Latest health news

Huge variations in surgery and mental health treatment

Jane Lee and Julia Medew 5:59 PM    

'Worried well' may be having unnecessary colonoscopies, doctor says

Some people could be getting unnecessary colonoscopies, new research shows.

Julia Medew 5:31 PM   The "gluten-free" movement and fast "McDonald's-style" medicine may be driving people to have unnecessary and invasive bowel investigations funded by Medicare, a leading doctor says.

Australia's colonoscopy capital


Harriet Alexander and Jane Lee 4:16 PM   One area of Sydney has the nation's highest rate for the procedure, a study has found.

Privacy fears over 'Instagram for doctors'

Images of patient's ailments such as this one are posted to the application daily.

Amy Mitchell-Whittington   WARNING: DISTRESSING IMAGES. Half a million healthcare professionals are sharing their medical cases via an app likened to an Instagram for doctors.

Comments 3

War on drugs an irrational, un-winnable 'war against our own children'

Harm Reduction Australia co-founder Tony Trimingham with a picture of his son, Damien, who died of an overdose at age 21.

Amy Corderoy   Australia is caught in an irrational, un-winnable war against drugs that is actually just a "war against its own children", according to health and legal experts.

Pharmacists to give vaccines and manage chronic diseases in Victoria

Pharmacists will take on some doctors' tasks in Victoria from next year.

Julia Medew    Pharmacists will monitor their customers' conditions and manage medications, including giving vaccinations, in a trial with a group of doctors next year.

Natural therapy for kids, not harmless

67 of the 806 parents surveyed had given their children aromatherapy

Harriet Alexander   Children are commonly administered alternative therapies and most parents do not tell their doctors, according to a study that has raised concerns about the interaction of herbal and conventional medicine.

Drug company to give profits to patients

Breast cancer survivor Elizabeth Ellis with her family.

Amy Corderoy   Drug companies don't always have the best reputation when it comes to acting in the interests of patients. But a new company is bucking that trend.

The drug wreaking more havoc than ice

Alcohol continues to cause more havoc for hospital emergency departments than any other drug.

Julia Medew   Alcohol is sending hundreds of thousands of people to emergency departments each year, far outranking the scourge of ice, research on Australian and New Zealand hospitals has found.

Robb questioned over former adviser's role in China

Andrew Robb with Dr Gao Hucheng, China's Minister of Commerce, and former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Amy Corderoy   Labor Senator Penny Wong says inclusion of former junk food lobbyist in trade delegation raises "serious questions about integrity of the federal lobbying register".

Arnott's fined over fatty Shapes

Arnott's Shapes Light & Crispy packaging.

Esther Han   Arnott's Biscuits has paid a hefty penalty for misleadingly claiming a range of its Shapes products had 75 per cent less saturated fat.

Comments 30

'He pointed a gun at me and shot': How a doctor survived a war zone

Christoph Hensch in Chechnya with the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1996.

Harriet Alexander   When Christoph Hensch woke to banging and shouting within his building, his first thought was that people were having a party.

The genetic test fracturing families

Fragile X is often undiagnosed.

Julia Medew   A Melbourne couple are suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Tough new rules for complementary meds

Tougher rules to protect consumers of complementary medicines will be introduced.

Amy Corderoy   Australians who use complementary medicines could soon be protected from dodgy claims and products that don't contain what they say they do.

'You are not weak': ex-footballer's powerful message

Former League player Darren Higgins.

Amy Corderoy   After fighting battles on the football field and in coal mines, Darren Higgins was exposed to a dark danger.

How I survived breast cancer while pregnant

Women have a better chance of surviving breast cancer now than they did 20 years ago.

Julia Medew   It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell​ expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Shocking treatment could save men's sex lives

A new, less-invasive procedure for getting rid of prostate cancer being performed at St Vincent's Hospital by Professor Phillip Stricker.

Harriet Alexander   'They have to be paralysed while we're doing it or they would just jump off the table."

The additional cost of cancer

A study of 270 cancer patients found the majority faced financial stress.

Amy Corderoy   Cancer patients are experiencing significant out-of-pocket costs for their treatment at the same time as losing income at work, a study has found.

Does HIV kill you, and other HIV questions answered

Actor Charlie Sheen became the subject of a celebrity witch-hunt.

Catherine Armitage   In the wake of Charlie Sheen's HIV revelation, we try to answer the most pressing questions around HIV in today's society.

Popular painkillers to carry new heart and stroke warnings

Asprin, generic two 
Pills / Panadol / paracetamol / drugs / pain killers

Amy Corderoy   Some of Australia's most popular painkilling medications will carry warnings from next year that they could put people at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Let health insurers cover GP visits: Victoria University report

Director of the collaboration Rosemary Calder said one of the biggest problems in Australia's health system was a focus on treatment rather than prevention.

Julia Medew   Health insurers should be allowed to cover more health services, including GP visits, under a more privatised Australian system, an independent report says.

Alcoholism drug 'wakes up' HIV in patients

Dean Camilleri (centre) was among the 30 HIV-positive patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy who took part in the trial.

Bridie Smith    A drug used to treat alcoholism has been found to "wake up" dormant HIV cells in the body, raising hopes of an alternative treatment for a virus which has contributed to the deaths of more than 34 million people worldwide.

Nightmare drug-driving test costs man $5k

Cabinetmaker Steven Hunt.

Amy Corderoy   One in 10 roadside drug tests return a positive result. But what if they are wrong?

'What they gave me, no gift could compare to that'

Aileen Nguyen's organ donation saved another person's life.

Harriet Alexander   Organ transplant patients are not really meant to meet their donor's family, but the internet has made it a lot easier for them to track each other down.

Does survey signal US-style health system for Australia?


Kate Stanton   The government says it's trying to get better value for money but others fear our healthcare system will become more American.

Qld depts slow to supply docs after teen deaths

Three former patients of the Barrett Adolescent Centre killed themselves in the months after its closure.

​Queensland government departments are taking too long to supply documents to an inquiry looking into whether the deaths of three teenagers were linked to the closure of a Brisbane mental health facility.

'It will reveal lifesaving treatments faster'

Stephen Taylor, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May.

Amy Corderoy   A radical new way of doing medical trials is giving hope to Australian brain cancer patients.

'Genius' claims driving Chinese formula demand

A Chinese "supreme infant formula" brand makes high IQ claims.

Esther Han   Chinese parents are being led to believe formula will enhance their child's brain development, sparking a huge demand and impacting Australian stock.

Coles, government clash over infant formula shortage

Isabel Wagner with baby Alberto, in their Marrickville home.

Esther Han and Catie Low   Coles' supermarket boss has hit out at the federal government over suggestions that retailers might be responsible for the China-fueled shortage in infant formula in Australia.

How beach-hating bookworms can also get melanoma

Most people avoid the beach in peak UV times and wear sun protection when they go, but not so much doing the gardening or having a barbecue at home.

Harriet Alexander   Damien MacRae has no idea where he was exposed to the sun rays that gave him a melanoma, but he knows it was not at the beach.