Payments revealed
ONE of Australia’s biggest drug companies will reveal next month how much money it pays to doctors, health groups and research institutes in grants and fees — a first step that could eventually allow patients to tally payments to their doctors, The Australian reports. GlaxoSmithKline will initially limit the move to declaring how much money it pays to Australian health professionals overall in each of three categories — consultancies, sponsorships and grants. However, it is understood full individual identification of payments remains GSK’s long-term goal.

Recruitment woes
SIGNIFICANT delays in registering health professionals under a new national body are threatening Australia’s ability to attract overseas doctors to work in rural areas, The Age reports. Submissions to a Senate inquiry into the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, which replaced state-based registration boards last July, reveal serious misgivings about its performance. The Rural Workforce Agency Victoria said the registration process had become more complex, time-consuming and costly for overseas doctors under the new agency.

$40 000 privacy breach
A $40 000 damages order for misusing a mentally ill patient’s medical records has sent a strong privacy warning to hospitals, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The compensation was awarded to a man with bipolar disorder who was a patient of the same public hospital at which he worked. The man had told a psychiatric nurse that he had thoughts of harming himself or a colleague, though he was assessed as being at low risk of doing either. The nurse reported his admission to the hospital’s human resources manager, who suspended his employment.

Smart motivation
INTELLIGENCE tests are as much a measure of motivation as they are of mental ability, BBC News reports. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a high intelligence quotient (IQ) score required both high intelligence and high motivation but a low IQ score could be the result of a lack of either factor. Incentives were also found to increase IQ scores by a noticeable margin.

Roxon unmoved on PBS
PHARMACEUTICAL and consumer groups have failed in their bid to have several new drugs added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), ABC News reports. The drugs were approved by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, but were deferred from inclusion on the PBS by Health Minister Nicola Roxon to help the federal Budget’s bottom line. A meeting between Ms Roxon and consumer groups in Melbourne was not able to find a resolution.

Seeing tattoos age
TATTOO artists are increasingly leaving their mark on Western culture, but a new study reveals for the first time how their designs will deteriorate as their human canvases age, The Australian reports. A researcher in fluid mechanics at University College London has created a mathematical model to predict the movement of tattoo ink particles over time, and give an idea of which designs age better. The paper, published in the Mathematics Today journal (not available online), will enable those considering getting a tattoo to accurately predict how their design will look in 20 years’ time.

Posted 2 May 2011

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