In his 20 September 2018 blog, Dr Edwin Kruys, former Vice President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), writes of the increasing consolidation of Australian health data and its analysis within the Federal Department of Health.

May 1st 2019 will see changes to the Australian Government’s Practice Incentive Scheme, with the abolition of practice incentives for asthma, cervical screening, diabetes, quality prescribing and aged care access. While the exact nature of the replacement is not known, the previous plan was shelved just prior to the May 2018 Budget. It envisioned an all encompassing Quality Improvement payment and this remains the most likely basis for the new system.

GPReferral.com

Recently I had a patient needing a blepharoplasty and tarsorrhaphy, however finding an eye surgeon who could offer both proved more difficult than it should.

Which urologist does public work? Does a psychologist work with someone under 18 years of age? Do they do EMDR or work with eating disorders? Have they closed their books? Which general surgeon does that operation?

GPReferral.com was born from the frustrations and difficulties of the referral process like these. The program is a secure online Rolodex-ike database designed to provide general practitioners with the ability to search for specialist and allied health professionals.

How to Change Your Mind

The ‘high priest of LSD’, Dr Timothy Leary casts a long shadow over this exhaustive study of mind altering compounds despite being dismissed early on as a washed-up psychologist who had less influence over the potential value of psychedelics than he claimed.

The Berkley, California based academic was by no means the first to realise the effects of ‘acid’. That was down to the chemist Albert Hoffmann who, in 1938, thirty years before Leary et al discovered tripping, inadvertently absorbed LSD-25 in his lab and after lying down on a couch in his home reported perceiving “an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”

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