Thursday, April 29, 2010

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T SMOKE - Thursday 29th April 2010

The Government came out today with some very courageous news.

Packets of cigarettes will have to be in plain wrappings and the price of cigarettes will go up by $2.70 for a pack of 20.

I used to smoke at school; boosted my ego, a 2 or 3 a day man. Later, around exam time I'd have a few if I was studying late into the night.

One morning my 4 year old daughter, Jo was in the kitchen with me and she said, 'Dad, you know those things that are no good for your lungs, there's some up in the cupboard.' I said, 'Really', took them down and went out to the burning tin burnt them. (This was in the days when we didn't have global warming and you could have a 44 gallon drum in your back yard to burn stuff in.)

Jo turned 39 earlier this month. I haven't had a smoke since.

Anyway, back to the Government's decision.

It certainly is courageous. A lot of people are going to be very upset.

I know from my surveys that people who can't afford to smoke will take an even greater share of the houskeeping to fund their addiction. These are people who probably form a good proportion of the Labor constituency.

Whoever dreamed up this increase in taxation should first have thought about developing a strategy to assist people to kick the habit. Give comes before take. Free seminars, free counselling, free what-ever-it-takes to assist people to stop smoking. This is just another example of politics on the run by people who live in ivory towers.

Instead what have we got, just another tax on the poor and the stupid.

Maybe some people will immediately give up. I heard one fellow say that until a pack got to $20 he'd keep going.

One health adviser said that if every one cut back 2 or 3 smokes a day they're be square financially. Maybe this is what will happen.

Whatever, it's a tough assignment and it needs a thoughful, helpful, consistent, long term strategy. I see no evidence of that.

My feeling is that for Governments, smoking cessation has to be a gradual process, focussing on assisting people to give up. Instead, where is it going to park the money - into the hospitals account. How bad is that? At least half that money should be going to assist people to give it up.

Putting up the price is the stick, it's a useful strategy, but not without the carrot. It just puts people's back up.

Stratgy for the medium term - say five years

1. Restrict the sale of cigarettes to liquor outlets. This strategy would involve compensating shops that currently sell cigarettes. It would be a medium term strategy to replace their income for a period of time.

2. Funnel the current increase in tax into
- smoking cessation programs

- subsidies for shop keepers to get out of the business of selling cigarettes.

3. Restrict the number of packets people can buy at a time. This buying a carton has to stop.

4. Reduce packet sizes to 10 cigarettes. Whoever put a stop to selling packets of ten needs their head read. The bigger the packet the more people smoke. For many people restricting themselves to 10 cigarettes a day would be a good first step in the process of giving them up.

5. A more radical approach would be to ban tailor-made cigarettes. People are quite welcome to smoke but they'd have to roll their own. That would stop more than a few people from smoking. It would turn a lot of glamour pusses off smoking.

6. People who smoke should pay a higher Medicare levee.

7. From a certain date, people under 21 and over the age of 18 have to register as a new smoker and show their registration every time they purchase cigarettes. It's serious stuff. You have to have a license to drive a car, why not a license to smoke. Getting the license would invove attending a day seminar on why smoking is not a good idea.

8. In five years time every smoker needs a registration card - only obtained after a one day seminar. No card, no serve.

Prepare ye the way. The powers that be need to tell people that these things are going to happen gradually, in 5 or 10 years and during that time provide support, massive support, bags of carrots.

On the track
A long, slow run for 31 minutes. Legs tight, but happy.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and whatever you do, don't smoke.

John Miller

DEAR MINISTER - Wednesday April 28th 2010

Ms Roxon
Minister for Health
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2611

Dear Minister,

I notice that the AMA has put in a claim for $830m to fix up doctors' surgeries.

This sounds like a very worthwhile way to expend public money and stimulate the economy. In fact, being a refurbishment program it's something you may like to call on your colleague the Deputy Prime Minister to supervise. She has form on this sort of program.

Many of these doctors spend long, arduous hours in dark rooms with customers hacking all over them, all for scant personal financial gain. Many are sitting there, boiling in summer and freezing in winter with the seat out of their pants. I know that some of them need the addition of car ports to their rooms in order to prevent birds crapping all over their BMW’s and Mercs.

I'm all for the Government stepping in to improve conditions in surgeries. Some of the surgeries I’ve been in certainly do need a lick of pain and a dozen more comfortable chairs.

I haven't spoke to the President of the AMA about this, but I’d suggest the Government put in an extra $570m to pay for computers and a broadband connection so doctors can receive and send emails to their customers.

I also think that the Government should be paying subscriptions to Time, Readers Digest, Wheels and Women’s Weekly to ensure customers are kept up to date in their reading.

Minister, I’m in the health game, running corporate health seminars, conducting the CrookBack Clinic for individuals and writing volumes on health, fitness and wellbeing.

I’m looking around my home office. It does indeed need a tidy up, which I’m happy to do myself. It also needs painting and the carpet is worn, particularly in the doorway and under my feet. I’d like some more shelving. The book case and the cupboard are chockablock. In fact I have to admit I'd be ashamed to have someone come into this office at the moment.

I estimate that it will cost about $4,300 to paint the room and$2,700 for the carpet. The quote I got for new shelving was $3,500. I’ve also had a quote for an air-conditioner - $3,200, installed. The quotes I got for the painting, bookshelves and installation of the air-conditioner are GST free; I’ll be paying cash.

You can send the cheque to Miller Health Pty Ltd, P.O. Box 3718 Weston ACT 2611.

In the meantime Minister, stay tuned, highly tuned and remember, the best way to stimulate the economy is to pour more money down the medical black hole.

John Miller

On the track
It's Wednesday, out with the boys for a walk, shuffle and jog.

John Miller

AMA PUTS OUT THE BOWL - Tuesday 27th April 2020

I couldn't believe it. There's the President of the AMA on the news tonight informing us that the AMA has put in a claim on the forthcoming Commonwealth Government budget for $830m to renovate doctors' surgeries.

First, where do they pluck these figures from? This mob always talks in millions, sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands.

Second, this is an industry where a doctor on his own can pull in $300 - $400 Grand a year - and they want charity to paint their offices and get a few more comfortable chairs for their customers to sit in while they read 1991 Wheels, New Idea and Readers Digest magazines.

In most surgeries these days there's a number of doctors. These are million dollar businesses who want mug taxpayers to fund renovations. These are the same people who won't pay for their own professional development.

They're dreaming.

On the other hand my office needs painting, the carpet is starting to wear out and I could do with an air-conditioner in summer. I said to Christine that I think I'll write to the Minister for Health asking for a subsidy to tidy it all up.

On the track
No track today. Spent the day out at the AIS with a corporate group and arrived home, tired and happy.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if you're in the health game and want to dress up your office, send in a quote for renovations to the Minister for Health. She appears to be in a very generous mood at the moment.

John Miller

DOCTOR'S ADVICE Monday 26TH April 2010

There are 4 types of customers going to doctors’ surgeries.

1. The fit and healthy, those who take the doctor’s advice, do the things they need to do to stimulate their own body’s recuperative power and get better. The doctor rarely sees them.

2. The sick, those who regardless of what they do for themselves and what their doctor does for them don’t get better. There’s probably not of lot of these people, but things strike out of the blue, the cards fall the wrong way …

3. The lazy, those who don’t take their doctor’s advice to move heaven and earth to get themselves back in better shape. If you wander around shopping centres you’ll see them in the droves. People just not in great shape, and yet they still keep going to their doctor. It amuses me that doctors continue to keep them on the books.

This is the group on whom good doctors could have the most influence, particularly by withdrawing their services. The logic goes like this, ‘If you choose to ignore my advice to do the things that will restore poor health to good health, you can take your business elsewhere.

4. The gullible, those who get the wrong advice from their doctor – just take the pill to mask the symptoms and plough on. Their condition gradually gets worse.

Surgeries are full to overflowing of the 3rd and 4th groups of people.

Weeding out poor doctoring appears to be a tough assignment. On a grand scale a few get caught, as in the Dr Death and the Dr Vagina fiasco’s; but not many. There are few doctors or customers who are inclined to dob in bad doctors. It’s too much bother.

Last time I did it the Medical Board gave me the brush off. They stuck up for the doctor.

10 or so years of pre-service education and hours and hours of in-service education (paid for by the government and the drug companies) each year don’t seem to be contributing to the growth of fitter and healthier people. On the contrary. It’s the wrong model. Drug companies appear to have a grip on the medical profession that beggers belief.

That’s how it works in all other businesses. Why waste time tying to patch up people who won’t take responsibility for their own health?

The other co-conspirator in the poor health epidemic is the welfare system that keeps paying for people to attend surgeries and pharmacies.

And a welfare system it is, just another version of sit down money. If we’ve got work for the dole welfare we should have exercise for health welfare. No exercise, no welfare to supply you with cheap medication and visits to the surgery.

Don’t for a moment believe that Medicare has much to do with health, most of the payments are welfare payments, many to people who can afford to pay for the maintenance of their own body. And keep in mind, most of this maintenance doesn’t cost anything, just a bit of time.

It was a system designed to cover the medical expenses of those who couldn’t afford to pay for them themselves, those who’d been struck by an illness than came from out of the blue. It was not a system designed to provide everyone with cheap medical care for tens of years.

On the track
Out early with the boy, walked, shuffled and jogged.

In the meantime stay tuned and do whet ever it takes to keep yourself out of the surgery.

John Miller

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER - Sunday 25th April 2010

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from Old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses, he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up,
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony, three parts thoroughbred at least,
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry, just the sort that won't say die,
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

Christine and I spent the night in Jindabyne and today went down to Dalgety to see the Snowy River. We'd never been there before. I was looking forward to it, but once there discovered that it's not the place you'd spend your holidays in. A pub and a few houses, that's about all.

And the river, this once proud and mighty river, choked off by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme is a shadow if its former self. They let a bit of water out of Lake Jundabyne to keep the locals happy but it doesn't go much further than the weir are Dalgety.

But I love the poem.

I'm never sure whether it's the horse or the rider.

'He was hard and tough and wiry ...'

When Andrew Patterson wrote it most Australians were hard and tough and wiry. Now half the population is fat weak and depressed. That it should come to this. King, Cawdor, Glamis all ...

A national tragedy played out over 120 years.

On the track
Came home Sunday night and went on the stepper. A good steady 40 minute workout, 508 steps for 388 calories - not enough to burn off the duck liver pate and the rest of the meal I had in Jindabyne on Saturday night.

In the meantime stay tuned, hard, tough and wiry.

John Miller

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PINK CUP CAKES - Saturday 24th April 2010

I noticed today that one of the breast cancer research charities is holding a pink cup cake day to raise funds for breast cancer research.

These people don't get it.

It looks like a cool event, plenty of pink splashed around, but it sends the wrong message. One of the most significant pre-determinants of breast cancer is obesity. As a metabolic dysfunction it would also go with lack of aerobic fitness and not eating enough, of the right food at the right time.

Eating cup cakes with pink icing on the top is not the right food.

An apple-a-day day, or a run-around-the-park day would be more appropriate.

I'm not sure where this money goes to.

Most of the health research money in this country is funnelled into the sheltered workshops for the academically gifted.

Organisations like Sydney University have turned into an art form the establishment of all sorts of medical research institutes, many of them doing junk research -research that's been done before, research that's been done to death, selective literature reviews, research that compares the effectiveness of different drugs without comparing the drugs to lifestyle changes, research funded by drug companies ...

The other day someone made the breathtaking announcement that new research showed that if people exercise a bit more and lose 5 Kg, they'll better manage their Type 2 diabetes. Well, the researcher either was very young, had a very short memory or been living in a cave for the last 50 years.

To set the record straight, my heart goes out to people with breast cancer. My mother in law died well before her time because of it.

On the track
A good workout on the stepper. 40 minutes all over 140 bpm. 752 steps and 575 calories. I feel like the man who went down justified.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and for every cup cake you eat, spend 40 minutes on the track.

John Miller

PERFECT STORM - Friday 23rd April 2010

Huge controversy this week is the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Football Club covertly paying its players more than they are allowed.

They've had two sets of books. It's like every second restaurant that has two tills. It's called cheating.

What the Storm RFC have done is commit the 11th commandment - 'Thou shalt not be caught.' On the field cheating is OK as long as you don't get caught. If you do get caught all it means is a free kick to the other side. Then it's forgotten.

The enormity of the over-payments scandal is over powering: $1.7m over 5 years and 25 players. Work it out, they paid their players a bit over $13,000 every year for 5 years. It's peanuts. What are these people going on about? It's only footb for chrissakes.

Give the other teams a free kick and get on with it.

(I suspect all the other clubs are getting free kicks as well; free cars, free houses, free trips, free lunches, free massages ...) They just know their commandments better!

So here we have 13 players in need of a rest being watched by 25,000 people in need of some exercise. It's a game.

- Storm memberships have sky-rocketed this week.

- The team handed out a thrashing to the Waratahs, 40:6

On the track
Out with the boys this morning. A steadily improving run. Achilles getting better.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and at what ever vocation you set your mind to, aim to earn as much money as you can - without cheating anyone.

John Miller

Thursday, April 22, 2010

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF AT WORK - Thursday 22nd April 2010

If you think you can spend 8 hours a day sitting down without moving you've got another think coming. Sooner or later something's going to give, usually your mind, or your back, neck and shoulders.

You've just got to give yourself a break, in fact a number of breaks for 10 minutes to freshen up. Call it a quick defrag.

Here's a few activities to pick from.

Spend ten minutes doing a few stretches, for your neck, shoulders and back. You can get the full list of stretching exercises from this link

It's as simple as putting on the headphones and playing a relaxation MP3. It's an essential feature of a work fit program designed to calm you down. You can purchase my relaxation MP3 on this link:

Limber up! One of the best things you can do for your body is go for a quick walk around the block once a day. Endorphins will be released, more oxygen will be pumped up into your head, you’ll blow off a bit of ’steam’; you'll feel better.

Any organisation that's up to speed these days will have either a yoga program or a tai chi program. Manage your time so you can go a couple of times a week.

Or, search on the internet for a copy of Yolanda Pettinato's Simply Yoga program on this link:

A few poses each day will loosen up your mind and the rest of your body. The Yoga CD may be available from your local bookstore. That's where I picked up my copy.

Or get a copy of Keith Jeffrey's Easy Tai Chi program on this link:

Once you learn it, it only takes 4 minutes.

Get yourself a set of juggling balls.

One of the absolute best ways to take your mind off your work is to do some juggling. You can't think about work and juggle at the same time.

Want to see how it's done. Go to YouTube and watch Chris Bliss's amazing juggling finale.:

So there you have it.

Look after yourself in the workplace. You'll feel better. Your back, neck and shoulders will feel better. You’ll be more productive. You’ll last the distance. You’ll save money and time loitering around surgeries and pharmacies.

On the track
A big workout. Level 8 all the way for 40 minutes. 814 steps and 621 calories.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and look after yourself at work.

John Miller

IT'S ALL OVER BAR THE GST - Wednesday 21st April 2010

What a relief, nothing much to write about today. It's all, over bar the shouting.

And shouting there was.

The 'The Australian' quoted a Churchillian professor, Stephen Leeder as saying 'I think it's an OK beginning - as long as it's seen to be just a beginning.

John Deeble the feeble architect of the Medicare plan 35 years ago said, 'The Prime Minister is full of rhetoric and catchphrases.' This is from the man who thought it a smart idea to weld the medical and welfare systems together, the bloke who got us into the mess in the first place.

John Dwyer, self styled founding president of the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance said, 'Operationally we don't see much of a difference.' By 'me' he meant 'I'.

Bob Wells of the ANU Primary Health Care Research Unit (another sheltered workshop f0r the academically gifted) said 'It's a disaster.'

AMA National President Andrew Pesce 'gave the plan guarded support.' He at least knows which side of his bread's buttered. They would have been quaffing Grange Hermitage down at the AMA club rooms until the wee hours last night.

Now wait for a lift in the GST from 10% to 15% to fund it. You little beaudy.

That's it
My big ambition for the next couple of months is to wrting more articles on health, fitness and wellbeing for people who want to keep themselves fit and healthy.

I'll be producing more ebooks on health and fitness topics.

As far as the governments of Australia are concerned, nobody gives a stuff about health and fitness. I'm sick of this medical stuff. It's just an expensive stunt designed to win more votes in marginal electorates. From now you'll be hearing more about health, fitness and wellbeing.

I'll be using the Health Blogarithm to inform people about my ebooks and products that I think could be useful for anyone interested in pursuing the fit and healthy way of life.

On the track
Went running this morning while the boys walked. It felt good to run not jog, but blow me down in the last step I took before I stopped I felt a twinge.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and steer clear of surgeries and hospitals.

John Miller

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GRAB THE MONEY AND RUN - Tuesday 2pth April 2010

The COAG meeting is over.

The Prime Minister struts the stage and says 'This is an historic moment. ... nurses and doctors will be happy.' (You betcha. Another $20B poured down their throats and p*ssed up against the wall.)

It's bunkum.

What we've got is more of the same. Another dash for cash before the dash for the planes. Death by PowerPoint and exhaustion has taken precedence over reason and logic. Premiers and Chief Ministers bribed into accepting a health policy that is out of date by a factor of 35 years.

Next year they'll be back in the same time, same room accepting the same bribes.

As the nation's health gets worse, all the prime Minister can do is write cheques to the medical industry.

If you thought this year's school building and housing insulation fiasco's were bad enough, they pale into insignificance when compared to the medical fiasco that goes on year after year. It has an unstoppable momentum, an unquenchable thirst for money

Today will go down in history as a most historical moment indeed - the moment when all Australian governments failed to grasp that

- the major health problem in this country is that too many people
are unhealthy. It's ambulances at the bottom of the cliff all over again

- governments don't need to own and run hospitals any more than they
need fto own and run power houses, airlines and banks

- if governments want to run hospitals they need to send out accounts

- if government s want to run hospitals they either have to employ
specialists on salariues or put out tenders

- private hospouate are quite capable of servicing people who can't
afford to pay their accounts - providng the welfare system is

- protection of the monopoly power of the medical industry is
doing this country irreparable harm

- you can't solve a fitness problem, with a medical solution

- the medical industry is unrelenting in it's drive to gouge
both its customers and Australian governments

- you can't cobble a health system to a welfare system

- you can't go to a hospital and expect to get instant attention;
they're not selling hamburgers

- you can't offer anyone a free service for anything without
going broke.

It sends the wrong message to the unfit and unhealthy. They don't need to smarten themselves up because the State will pay for any treatment they may need.

It sends the wrong message to the fit and healthy who see more and more of their money being spent on the unfit and unhealthy. Effort goes unrewarded. It's survival of the fattest.

It sends the wrong message to the state governments who instead of spending less on medical services will be encouraged to spend more. It just eggs them on.

Far from being an historic day, this is a dark day for public health policy.

One of the bribes that came out today was $800m for 500 hospital beds - that's $1.6m for a bed. I'm sure Gerry Harvey would love to tender for that job lot.

How in the hell does it cost $32m to build a room with 20 beds in it? Who in the hell makes up these neumbers? The same people who costed out covered areas in schools at half a million a pop?

What we've ended up with is
On the track
No track today. Spent the day out at the AIS.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and prepare for the time when I stop writing about this stuff.

John Miller

BIGGEST LOSER - Monday 19th April 2010

A big day to day in Canberra with COAG coagulating all day over a new national hospitals policy and the Biggest Loser final on TV.

And what a final it was.

Winner can laugh and losers can please themselves.

All the people who started out in the show, including those who were kicked off at some stage were all acting like biggest losers. If you want to feel good, drop half a dozen dress sizes and get a hole punch for your belt.

Last week Chairman Rudd made an announcement of momentous proportions.

The Commonwealth Government will give $400m for doctors to monitor patients with diabetes. Hello! How useful is that? About as useful as a hip pocket on a singlet. Another farce, repeated over as tragedy.

You can't fix a fitness problem in a surgery.

If every diabetic had to go to a Biggest Loser program for a month for a fitness, diet and motivation program, the incidence of adult onset diabetes would drop through the floor. Doctors would have the seat out of their trousers, drug company shares would plummet, the International Diabetes Institute could fold up and Paul Zimmett would be enjoying retirement.

Imagine $400 to the fitness industry to get unfit, unhealthy people back into good shape. Not on your nelly.

The other big ticket item on the COAG agenda is mental health. The medical lobby is lobbying furiously for - you guessed it - more money.

Now I don't want to make light of the black dog of (clinical) depression, but, recognising that a significant component of depression is metabolically generated, a month at a biggest loser program would be a lot more beneficial for most people than a slab of Zoloft.

In the long run, exercise is a more powerful antidote to depression that a selective serotonin uptake reinhibitor.

I'm never quite sure what 'untake reinhibitor' means, but I presume it means 'booster'.

I can't get anyone to tell me how I can measure whether my brain is lacking in serotonin either. It seems a strange thing that a person can go into a surgery and after 20 minutes come out with a prescription for something to boost their serotonin levels without knowing whether the amount of serotonin in their brain has dropped to a dangerously low level.

I've written to the mercurial trick cyclist, Ian Hickie but this is one bit of correspondence he doesn't seem to want to answer. He told me to get in touch with Beyond Blue. Beyond Blue tells you to ask your doctor! The shrink in the next block gave me the brush off; told me not to worry about it.

Anyway to get back to the Biggest Loser they had clips of these people talking about themselves before they started the program. Definitely a miserable bunch at their wits end as to what to do.
And then, three months later they're all jumping out of their skins. In fact some had jumped so far out of their skin they'd lost over 40% of their body weight.

So, there it is, two birds killed with one stone. People back into good shape and feeling absolutely fantastic.

Meanwhile the Commonwealth Government's response to a diabetes problem will be to 'let them eat Gliclazide and Lipitor. Their answer to a depression problem will be to 'let them eat Zoloft.'

This is what happens when you put the foxes in charge of the hen house.

On the track
Out for the morning jog today with the boys. Felt good, didn't push it.

In the meantime stay tuned highly tuned and wait for the Prime Minister to wipe the floor with the Premiers and Chief Ministers at tomorrow's continued COAG meeting. The ACT Chief Minister is already lying on his back with his legs in the air.

John Miller

AGE CARE Sunday 18th April 2010

Look after the young people, they've got a long way to go.

Look after the old people they've come a long way.

But, that doesn't mean you have to do every thing for them.

A lot of these people are very well off. When my mother, Doreen died, she could buy and sell a lot of people. This was a women who never did any paid work after she was married, who together with my dad did a good job of feeding and watering four boys. Bert and Doreen looked after their finances and there was enough left over for the boys to top up their super at the end of it.

For the last 10 years of her lifeDoreen was in a nursing home, holding on valiantly until she was 92. I think she would have liked to go a few years earlier but apparently you're not allowed to.

In one of my last conversations with her I asked her what the meals were like. She said, 'Not bad, but I've only been here a few days!'

There is this impression in the public mind that old equals poor.

Not so. There are hundreds and thousands of people who are quite well off living in nursing homes who don't need any support.

If you stay in your own home until your 95 you look after yourself. If you get wheeled into a nursing home when you're 80 you can expect to be looked after by the State, regardless of your financial, circumstances. Seems a strange set up to me.

The other policy initiative we're lacking is active support and encouragement of that dreadful practice what cannot speak its name but goes under the code word of 'youth in Asia!'

I'm thinking about getting a bottle of Nembutal when next I go overseas. The problem is, by the time I want to use it I'll have probably forgotten where I left it.

Come Monday the Commonwealth Government will have tipped another billion dollars into nursing homes. Proprietors and nursing home staff will be licking their chops.

On the track
A very good workout. Almost made level 8 on the stepper for 40 minutes - got over 800 steps, which means good shape. 607 Calories will also act as a handy buffer for the night before.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and don't get old too soon.

John Miller

RUDD PULLS CUNNING STUNT- Saturday17th April 2010

I read in the paper today that the Prime Minister has been racing around every marginal electorate in the country giving hand-outs to hospitals as a way of getting publicity in the local rag, radio and TV.

What we've seen every evening is a 30 second grab on his big new health policy in which he wants to bribe the State Governments into letting the Commonwealth Government take over more of the funding for medical care.

At the same time as he's been doing that he's been bribing the local electorates with a bit of equipment for the local hospital. It's an unbeatable strategy and a marvellous vote winner. You have to tgake your hat off to the man. Some of these towns haven't seen a Prime Minister for donkey's years. It was big event. He's as smooth as a desert boot.

The man is as cunning as the proberbial SHR.

Everyone thought John Howard was cunning. Rudd is matching him stoke for stroke.

The other point is that he seems indefatiguable. They say he doesn't sleep much. He can get up early, be a couple of thousand miles away by 9am and back in time for lunch. James, James Morrison's mother would never have been able to keep up with schedule.

I would think that if you don't sleep much and you're focused there would be a good chance that you could climb a lot of tall mountains and maybe even leap over the odd tall building.

On the track
On the stepper, for 30 minutes. 557 steps and 426 calories.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and keep a very close eye on people who climb high mountains and leap over tall buildings.

John Miller

THE BIG ISSUE - Friday 9th May 2010

When ever I see someone selling copies of the Big Issue I make a point of buying one. I admire people who are getting up from being down on their uppers, who are out there doing something to turn a quid; much admire. Thyey are engaging and optimistic. They like their customers (which is more than I can say for the woman who makes the coffees at the local McDonalds' cafe.) I also make a point of paying them what I think the magazine is worth, if you know what I mean.

The big issue coming up on Monday is
'as the Council of Australian Government what can we do to improve the health,
fitness and wellbeing of Australians?'
That should be a very good debate between out Prime Minister, the Premiers and Chief Ministers that could run for a few days at least.

Instead what will we get? A program to pour more money down the medical black hole.

Will it change the face of medical care for the better? Nope.
Will anyone become fitter and healthier? Nope.

Will we have to go through the same rigmarole next year? Yep.

On the track
Went out with the boys. Had a slight twinge on the right calf a few days ago, but seemed to be holding up a bit better this morning. Jogged, not ran.

I think that using 'The Stick' to massage my calves and loosen them up has been a good thing. In fact I'd recommend it. That and an ice pack down the back of my neoprene anklets.

You can purchase 'The Stick' at
In the meantime stay tuned highly tuned and remember, history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce.
John Miller

BRUMBY WEAK AT THE KNEES - Thursday 8th April 2010

Victorian Premier John Brumby is complaining that his State is funding 60% of the cost of running hospitals. The Commonwealth Government is paying 'only' 40%. He wants the Commonwealth Government to pay 50%.

Well there's an easy way to redress the imbalance; the Victorian Government can spend less of its budget on hospital funding.

At the moment the Victorian Government is allocating 28% of its budget to the medical industry. It's unsustainable, it's unnecessary. It's bankrupting the State and starving other areas of government responsibility of money.

The same thing is happening in the other States.

The main problem? People in dreadful shape are getting a free run into the hospital. It's an unsustainable problem.

The Prime Minister thinks the problem can be solved by throwing more Commonwealth Government money at it. He has another think coming.

Brumby and the rest of the Premiers don't have the intestinal fortitude to say 'No' to the medical industry, 'No' to people who can afford hospital care, now or in the future and cut back on their budget for medical care.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and mark my words, next year we'll go through this whole process again.

On the track
No track. Spent the day with a Seven Habits of Fit and Healthy seminar group out at the AIS. Not quite sufficient, but it's a long day and it will do. Did have a healthy morning tea (fruit) and a very healthy AIS salad lunch.

John Miller


In all the debate about a 'new' health system we haven't heard a peep out of the economics industry. They've gone to ground.

We haven't heard a word from the Productivity Commission. They're not allowed to delve into the machinations of the medical industry or analyse the effectiveness of the protection this industry gets from Australian Governments. It's a no go zone.

A couple of heads have appeared over the parapet, one of them being John Deeble, architect of the Medicare system. What a dreadful edifice that turned out to be. To create a system where the medical and welfare systems were inextricably linked lacked a supreme amount of foresight. In terms of money wasted, Medicare will go down in history as the most wasteful and counterproductive government program ever run.

A program designed to provide poor people with free access to med cal treatment became a program designed to provide all people with free access to medical treatment. Millions of snouts went into the medical trough. Doctors incomes soared. It became a right, not a privilege.

On top of that, it just so happened that Medicare coincided with an exponential decrease in health, fitness and wellbeing.

Hospitals became full to over flowing.

The Rod Laver Government is now hell bent on devising a way to prop the system up by throwing more money at it. Nothing, however will stop the flood of people wanting to go to hospital.

The financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the states will be tipped on their head as the Commonwealth takes GST money from the states, gives it back to run hospitals and says it's now contributing more to medical funding.

It's a legerdemain, a hoax, a swifty.

If Rudd gets away with it he'll be able to get away with anything.

On the track
Morning walk, shuffle and jog.

In the meantime well may we say God save the ego of the Prime Minister because nothing will save the hospital system.

John Miller

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MEDICAL INSURANCE Tuesday 6th April 2010

Australia needs a first party compulsory medical insurance. If it's good enough for the car industry it's good enough for the medical industry.

Exempt children. The Government can pay for them. Then you can get rid of community rating and family rates.

Every adult needs to pay their share of compulsory, first party health insurance. Forget the family cover.

Rate the premiums against risk
Each adult needs to be insured - with the premium rated against risk. That might sharpen a few people up!

Pensions can be increased by an amount equivalent to the amount required to pay a basic health insurance cover - with no frills - like sandshoes and gym memberships.

It would cost each person about a couple of Grand a year.

All adults need to pay into a fund - with the fees of those unable to pay being paid by the Government on a Medical Contribution Scheme basis. The Government either gets reimbursed when people's income rises, or it's take out of their estate when they die. If there is no estate, then so be it. That's welfare.

On the track
No track today. Left early to spend the day lecturing at the AIS.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and keep yourself in good shape. You'll save money on health insurance.

John Miller

SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE - Monday 5th April 2010

It's Lisa's (my daughter) birthday.

She's up in Brisbane with her husband, Ian and the two little boys Jackson and Harry.

Christine and I are down in Tomakin talking it easy.

Lisa and the boys pent a few days with us in Canberra recently.

The first thing she did was take a drawer with plastic plates and containers out of the cupboard and stick it on the floor for Harry to play with. As a crawling 15 month old he was like a pig in mud. Kept him busy for house. She's resourceful as well as being adventurous that second daughter of mine.

I'll have to work out a way so we can spend more time with each other.

We spoke on the phone. She and the family were camping for the weekend. She's the Spirit of Adventure.

On the track
Went for a walk around the course we ran around yesterday. I'm a bit stiff actually. Then had a hit of tennis. Got a twinge and had to pull out.

The softening process seems to be taking its toll on my body.

I'm determined not to weaken.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and spend more time playing tennis and visiting your grandchildren.

John Miller


The Government needs to establish a medical equivalent of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECCS) - a Medical Contribution Scheme (MCS) for people who can't afford to go to hospitals and who don't have health insurance.

It needs a good safety net. We need to save people from bankruptcy just because the dice was loaded against them. On the other hand if they put in the bullets and cock the gun themselves that's a different matter. I'm unsure how to deal with that.

With the Hospital contribution scheme people can pay it off over time, or have deductions taken out of their pay packet (just like HECCS) or at the end of their life it can come out of their estate. If there is no estate, if there isn't sufficient income to pay it, then so be it. That's essential welfare that we don't deny people in our society.

There are people quite willing to pay $5,000 to register their car, service it and allow for depreciation, who aren't prepared to look after themselves - and don't want to pay anything for medical care. That's a nonsense. The Government needs to put an end to that.

Whoever invented the policy that says people going to public hospitals don't need to pay a cent wants their head read. Tell me what other government service comes without a fee? If governments want to keep the public hospitals (and they'd be stupid if they did) then they'd make sure people were sent an account. Their inability to pay that account is a welfare matter, not a health matter. It falls into the same basket as those people who can't afford to pay their electricity account.

On the track
Went for a 30 minute run along the beach and around Tomakin with The Decameron. Pulled up a little stiff but put the ice on my Achilles for the rest of the day.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and take more holidays.

John Miller

IF YOU LIE DOWN WITH DOGS - Satuary 3rd April 2010

Big story in the Weekend Australian.

Medical researcher, Associate Professor John Eden, MB BS MD UNSW, FRCOG, FRANZCOG, CREI, is complaining that one of the drug companies who paid for some of his research has dudded him.

What does he expect?

Well for a start you can expect the piper to call the tune - at least some of the time.

Secondly, if you lie down with dogs you can expect to get fleas.

The good doctor has form. Here's the list of drug companies he's been leeching money out of: - Pfizer, Lawley Pharmaceuticals, Organon, Eurovita Ltd Denmark, Naturopathica, Eli Lily, Merck Sharp Dohme Pharmaceuticals. There's a lot of trips in there! He's a serial applicant for drug company funds. He's got his hand well and truly in the honey pot. He's not a babe in the woods. He knows exactly what the rules are. The drug companies have certainly not set a trap for a young player here.

He must either be naive of dreaming if he thinks the drug companies are running a charity. (If he's like most medical researchers, he will probably know that the NH&MRC is running a charity. They run a bottomless well for people like Dr Eden.

He's on the front cover of the paper bleating about the fact that he's the victim of drug company deviousness. I can tell you one thing, if it happened to me I'd keep my trap shut. You wouldn't want to shit in your own pocket.

The good doctor (MB BS MD UNSW, FRCOG, FRANZCOG, CREI) is a busy boy and I would have thought from the list of committees and research interests he's involved with that he knew how to look after himself. He's been riding the gravy train for years doing research into menopause. It's a big game. He's a serious player. If he doesn't know the rules, if it's too hot in the kitchen he should go back to the surgery.

When you look at the list of research projects and committees you might wonder how he has time to do any research at all.

1. Society for Endocrinology (UK).
2. International Society of Reproductive Medicine.
3. Australian Fertility Society.
4. Australasian Menopause Society.
5. International Society of Gynaecological Endocrinology
6. Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society.
7. Endocrine Society of Australia
8. International Menopause Society.
9. Australian Gynaecological Endoscopy Society.
10. North American Menopause Society
11. American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
12. Australian New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group.
13. Australian Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology.
14. Asia Pacific Menopause Federation.Participation in professional societies

Most of these organisations are fronts for drug companies. They employ people like Eden to give talks at silver service dinners to mug GP's.

Professional societies
1. Editor of "Changes", the Australasian Menopause Society's magazine, 1991-2003
2. Committee member Australasian Menopause Society, 1992-2003
3. Committee member NSW state committee Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 1993- 1997
4. Reviewer for Maturitas, journal for the International Menopause Society, 1994 -
5. Reviewer for Clinical Endocrinology, 1994-
6. NH&MRC assessor 1994-
7. RACOG member on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee on Osteoporosis, 1995.
8. Member of the scientific committee for the organising committee of the 8th International Menopause Society Meeting, Sydney 1996.
9. Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria assessor, 1996-
10. RACOG appointee on the Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Complaints Committee, 1996 -
11. Reviewer for the Lancet, 1996-1
2. National advisor for the Breast Cancer Institute, 1996-
13. External reviewer for the Cochrane Collaboration Menstrual Disorders Group 1996-
14. Reviewer for International Journal of Cancer, 199715. Reviewer for the Medical Research Council (Britain), 1997
16. Reviewer for the Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, 1997
17. Reviewer for Diabetologia, 1997
18. Reviewer for Menopause Digest, 1998
19. Reviewer for American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1998-
20. Reviewer for the Medical Journal of Australia, 1998-
21. Reviewer for Climacteric, 1998-
22. Reviewer for Cancer Foundation of Western Australia, 1998-
23. Reviewer, Australian Medicines Handbook, 1998.
24. Member of the examination committee of the Reproductive Endocrine and Infertility subcommittee of the RANZCOG.
25. Member of the Scientific Committee of the 9th International Menopause Society, Yokohama, Japan, 1999.
26. Committee member of Working party of the North American Menopause Society examining the role of isoflavones on menopausal health.
27. Media committee, Australasian Menopause Society, 2000-
28. Executive council member of NEDA (National Estrogen Deficiency Awareness) - an international body which aims to educate women about menopause.
29. Member of the scientific committee of the Australian Osteoporosis Campaign
30. Member of the AMA committee on complimentary medicine, 2001
31. Member of the Editorial Board, Australiasian Journal Of Integrative Medicine, 2000-
32. Reviewer for The Wellcome Trust, UK. 2000-33. Reviewer for the Journal of the North American menopause Society, 2000-
34. Board member on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Australiasian Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2001-
35. Reviewer for the South African National Research Foundation, 2002
36. Reviewer for Urological research, 2004
37. Reviewer for Australian Family Physician 2004
38. Reviewer for the Journal of complimentary medicine 2004-
39. Referee for Clinical Endocrinology, 1995-
40. Anti-Cancer of Victoria assessor, 1996
41. Reviewer for the South African National Review Board, 2002.
42. Reviewer for the Wales (UK) Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care (WORD) Research Funding Scheme 2007.

There's a lot of back scratching in that lot. Did you noice he's an assessor for the NH&MRC; - you review my paper or my research application and I'll review yours. Then I'll invite you over to present a paper. You can even spend a few months with us. We can go skiing. Then you can invite me to spend a few months with you. We can go skiing. I'll give my mates a call at Fizzer, Roach and Smerk.

I'm glad it's the drug companies that are paying his salary, though I bet he's got his snout in the NH&MRC trough as well.

I bet he doesn't give many lectures, sit in on many tutorials or mark many exam papers at the University either.

From the look of the memberships and committee's you know his focus is on junk medicine, along with all the back slapping , brown nosing, head patting, silver service dining, Grange Hermitage quaffing, and trips down the pointy end of planes that come with drug company sponsored medical research.

It never ceases to amaze me how much money is poured into menopause research. If women kept themselves in exceptionally good shape and ate the right sort of food if wouldn't be all that much of an inconvenience. It doesn't seem to be too much of a problem for women living in Asia as it does in Australia.

What's happened in the Western world is that the drug companies have medicalized menopause. Eden is riding the pharmaceutical gravy train. Every now and then he has to get his ticket punched. He complains about it to the papers.

I'm not really sure what he is actually complaining about, but I wouldn't think that the gravy train has been derailed or anything like that.

There was one point in the article that I do agree with and that's the use of statistics to pervert the course of science. The drug companies and FDA are all guilty of this deviousness.

Eden pointed out that the increased risk of heart attacks when taking some sort of menopausal drug was played up to be a huge increase in risk, when in fact the chances of having a heart attack went from 26 in 10,000 38 in 10,000. I've lost the article so I'm not exactly sure of the figures and I don't know what the time frame was. I would think most women would take a punt and hope to high heaven they weren't the 12 people in 10,000 who had a heart attack. No doubt the risk is higher for those with other risk factors.

On the track
No track today. Taking it easy at the beach, reading and snoozing.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and thank Christ for the opportunity to spend a few days at the beach.

John Miller


What ever the Government does it has to stop medical industry rorting and gouging and start to bring down the cost of medicine. As soon as people put on a white coat they think that have a license to slug hell out of their customers - knowing the Government will pay most of the cost.

Can anyone tell me why specialists are charging themselves out at between $5,000 and $10,000 a day - with most of the money coming from the Government purse?

This whole great medical debate hysteria being trumped up by the Prime Minister would evaporate if people were fitter and if the medical industry stopped gouging its customers and the taxpayer.

Rudd (and his shadow the Minister for Health) continues his romp through every hospital in the country just to get his face on the evening news. We still don't know exactly what it is he wants to take over or how it's going to improve the health of the community. How he gets his work done is beyond my comprehension.

On the track
Good Friday and the boys agreed to get out amongst it. Walked and ran in the dark.

Then went off to Tomakin for a weekend by the sea.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and don't expect a reply to the letter you sent to the Prime Minister. He's not in his office.

John Miller

MEDICAL RESEARCH - Thursday 1st of April 2010

The NH&MRC is pouring all this money into metabolic health research. The health of the community is getting worse. If every medical researcher took just a couple of fitness classes a week they'd have a greater impact on community health than all the research you can poke a stick at.

Same with doctors. If every doctor supervised a fitness class before work three times a week, they'd make a huge difference to community health. I knew a doctor up on Thursday Island who did that. One woman lost 10Kg in a couple of months. I take my hat off to him - and to her.

The Government is pouring all this money into research institutions and people are getting unfitter and unhealthier by the day. Hello! The universities have turned applications for research grants into an art form.

It's a merry dance, particularly if you've got mates on the NH&MRC review panels.

The NH&MRC sent me a print out of all the people who get medical research money and for what projects. If you saw it you'd roll your eyes through to the back of your neck. It's just a big rort for the universities who've set up research institute by the dozen to attract funds. No doubt they cream a bit off the top for the Vice Chancellor's fund.

This is just one big gravy train to keep bread on the table of people working in sheltered workshops for the academically gifted. Most of this research is just busy work designed to fil;l up the pages of medical research jouirnals, suck up to drug companies and get tgrips overseas to deliver papers. This is a grand back patting, brown nosing, head patting industry.

People who have either got short memories, are two young to remember or read the wrong journals are redoing research that has already been done to death. Wheels are being re-invented. It's open slather. They've even got a research institute in Sydney researching fitness and diabetes and stuff for crissakes. It's been done. You can lower the glasses. The results are in. Go for a run, lift weights, take a holiday!

I've written to the head of the NH&MRC about all this roprting and feather bedding but he doesn't answer his correspondence.

If everyone kept themselves as fit and healthy as you do, we could cut the research budget by 80% and have these boffins out there doing something worthwhile. It's bunkum.

I don't know of any research into the personally-generated, lifestyle related body system dysfunctions that has had a greater impact than a broadcast email telling people to get off their bums and go for a run, or putting on the smugglers and going for a swim.

When less than 15% of people have a decent fitness training program, research into the metabolic and musculo-skeletal dysfunctions is wasted effort.

On the track
No track today. Instead a full day out at the AIS telling people about the Seven Habits of Fit and Healthy People. I enjoy these days.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and get a research job in a sandstone university.

John Miller

PHARMACEUTICALS Wednesday 31st March 2010

If you want to put a brake on the cost of pharmaceuticals: -

1. put up the cost of the lifestyle induced medications - why should someone who's fat and
lazy get cheap access to diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol medication?

2. Put out a tender for the three most effective and cheapest drugs the government will
subsidize for a particular dysfunction.

The pharmaceutical industry is absolutely rorting the Australian community, spending Government money to market drugs, not develop or produce them.

This is the industry that has perverted the course of medical research in this country.

It has also perverted the course of medicine, seducing doctors into the practice of junk medicine with free silver service dinners, Grange Hermitage and baubles.

On the track
Out for a walk/run with the boys. It's getting darker and darker. I just wish the Premiers would agree to end it at the end of February.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and get your tablets off the internet!

John Miller


You can't skype your doctor or consult them by phone or email, the main reason being doctors haven't worked out a way to bill their customers for these types of consultations. Two thirds of them don't use their email account. Some don't even have one. How bad's that?

Instead everyone has to traipse through the surgery. It's time-consuming for the doctor and the customer. It's an expensive way to do business. The doctors and the community expect the government to pay most of the cost. Who was the dunce who thought that one up?

Doctors don't hold meetings to advise a whole lot of the clients at the one time. Instead of seeing people one at a time they should hold meetings for groups of people with chronic dysfunctions, like crook backs, high blood pressure, diabetes ...

Around May, along with a couple of nurses they should invite every one along to a meeting to tell them what to do when they have a cold or the flu, and take the opportunity to give everyone a jab at the same time. Information doesn't have to be dispensed one person at a time.

I don't know of any doctors who have website to give out advice. I bet there's not a lot of doctors blogging and tweeting their opinions to their customers.

It's just a hopelessly outdated industry. It's what happens when an industry gets given monopoly states and a high level of protection.

I wrote to Tony Abbott and said 'Tony, if I'm not wrong, under your stewardship, doctors were given more money to develop special plans for people who were depressed. That role should have been passed over to counsellors and psychologists. The doctors just want to drug them and get them out of the surgery. Next!

On the track

I don't think there was a track today. I'm getting slack.

In the meantime stay tuned and if you're feeling shidouse skype your doctor.

John Miller

JUNK MEDICINE Monday 29th March 2010

We've got this huge debate about the funding of hospital care.

It's generally the case that the cause of the problem is not at the site of the problem.

In this case, the protection of the grass roots branch of the medical industry has created a demand for public money that is insatiable. If they were doing a half decent job hospitals would be empty.

It is poor general practice that has people end up in the hospital. If you give people drugs to mask symptoms, eventually the underlying condition gets so bad people need surgery.

You definitely don't need more doctors in this country.

Nurses can do 20% of the work
Fitness practitioners can do 20% or more of the work
Counsellors can do 20% of the work
Naturopaths can do another 20% of the work.

Encouraging people to go to the doctor as the first point of primary care is just plain nonsense. It's an outdated, expensive and ineffective practice. It is not best care. It's like sending people to David Jones when all they want is a bag of chips.

The GP primary care monopoly is not working. The effect is more and more people turning up at hospitals with dysfunctions made worse by the wrong treatment prescribed by general practitioners.

There are many providers of primary care. The current monopoly protection of the Medical industry has downplayed the role these other providers have the primary care of various complaints.

Doctors have abused the privilege of being the first point of primary care. It's an outdated notion.

If you've got a crook back go to you local gym.

If you feel shidouse go to a counsellor - and the gym

If you've got a baby with a sniffle, if you've got the flu and need a certificate, if you need blood drawn for pathology, if you need a jab, a stitch or a bandage, go to a nurse in private practice.

Case in point. The Minister for Health is telling people to go to their doctor for a flu injection. Why is the precious time of doctors being take up by jabbing people in the arm? This is nurses' work.

Pharmacists should be having a greater say in what's prescribed. How stupid is it for doctors to prescribe a drug when they don't know as much about drugs as chemists. Chemists should have a lot more say in the prescription of medicine and the issuing of repeats.

Chemists should be playing a greater role in stamping out doctor shopping for addictive drugs. They stand idly by when they know doctors are mis-prescribing and over-prescribing.

The medical industry is holding the community to ransom with demarcation disputes that put those in other industries to shame.

For instance a radiologist can't diagnose the cause of a crook back. That's the doctor's job.

Doctors won't refer people to nurses, fitness practitioners, counsellors or naturopaths.

Doctors won't keep a few basic drugs in the surgery to dole out to their customers.

On the track
Out with the boys for the walk/run.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and go for a run around the block.

John Miller

PAY BY RESULTS - Sunday 28th March

Have you every heard of anything more stupid than paying doctors to help their customers restore poor health to good - but achieving quite the opposite effect.

The GP's are being paid by input, not output. They don't have standards of care they need to achieve.

How's that?

What's best practice in this industry?

To whom are they accountable?

This is just a gravy train with no care and no responsibility. All this money going to GP's to improve people's health and the health of their customers is getting worse. The Government loves it. They keep protecting the industry and pay them to do more of the same.

We need some health and fitness standards here, something for the medical industry to live up to. Currently this industry is not accountable to anyone, for anything. Millions of dollars are going down the black hole. The wrong industry is in charge of health.

We need yearly surveys to tell us whether the health and fitness of the population is getting better or worse.

Currently the Australian Bureau of Statistics doesn't measure heath, fitness and wellbeing. Neither does the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Fitness is well and truly off their radar.

At the moment community health and fitness is getting worse because the Government money is going to the wrong people.

On the track
30 minutes on the stepper.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and don't go to the doctor for things doctors can't fix.

John Miller

HOSPITALS - A note to Kevin Rudd - Saturday 27th March

Sell off the big public hospitals. The only hospitals that may need to be publicly owned are those in small towns that nobody wants to buy. Fund Local Government to run them. Forget the setting up of hospital boards. They'll end up being run by a medical industry. Why would you leave the medical system in the hands of a professional group that has put us in the current mess?

There is no more reason for governments to run hospitals than there is for them to run airlines, power stations and banks.

All the Commonwealth Government has to do is work out how to protect the needy, the chronically ill and those who are just unable to pay their accounts. It's a welfare problem, not a health problem and you solve it through the welfare system.

You don't need to protect the fat, the lazy, the unfit and those who won't lift a finger to help themselves.

It’s time the Government wiped its hands of this mess. Sell off the hospitals. Let someone else take the blame for stuffing them up. It will be an enduring legacy.

Put out a tender. Bring in the merchant banks and float them off. Sell the hospitals off to organisations who can run them properly - this won't be bumbling medical organisations.

Case in point.

I was at the John James hospital in Canberra last Saturday and Sunday and there's nobody there. It was like a morgue. They only work 9 - 5, Monday to Friday. No wonder they're going broke. They need Jerry Harvey and the people who run the big mining companies in there to sort them out.

The hospitals have become bloated. They're full of hangers on, people doing junk research. Whatever the specialists say, the hospitals are not lean fighting machines. A lot of the staff are in poor shape.

On the track
An easy 30p minutes on the stepper.

In the meantime stay tuned and don't get sick on the weekend.

John Miller

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE - Friday 26th March 2010

Primary health care in this country is a dead duck.

It is an outdated notion to have doctors as the sole gate keepers of primary health care. The government has created a monopoly that has become increasingly irrelevant in the treatment of the personally-generated, lifestyle-related body system dysfunctions.

It’s time the Government started protecting fitness practitioners, naturopaths counsellors, psychologists and anyone involved in personal development.

These people should be on the front line of primary care as well as doctors. They don't need a doctor to open the gate for them. If it's not a medical problem, people should be going elsewhere. It's cheaper and more effective treatment.

Put more money in to schools for PhysEd, sport and outdoor education.

On the track
Out with the boys for the early morning walk and run.

I just can't wait for daylight saving to end. It was as black as the inside of a black cow when we started this morning.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and open the primary health care gates.

John Miller

BEYOND BLUE - BEYOND REDEMPTION - Thursday 25th March 2010

Beyond Blue recently commissioned Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA) to conduct systematic literature reviews to provide the evidence base for adolescent depression guidelines. The review aimed to identify risk and protective factors for depression, how depression can be prevented and treated, and how risk factors have an impact on outcomes in the population of adolescents and young adults.

It’s another vapid, useless and potentially dangerous report. It gives the nod to the medical industry to run amok with the preseciption pad. It trivializes the causes and treatments of depression.

The big recommendation:

‘For young people with moderate to severe major depressive disorder, SSRIs in combination with CBT/IPT are recommended. Close monitoring of possible side effects and suicidal ideation is important. A multidisciplinary team approach is likely to have advantages for individuals with complex and/or highly comorbid presentations.’

'Given the lack of evidence in young adults, it is strongly recommended that strategies to prevent major depressive disorder in this age group be a focus for continuing research.'

'Further work is required to match a specific target groups with a particular intervention; for example, young people with biological risk factors (eg chronic illness) may benefit from a psychological intervention while parent risk factors (eg parent death) or social factors (eg homelessness, poverty) may require systemic interventions.'

'Best practice in assessment occurs within the context of a health professional (code for doctor) experienced in dealing with adolescents and young adults, who has appropriate communication skills, is culturally competent and is able to gain the trust of the young person.'

'The first aim of assessment is to determine whether a depressive disorder is present and its level of severity. The assessment process includes:

• greeting the young person and establishing the parameters of the assessment;

• establishing rapport, often by taking an interest in the life of the young person beyond their current difficulties — this may also be an appropriate time to identify the individual’s strengths.'

'It should be noted that particularly in moderate to severe depression, concerns about the risk of increased suicidal ideation with SSRIs must be balanced against the risks of no treatment; data from observational studies indicates that while SSRIs may increase the risk of youth suicidality, they are likely to decrease the overall risk of youth suicide (see discussion in Dudley et al 2008). Observational studies have also found decreased suicidality with increased duration of antidepressant use (Simon et al 2006).'

Well there you go. Depression is caused by a lack of Zoloft! The risk of suicide is a dreadful;l side-effect. We need more research and further work.

The report outlines the adverse effects of SSRIs
Irritable/depressed mood
Decreased appetite
Tooth disorder
Respiratory disorder
Increased cough
Otitis media
Contact dermatitis

What the report had to say about the role of exercise in the treatment of depression was just plain wrong.

'Based on current evidence, exercise cannot be recommended as an effective treatment for
depression in adolescents or young adults.'

The report made no reference to personal development, the stress placed on children and youth from school work.

It didn’t mention the existential vacuum, or the role of anger in depression. No mention of the effect of diet and poo-pooing of the role of physical activity.

No mention of activities that focus on group cohesion and support - like sport, drama, bands …

These people are right off the planet. If this is all they can come up with, there is no hope for Beyond Blue to make any significant impact on the treatment of depression in youth and adolescents.

And why not? Because the committee is drawn from the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

A/Prof Michael Baigent Beyond Blue Clinical Advisor
Dr Andrew Chanen Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Ms Lesley Fraser Australian Guidance and Counselling Association
Dr Brian Graetz Beyond Blue Education and Early Childhood
A/Prof Noel Hayman Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP):
Professor Louise Newman RANZCP: Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dr Nikunj Parikh (as of 31 August 2009) Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Ms Bernadette Peirce blueVoices consumers
Dr Jenny Proimos RACP: Paediatrics and Child Health Division
A/Prof Leanne Rowe (until 17 June 2009) Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Ms Thelma Smalley blueVoices carers
Professor Sue Spence Australian Psychological Society
Ms Kay Currie NHMRC National Institute of Clinical Studies

They're relying on selective evidence.

No one there from the personal development, teaching or fitness industries. One lonely member of a counselling organisation. Why you'd put someone from the College of General Practitioners on the committee beggars belief. These are the people who prescribe the drugs with the list of side effects as long as you arm.

The contractors who did the dreadful job on the literature review were Tracey Merlin and Skye Newton from Adelaide Health Technology Assessment. They reviewed the wrong literature. And don't you love medical speak; words like 'ideation', 'suicidality' and 'comorbid' - makes it sound more important! The spell-checker went nuts.

This is most depressing report, ineptly prepared by mesdames Merlin and Newton. Even the Kinghts of the Round Table could have done a better job. If it were a year 10 assignment you'd give it 2/10 for trying.

Even more depressiong is the fact that the Board of Beyong Blue accepted and published it. They're a laughing stock.

It does nothing to make the plight of depressed adolescents any better. It just gives doctors the nod to prescribe more drugs, regardless of the side effects, regardless of whether this is the best way to assist young people to start living the life they'd like to live. If they're hyperactive give them Ritalin. If they're depressed give them Zoloft and tell them they'll be alright.

It's not alright, depression is not caused by a lack of Zoloft. It's just another example of junk medicine in action.

Anyone who's depressed shouldn't be allowed within a mile of a surgery.

The sooner Beyond Blue wakes up to itself and divorces itself from the medical and pharmaceutical industries as primary referral options for people who are depressed the better. Putting its name to a report like this does the community a grave disservice.

On the track
No track today. Another full day at the AIS. Have to leave early and get home late.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if you're depressed don't call Beyond Blue, they'll just tell you to go and see your doctor.

John Miller