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  1. #1
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    Default circ numbers fall again

    Medicare rebates for circumcision of boys under age 5 have again fallen.

    2013 circ.jpg

    The biggest decline was in NSW, which has historically had the highest level of infant circumcision. Though Medicare rebates do no capture every procedure, it is the trend that is important; falling rebate numbers are simply incompatible with the oft-heard contention that circumcision is becoming "more popular".

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  3. #2
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    I hate to put a dampener on things (because I think non medically necessary circumcision should be banned) but the overall decline is rather small and in some states there was even a small rise. Unless you look at the % of all babies it's really hard to tell of there was a genuine decline (vs just less babies being born).

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    Quote Originally Posted by VicPark View Post
    I hate to put a dampener on things (because I think non medically necessary circumcision should be banned) but the overall decline is rather small and in some states there was even a small rise. Unless you look at the % of all babies it's really hard to tell of there was a genuine decline (vs just less babies being born).
    The national decline was 5.4% year-on-year, which is in fact rather large. ABS data to June indicate a bigger, not smaller, birth cohort but of course we won't get final figures until later in the year.

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    That is great news!

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    Do you think a contributing factor is that many doctors just won't do it anymore? My gp (who has been for 30 years) told me that most doctors now simply won't perform it. There are only two in my area who do it, one is in his 60s about about to retire. I think it's getting harder and harder to find doctors that will do it, which probably speaks for itself.

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    There is not one doctor in my area that will do it, we were told in birthing class we would have to travel to Melbourne 2.5hours away should we want it done.

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  13. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnC View Post
    Medicare rebates for circumcision of boys under age 5 have again fallen.

    Attachment 49993

    The biggest decline was in NSW, which has historically had the highest level of infant circumcision. Though Medicare rebates do no capture every procedure, it is the trend that is important; falling rebate numbers are simply incompatible with the oft-heard contention that circumcision is becoming "more popular".
    Hi JohnC,

    Before I offer my view on the data you've provided, I should declare that I approach the issue from a pro-circumcision perspective; I do understand that my view of these statics and the decline you have noted might therefore be seen as cynical in light of your own views on circumcision.

    As I look at the stats you provided, I can't help but wonder as to what, (if anything) they contribute to our understanding of parental attitudes toward circumcision in Australia at the present time. On my reading, these statistics show a relatively small reduction in the number of babies and young boys that were circumcised in 2013 as compared to 2012 in total, going on Medicare rebate figures (I take it that this excludes privately-funded circumcisions, and out of hospital circumcisions - e.g. ritual circumcisions for Jewish boys etc - I don't claim to know those stats, nor whether they've declined or increased).

    Now, I understand that if you view things from an anti-circumcision perspective, any reduction in the number of boys' foreskins being removed is good news. However, I do think that many of those who oppose circumcision of boys tend to infer from statistics such as these that a decrease in circumcisions being performed, must mean that more parents are against circumcision (or at least, are not strongly in favor of it in the sense of actively seeking to have it performed). I note that you suggested yourself that the figures you posted may be viewed as a rebuttal to claims that circumcision is 'more popular' at present than at other times in the past.

    I do wonder if a decline in circumcisions can really be viewed as synonymous with a decline in the 'popularity' of circumcision, in the sense of it being seen by parents as a good choice to make (or not make, as the case might be) on behalf of their sons. For example, in the 0-6 months cohort of baby boys, I find it hard to believe that the parents who chose not to circumcise their boys in 2013 as compared to 2012, were somehow so much more vehemently against circumcision in their minds, than parents of boys in the previous years' cohort. After all, I can't think of anything that occurred from one year to the next that would indicate that circumcision had become significantly less socially acceptable among parents of baby boys in that time, though perhaps you disagree. Is it not possible that this cohort of parents might have simply felt more disinclined to seek-out the procedure, due to skepticism regarding availability or the negative reaction they might presume they'd receive, if they did request it?

    For all I know, these figures might very well reflect disenchantment with the procedure; even I, as an advocate for it, agree that this is possible interpretation. But it just seems to me that the drop in infant circumcision in particular reported in these figures over 2012/13 is small enough to suggest that other factors that might act to influence parental decision-making may be at issue here. I would argue that if circumcision rates are in significant decline, this might have more to do with a decline in availability and/or perceived social acceptability than parents turning decisively against it. I wonder whether, if circumcision was seen as more easily/openly available to parents (I must say, I have seen a number of parents on here saying they wished to circumcise their son(s) but found it was not easily accessible), we would see a higher rate of circumcision. I must admit, I find it contradictory that circumcision is presently permitted in Australia, but then seemingly made hard (in some cases, almost impossible) for parents to access. I mean, if you're going to permit something, doesn't that imply that it should also be readily accessible, or at least not overly difficult to access?
    Last edited by Nkozi; 11-02-2014 at 16:27.

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    I think it is hard to base anything on one year. One year in the scheme of things really means nothing. So best to take a look over a larger period of time. Circ rates in Australia in the 1950s were 90% as of 2010 they were 12.4% according to the Australia and New Zealand journal of health. The stats really speak for themselves.

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    I think less doctors willing to perform it speaks volumes, myself.

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    I think these days parents question more. Back in the day, everyone did it, questions weren't asked. Now days people take a more active role in health decisions for their kids.


 

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