Medicare Local overhauled in budget

15/08/2018 // by admin

Minister for Health Peter DuttonIT’S been a nail biting week for Southern NSW Medicare Local, with 105 employees left in the lurch after Coalition Treasurer Joe Hockey announced funding would cease for the health network in July 2015.
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The decision to replace the national body with a smaller and reportedly more concise Primary Health Network (PHN) comes after an independent review found many patients experienced disjointed healthcare under Medicare Local, subsequently impacting the overall care and costs involved.

The review, submitted to Government by Professor John Horvath in March, listed a number of recommendations, among them a system boasting heavier GP involvement and greater alignment with NSW local health networks.

PHN was recommended as a way to “build on the strengths of Medicare Locals” while avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy and duplication within the system.

“Some Medicare Locals have achieved a great deal. However, as a national network they have failed to present a compelling argument to continue in their current form,” the report read.

Taking on board the recommendations, the Abbott Government announced the move during last Tuesday’s budget announcement.

Minister for Health Peter Dutton said the changeover will ensure funding is “not wasted on administration” and focused on improved services. The new network will align more closely with state and territory health systems and build around the work of GP’s.

“Improved primary health care is fundamental to achieving better health outcomes across Australia,” Mr Dutton said.

“A strong primary health care system helps to contain costs because health problems are treated before they need more expensive hospital treatment. Primary health care is best positioned to manage chronic disease and support preventive health to ease pressure on the hospital system.”

The Primary Health Network will also see the establishment of a Clinical Council and Community Advisory Committee. They will not provide health services but instead purchase health services to encourage public and private health care solutions.

The networks will be established following an open tender process later this year to begin operating from July 2015.

Boundaries for the new network are yet to be finalised, although it is understood there will be less than Medicare Local’s 61.

DESPITE the funding block, Chairman of Southern NSW Medicare Local Dr Martin Carlson said the organisation is committed to fight to retain its place as the region’s primary health care agency.

“The Southern NSW Medicare Local is already a high performing primary health organisation as defined by the Abbott Government’s review… we are therefore well placed to transition to the new organisation,” Dr Carlson said.

“It is disappointing that we are required to go through another competitive tendering process later this year.”

He expressed concern at the notion to set up fewer PHN’s as the larger geographical area could lead to slower response times in solving local service problems and hinder the ability to provide effective support to professionals.

“The Department of Health has limited information for us right now but when we see the tender documents in a few months we will be in a better position to understand exactly how these new organisations will function,” Dr Carlson said.

“Our message to the Southern NSW Community is that the Medicare Local’s valued services will continue for the next 12 months and that we will fight hard to retain our position.”

Currently, SNSWML services a population area of 194,000 ranging from Goulburn to Cooma, Queanbeyan and Bega. It provides clinical and allied health services including mental health, Aboriginal health, fitness and lifestyle programs, dietetics, youth health and foot care.

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Fashion pageant steaming along

15/08/2018 // by admin

Thanks to Ashlea Road Boutique museum volunteers can steam the historical garments much quickerManning Valley Historical Society volunteers are hard at work preparing for this Saturday’s fashion pageant.
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After an exhaustive sort through all the historical garments held at the Wingham Museum, the final selection has been made. With so many items to prepare the volunteers called on local fashion store Ashlea Road Boutique to borrow a hand steamer to make the job a little quicker.

Hang Fire Disco will be playing during the parade to be held at the Wingham Memorial Services Club auditorium.

‘A Glimpse into the Past’ will celebrate 100 years of fashion. Items that have been carefully selected will be on displayon Saturday May 24 at 2pm. Tickets cost $20 and are available from the Manning Valley Historical Society or the Wingham Services Memorial Club. Afternoon tea will also be served.

The fashion pageant is part of the 50 year celebrations of the Manning Valley Historical Society. A collection of historical photos are also on display at the Manning Spiritual Wellness Centre in Farquhar Street.

April 23

LOCAL fashion from the past is being carefully chosen for an upcoming pageant of fashion to be held in May. The extensive collection is housed at the Wingham Museum of the Manning Valley Historical Society. Local fashion identities Lyn Catt and Jo Meldrum have brought their extensive experience in the fashion industry to the museum and are joining with the MVHS volunteers to make the selection.

A ‘little black dress’ from 1945 will be part of the collection of historical gowns in Wingham.

The wedding gown and night dress of Alice May Cooper from 1906 will be on display at the pageant of fashion in Wingham.

Lyn Catt (left) and Kim Armstrong at the Wingham museum with a grey linen day dress from 1901.

It’s a difficult task and the women are aware they are collating history. They are also respectful of the emotional attachment that families hold for items they have donated to the museum. “We know of some people who will be travelling up from Newcastle to see the clothing donated by their families,” said Lyn.

Most of the clothing housed at the museum has a strong local connection such as a grey linen day dress from 1901. The dress is thought to be Mrs Frances Hook’s mother’s clothes, Frances Hooke herself a Summerville a family with strong ties to the area.

The historical collection of garments has been collected for ‘A Glimpse into the Past’ to celebrate 100 years of fashion. Items that have been carefully selected will be on display in the Wingham Services Club auditorium on Saturday May 24. Tickets cost $20 and are available from the Manning Valley Historical Society or at the Wingham Services Club. Afternoon tea will also be served.

Women of the Manning Valley in the late 1800s and early 1900s most likely owned fewer garments than women of today. But the often simple and delicate items are a testament to a time when quality materials and careful stitching ensured longevity of the piece.

As Manning Valley Historical Society president Barbara Walters and her team of helpers collate garments for the upcoming fashion pageant they have been reflecting on the difficulty local women would have faced 100 years ago. “Many would have been remembering their homelands and what they left behind,” said Barbara. “The sewing machine would have been important and there would have been a strong reliance on catalogues for fashion inspiration.”

Material would have been ordered from such places as Cochrane’s Emporium which opened in Wingham in 1884. Cochrane employed salesmen who circulated around the district with four carts so women on rural properties may have been able to order their supplies that way. There would have been a heavy reliance on ships to bring fabrics and clothing into the district. Unfortunately shipping disasters may very well have been responsible for entire wardrobes being destroyed which would have been a huge loss to people.

Old photos housed at the museum reveal well-dressed ladies in Wingham’s past. The type and quantity of clothing owned would have depended on the prosperity of the family. It was common for many women to only own one good dress. “This dress would have been worn for special occasions and to church,” said Barbara. Afternoon tea was a popular time to dress in a fine dress and accessories.

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Move to Singleton now worth $7000

15/08/2018 // by admin

Families who chose to move from Newcastle to Singleton will now qualify for a one-off lump sum payment of $7000 under the regional relocation scheme.
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Relocate To Singleton and you may be eligible for a $7000 grant from the State Government.

The scheme was introduced in 2011 to encourage city dwellers to relocate to regional areas but its poor uptake led to the state government relaxing many of the conditions.

Originally applicants had to purchase a property to qualify and this had to be 100kms from a metropolitan city, like Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong.

In 2013 it was extended to those wishing to rent a regional property and now the government has reduced the relocation distance from 100kms to just 50kms.

Member for the Upper Hunter George Souris said the new distance criterion will bring Singleton and Broke into the range of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

“The traffic conga line up to coal mining jobs in the Shire might be a little less attractive with the incentive now reaching Singleton,” he said.

“Singleton has the benefit of being less than an hour to Newcastle and the beaches and is now a very attractive proposition.”

The relocation grants were specifically designed to relocate residents from a metro area to a regional area, he said.

Singleton Council general manager Lindy Hyam said the council welcomes the reduction in distance to qualify for the Regional Relocation Grants and believes it will provide more options for families wishing to relocate.

“Singleton has plenty to offer young families including sports facilities, parks and recreation areas, award-winning restaurants, world class museums, national parks and a wonderful seasonal program of community events,” she said.

“We have an abundance of residential land available and a competitive housing market that is much more accessible to young families than it once was and good rental opportunities. Being located just two hours from Sydney and a short drive from Newcastle, we are well-positioned for those who wish to continue working elsewhere while enjoying an affordable regional and rural lifestyle.”

The relocation program was an election promise designed to boost the population of regional towns, but has failed to meet a target of 40,000 families over four years.

More than $2.2 million remains unspent after 1166 grants were given to families moving from the city to the bush this financial year.

The Regional Relocation Home Buyers Grant provides a one-off payment of $7,000 to approved applicants to assist with the cost of relocating from a metropolitan area to a regional area.

The government also offers a similar grant for those who actually want to relocate to a regional are to work in a local business or start their own.

The Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive commences on 1 January 2014 and provides a $10,000 grant for an eligible employment or self-employment relocation.

The grant is paid in two equal instalments, with the second instalment being paid at least 12 months after the first.

Applications for this incentive cannot be made until at least 3 months after the applicant commences employment in a regional job or commences self-employment in a regional small business.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

GALLERY: Caragabal Tennis Clinic

15/08/2018 // by admin

On Thursday, April 24, Amanda Livingstone conducted a school holiday tennis clinic at the Caragabal Country Club.
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It was a huge success with 24 young tennis enthusiasts hitting the local courts for some training, followed by a sausage sizzle hosted by the P&C.

We had kids from Grenfell, Caragabal, Marsden and Quandialla who are keen for a follow up session.

If you are interested in attending our next session in May, please contact Hannah 0421 888 601.

Coach Amanda Livingstone presenting the young tennis players with their trophies.

Group photo of the young tennis enthusiasts who attended the school holiday clinic.

Angus Troth, Angus Kelly, Josh LeBroque, Hamish Napier and Tom Ray.

Kate Clifton, Tully McCahon, Halle West, Polly Napier and Phoebe Clifton in front.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

SUPERFOODS: Turning over a new leaf

15/08/2018 // by admin

ON A MISSION: Centre, Chris Parker harvesting kale this week. Main picture: Peter StoopPlease enable Javascript to watch this videoLAST Thursday morning, Chris Parker harvested 36 bunches of kale at his Congewai property and delivered them to East Maitland store Organic Feast. Four days later, he dropped off another 22. ‘‘I think more people want to eat well and kale is very good for you,’’ says the self-described health nut who began growing the leafy green vegetable commercially and pesticide-free in 2005. ‘‘It’s trendy at the moment as well.’’
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Kale is the ‘‘superfood’’ du jour though there are plenty of others vying for your cash and they form an exotic shopping list: chia seeds, maca, cacao, quinoa, acai and goji berries. Promoted as calorie sparse and nutrient dense, most of these foods hail from far-flung locales but Australian producers are edging their way into the lucrative market.

Parker first planted kale in 2004 at the urging of his health-conscious wife and at the same time he noticed that it was being sold at the Sydney organic markets he visited each week. He ended up getting bunches for Organic Feast but they ‘‘struggled to sell 10 bunches back then’’. How times have changed. When kale recently appeared among the rows of glossy silver beet and array of lettuce at my local supermarket in Mayfield, I realised its renaissance had come full circle.

I blame Gwyneth Paltrow for the hype. In 2010 while promoting the blockbuster, Iron Man 2, the actor attributed her lean physique to her trainer Tracey Anderson and a strict diet consisting of, well, mainly kale juice. (For the record, kale juice tastes and smells like freshly-mown grass.) Since then she has published the health-conscious cookbook, It’s All Good, featuring a number of recipes using kale. Kale chips, anyone?

I also blame Miranda Kerr. For the past four years she has been raving about goji berries, which are grown mainly in China and eaten as a snack or used in smoothies and atop cereal or yoghurt in the same way raspberries or blueberries are.

Other celebrities have also jumped on the superfood bandwagon, including Sarah Wilson, Rachael Finch, and Jennifer Hawkins, who all use social media to show off their pious diets that more often than not eliminate dairy, wheat, gluten and sugar. Green shakes are a popular fixture and include ingredients such as spirulina, kale, avocado, cucumber and lemon. Chia seeds are turning up in muffins, smoothies and snack bars. Quinoa has invaded cafe menus – especially in the big cities – as forcefully as focaccia once did.

I can’t think of the last time a friend posted a photo on instagram of a hamburger or greasy hot chips. They are more likely to show off a bowl of home-made gluten-free muesli or protein balls consisting of almonds, dates, chia seeds and cacao powder. In contrast to our rising obesity rate, there is a burgeoning – some would say booming – industry feeding off the desire to be super healthy.

‘‘It’s a bit like wearing a badge; there’s definitely fashion in food,’’ says Clare Collins, professor in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle. ‘‘In some ways it’s a social trend but also people are looking for a quick fix, an easy solution. Quinoa is high in protein and low in fat, but so are lentils, chick peas, kidney beans and baked beans, which are often grown locally and are cheaper.

‘‘Even if a goji berry is higher in vitamin c than an orange, if you eat oranges you’ll still get enough vitamin c. If you really want to increase your berry intake, frozen berries from your supermarket are just as good. We don’t need to import these foods when we have healthy foods in our backyard. Kale is trendy, but at least it’s grown here.’’

WHEN looking at what has fuelled the popularity of superfoods, whose benefits are often overstated by devotees and understated by dietitians, it is impossible to avoid the influence of the paleo diet. This diet, which is based on what our prehistoric, hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten, has gained an almost cult-like following. It is a simple regimen summed up by what you can eat: meat, seafood, vegetables, eggs, fruit and nuts. Hardline followers also exclude dairy, replacing it with coconut or almond milk. There’s no room for processed or starchy foods, which is quite radical in 2014 given their proliferation.

Mr Activated Almonds, aka chef and My Kitchen Rules co-host Pete Evans, is probably one of the most well-known converts. He has attributed his weight-loss and new-found energy and good health to the diet and has just published a cookbook, Healthy Every Day, which is based on paleo principles and includes recipes such as pan-fried whiting with pumpkin and kale salad, burger with the lot (minus the bread roll) and Sri Lankan beetroot and egg curry. He is overseas and couldn’t be reached by Weekender, but MKR contestant and fellow paleo devotee/cookbook author Luke Hines was happy to expound about the appeal of the diet (he and Evans are touring Australia in July with a presentation called The Paleo Way).

‘‘We [Hines and fitness trainer/co-cookbook author Scott Gooding] were on MKR around the same time that Pete was making the transition so it worked out really well,’’ says Hines. ‘‘Rather than us giving him the lead, it was more like we were learning from each other. Pete’s gone and done a nutrition course and has gotten very serious about what he eats. The thing with paleo is it’s not anything new, it’s not a fad, it’s how we ate – it’s just we haven’t been eating that way for a long time.

‘‘For me it was working out why I couldn’t meet certain physical and health goals and once I eliminated the foods that were dragging me down, I felt phenomenal.’’

Hines acknowledges that certain paleo ingredients have become trendy. ‘‘There is the risk that certain foods become a fad, but at the end of the day they’re getting spoken about because they’re genuinely good so there’s no discounting their health benefits. But rather than thinking that a weekend of a certain food will change you, think about incorporating it into your normal diet. Don’t go hard out and have kale in every meal for a week and think, this will fix me – you’ll be sick of it.

‘‘Pick a superfood wisely, understand why you need it, and see if it suits your lifestyle; if it does, incorporate it long term.’’

ADRIAN Sutter is a picture of good health. The 28-year-old managing director of Fit & Fresh, a Newcastle business that prepares and delivers meals to health-conscious clients, has no doubt the paleo diet is becoming ‘‘mainstream’’ (there’s even a new cafe in Hamilton that has a paleo-inspired menu). ‘‘Paleo is just a word, but it describes the food we’re supposed to be eating – no grains, sugars and or most carbs. People have heard it’s a fad, but from a medical perspective, this is the future.’’

The former soldier, who served in Afghanistan, joined forces with his younger brother Ben to open their health-centred cafe Raw in the city’s east end after their 28-year-old sister Katie died from ovarian cancer in 2011. Fit & Fresh followed last September.

Nutrition professor Clare Collins

‘‘I believe you can eat yourself healthy,’’ says Sutter. ‘‘Get sugar and grains out of your diet, and this will automatically have an impact.’’

He is wary of our fascination with superfoods, though. ‘‘If you’re smashing alcohol all weekend, a few goji berries on Monday isn’t going to fix you,’’ he grins. ‘‘Almond meal is another one of those ingredients; we use it instead of flour to make muffins, but just because it’s within the paleo diet, doesn’t mean you can eat four of them. You’ve still got to check the calorie content.

‘‘But if people who used to eat doughnuts are now eating goji berries, that’s fantastic.

‘‘There’s a scale we need to look at; there’s people at one end who are eating absolute junk and with education, getting them to swap some of the junk food for fresh food would be fantastic. Then, at the other end, there’s those who are educated about diet and want to be optimally healthy; we need to let them know that eating half a kilo of goji berries a day isn’t healthy either.

‘‘We need to teach people about balancing what they eat.’’

It can all get very confusing and it’s little wonder many of us latch on to the Next Big Thing. As is demonstrated by kale’s increasing popularity, it seems everything old is new again. But do we really need to eat quinoa, which is grown mainly on the altiplano, a vast, windswept, and barren Andean plateau spanning parts of Peru and Bolivia, to be healthy?

‘‘If you really want to improve your eating habits, record what you eat in a week and see where the kilojoules are coming from,’’ says Clare Collins. ‘‘If you’re on the paleo diet and you plan to be one of the people who lives into their 80s, my suggestion is to move to super premium health insurance for your osteoporostic fractures and the high-dependent carers you’ll need. Eliminating dairy from your diet is not the way to go. The reality is you don’t need to go paleo but you could include more fruit and veg in your diet. And you can certainly lay off the heavily processed carbs and that will put the odds in your favour in terms of being healthier into your 80s.’’