Bad Blood

There are many surprises in this expose of how IT health company Theranos conned billions from American investors and put countless patient lives at risk by claiming to have invented a miniaturised, multi-test blood analysis technology. How could so many large investors, along with retail customers such as Walgreens and Safeway, have flocked to support a company whose testing was so minimal, and whose products simply didn’t work?

The secret, if such it is, lies in the charisma of the company’s founder Elizabeth Holmes, exceptionally bright and self confident, socially well-connected and ruthlessly ambitious. In the over-heated atmosphere of Silicon Valley start-ups, she was hailed, not least by herself, as the female Steve Jobs, playing the part to the hilt, wearing black outfits and seeking to model her ‘miracle’ devices on the iPhone.

Dr Harry Nespolon, RACGP President 2018-19

 Mental health concerns continue to be the main reason for GP presentations, with 62% of patients seeking help for issues such as depression, mood disorders and anxiety. The next commonest concern is respiratory illness, which requires GP care for 45% of patients (these two combined categories total more than 100%, and much more when other issues are included, indicating the high level of patient co-morbidity).

The figures were reported in the RACGP’s General Practice Health of the Nation 2018 - An annual insight into the state of general practice, the College’s snapshot of why patients seek primary medical care and how GPs view their work and their profession more widely

Prof Ross Bailie, Director UCRH; Prof Robyn Ward, Executive Dean Faculty Medicine and Health, University of Sydney; Kevin Hogan MP, Member for Page

On Thursday 30 August 2018, a fortnight before returning to Canberra to take up his new cross-bench seat in the Parliament, the Nationals’ MP for Page Kevin Hogan officially opened the University Centre for Rural Health’s 30-bed student accommodation building in Lismore.

In tune with the government’s “jobs and growth” refrain, the construction and fit-out of the building was undertaken by local builders and contractors. The accommodation, off Uralba Street in what has become the Lismore health precinct, includes multiple accessible rooms, high-speed internet access and environmentally friendly features such as water recycling and solar hot water.

The building was funded by the University of Sydney to assist in accommodating the growing number of students supported by UCRH as part of the Commonwealth Government Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training program.

Concept design for Act 1, part of Nicholas Roerich's designs for Diaghilev's 1913 production of Le Sacre du printemps - Wikipedia

Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913. It broke with many of the established musical traditions and challenged the perceptions of the traditional supporters of the ballet while being enthusiastically embraced by the avant-garde.

During the opening night’s performance arguments developed between the two groups. Forty members of the audience were ejected in the fracas and one member of the orchestra reported, “Everything available was tossed in our direction, but we continued to play on”.

The advent of the Spring season sees a new beginning for the North Coast Primary Health Network. In August Julie Sturgess took over the role of Chief Executive from interim CE, Sharyn White, following the departure of Dr Vahid Saberi. Julie has had extensive experience in corporate roles in eHealth, Aboriginal health services and community care. Prior to to joining the NCPHN she was the CE of Northern Australia Primary Health Limited (NAPHL) that delivered primary health care to the people of northern Queensland through contractual arrangements with the Northern Queensland PHN. On page 5 Robin Osborne reports on the challenges Julie faces as she takes the helm at the NCPHN.

Julie Sturgess, CEO

It’s only day 12 in the CEO chair at one of Australia's most important health coordinating bodies and Julie Sturgess is understandably cautious to predict how the North Coast Primary Health Network will evolve under her stewardship.

This is not to say she is unfamiliar with what the Commonwealth-funded PHNs, totalling 31 in Australia, are intended to achieve. In short, to quote the department, the PHNs are aimed at “increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.”