The State of Our Public Hospitals, June 2008 Report

This report provides a snapshot of public hospital activity in 2006-07. It includes a focus on Indigenous Australians in hospitals and includes a feature chapter titled State and Territory Public Hospital Performance Reporting.

Understanding Younger Onset Dementia

Understanding Younger Onset Dementia is a practice- and evidence-based booklet summarising the neuropathology and characteristics of the different dementias occurring in younger adults under 65 years of age. This booklet provides information of assistance to health professionals and others on the different types of dementia diagnosed in younger people and explains many of the characteristics of the associated changes that occur with younger onset dementias.

Mental health services in Australia: interim report (Senate Community Affairs Committee )

The committee was directed to examine ongoing efforts towards improving mental health services in Australia, with reference to the National Action Plan on Mental Health agreed upon at the July 2006 meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, particularly examining the
commitments and contributions of the different levels of government with regard to their respective roles and responsibilities. The Committee was asked to give special consideration to:

(a) the extent to which the action plan assists in achieving the aims and objectives of the National Mental Health Strategy;
(b) the overall contribution of the action plan to the development of a coordinated infrastructure to support community-based care;
(c) progress towards implementing the recommendations of the Select Committee on Mental Health, as outlined in its report "A national approach to mental health from crisis to community";
(d) identifying any possible remaining gaps or shortfalls in funding and in the range of services available for people with a mental illness.

This report outlines the committee's work to date and provides a broad summary of the themes arising in the evidence received.

Tobacco and Aboriginal people in NSW ( Rowena G. Ivers / New South Wales Public Health Bulletin )

Tobacco use is a major cause of morbidity and mortality for Aboriginal people in NSW. Few interventions to reduce the harm resulting from tobacco use have been developed specifically for this population. However, brief interventions for smoking cessation, pharmacotherapies such as nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion and varenicline, quit groups and interventions aimed at reducing smoking by pregnant women and hospital inpatients are likely to be effective. Broader population interventions such as anti-tobacco advertising, price rises for tobacco products and prevention of sales to minors are also likely to be effective in reducing the harm resulting from tobacco use.

Australia's future fat bomb (Baker Heart Research Institute)

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has described new statistics about obese Australians as staggering and alarming and has asked for urgent advice on how to combat the problem. "I think it will be a shock to a lot of people that we are rated as a fatter nation than America," she said. "The Baker Heart Institute's report, Australia's Future 'Fat Bomb', found Australia may soon overtake America as the fattest nation on earth, with one in four adults classed as obese."

1997-2007 Report on adults 45 years and over from the New South Wales Population Health Survey

This report provides the first ever snapshot of the health and wellbeing of adults 45 years and over in New South Wales. The report supports planning, implementation, and evaluation of health services and programs targeting this significant population group.

Aborigines on course for better health

The below article describes a unique program designed to train new Aboriginal health education officers in all areas of Aboriginal health will go some way towards addressing an alarming number of health-related issues facing the indigenous community.

This includes a stint at Calare nursing home as just one component of the 18-month Aboriginal health certificate four course.

Sing project reaches out

Sing Australia is a project which reaches out to drought stricken communities. It is to receive more than $446,000 in Australian Government funding to expand its network of choirs in rural and regional areas, especially targeting drought-affected areas.

It will travel especially to drought-affected areas, where Australian farming families and people in small rural towns are doing it tough.

Map Connect (Geoscience Australia)

Though well outside this blog's normal subject matter, it occurs to us that this fairly new site, which provides free topographic maps of the 55% of NSW which comprises GWAHS (and anywhere else in Australia for that matter) may be of at least passing interest to some staff. Data can be previewed online, printed and downloaded as required (free registration).

Selected Health Occupations: Australia, 2006 (ABS 4819.0)

This snapshot provides an overview of Australia's health workforce, covering four key occupational groups: Generalist medical practitioners, Specialists, Dental practitioners, and Nurses (including midwives). It examines their geographic distribution, their demographic characteristics, and their working arrangements. In doing so it provides information about current trends in key health occupations and their longer term sustainability.

Australia's Health 2008 (AIHW)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new report today: "Australia's health 2008". Australia is one of the healthiest nations in the world, taking great strides in many health areas - but there are groups whose health still lags behind, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's latest national report card on health.
Indigenous people die at much younger ages, and have a greater disease burden, more disability and a lower quality of life than other Australians. Despite improvements in Indigenous death rates, the overall gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates appears to be widening. However, the gap in death rates between Indigenous infants and other Australian infants is narrowing.
In general, people living in rural and remote areas also tend to have shorter lives and higher levels of illness and disease risk factors than people in major cities. These findings are influenced, but not fully explained, by the relatively high proportion of Indigenous Australians in remote and very remote areas.
Click on the link to view the media release ( ) and report ( ).
Also available from Can Print for $60.00 (1300 889 873)

Cycling: Getting Australia Moving

CYCLING saves taxpayers more than $290 million in health and traffic congestion costs, a report released reveals. The report, by the Cycling Promotion Fund, says the health benefits of cycling saves Australian governments $227.2 million a year. It also cuts traffic congestion costs by $63.9 million and saves $9.3 million in combating noise and air pollution, the report says.
CPF policy adviser Elliot Fishman said cycling reduced the incidence of "sedentary lifestyle diseases". "We're not getting people coming in with diabetes, their blood pressure is more likely to be in check, there's less incidence of stroke," he said. Mr Fishman said congestion savings were based on the value of time lost when people were stuck in traffic. He said the Cycling: Getting Australia Moving report, commissioned by the Health and Ageing Department, was the first report to put a dollar value on the benefits of cycling.
The report will be used to lobby health and transport departments to invest in cycling infrastructure such as bicycle lanes and for better links with public transport.
Mr Fishman suggested money could be used from the Infrastructure Australia Fund, announced in last month's Federal Budget. "The report recommends a massive boost in cycling infrastructure," he said. "Outer suburban Australians just don't have the option to take the bike because the infrastructure just isn't available."

Download Report:

The nature and impact of caring for family members with a disability in Australia

It is estimated that in 2003 there were 474,600 primary carers providing care to a person because of disability or old age. In coming decades, as the Australian population ages, the number of carers is projected to increase. Despite the large number of carers in Australia and the likely increase in their numbers, relatively little is known about the impact upon families of providing care. This report begins to fill the gap.

The aims of this report are to: examine the effect of caring on family and social relationships; document the social, emotional, physical and financial impact on families of caring for a person with a disability; and to examine the effect of caring on labour force status.

Elective surgery in Australia: new measures of access (AIHW)

This report presents a detailed picture of access to elective surgery services in Australia using combined admitted patient and elective surgery waiting times data.

Residential aged care in Australia 2006-07: A statistical overview (AIHW)

This report provides comprehensive statistical information on residential aged care homes and their residents. The report contains information on the capacity of residential aged care homes, their residents and resident characteristics, levels of dependency among residents, and admissions and separations. The report will be particularly useful to aged care service planners, providers of aged care services, and researchers in the field.

Indigenous education in remote communities

Educating Kimberley

The above article describes a special Four Corners report on Indigenous education in the Kimberley and problems with low literacy levels amongst children and adolescents

National Men's Health Policy

To mark the start of International Men's Health Week, Minister for Health Nicola Roxon is launching the paper "Setting the scene: developing a men's health policy for Australia".

Men's health is too often overlooked. This comes at a cost. We know that:
Men are expected to live 4.8 years less than women
Men are three times more likely to commit suicide
Men experience 70 per cent of the burden of disease related to injury
Men are over-represented in deaths related to HIV/AIDS.

The health of Indigenous men is also significantly worse than for any other group in Australia, with an average life expectancy of only 59 years - some 20 years less than non-Indigenous Australian males.

The Government's decision to develop a National Men's Health Policy recognises that men have specific health needs and challenges.

A copy of the paper on the development of a National Men's Health Policy can be found at

Injury among young Australians (AIHW)

New figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show transport accidents and suicide are the two leading causes of injury and death among young people. The report shows that injury as a whole was responsible for two-thirds of all deaths of young people aged 12 to 24
years in 2005, and for one in six hospitalisations. Transport accidents were responsible for 44% of injury deaths and 20% of injury hospitalisations in this age group. Suicides accounted for 32% of injury deaths.

While the suicide death rate has fallen, hospitalisation rates for intentional self-harm among young people increased by 43% between 1996 and 2006. The increase was much greater for young women (a 51% increase) than for young men (a 27% increase. More than 7,000 young people were taken to hospital because of self-harm. The two main causes were poisoning and cutting. Indigenous Australians had considerably higher rates of death and hospitalisation due to injury than other young Australians. The hospitalisation rate for assault was six times as high. Hospitalisation and death rates from injury also increase with remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage.

New South Wales Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health (Website)

The NSW CAAH is funded by NSW Health and seeks to improve the health and well-being of young people aged 12-24 in NSW. Features include: Useful Links to fact sheets & toolkits, support for professionals, youth portals, service directories & urgent help; Youth Policy - includes links to policy documents; Events Calendar and Resources

Australia 2020 Summit : final report

The final report of the Australia 2020 summit has been released. Chapters 4 (Future direction for rural industry and rural communities), 5. (A long term national health strategy) and 7 (Options for the future of Indigenous Australia) may be of special interest to our readers
In addition, the site contains all submissions and background papers to the summit, an image gallery and additional material.

Boost for PubMed® Search Results: New ATM & Citation Sensor Introduced

PubMed has been modified frequently over the years to optimize retrieval or provide features that lead searchers to additional information. PubMed is undergoing two changes which continue this trend. One change is in the way Automatic Term Mapping (ATM) works and the other is a new feature called Citation Sensor.


KidsMatter (Website)

The KidsMatter Australian Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative aims to:
* Improve the mental health and well-being of primary school students
* Reduce mental health problems among students (eg., anxiety, depression and behavioural problems)
* Achieve greater support and assistance for students experiencing mental health problems.
The website is under construction and continually updating resources

Cardiovascular disease and its associated risk factors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2004-05 (AIHW).

As many as one in eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, "Cardiovascular disease and its associated risk factors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2004-05", showed that hypertension was the most common cardiovascular condition in Indigenous Australians followed by coronary heart disease, heart failure and rheumatic heart disease.

The greatest disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was seen in rates of coronary heart disease, which were twice as high in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

More than half of Indigenous adults have three or four of the following risk factors for CVD: physical inactivity, daily smoking, not enough fruit and vegetables, high alcohol consumption, obesity, and diabetes.

Indigenous Australians were nearly four times as likely to have diabetes as non Indigenous Australians, and were twice as likely to be daily smokers, or to be obese.

Based on data from Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory, cardiovascular death rates in Indigenous Australians were three times those of non-Indigenous Australians.

Coronary heart disease was responsible for more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths between 2002 and 2005 than any other single cause.

Venomous bites and stings in Australia to 2005 Clare Bradley / Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

This report describes the bites and stings due to contact with venomous animals and plants that resulted in a separation from an Australian hospital in the period 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2005. Analyses of bite and sting cases over time (1999-2005) are also presented.

Hospitalised bites and stings were most frequently attributed to spiders, bees and wasps while snakebites were a less frequent cause of hospitalisation. Higher rates of serious bites and stings were generally observed for males and for younger people. Little change in the rate of hospitalised bites and stings was noted over time.

An analysis of the 2008-09 health budget ( Lesley Russell / Australian Health Policy Institute)

Analysis of the major health measures in this years Federal budget

Our children, our future: achieving improved primary and secondary education outcomes for Indigenous students

This report, by Louise Doyle and Regina Hill (The AMP Foundation, Effective Philanthropy and Social Ventures Australia) outlines 8 interventions aimed at improving the educational outcomes of Indigenous children and young people. It covers current educational challenges and provides a framework for making philanthropic investments that will produce sustainable outcomes.,%20Our%20Future_final%20report.pdf

Describing and analysing primary health care system support for chronic illness care in Indigenous communities in Australia's Northern Territory - use of the Chronic Care Model

Indigenous Australians experience disproportionately high prevalence of, and morbidity and mortality from chronic illness such as diabetes, renal disease and cardiovascular disease. Improving the understanding of how Indigenous primary care systems are organised to deliver chronic illness care will inform efforts to improve the quality of care for Indigenous people.

Australian hospital statistics 2006-07 (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics 2006-07
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australian hospital statistics 2006-07. Canberra, May 2008.
This publication presents a detailed overview of public and private hospital activity in 2006-07 with summaries of changes over time. Statistics presented on admitted patient care include information on patient diagnoses, procedures, lengths of stay, and waiting times for elective surgery. Emergency department activity statistics include information on triage categories, waiting times and the duration of care. Clinic level information on outpatient care is also presented. A range of hospital performance indicators are reported as well as information on public hospital expenditure, resources and bed numbers. This report is a useful resource for health planners, administrators and researchers with an interest in Australia's hospitals.