Health round-up: Health insurance funding more hospital visits, demanding jobs affect kids and hangovers

Richard Laycock 7 December 2017

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A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news.

Hospital visits funded by private health insurance up

People using their private health insurance to fund all or part of their hospital visit is on the rise, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The Private health insurance patients in Australian hospitals, 2006–07 to 2015–16: Australian hospital statistics report from the AIHW found that since 2006-07, private health insurance funded visits rose on average 5.6% each year. "In 2006–07 about 1 in 7 private health insurance-funded hospitalisations occurred in public hospitals, increasing to about 1 in 5 in 2015–16," said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves in a statement. Those with private health insurance were likely to experience shorter elective surgery waiting times, with a median wait time of 20 days versus 42 for public patients.

Is your job bad for your kid's health?

Parents who have demanding jobs might be harming their child's mental health, according to research from The Australian National University (ANU). The study, which was a part of the Growing Up in Australia research project, studied 2,500 working couples and their kids for 10 years. Lead researcher Dr Huong Dinh from ANU said parents without a good work/life balance were more likely to take their problems home with them. “We show that when employment and family are in conflict with each other, this undermines the health of both parents and their children – and this occurs when either fathers or mothers are in very demanding or inflexible jobs," Dr Dinh said in a statement.

Saying goodbye to the Christmas hangover

Are you prone to letting Christmas libations get the better of you? If so Professor David Kavanagh from QUT’s School of Psychology and Counselling may have some words of wisdom for you. Professor Kavanagh has put together a guide for people to help them avoid the Christmas hangover, which includes tips such as avoiding top-ups of your drink so you can keep track of how much you've consumed and breaking up your alcoholic beverages with something soft. "With a little conscious effort and forward-planning, it is possible for the holiday period to be the merry, festive time it is intended to be, sans the hangovers, poor sleep and guilt,” said Professor Kavanagh in a statement. The professor is also looking for people to participate in a study that aims to help people reduce and control their drinking.


What else is happening?

A first ever global survey from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has found that diabetics are underestimating the risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, CVD is the most common cause of death in people with type 2 diabetes. Each week our round-up offers a summary of the latest developments impacting Australian healthcare and most importantly, you, the consumer. Check in every Thursday to find out what's happening in health.

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