U3A Melbourne City Short Courses


Health Care Interventions – Choosing Wisely – Dr Ken Harvey

THURSDAY, 10.00 – 12.00
16th April – 4th June
GAA House
8 sessions, 25 places

Medical advances have helped many of us live longer and have a better quality of life. Yet a number of studies have shown that around one third of what we spend on health care is probably unnecessary, wasteful and sometimes harmful. This is especially true for medical interventions near the end-of-life. Ironically, many doctors die differently from their patients. They don’t want fancy treatment, expensive chemotherapy offering little benefit or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). They know the downsides and they just say no.

This course encourages consumers to ask questions of their healthcare professionals about the risks, benefits and costs of certain medical investigations and procedures. It will discuss the evidence for and against certain interventions.

It’s based on the U.S. Consumer Reports “Choosing Wisely” campaign. Topics that may be covered (depending on interest) include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), cancer chemotherapy, screening for breast, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer, testosterone therapy in ageing men, polypharmacy (multiple medications), antipsychotics in dementia and the use of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infection.

Dr Rodney Syme will also join us for two sessions to discuss dying with dignity, dementia, advance healthcare directives, refusal of treatment and enduring medical power of attorney certificates.

Complementary Medicine – Exploring the Issues – Dr Ken Harvey

THURSDAY, 10.00 – 12.00
11th June – 25th June
GAA House
3 sessions, 25 places

Complementary medicine (CM) fits within a diverse group of health care systems, practices and products not usually considered part of conventional medicine, such as vitamin supplements, chiropractic, homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine.

Issues to be explored include: the regulation of products and practitioners; the current review of the private health insurance rebate for natural therapies; evidence for and against specific therapies for certain conditions; sources of good information about CM, and key messages for consumers with respect to using CM safely.

Course participants might like to share what types of CM they have used and for what condition. This information could focus group discussion on topics following the initial overview.

Ken is a public health physician and consumer advocate with a particular interest in medicines policy (you may recognise him from the ABC The Checkout program). He has also been a member of the government’s recent Natural Therapy Review Advisory Committee.

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About Dr Ken Harvey

Public Health Physician, Medical activitist
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