.

“…  the film has already been a hit in Australia for Universal, becoming the studio’s “second-biggest opening day of all time“, with more box office records expected to be broken this opening weekend.”

WOW! For a movie made from a book that is frequently given a review rating of one (yes, 1) that is some opening.

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Do we let patients suffer needlessly?

An interesting discussion on the different approaches to treating PTSD

Trauma Recovery Lab

Joris HaagenPTSD treatment guidelines invariably point to trauma-focused therapy, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as preferred interventions. Is the trauma focus justified? Researcher and psychologist Joris Haagen tells the story of a heated academic debate…

An article by Benish, Imel and Wampold (2008) challenged our belief in the necessity of a trauma focus. According to the authors it does not matter which psychological intervention we employ and whether it is trauma-focused or not. Could this mean that traumatized patients needlessly suffer from therapeutic exposure to horrific memories? The article was the start of a fiery debate between prominent researchers.

Let’s start with the initial article itself. Dr. Benish et al. published a meta-analysis with data from 15 studies and 958 patients in PTSD treatment. The aims of their meta-analysis were most unusual; whereas the last decades were dedicated to the discovery of…

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