Making progress: the health, development and wellbeing of Australia's children and young people (AIHW)

This report delivers the latest and most reliable information on how, as a nation, we are faring according to key statistical indicators of child and youth health, development and wellbeing. The report covers children and young people aged 0-19 years, and includes indicators for the entire 0-19 year age range as well as indicators for three different stages of development: 1) infancy and early childhood; 2) school age childhood; and 3) adolescence. Information is presented on important issues such as mental health, disability, risk factors for chronic disease, mortality, education, homelessness, crime, jobless families and family economic situation. Particular attention is given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth, and to how Australia compares internationally. This is an essential resource for policy makers, researchers, practitioners and anyone interested in the progress of Australia's children and youth.

AIHW catalogue number PHE 104.

Media release


Free patient materials for your patients with ADHD

Useful information on ADHD Diagnosing and Patient education (Brochures and Handouts)

Rural health experts give grim diagnosis

Country doctors want the Commonwealth to take control of health services in the bush and their peak body is in Canberra this week to take that message to the Federal Government.

The blunt diagnosis from the National Rural Health Alliance to the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, when they meet on Wednesday will be that Australia's rural health system is broken and radical treatment is needed to fix it. The alliance represents 28 different groups that deliver health services in the bush, from GPs to nurses to physiotherapists.

Qld: Climate change link to mental health

A largely unrecognised effect of climate change - its impact on mental health - will be considered at two Queensland conferences this week. The topic is high on the agenda of the Queensland Landcare Conference being held at Monto, in the state's southeast.
"Creating futures : Research, Practice and Policy" : a Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health conference in Cairns will also address the possible impacts. Report

Quality Standards for Aboriginal Aged Care

The Australian Government today detailed a number of measures to improve the long-term quality of aged care for Indigenous communities.

Rural, regional and remote health: indicators of health system performance

This report focuses on a comprehensive range of health issues concerning people living in regional and remote Australia. It includes information relating to health system performance (such as health service usage and supply of health workers) and is the 10th report in the AIHW's Rural Health Series.

AIHW catalogue number PHE 103 (Internet only)

Media release : City versus bush.

New Dementia Resources

The Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot today launched three new
$600,000 dementia training resources - as part of Dementia Awareness
Week .
The three dementia training resources developed as part of the
Australian Government*s Dementia Initiative - are:

* "Local Knowledge: A dementia care e-learning resource for rural
and remote aged care workers" focuses on people living in regional

* "Strangers in a Strange Land: Cultural Competence in Dementia
Care" focuses on people from culturally and linguistically diverse
backgrounds; and

* "2 Young 4 Dementia - Meeting the Needs of People with Younger
Onset Dementia" to support improved dementia awareness and care for
younger people with dementia, their carers and families in a variety of
work and care environments.

Copies of these free resources can be ordered by email

B Positive

B Positive - all you wanted to know about hepatitis B : a guide for primary care providers is the latest in an informative series of guides available from the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine. Available for download, or can be ordered in hard copy.

Keeping Care Complete (World Federation for Mental Health)

The Keeping Care Complete study of nearly 700 psychiatrists and almost 1100 carers was conducted in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the UK and the United States. 78 Australian psychiatrists were surveyed. The research examined how stigma, treatment, non-adherence and relapse affect the lives of people living with bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia.

The study found that relapse prevention and long-term efficacy are primary concerns facing Australian psychiatrists treating people with serious mental health illness. Almost three-quarters of Australian psychiatrists say up to 60% of their own patients discontinue their medication without consulting them. Some 86% report feeling frustrated at this. In almost all cases (99%) they felt this resulted in a relapse. In fact, hospitalisation (95%), social isolation, relationship breakdown and inability to work (all 88%) are cited by Australian psychiatrists as the major fall-out from bipolar and schizophrenia relapse.

Release of the Keeping Complete Data coincides with Australia hosting the 5th World Conference on Mental Health and the Prevention of Mental and Behavioural Disorders in Melbourne (September 10-12). Keeping Care Complete was developed as a partnership between the World Federation for Mental Health and Eli Lilly and Company.

Other resources available from the Federation website include "Learning about bipolar ", "Life is a classroom" (child mental health website) and "Understanding generalized anxiety disorder".

Injury as a chronic health issue in Australia (AIHW)

This briefing provides an overview of injury as a chronic health issue in Australia. The report highlights the long-term health consequences following severe injury and the effects on individual's physical and psychosocial wellbeing. Types of injuries covered in the Briefing include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, severe burns as well as injury comorbidities such as fractures and self-harm.

Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council

The Federal Government has announced the composition of the new Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council. It will be chaired by Professor Ian Webster (UNSW) and members include Prof. Brian Kelly from the Centre for Rural & Remote Mental Health at Orange.

Maternity Services Review (The Department of Health and Ageing)

The Australian Government is undertaking a Review of Maternity Services. The Review will be led by the Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, Ms Rosemary Bryant.

The Review will:

o canvass a wide range of issues relevant to maternity services, including antenatal services, birthing options, postnatal services up to six weeks after birth, and peer and social support for women in the perinatal period;
o ensure that all interested parties have an opportunity to participate; and
o inform the development of a National Maternity Services Plan.

The success of the Review depends largely upon the participation of people and organisations in the community. The Review aims to provide the opportunity for all points of view in the community to be heard and considered. A consultation process will allow individuals, groups and organisations with an interest in maternity services to participate.

As part of the Review consultation process the Department has prepared, Improving Maternity Services in Australia: A Discussion Paper from the Australian Government (PDF 1468 KB), it is now seeking submissions (closing date 31 October, 2008) from interested stakeholders in response to the Discussion Paper.

If you are unable to access the PDF please send an email to and an alternative copy will be provided.

Pollution linked to obesity

Exposure to hexachlorobenzene during pregnancy increases the risk of overweight in children aged 6 years
Agnes Smink et al

Aim: To determine whether prenatal exposure to hexachlorobenzene (HCB) has potential adverse effects on child's weight and body mass index (BMI) in a general population with no local pollution sources.
Methods: Starting from mid 1997, all mothers presenting for antenatal exposure in Menorca were recruited. Subsequently, 482 children were enrolled. HCB was measured in cord blood. Weight and height were measured at birth and at age 6.5 years.
Results: Children with HCB levels higher than 1.03 ng/mL in cord blood were 1.14 kg (0.38) heavier and had a higher BMI (β= 0.80 (0.34)) than children with HCB levels lower than 0.46 ng/mL. No statistically significant associations were found in height. Children in the higher exposure group of HCB had an increased risk of 2.5 and 3.0 of being overweight and obese. Children from normalweight mothers also presented an increased risk of having higher BMI with increasing concentrations of HCB in cord serum.
Conclusion: Prenatal exposure to HCB is associated with an increase in BMI and weight at age 6.5 years. Further studies with larger samples and longer follow-up are needed to confirm these results.

Request your local library for Full text.

Nursing and midwifery codes of ethics released

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council has released the following new ethics documents :
Code of Ethics for Nurses - August 2008
Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses - August 2008
Code of Ethics for Midwives - August 2008
Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives - August 2008
Also available from the site are the earlier standards documents :
National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse, 4th ed, 2006
National Competency Standards for the Midwife, 1st ed, 2006
National Competency Standards for the Nurse Practitioner, 1st ed, 2006
National Competency Standards for the Enrolled Nurse, 2002

Effective dissemination: a systematic review of implementation strategies for the AOD field

Innovations, such as treatment interventions, programs and therapies, may be costly to develop and evaluate and there is increasing political and financial pressure to ensure that effective and cost-effective health care and professional services are available where needed. Even when practitioners are aware of the evidence for best practice and are willing to change their behaviour, making the required changes in the context of long established patterns of behaviour can be difficult, particularly if the organisational environment is not conducive to change. Moreover, innovations are not self-executing. Even simple programs that require only small changes may benefit from an effective implementation strategy. The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction undertook a systematic literature review of the most commonly used strategies designed to increase the uptake of innovations into professional practice. Analyses were undertaken to evaluate their effectiveness and to determine their relevance and applicability for use in the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) field. By evaluating and synthesising the evidence from a wide range of sources, NCETA aimed to identify the key factors underlying successful dissemination strategies and develop a framework for dissemination and implementation of innovations in the AOD field.

Water and the Murray-Darling Basin - A Statistical Profile, 2000-01 to 2005-06 (ABS)

Much of GWAHS is part of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), a huge area which occupies 14% of the Australian land mass, and uses 52% of total Australian water use. Water and the Murray-Darling Basin - A Statistical Profile, 2000-01 to 2005-06 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics provides a complete profile of this vast area.

The MDB is an area of national significance for social, cultural, economic and environmental reasons. The social impacts of changes in agriculture and environmental events, such as drought, are important for people in the MDB. The MDB also contains nationally significant environmental assets which are reliant on water to maintain ecosystem health.

The Murray-Darling Basin Commission has also released several reports on the devastating effects of drought on the MDB

Dementia learning resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.

This kit, developed by Alzheimer's Australia in consultation with the Department of Health and Ageing, provides several resources for the assessment of dementia in indigenous peoples. Includes assessment schedules, guide booklets, 2 CD-ROMS and posters. To obtain a copy email :
Description :

National Drug Strategy Household Survey

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey: State and territory supplement published on August 29 follows the Survey's First Results report released in April 2008. Minister for Health Reba Meagher said new figures show there has been a continued decline in illicit drug use and high risk drinking in NSW. The survey found:
*illicit drug use has fallen from 14.6 p% in 2004 to 12.1% for 2007
*cannabis use fell from 10.7% in 2004 to 8% for 2007
*methamphetamine use decreased from 3.1% to 1.8% in 2007
*ecstasy use remained steady at 3.4% for 2007.
For alcohol use the survey found:
*low risk drinking decreased slightly from 49% in 2004 to 48.1% in 2007
*high risk drinking fell from 32.2% to 2004 to 31.8% in 2007
*daily drinking decreased from 8.8% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2007.
The results are based on a survey of more than 23,000 Australians conducted in 2007, and provide profiles of drug use and community attitudes in each of the states and territories.