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Medicare in bad health PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 04 June 2009
Sick Australians are going to have to pay up when Medicare, Australia's free healthcare system, is forced to close its doors. That time may come sooner than expected.

In an interview, NSW Health director-general Debora Piccone said that "we are really on the edge of losing the universal healthcare system that this country has." Rising costs and an ageing population have sparked concerns the medicare system could come to an end in just five years. "I would have (previously) said we'd had 10 years to run. It's now looking like we've got five years to run because the cost escalations are so significant," she said.

State health authorities have revealed we are heading for a US-style user pays system, where insurance premiums exceed $3000 even with employer subsidies. Under the US system there is no free health care. It is a "for-profit system" in which people only get the treatment they can afford - not the treatment they need. Essentially, your health insurance fund - not doctors - decide what medical treatment will be given. In the US, where there is no Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the cost of routine diabetes, cholesterol and blood-pressure medications is around $1,000 per month.

All of this change is prompting a plan to combine state and federal health funding to take control of hospitals and patient care.

New Global CEO for Optometry Giving Sight PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 03 June 2009

After 5 years as both Executive Chair and CEO of global fundraising organization, Optometry Giving Sight, Professor Brien Holden has stepped down as CEO and the Board has appointed Clive Miller. Mr Miller has been with the organization for three years, initially as the Director of Marketing and Fundraising and, for the past 2 years, as Deputy CEO.

Professor Holden will remain as Executive Chair and will continue to provide strategic direction and oversight to Optometry Giving Sight. The move is part of Professor Holden’s desire to empower his team.

Clive Miller has worked in the non government sector since 1987, primarily as the head of Fundraising and Marketing for the AIDS Trust of Australia, AUSTCARE, the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Fred Hollows Foundation and UNSW Foundation. He has an MBA from University of Technology, Sydney.

CERA appoints new Managing Director PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 02 June 2009

Professor Jonathan Crowston has been appointed as the new Managing Director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), starting on 1 June 2009. Concurrently, the University of Melbourne is appointing him to the Ringland Anderson Chair of Ophthalmology, Australia’s oldest and most prestigious specialist Chair in this field. Professor Crowston was formally selected for these roles following an international search.

A glaucoma specialist with science and medical qualifications, Jonathan Crowston was born and educated in London and trained in ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital. He moved to Melbourne in 2006 when he was appointed Professor of Glaucoma by the University of Melbourne. Over the past three years, he has established a new basic science laboratory at CERA and built a strong team working on glaucoma research.

Fastest Retail Rollout in History for Specsavers in Australia PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 01 June 2009

Specsavers has reported staggering growth of 325% in the past year of operations – bucking the economic downturn and dire industry projections with record week-on-week figures. The Australian retail rollout has been the fastest the company has ever seen in its 25-year history, during which time it has branched into a total of 10 countries.

Since May last year, the business has assisted local optometrists to open 110 new Specsavers stores, with a total of 171 stores now open in Australia. Specsavers believes it has snatched a 16.4%  annualised market share by value from a standing start in February 2008 and is now the second biggest optical retailer in Australia.

The company is planning to open another 50 stores in the next six months, creating new Aussie jobs, and opportunities for local optometrists who wish to run their own businesses. An additional 200 new jobs are being created at the MCG-sized manufacturing and operational facility due to open later this year in Port Melbourne.  

The brand’s runaway success flies in the face of industry analyst IBIS World’s predictions in February of a 0.2% contraction in the optical dispensing market, and puts the less than 1% growth figures of competitors in the shade.

Peter Larsen, Managing Director of Specsavers Australia, said, “We knew we were bringing a winning formula to Australians but even we can’t believe how successful Specsavers has been – especially in the middle of a global economic crisis. Our results are better than we expected even before the financial crisis hit.

“This growth is against the trend predicted by industry analyst IBIS World who forecast the Australian optometry and optical dispensing market to contract by 0.2%.  It is also against the trend seen by other optical retailers, which media has quoted as experiencing less than 1% growth or no growth.

“By contrast, Specsavers has posted record earnings week after week in 2009, with some stores experiencing over 300% growth during the past 12 months. On average, our stores grew by 40.9% (like for like) during the past 12 months and the company grew by 325% overall. When you consider that other optometry businesses are bragging about not going backwards during the financial crisis, it really puts into perspective what an incredible achievement this is.”

However, notes that most of Specsavers' growth is based on acquisitions of existing optical retailers and it still has to be seen whether Specsavers will be able to continue to improve its position in the Australian market once acquisition opportunities have dried out.

Gorgi Quill new Vision Australia Ambassador PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 28 May 2009

With a background in news, current affairs, travel, entertainment, science, education and professional singing, Gorgi Quill is one of Melbourne media's most well-rounded television presenters.

Gorgi holds a Bachelor of Science (majoring in pharmacology and zoology) and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) specialising in biology and science, both from Monash University. Gorgi taught four years of secondary college. She also coordinated 240 students at year levels 9, 10 and VCE.

Gorgi has been the Melbourne reporter and travel presenter for the Today Show on the Nine Network, a presenter and host on Holidays for Sale, and the Victorian travel show Postcards.

She is a professional and well-established singer, performing at Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight in 2007 and 2006. Gorgi has a background in musical theatre, starring in the original Australian cast for the Queen/Ben Elton smash-hit musical We Will Rock You and Carousel with David Campbell.

In 2008, Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight was excited to welcome Gorgi back to perform alongside Vision Australia client from Qld, Lorin Nicholson. Vision Australia is excited to announce that they are currently working together to produce an album. Gorgi is also currently working on a new Channel 7 show - Guide to the Good Life.

RANZCO and ASO response to the 2009 Federal Budget Proposal PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) call on the Government, the Health Minister and the Department of Health and Ageing to reverse the intention to reduce the Medicare rebate for cataract surgery. RANZCO and ASO wish to continue to work co‐operatively with the Government to achieve the best possible outcome for the Australian public ‐ our patients.

As part of cost containment, the Australian Federal Government announced in the 2009 Federal Budget that it will reduce the Medicare reimbursement to patients for cataract surgery as of November 2009 from $623.70 to $311.85 or by approximately 50 per cent.

RANZCO and ASO argue that the result of the proposed 50 per cent cut in the Medicare rebate will lead to detrimental changes in the way cataract surgery is available to the Australian community.  The most concerning aspect is that the economic viability of the delivery of eye care to rural and remote centres will very likely be destroyed. As Medicare funds less and less of the true costs of delivering health care to the Australian public, patients will have to pay more.

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