248,000 cataract procedures in 2015-16

A total of 248,000 cataract-extraction procedures were carried out in Australian hospitals in 2015-16, according to a report by the Canberra-based Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Ninety-seven per cent of the procedures involved surgery and were carried out on the same day. They were the highest hospitalisations per 1,000 population.

The 248,000 procedures was 62 per cent of the total of 397,000 eye procedures undertaken during 2015-16 (the other two procedures totalling 56,000 for macular degeneration and 6,000 for glaucoma).

All up, there were 1,331 hospitals providing in-hospital services of all kinds – 701 public and 630 private – totalling 10.6 million hospitalisations.

There were about 360,000 full-time equivalent staff employed in providing public hospital services, of which 41 per cent were nurses, 12 per cent salaried medical officers and 16% diagnostic and allied health professionals.

Private hospitals employed about 66,800 full-time equivalent staff, 56 per cent of whom were nurses, 29 per cent were salaried medical officers and 6 per cent were diagnostic and allied health professionals.

Procedures on the eye and adnexa were carried out in private hospitals, including cataract surgery).

For cataract extraction, 3 per 1,000 hospitalisations were followed by a readmission within 28 days, compared to tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, for example, of 35 per 1,000 readmission within 28 days.

Waiting time for public-hospital

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By | July 26th, 2017|Surgery|

Over 25 million pairs of specs dispensed by Supersavers ANZ in 9 years

Specsavers dispensed more than 25 million pairs of spectacles in Australia and New Zealand in nine years, Mr Steve O’Leary, director of retail advancement and product for ANZ, told the inaugural Specsavers Dispensing Conference, held in Sydney on 23 July.

Almost 1,000 of the company’s optical dispensers in ANZ have completed Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing since 2013, with more than 300 currently enrolled in the course, Mr O’Leary said.

During the next week and a half, a total of 450 optical dispensers will have attended dispensing conferences in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, Melbourne and Perth, he said.

Mr O’Leary said the SDC is an important milestone in the development of the dispensing experience for Australians and New Zealanders, and for the many men and women who are choosing to develop their careers within Specsavers, within the broader industry and in their respective communities.
He said “one of our core beliefs in Specsavers is that we are ‘MAD’! And many of you may believe that we already doing a good job of that … MAD is an acronym for ‘making a difference’.
“We believe that by making a difference we can:

  • Bring to life an even brighter future for the optical dispensing in Australia and New Zealand;
  • Help optical dispensers have enriching and rewarding careers;
  • Offer

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By | July 26th, 2017|Business|

5160 optometrists registered to practise here

There were 5,160 optometrists registered to practise here in the three months 1 January to 31 March, with an additional two undergoing postgraduate training or supervised practice and two teaching or researching, according to data from the Optometry Board of Australia.

In addition, there were 175 non-practising optometrists.

The principal places of practice were (percentages) New South Wales 33.7, Victoria 26.15, Queensland 19.80, Western Australia 7.92, South Australia 5.53, Tasmania 1.74, Australian Capital Territory 1.42 and No PPP 3.13.

A total of 2,692 (52.2%) optometrists registration was endorsed for scheduled medicines, ranging from 5.6% in the 75-79 age group up to 99.7% in the under 25 age group, reflecting the inclusion of training in scheduled medicines as part of undergraduate courses.

Numbers of practising optometrists ranged from one in the 80+ age group to 341 in under 25 and 821 in 25-29.

There were 2,815 (52.7%) female registered optometrists and 2,524 (47.3%) male optometrists.

By | July 26th, 2017|People|

AFL gets behind organ/tissue donation campaign

The Australian Football League has thrown its weight behind a national campaign to boost organ and tissue donation, including corneas.

The AFL has formed a partnership with donation body DonateLife to help boost donations, which will see the AFL directly beam messages about signing up online as a donor into millions of homes via football-fan-directed media platforms and even into spectator stands where fans can sign u online while they watch a game.

All 18 ANL clubs will join to support DonateLife Week (30 July to 6 August) over Round 20 of the premiership season.

The AFL says it has 1.4 million players across Australia in 14,772 teams on top of the 18 AFL clubs and eight AFLW clubs.

Research commissioned by the Organ and Tissue Authority shows 67 per cent of Australians are willing to donate their organs but only 33 per cent have signed on to a register.

By | July 26th, 2017|People|


Solly drops a bundle on Myer shares

RETAIL billionaire Solomon Lew has dropped a bundle on the Myer shares he bought in March in a raid on the share register – he bought an 11% stake for $101 million, which today is worth $40 million. Well done Solly!

Myer shares were spruiked by Jennifer Hawkins for $4.10 when the company was floated in 2009, but no matter how glamorous she may be, the share price has dropped to 73c.

Perhaps Sol should buy the whole of Myer. After all, it’s now only worth $600 million, which is a steal.

One to watch.


A new definition of cataract?

IN amongst the advertisements/promos in a daily newspaper for enhancing capability for disabled people, accounting services, managing migraine, plumbing services, loans (have we got a deal for you) and just about everything else was an ophthalmologists’ ad/promo piece for cataract surgery.

It introduced a new description of cataract: “a visible, milky ‘cloud’ that forms over the pupil”.

Over the pupil?

By | July 26th, 2017|Comment|

44% claim health-insurance selection ‘difficult’

A new survey by Choice consumer group has shown 44 per cent of health-insurance policyholders believe comparing policies is “difficult”, while 56 per cent are split between “neutral” and “easy”.

The survey revealed the top reason for buying insurance was extras cover [including optical], which the spokesman said might indicate consumer confusion and lack of understanding that it is “mainly a budgeting tool”.

Also, a survey of 20,000 extras policies found that while premiums continue to rise, the benefits payable have failed to keep up, with 21 per cent of policy-holders planning to decrease or cancel their cover, citing cost.

Choice has called on the federal government, which has approved a cumulative premium increase of 54.6 per cent since 2009, to make policies easier to understand.

“When you’re pushing people into it and they’re faced with this overwhelming complexity, it could make a grudge purchase a bad one, leading to poor outcomes for everyone, ” a spokesman for Choice said.

A spokesman for federal health minister Greg Hunt said categorising policies as gold, silver and bronze is being considered by the Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, which will report in the second half of this year.

By | July 16th, 2017|Business|


Lens checking

FROM the ‘Did you Know?’ department: More than half of ground, edged and fitted prescription lenses produced in Australia do not undergo final check before being despatched to clients, the laboratories concerned relying totally on the data loaded into their computerised surfacing, cutting and edging equipment.

Regrettably, things can go wrong, as any laboratory person well knows, meaning an eventual annoying return of the job for either correction or re-make and then back to the client. Delay, delay, delay.

Also, some laboratories use lens material from the Sub-Continent as well as other parts of Asia, while pretending it comes from Europe or America.

It’s a state of affairs that will eventually bring all sorts of retribution for those concerned, whether they be big or small operators.

In the event of government one way or another deciding to have a look at the lens industry, some laboratories inevitably would be adversely affected by findings. In short, they’d at least have egg all over their respective faces.

Remember the inquiry held by the Industries Assistance Commission some years back? Some of the industry’s ‘stars’ came out of that looking decidely green around the gills after being grilled by IAC commissioners.

Ah, but It couldn’t happen again?

Don’t bet on it.


Phone numbers

ONE BY ONE, we’re all going to have

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By | July 16th, 2017|Comment|

Call for medical-devices royal commission

THE private health insurance industry has called for a royal commission into the cost of medical devices in Australia, including ophthalmic products, saying in a Senate hearing into private health insurance that “powerful interests” are delaying reform.

• The call for a royal commission was made on 5 July by Mr Matthew Koce, the chief executive of hirmaa, (formerly the Health Insurance Restricted Membership Association of Australia), which has 22 member-owned, not-for-profit health funds as members.

• Health insurers have long called for reform of the prostheses list, which dictates what they must pay for medical devices, arguing that they are charged a higher price than the public health system and comparable countries.

• Mr Koce said he had not heard anyone publicly justify why Australians are paying such high prices for medical devices. He said annual policy costs could be reduced by about $160 if the private system was charged the same price as the public system for a medical device.

The hearing also heard from Mr Andrew Wilson, Medibank Private’s groiup executive of healthcare and strategy, who said there was a real opportunity for reform and that the time was now.

Submissions to the Senate inquiry close on 28 July, with a reporting date set for 27 November.

The inquiry follows on from the

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By | July 10th, 2017|Business|

Asst health minister endangering federal govt?

THE assistant federal health minister, Dr David Gillespie, could be endangering the federal government’s parliamentary majority of one seat because a company he and his wife own leases commercial premises to an Australia Post licensee, near Port Macquarie on the NSW north coast.

The lease has sparked a High Court challenge by the opposition that, if successful, would threaten to topple the government’s one-seat majority through disqualification of Dr Gillespie as an MP.

The opposition believes that Dr Gillespie may have an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth, which, if found to be the case, would be grounds for disqualification from office under section 44(v) of the constitution – because of the lease to the Australia Post licensee.

The ‘indirect’ aspect is because of the premises being leased by the couple’s company, not Dr Gillespie himself.

If the High Court finds he was invalidly elected a further election would have to be held for the National MP’s seat of Lyne. It is understood Dr Gillespie could stand for election again were that to be so – provided he disposed of the property at issue.

Section 44(v) is designed to stop people sitting in Parliament and earning money through contracts with the Commonwealth as well.

By | July 10th, 2017|People|


A VISITOR to last weekend’s ODMA 2017 trade fair made the observation that the doorman didn’t seem to be checking entrants’ nametags on any of a number of visits made to the exhibition area.

Nor, the visitor pointed out, did the tags differentiate exhibitors and visitors, which is the widely-accepted procedure at any such event so that exhibitors can readily see if a person they are speaking with is either a ‘spy’ (for lack of a better word) sent to chat them up by a competitor or someone who is interested in their products for the right reasons. Usually, the differentiation is by colour, one way or another.

Hardly rocket science, the visitor suggested, so why not this time?


THIS month, at a Senate hearing, there’s been a call for a royal commission into the cost of medical devices in Australia by the head of an organisation named ‘hirmaa’, which was formerly known as the Health Insurance Restricted Membership Association of Australia and now has 22 member- owned, not-for-profit health funds as members.

Yes, you did read it correctly: ‘Restricted Membership’ was part of its name until, wisely, that name was dropped in favour of ‘hirmaa’, meaningless as it may seem.

Imagine if the title including ‘Restricted Membership’ was still in use today: anti-competitive authorities

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By | July 10th, 2017|Comment|