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Health experts convene to discuss healthcare issues in NZ

Health experts convene to discuss key healthcare issues facing NZ

Health experts from The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) will convene in Auckland tomorrow to discuss critical healthcare issues facing New Zealand and Australia and share the latest advances in medical research and internal medicine.

Dr Geoffrey Robinson, Chief Medical Officer, Capital and Coast District Health Board and former RACP NZ President, will review New Zealand’s recent alcohol law reforms. Dr Robinson will discuss NZ Parliament’s lost opportunity for more extensive reforms despite apparent public opinion on readiness to change alcohol control strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm.

“Although the Alcohol Reform Bill adopted two-thirds of the Law Commission’s recommendations, including trading hours and outlet density, it disappointingly rejected many of the important recommendations including a 50% increase in excise tax rates and a minimum purchase age of 20,” Dr Robinson said.

“The influence of the liquor industry remains powerful and alcohol reform in New Zealand remains unfinished business.”

Associate Professor Richard King from Australia will give the keynote oration and discuss the international groundswell to disinvest in health technology that delivers no or low health gain for their cost. Disinvestment activity is underway at all levels of the New Zealand health system.

“Over the past decade there has been an increase in health technology spending estimated to be 25 per cent of the increase in health costs, which cannot continued to be funded,” Associate Professor King said.

“This talk will discuss the health profession’s role in the safe, effective and affordable introduction of health technology and clinical procedures.”

Other highlights on Day One include:
• Gambling addiction and the overlap between gambling and substance use disorders. ‘Disordered gambling’ was included as a new disorder in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5), and described as a behavioural addiction, when previously it was an impulse control disorder.
• The occupational health of police, teachers, fire-fighters and ambulance workers after the Christchurch earthquake.
• Recent research on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and how it remains ‘hidden from view’ due to many factors including the failure of health professionals to identify pregnancies at risk and children requiring assessment. Crucial to FASD prevention is an understanding of why women drink during pregnancy and the need to change attitudes to alcohol use in pregnancy.
• Update on gout treatments and strategies to improve health outcomes. Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand have the highest rates of gout worldwide.
• Lung cancer screening and the emerging evidence about using low dose CT scanning for screening.

About The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)
The RACP trains, educates and advocates on behalf of more than 14,800 physicians – often referred to as medical specialists – and over 6,000 trainees, across Australia and New Zealand. The College represents more than 32 medical specialties including paediatrics & child health, cardiology, respiratory medicine, neurology, oncology and public health medicine, occupational & environmental medicine, palliative medicine, sexual health medicine, rehabilitation medicine and addiction medicine. Beyond the drive for medical excellence, the RACP is committed to developing health and social policies which bring vital improvements to the wellbeing of patients.


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