Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Survey of Health Care, Australia, 2016 [AIHW - ABS]

4343.0 Survey of Health Care, Australia, 2016

The publication presents national-level results from the Survey of Health Care 2016 (Survey). The Survey explored experiences of coordination and continuity of care by people aged 45 and over who had at least one GP visit in the 12 months prior to selection of the survey sample. It covers health status, access and appropriateness of care, plus demographic information for reporting on equity measures.

The Survey was funded by the AIHW and conducted by the ABS. It was designed to provide robust samples for each of the 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and new information for the primary care sector to improve patients' experiences and outcomes. While the forthcoming publication presents national-level results, in 2018 the AIHW will release a series of publications with results by PHN area.

Media release: Over 45s report positive experiences with Australia's health care system.

Download publication: 4343.0 - Survey of Health Care, Australia, 2016.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Stroke: No Postcode Untouched

This report from the Stroke Foundation demonstrates the cities and towns where stroke is having its biggest impact, where the need for stroke survivor support is most urgent and where the future stroke hotspots are located. It contains federal electorate breakdowns of key information including the number of strokes, the number of stroke survivors living in the community and the leading risk factors for preventable stroke.

By looking at the No Postcode Untouched website you can see that the Electorates of Parkes and Calare have over 5800 people living with stroke. In 2017, 429 people in Calare and 421 in Parkes suffered a stroke.

Download the report: No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

New websites connect rural people to mental health support

Each year, 1 in 5 of us will experience a mental health problem. If you live in the city, you are twice as likely to see a psychologist than if you live in a rural area of NSW.

To address this the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) and its flagship progran the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program(RAMHP) have launched new websites ensuring rural communities know when, where and how to find mental health support when they need it.

Director of the CRRMH Professor David Perkins said the new websites were developed to make it easy for anyone to find evidence-based information and research, useful resources, and contact details for Rural Adversity Mental Health Coordinators located across NSW.

The visually appealing and easy to navigate websites also include links to research papers, publications and studies on topics such as rural suicide prevention and Aboriginal health and wellbeing.

Centre for Rural & Remote Health website.

Rural Adversity Mental Health Program website.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The quality of Australian Indigenous primary health care research focusing on social and emotional wellbeing: a systematic review

This review looks at how to address the challenge of conducting Indigenous-focused primary health care research that is scientifically robust, culturally appropriate and produces community-level outcomes.

Key points:

* More examples are needed of Indigenous-focused health research that are scientifically robust and acceptable to thecommunity
* A range of research designs is used depending on the collaboration, community perspectives and the study aim
* Participatory action research can inform localised interventions and research designs, including randomised designs
* Processes that are culturally sensitive may improve community acceptance. These include two-way learning,participatory, social–ecological and phenomenological approaches
* Research should produce beneficial community-level outcomes

Link to the review.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Planning and evaluating palliative care services in NSW.

A new report by the NSW Auditor-General, Planning and evaluating palliative care services in NSW has found that NSW Health's approach to planning and evaluating palliative care is not effectively coordinated. There is no overall policy framework for palliative and end-of-life care, nor is there comprehensive monitoring and reporting on services and outcomes.

NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state, which reduces its ability to plan for future demand and the workforce needed to deliver it. At the district level, planning is sometimes ad hoc and accountability for performance is unclear.

The capacity of LHDs to use accurate and complete data to plan and deliver services is hindered by multiple disjointed information systems and manual data collections. Further, a data collection on patient outcomes, for benchmarking and quality improvement, is not used universally. This limits the ability of districts to plan, benchmark and improve services based on outcomes data.

NSW Health's engagement with stakeholders is not systematic. The lack of an overall stakeholder engagement strategy puts at risk the sustainability and value of stakeholder input in planning and limits transparency.

Over the last 2 years, NSW Health has taken steps to improve its planning and support for districts. The Agency for Clinical Innovation has produced an online resource which will assist LHDs in constructing their own, localised models of care. eHealth, which coordinates information communication technology for the state's healthcare, aims to invest in integrating and improving information systems. These initiatives should help to address many of the issues now inhibiting integrated service delivery, reporting on activity and outcomes, and planning for the future.

Full report

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Western NSW Primary Health Network shows what works in delivering effective Aboriginal health services

The AHHA has released a Deeble Institute Evidence Brief on What works in partnering to deliver effective Aboriginal health services: the Western New South Wales Primary Health Network experience.

This Evidence Brief has been written because early evidence is suggesting that the partnership between the Western New South Wales (NSW) Primary Health Network (PHN) and Aboriginal primary healthcare services in the Western NSW PHN region is proving effective in terms of increased trust and supporting a stronger network of services for local Aboriginal communities. In particular, the structure and governance of services in this PHN region are unique in Australia, and could possibly provide lessons for other PHNs and Aboriginal health programs generally.

The brief outlines and discusses the Western NSW PHN arrangements and how they are supporting and building a stronger platform for the delivery of Aboriginal primary healthcare services in this region.'Western New South Wales Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) has had some exciting and inspiring success in delivering effective primary health services to Aboriginal people', says Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

In particular, the number of Aboriginal people using integrated care services for chronic conditions more than doubled in the space of only 4 months.

The Evidence Brief is available at:

Lighthouse project aims to improve cardiac outcomes for Aboriginal people

18 hospitals from around Australia have signed up to the Lighthouse Hospital Project aimed at improving the hospital treatment of coronary heart disease among Indigenous Australians. Lighthouse is operated and managed by the Heart Foundation and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA). It is funded by the Australian Government.

The 18 hospitals cover almost one-half of all cardiac admissions in Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Heart Foundation National CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly said closing the gap in cardiovascular disease between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was a key Heart Foundation priority, and it was highly appropriate that the announcement coincided with National Sorry Day.

'Cardiac care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is serious business. Australia's First Peoples are more likely to have heart attacks than non-Indigenous Australians, and more likely to have early heart disease onset coupled with other health problems, frequent hospital admissions and premature death. Deaths happen at almost twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians, yet Indigenous Australians appear to have fewer tests and treatments while in hospital, and discharge from hospital against medical advice is five times as high', Professor Kelly said

More at:

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Anguish of families touched by suicide revealed in inquiry submissions

The anguish of two families touched by suicide has been laid bare in submissions to an inquiry into the management of health delivery in New South Wales.

The death of 18-year-old Ahlia Raftery in Newcastle's Mater Mental Health Unit in 2015 prompted scathing findings by deputy state coroner Derek Lee. He called for better nurse-to-patient ratios and wearable technology to prove that a patient is still alive.

Read more at:

Healing power of art therapy in the country

Moving to a new place is always difficult, especially if you're leaving something behind. But moving to a small regional town in the country, alone — with little support and with a disability is a particular challenge. Ten years ago when legally blind artist, art therapist and social activist Jamahl Pollard moved to Berri in South Australia's Riverland, he faced discrimination because he was different.

But Jamahl has channelled his feelings of marginalisation into teaching mentally ill patients at the local hospital, the healing power of art. See link at: and download audio for more info on this story.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

GEN-Aged care data [AIHW Website]

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website, GEN, has been launched today by The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP at Parliament House, Canberra.

GEN is a comprehensive "one-stop shop" for data and information about aged care services in Australia. It reports on capacity and activity in the aged care system focusing on the people, their care assessments and the services they use.

GEN is designed to cater for all levels of users, from students looking for information for assignments, right through to data modellers and actuaries.

Overview of GEN

Learn how to use the GEN website

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Health care access, mental health, and preventative health: health priority survey findings for people in the bush (RFDS)

Health care access, mental health, and preventative health: health priority survey findings for people in the bush. This collaborative project with National Farmers' Federation and the Country Women's Association of Australia has been completed. A survey of over 450 country people drawn from every state and territory, saw one-third of responses (32.5%) name doctor and medical specialist access as their key priority.

7 million Australians live in remote and rural Australia. On average, these 7 million Australians have poorer health outcomes and live shorter lives than city residents. For example, the premature death rate is 1.6 times higher in remote Australia than in city areas. The percentage of people in remote areas with arthritis, asthma, deafness, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease is higher than in cities. The health behaviours of people in country areas are less conducive to good health than people in cities, with higher rates of smoking, obesity, and alcohol misuse in remote areas than in cities.

While there is ample evidence on the health access and outcome disparity between city and country Australia, there is little information about how country people themselves see these disparities. In response, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) joined with the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) to assess the health needs of remote and rural Australians and to give voice to country Australians.

The key issues identified by the survey respondents represent the areas in which government policy efforts should be directed. The five most important issues identified by respondents overall were access to medical services; mental health; drugs and alcohol; cancer; and cardiovascular health. The areas of health that respondents identified money should be spent on included: access to medical services; mental health; health promotion and prevention activities; cancer; aged care; and travel and accommodation support for people needing to access health care outside of their community. Many of these areas are already the focus of government policy, but their inclusion in the findings of the survey suggest more effort and resources are required to address them.

Health care access, mental health, and preventative health - survey report.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Promoting social and emotional development and wellbeing of infants in pregnancy and the first year of life

During its 2012-15 term, the NHMRC's former Prevention and Community Health Committee (PCHC) identified mental health as a key project area, with a particular focus on the effectiveness of parenting practices and their role in promoting social and emotional health and wellbeing in children and later on as adults. A new report has just been issued and includes a Plain Language Summary that summarises the findings of 51 systematic literature reviews and analyses the types of interventions aimed at promoting infants' and children's social and emotional wellbeing. The report is aimed at governments and other policy makers, researchers and service providers who work with parents of infants.

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2017). NHMRC Report on the Evidence: Promoting social and emotional development and wellbeing of infants in pregnancy and the first year of life.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program: Evaluation report

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM said the findings from a new report on the preliminary evaluation of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program were encouraging.

"The report found the program is operating effectively, using proven approaches to change smoking behaviours, and delivering evidence based local tobacco health promotion activities. I am pleased the report recommends it continues," Minister Wyatt said.

"Smoking is the most preventable cause of disease and early death among Aboriginal people and accounts for almost one-quarter of the difference in average health outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

"The program provides grants in 37 urban, rural, regional and remote areas to assist local communities to develop localised anti-smoking campaigns and offer intervention training for frontline community and health workers."

The preliminary report is available from :

Press release

Tackling Indigenous Smoking Home Page

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Australia's hospitals at a glance 2015-16 [AIHW]

Australia's hospitals 2015-16 at a glance provides summary information on Australia's public and private hospitals.

* In 2015-16, there were 10.6 million hospitalisations (6.3 million in public hospitals, 4.3 million in private hospitals).
* The average length of stay was over 5 days (5.7 days in public hospitals; 5.2 days in private hospitals).
* 1 in 4 hospitalisations involved a surgical procedure.
* 27% were emergency admissions.
* 149,000 hospitalisations involved a stay in intensive care.
* 60% were same-day hospitalisations.

Download report: Australia's hospitals at a glance 2015-16

Monday, 17 July 2017

Aboriginal Online Health Portal (Cancer Council NSW)

Cancer Council NSW has a new online Aboriginal Health Portal – specific and tailored cancer information for Aboriginal communities.

The portal is divided into community information, information for health workers and research findings on Indigenous cancer. There is also information about a research project Cancer Council NSW funded and conducted called APOCC (Aboriginal Patterns of Cancer Care).

Links to the Cancer Council NSW main website also provide a wealth of further information.

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