Thursday, 17 December 2009

Health, Development and Wellbeing in Far Western NSW, A Picture of our Children

The launch today of a strategic document aimed at improving child development and well being for Aboriginal children in the far west is the culmination of more than 18 months work by six government and nongovernment agencies. Health, Development and Wellbeing in Far Western NSW, A Picture of our Children, is being launched at Alma Bugdlie Pre-School by Senator, the Hon Mark Arbib, Federal Minister for Employment Participation and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Government Service Delivery. Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation, which is co-chair of the group that developed the strategic framework document, has been committed to working with other agencies to achieve this goal.

Health, Development and Wellbeing in Far Western NSW, A Picture of our Children, contains local information and data on children in the region against those indicators the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have determined to be "key indicators" of child health, development and wellbeing.

Also available from MaariMa in hard copy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Statistical snapshots of Indigenous health

ABS Statistics released today
4724.0.55.003 Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Males, 2004-05

4724.0.55.004 Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Females, 2004-05

Health at a glance 2009 : OECD indicators


This fifth edition provides the latest comparable data on the performance of health systems in OECD countries, revealing striking evidence of large variations in costs, activities and results of health systems. Key indicators provide information on health status, the determinants of health, health care activities and health expenditure and financing in OECD countries. This edition also contains new chapters on the health workforce and on access to care, an important policy objective in all OECD countries. The chapter on quality of care has been extended to include a set of indicators on the quality of care for chronic conditions.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Managing urinary incontinence in primary care

Urinary incontinence is often underreported. One survey conducted in Australian GP waiting rooms found that only 30% of participants with urinary incontinence had spoken to a health professional about it. To assist health professionals to identify and manage patients with incontinence or at risk of developing incontinence, the National Prescribing Service (NPS) has developed a new program, Managing urinary incontinence in primary care.

"People are often reluctant to talk about incontinence because they may feel embarrassed. Some think it is anormal part of ageing or the childbirth process and therefore don't think it useful to discuss incontinence with their doctor",NPS clinical adviser, Judith Mackson said. Health professionals are encouraged to routinely ask about a history of incontinence in women who are at a greater risk of becoming incontinent. This includes those who have experienced recent childbirth, are overweight or have chronic health conditions.

InsideRadiology (Patient information radiology website)

For some people, a radiology procedure can be a frightening prospect. That is why the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) has launched InsideRadiology to give Australians free access to world class, up-to-the-minute, web-based information about radiology tests and procedures in layperson's language. There were more than 16 million medical imaging procedures performed in Australia last financial year. Now, all those needing an X-ray, radiology procedure (such as joint injection) or a scan can access information about why their doctor ordered a particular test or treatment, what will happen when they have it, how they need to prepare for it and if there will be any after effects.

Diabetes, medicines and me

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) and Diabetes Tasmania have launched a new educational series aimed at people with type 2 diabetes, which addresses medicines use issues. The videos are designed to be used by health professionals and community organisations when discussing the management of type 2 diabetes with newly diagnosed patients. The series comprises 11 segments which cover issues including the types of medicines used to manage type 2 diabetes, the best ways to manage medicines, and what patients should discuss with their healthcare providers.The videos range from one to five minutes and you may download, display print and reproduce the videos in unaltered form only for non-commercial use either personally or within your organisation.

Reposted from NCAHS Library Clippings

Monday, 14 December 2009

Manage your pain : a pain management diary

A new pain management diary has been developed by Arthritis NSW and the National Prescribing Service (NPS) to help healthcare providers work with patients to determine optimum pain management plans. Doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses, specialists and other health professionals are encouraged to promote the resource to patients which records the necessary information needed to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment regimen. "More than 3.85 million Australians live with chronic pain caused by arthritis, many of whom are not achieving adequate pain relief with their current medicine regimen," ArthritisNSW CEO Karen Filocamo said.

"We know that many people also experience break-through pain and try to manage it themselves with low dose analgesics and may not think to discuss this with their doctor. The pain management diary is very detailed and includes the person's mood, sleep and physical activity as well as the steps taken to alleviate the pain and whether they worked. This information is vital to determining treatment however consumers may not pass on this level of detail."

Clinical practice guideline for the prevention of venous thromboembolism (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) in patients admitted to Australian hospitals (2009)

Australians at risk of potentially fatal blood clots will benefit from NHMRC's new Australian Guideline for the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). These evidence-based guidelines developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provide recommendations on prevention of VTE for adult patients admitted to Australian hospitals. Thirty thousand people are hospitalised each year in Australia due to VTE. Approximately 2,000 Australians die each year from VTE. Eighty percent of these cases are related to prior hospitalisation for either surgery or acute illness.

Schizophrenia is the most stigmatized mental illness (SANE Australia research)

New research by SANE Australia finds that schizophrenia is the most stigmatised mental illness. An analysis of complaints made by the public to SANE's StigmaWatch program about media reporting of mental illness has found that nearly 1 in 4 relate to schizophrenia. By comparison, only 1 in 50 complaints are about the irresponsible media reporting of depression. The report, SANE Research Bulletin 10: Stigma, the media and mental illness, found that 23 per cent of the complaints made about schizophrenia involved sensationalised media reporting. Many of these complaints related to media reports that perpetuate violent or dangerous stereotypes, or incite community fear about the illness.

Virtual medical centre news report

Emergency department stroke and transient ischaemic attack care bundle (NHMRC)

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released a stroke care package designed to improve care for people presenting to the emergency department with acute stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

Stroke is Australia's second single greatest killer after coronary heart disease and is a leading cause of disability. There are approximately 60 000 new and recurrent strokes in Australia each year, that's one stroke every 10 minutes. This number will increase as the population ages.According to the National Stroke Foundation (NSF), one in five people having a first-ever stroke die within one month and one in three die within a year. Effective treatment in the emergency department can reduce disabilities and improve long term patient outcomes.

Implementation of the stroke care recommendations will result in:
* Timely and accurate stroke and TIA assessment;
* Timely and appropriate clinical management consistent with national guidelines; and
* Increased consistency of care.

The stroke care package, or bundle approach, was selected by a multidisciplinary reference group of emergency and stroke clinicians. It provides recommendations in a concise and useable format tailored specifically for use by clinicians in the emergency department setting.

The package comprises a small number of evidence-based interventions, grouped together and applied to the management of a particular condition. Each element must be undertaken at the same time and in the same way for all patients, which reduces variability of practice and significantly improves patient outcomes.

The materials were developed by NHMRC's National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) and are based on the NSF Clinical Guidelines for Acute Stroke Management.

It has been endorsed by the NSF, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, the Australian College of Emergency Nursing, and the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia.

Prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: targeting risk factors (AIHW)

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) account for around a quarter of the burden of disease in Australia, and just under two-thirds of all deaths. These three diseases often occur together and share risk factors, such as physical inactivity, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure. This report includes information on the national prevalence of the main risk factors for CVD, CKD and diabetes as well as population initiatives and individual services that aim to prevent or control these risk factors. It shows the prevalence of some risk factors is increasing-notably obesity, which rose from 11% of adults in 1995 to 24% in 2007-08. This is the first report to present a systematic approach to monitor prevention in Australia, providing a baseline for future monitoring.

Media release

Alcohol and other drug treatment services (New AIHW reports)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released 7 new reports today:

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in New South Wales 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

This data bulletin summarises the main findings from the 2007-08 Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS-NMDS) data for New South Wales. Other data bulletins are available for most states and territories in Australia. More detailed information about the 2007-08 collection and its national findings can be found in the publication Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: report on the National Minimum Data Set(AIHW 2009).

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in South Australia 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Tasmania 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australian Capital Territory 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Northern Territory 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Victoria 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Western Australia 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Public and private hospitals can improve efficiency (Productivity Commission )

The average efficiency of public and private hospitals is about 20 per cent below best practice after adjusting for differences in what hospitals do and who they treat, according to a Research Report released today by the Productivity Commission. However, the Commission also found that the private sector tends to be slightly more efficient among large hospitals, while the public sector tends to be more efficient among small hospitals.

The Report responds to a request by the Australian Government to examine three aspects of the health care system - the relative performance of public and private hospitals; rates of informed financial consent for privately-insured patients; and the most appropriate indexation factor for the Medicare Levy Surcharge income thresholds.

Media release

Data gaps mar hospitals report - Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Draft National E-Health Strategy

The National E-Health Strategy commissioned by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council and developed by Deloitte,together with key stakeholders, provides a useful guide to the further development of E-Health in Australia.

Closing the accountability gap: the first step towards better Indigenous health

Sara Hudson of the Centre for Independent Studies examines the problem of accountability in indigenous health expenditure. Over the past 10 years, funding for Indigenous health programs has increased by 328%-from $115 million in 1995-2006 to $492 million in 2007-08, with no appreciable improvements in health outcomes. The latest budget shows that the Commonwealth government is now spending 50% more on Indigenous health than it was in 2007-08.

Different departments may know where funding for individual programs is going, but information on all the funding provided by Commonwealth and state and territory governments to Indigenous health providers is difficult to find. Complex funding arrangements have resulted in separate "buckets" of funding for different programs, with one Aboriginal health service receiving 42 different "buckets" of money,all requiring separate applications and reporting. Funding complexities make proper financial accountability next to impossible.

Australia's mothers and babies 2007 (AIHW)

Australia's mothers and babies 2007 is the 17th report providing information on births in Australia from perinatal data collections for each state and territory. The report presents demographic, pregnancy and childbirth factors of women who gave birth in 2007 and the characteristics and outcomes of their babies. A new feature is an analysis of trends in caesarean section births.

Media release

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

AMA Junior Doctor Training, Education & Supervision Survey Report of Findings

The AMA has released the findings of its junior doctor training,education and supervision Survey, which contains important data about the training environment in our public hospitals for prevocational and vocational doctors.

The survey, an initiative of the AMA Council of Doctors in Training,documents the views of those at the coalface"junior doctors" on the training environment in public hospitals. It shows that more resources are needed to ensure that the quality of medical training in our public hospitals is maintained and improved. The system is already under strain as hospitals attempt to cope with a surge in medical graduate numbers and the pressures of the increasing demand for service delivery.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Review of Indigenous male health

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, Kurongkurl Katitjin Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia has released a review of Indigenous male health.The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is an innovative Internet resource that aims to inform practice and policy in Indigenous health by making research and other knowledge readily accessible. The HealthInfoNet aims to contribute to "closing the gap" in health between Indigenous and other Australians.

General practice activity in Australia 2008-09 (AIHW)

This report presents results from the eleventh year of the BEACH program, a national study of general practice activity. From April 2008 to March 2009, 1,011 general practitioners recorded data about 101,100 GP-patient encounters involving the management of 149,462 problems. For an `average' 100 encounters, GPs recorded 106 medications, 34 clinical treatments, 17 procedures, 9 referrals to specialists and 4 to allied health services, and ordered 46 pathology and 10 imaging tests.

Also available : General practice activity in Australia 1999-00 to 2008-09: 10 year data tables.This AIHW report presents results from the most recent 10 years (April 1999 to March 2008) of the BEACH program, a national cross-sectional study of general practice activity. During this time 9,901 GPs provided details of almost 1 million GP-patient encounters. Readers can review changes that have occurred over the decade in the characteristics of general practitioners and the patients they see; the problems managed and the treatments provided. Changes in patients' body mass index, smoking status and alcohol use are described for a subsample of adult patients.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

draft Australian Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) today made available updated draft Australian Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other useful information to assist parents and medical professionals to recognise and appropriately treat ADHD. More than 350,000 Australian children and adolescents are estimated to have ADHD.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

The Clearinghouse provides access to a collection of quality evidence-based information on what works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage. This will provide policy makers and program managers with an evidence base for achieving the Closing the Gap targets and related Indigenous reforms. Indigenous Australians will benefit through the delivery of policies and services which address Indigenous disadvantage more effectively.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has agreed to targets in the areas of health, education and employment for Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Early childhood ; Economic participation ; Governance and leadership ; Health ; Healthy homes ; Safe communities ; Schooling

The Clearinghouse contains a large number of links and documents on indigenous issues. An email alert service is also available via free subscription

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

NSW to improve services for mentally ill

People with a mental illness will have improved access to legal and health services under a project to be launched in NSW, Attorney-General John Hatzistergos says.

The project was developed by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and includes a social work service for young homeless people, an Aboriginal mental health worker for an indigenous men's program, and legal support services for refugees and people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Preventative health agency can work for the bush (media release)

Establishment of the National Preventive Health Agency has been identified by Council of the NRHA as one of the priorities for practical action to improve health in rural and remote areas. The Alliance wants to see the Agency progressed with urgency so that it can implement specially targeted preventive programs for "at-risk‟ groups, including people in rural and remote communities.

Partnership to xTEND rural depression research

A major new research partnership to be announced at an event today in Newcastle will examine ways to minimise the risk factors for male suicide in rural communities. beyondblue: the national depression initiative and Xstrata Coal are contributing funding to the three year project, known as xTEND: eXtending Treatments, Education and Networks for Depression.

Professor Brian Kelly, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle, said the research project would focus on the role of social networks, relationship breakdown and depression as potential risk factors for suicide and develop mitigation strategies.

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Proposed Denticare Scheme - an overview

The Parliamentary Library has released a Background Note providing an outline of the proposed Denticare scheme, including the dental services to be covered, cost estimates and financing arrangements. Responses to the proposal and some key issues for further discussion are highlighted.

Fourth national mental health plan: an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014

On Friday 13 November 2009,the Australian Health Ministers' Conference(AHMC) launched the Fourth National Mental Health Plan: an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014. This plan is the product of twelve months of development work including a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process.

Endorsement of the plan represents commitment by all governments to implementation of the following vision for mental health set out in the National Mental Health Policy 2008:

"a mental health system that enables recovery, that prevents and detects mental illness early and ensures that all Australians with a mental illness can access effective and appropriate treatment and community support to enable them to participate fully in the community."

The plan identifies key actions that will make meaningful progress towards fulfilling the vision of the policy. While led by health ministers the plan takes a whole of government approach through involving sectors other than just health. The plan will provide a basis for governments to advance mental health activities within the various portfolio areas in a more integrated way, recognising that many sections can contribute to better outcomes for people living with mental illness.

The plan has five priority areas for government action in mental health:

* Social inclusion and recovery
* Prevention and early intervention
* Service access, coordination and continuity of care
* Quality improvement and innovation
* Accountability - measuring and reporting progress.

The plan is ambitious in its approach and for the first time includes a robust accountability framework. Each year, governments will report progress on implementation of the plan to the Council of Australian Governments. The plan includes indicators for monitoring change in the way the mental health system is working for people living with mental illness as well as their families and carers. Health ministers have agreed to develop targets and data sources for each of the indicators in the first twelve months of the plan.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Centre for Evidence Based Practice Australasia [CEBPA]

Evidence based practice (EBP) is a core requirement for modern healthcare and it is essential that those involved as practitioners, researchers, teachers, policy-makers and 'consumers' share their knowledge and experience. As well as training in EBP, clinicians also require timely access to evidence based resources. One solution, as proposed by the 'EBP Australia Initiative' was for a 'virtual centre' for both clinicians and consumers that could address these needs - that is, a virtual Centre for Evidence-Based Practice Australasia (CEBPA).

The model of a 'virtual extranet', based upon a Web 2.0 'cloud', or collection of EBP resources, sourced/contributed from across Australia and New Zealand, can function as a working collaboration between clinicians from all disciplines, in community and institutional settings, as well as between academics, teachers, researchers, administrators and consumers, to better inform knowledge and practice.

The content of the CEBPA 'cloud' is based on resources compiled by a wide range of contributors. Key features include :

* ERA (Evidence Repository Australasia): a 'warehouse' for evidence summaries generated within Australasia.
* Clinical ANZwers: a tool to convert evidence summaries into clinical questions & answers.
* Evidence Australasia: a dedicated search engine that searches guidelines and similar sites across Australasia.
* Converge: a communities of practice communications hub, linking clinicians, health policy-makers, academics, researchers and health consumers across Australasia on issues relating to EBP.
* Critical appraisal and clinical audit resources (including AuditMaker, CAT check lists and GateLite)
* an EBM Toolbox
* dynamic EBP news feeds/mashups/alerts
* a dedicated Virtual Learning Centre that can provide online classrooms and the facilities for developing online EBP courses, etc (In development)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Australia's welfare 2009 (AIHW)

Australia's welfare 2009 is the ninth biennial welfare report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of national information on welfare services in Australia. Topics include children, youth and families; ageing and aged care; disability and disability services; carers and informal care; housing and housing assistance; and homelessness with a special section on social inclusion.

Media release

Bush Support Line 1800 805 391

The Bush Support Line (formerly the Bush Crisis Line) 1800 805 391 is a 24 hour confidential telephone support service for workers, and their families, who work in health related services in remote and isolated situations. It is staffed by qualified psychologists with remote and cross cultural experience, is toll free and available from anywhere in Australia.

The Bush support line is part of a revamped set of Bush Support Services from CRANA which also include

* Stress Management courses and other workshops.
* Publications, including self care booklets.
* Best Practice Guidelines to support practitioners following job related trauma.

Livewire Parents : parent and carer support service

Livewire has launched an online community to support parents and carers of people living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability. Livewire, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Starlight Children's Foundation, has launched Livewire Parents, a new online community, where parents and carers of someone with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability can connect with one another in a supportive and understanding environment.

Livewire Parents is a place for parents and carers to meet, share experiences with people who understand what they are going through, find relevant information and gain support from one another. There are approximately 500,000 parents and primary carers of people with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability. Many parents and carers struggle to cope and suffer a huge emotional burden and physical and financial stress. As a result, parents and carers have the lowest health and wellbeing of any group in society.

Australian Financial Crisis: Implications for Health & Research

One in four Australian adults has taken an action that puts their health at risk as a result of the global financial crisis (GFC), according to a new MBF Healthwatch poll. The results show that lack of job security was particularly hard on families, with almost one in five parents turning up to work ill and close to one in 10 parents sending sick children to school.

Dr Christine Bennett, Chief Medical Officer of Bupa Australia, warns that short-term, risky health actions taken by individuals in an attempt to save money or prove job dedication are likely to have long term negative health outcomes for Australia. "The poll has revealed that during the past six months, more than two million workers have gone to work ill because they have been concerned about taking a sick day, and a worrying 17 per cent of Australians have avoided or delayed a visit to a GP, dentist or a specialist", Dr Bennett said.

The results reinforce the findings of Research Australia's report, Australian Financial Crisis: Implications for Health & Research , which highlights that the fall-out from the GFC goes beyond economics and has major long-term health implications for Australia.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Connecting with carers is everybody's business : a training resource for family friendly mental health services

Connecting with carers is everyobdy's business: a training resource for family friendly mental health services was developed in 2007 with funding from the NSW Mental Health & Drug & Alcohol Office and support from South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service

Comprising a handbook and DVD, the resource was developed to meet the expressed needs of mental health staff across NSW and demonstrates best practice in connecting and working collaboratively with carers and families of adults with mental illness in public mental health services. The resource :

* Follows a "mock" family on their journey through a public mental health service over a 2 year period - hear "behind the scenes " comments from family members and health professionals
* Provides the theory and the practice on how to build partnerships with carers and families in mental health
* Is rich in content and easy to use - scenario based resource with training tips. Facilitators can tailor sessions by mixing and matching different sections contained in the resource
* Includes a full interview with a real carer of someone with severe mental illness
* Can be easily adapted for use with students (doctors, nurses, allied health)

A limited number of copies of the resource have been made available to educational institutions and health libraries. If you would like to obtain a hardcopy for your library or organization contact the Working With Families Statewide Training Co-ordinator by emailing Kathleen Hossack with your details (ph 9540 7800). Offer ends Dec 31st 2009. The Connecting With Carers Handbook and DVD are currently being uploaded onto the NSW Health Internet(Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol page).

Government responds to "Who cares ? - better support for Carers" report

The federal government's response to the House of Representatives
Family and Community Committee Report on the inquiry Who cares ? : better support for carers tabled on 25 May has been released.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Health of Indigenous Males: Building Capacity, Securing the Future (AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2009 )

The eighth AMA Indigenous Health Report Card The Health of Indigenous Males: Building Capacity, Securing the Future was launched in Darwin today by the Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, and AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce.

Dr Pesce said the Report Card this year highlights the tragic state of health for Indigenous males in Australia today, and proposes solutions that will ensure longer and better quality lives.

"Indigenous males are much more likely to die earlier from preventable causes than non-Indigenous males and Indigenous females," Dr Pesce said. "At every age, from boyhood to manhood Indigenous males experience higher rates of diseases and conditions that are totally preventable."

The AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2009 collates the tragic facts of the health of Indigenous males, including:

* An Indigenous boy born during 2005-2007 can expect to die at age 67, nearly six years earlier than an Indigenous girl, and 11.5 years earlier than a non-Indigenous boy born in the same period;

* Between 2005 and 2007, Indigenous boys were 1.4 times more likely to die in the first year of their lives than Indigenous girls, and nearly twice as likely to die as other infants in the general population;

* Between 2005 and 2007, Indigenous men died at higher rates than non-Indigenous men at all ages;

* Cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke) was the leading cause of preventable death among Indigenous men, and accounted for 27 per cent of deaths between 2002 and 2005;

* Indigenous men had significantly higher levels of hospitalisation, at a standardised rate of 876 per 1,000 in 2007-08 compared with 358 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous males;

* In 2004-06, Indigenous males were more than twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental health and behavioural disorders than non-Indigenous males;

* In 2002, more than one-quarter of Indigenous males 15 years and over reported that they had been a victim of threatened or actual violence in the previous 12 months; and

* The WA Aboriginal child health survey reported that 12 per cent of Indigenous males aged 12-17 years had thought about ending their lives in the previous 12 months, and four per cent had attempted to do so in this period.

The Tyranny of Distance? Caring in regional and remote areas of Australia

The Tyranny of Distance? Carers in regional and remote areas of Australia is the result of a partnership between Carers Australia and Commonwealth Financial Planning and was undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. This important research is the first to examine the geographic spread, age profile and social, health and economic wellbeing of carers in regional and remote Australia. The report presents a detailed view of issues facing carers in these areas of Australia including difficulties in accessing services, the higher rates of disability for carers, the younger age of carers in remote areas and the impact of the drought.

Key findings include

*the largest number of carers in inner regional and outer region were in the most populous states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland
* Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory had the most carers in remote areas
* carers in remote and regional Australia were more likely to be Indigenous - largely as a result of the distinctive geographic distribution of the Indigenous population and the high level of care required for many in that most disadvantaged sector of Australia society
* a higher proportion of the male population in outer regional and remote areas have a disability or long-term illness
* carers in outer regional and remote areas experienced higher rates of disability or a long-term health condition themselves and lower rates of employment than non-carers living in the same areas and carers in major cities
* carers living in all areas of Australia were more likely to be living in a jobless household and to experience more financial hardship.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Learning modules for health researchers

The Canadian Institute of Health Research has produced 3 freely available Knowledge Translation Learning Modules for health researchers. Subjects covered include :
* A guide to researcher and knowledge-user collaboration in health research
* A guide to evidence-informed decision making
* Critical appraisal of intervention studies

Cannabis takes toll on Aborigines

THE serious consequences of long-term cannabis use in indigenous communities are beginning to show, with an alarming surge in the rate of chronic mental health conditions among those who started smoking the drug at an early age.

James Cook University researcher Alan Clough, who has been looking at the issue of indigenous drug use for the past five years, found cannabis use in remote communities was now as high as 70 per cent of people, with almost 90 per cent of users claiming to be addicted.

Pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men to better health outcomes (Conference)

The Grampians, or Gariwerd as it is known to its traditional owners, will play host this week to more than 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males from across Australia. Mibbinbah Limited is holding a five-day training camp from 8 to 13 November that will give its participants an insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health Worker training.

Jack Bulman, CEO of Mibbinbah, says: "The aim of this camp is to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males the opportunity to see what would be involved in taking up a certificate as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker. If they wish to continue on with training Mibbinbah and its partners will support individuals to become Male Health Workers.

Anxiety Online (Website)

Anxiety Online is an internet-based treatment clinic for people with anxiety problems. It is a world-first initiative of the National eTherapy Centre (NeTC) at Swinburne University of Technology and funded by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing.

Anxiety Online comprises 3 main areas:

1. Information: High quality information and resources are provided to enable you to gain a comprehensive understanding of anxiety generally, and of anxiety disorders specifically.

2. Clinical assessment: Our online psychological assessment program (e-PASS) enables you to complete a comprehensive psychological assessment online. This assessment will provide you with feedback as to the type and severity of your anxiety, and appropriate recommendations for addressing any anxiety problems you may be experiencing.

3. Treatment programs: Comprehensive and effective treatment programs are available for each of the specific anxiety disorders (Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder).

The clinical treatment programs are available in two versions:

Self-help programs for individuals with mild symptoms, offered free of charge, and

Therapist-assisted programs for individuals with moderate to severe symptoms, offered at a low cost. Therapist assistance is in the form of weekly email communication. This form of treatment has been proven more effective than purely self-help programs.

Protocols for the delivery of social and emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Indigenous communities

These guidelines have been written to fill a significant gap in resources available to Primary Health Care and Mental Health services. Inspiration for the document rose from the recognition of the need for a key practical resource and tools to guide training, management and clinical and community practice in Wellbeing and Mental Health to complement the physical health-oriented practice manuals and guidelines. Audits conducted with remote area health services in Far North Queensland demonstrated the need for more support to the Primary Health and Mental Health Care Workforce to gain confidence, ensure continuity and integration of effort, engage families and show accountability in this area of service delivery to assist in meeting National Mental Health Standard.

There has been a major surge in national interest for resources to assist services to embed both social and emotional well being and mental health support into Indigenous primary health care frameworks. The document aims to be responsive and flexible in recognizing needs, translating academic understanding and integrating experience of all those involved. It has attracted attention nationally as it appears to be among the first of its kind as an education and training document as well as a practice guide to primary mental health care pathways. The authors and users anticipate that the protocols will be continually improved allowing new ideas and tools, adjustments for a changing workforce and new opportunities. Authors: Melissa Haswell, Ernest Hunter, Rachael Wargent, Brenda Hall, Ciaran O'Higgins and Roy West.

The health and economic benefits of reducing disease risk factors

"How much is it worth?" is a frequently asked question in the context of preventative health and health promotion. This query can be challenging to answer because preventative health's many benefits cannot always be assessed in mere dollar terms.

This new report tackles this challenge head on. It estimates the "health status", "economic" and "financial" benefits of reducing the prevalence of the six behavioural risk factors that contribute to chronic diseases affecting millions of Australians. These major risk factors concern obesity, alcohol, smoking, exercise, diet and domestic violence. This report has been prepared by staff at Deakin University and the National Stroke Research Institute.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Aboriginal poverty getting worse - Pilger

Since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's formal apology to the stolen generations, Aboriginal poverty has gotten worse, the winner of the 2009 Sydney Peace Prize says.

Mr Pilger said the apology was well received by Australia's Aboriginal communities, however Aboriginal poverty had since become worse, while the Federal Government's program to build houses for Aborigines in the Northern Territory was "a grim joke".

Researcher reveals 'different' rural depression

This article describes new research which has highlighted unique aspects of depression being experienced by men living in rural and remote areas.

The Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for Community Care

The Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for Community Care became law on 1 October 2009.

The Charter applies to people in receipt of Australian Government funded packages legislated under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act):

Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs);

Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH); and

Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) packages.

Hard copies of the Charter may be ordered from National Mailing and Marketing on 02 6269 1060 and via email.

Putting health in local hands: Shifting governance and funding to regional health organisations. Discussion Paper

The authors of this paper, (Woodruff T, Armstrong F, Legge D, Wilson R. of the Centre for Policy Development) propose the establishment of local Regional Health Organisations (RHOs) across Australia, with each responsible for the health care needs of a defined population within their region. This model proposes that all current health care funding from local, state and federal governments be pooled within a national agency and equitably distributed to RHOs on the basis of evidence about health care needs. Publicly available information on local health needs and health spending (regularly collected and updated in accordance with national standards) would inform decisions by RHOs about the appropriate allocation of services and resources in that region.

Tips and Tricks for New Players: a guide to becoming familiar with the alcohol and other drugs sector

The Alcohol and Other Drug Council of Australia (ADCA) has recently issued a new edition of their guide "Tips and Tricks for New Players: a guide to becoming familiar with the alcohol and other drugs sector".. Aimed at workers new to the drug and alcohol sector, it includes sections on acronyms, a list of organisations in the sector, a guide for novice researchers, research organisations, on-line resources and information on funding sources.

One of a number of resources available on the ADCA site.

Public health expenditure in Australia, 2007-08 (AIHW)

Public health expenditure in Australia 2007-08 is the eighth in a series of annual reports on public health expenditure in Australia produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. In that time expenditure on public health activities by health departments has grown, in real terms, by a total of 77.7%, at an average annual growth rate of 7.4%. In 2007-08 it represented 2.2% of total recurrent expenditure on health-up from around 1.9% in the previous years. In the last year, from 2006-07 to 2007-08, public health expenditure increased by $444.0 million to $2,158.8 million. This was largely due to a substantial increase in spending on organised immunisation activities such as the National Human Papillomavirus vaccination program.

Media release

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Inquiry into Suicide in Australia / Senate Community Affairs Committee

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is currently seeking submissions on the impact of suicide on the Australian community including high risk groups such as Indigenous youth and rural communities, with particular reference to:

* the personal, social and financial costs of suicide in Australia;
* the accuracy of suicide reporting in Australia, factors that may impede accurate identification and recording of possible suicides, (and the consequences of any under-reporting on understanding risk factors and providing services to those at risk);
* the appropriate role and effectiveness of agencies, such as police, emergency departments, law enforcement and general health services in assisting people at risk of suicide;
* the effectiveness, to date, of public awareness programs and their relative success in providing information, encouraging help-seeking and enhancing public discussion of suicide;
* the efficacy of suicide prevention training and support for front-line health and community workers providing services to people at risk;
* the role of targeted programs and services that address the particular circumstances of high-risk groups;
* the adequacy of the current program of research into suicide and suicide prevention, and the manner in which findings are disseminated to practitioners and incorporated into government policy; and
* the effectiveness of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy in achieving its aims and objectives, and any barriers to its progress.

Submissions from interested individuals and organisations should preferably sent electronically by email to community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au as an attached PDF or Word format document. The email must include full postal address and contact details.

Alternatively written submissions may be sent to:

Committee Secretary
Senate Community Affairs References Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Submissions should be received by 20 November 2009.

Information relating to Senate Committee inquiries, including notes to assist in the preparation of submissions for a Committee, can be located on the internet at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/wit_sub/index.htm.

For further details please contact the Committee Secretariat by phone: (02) 6277 3515, fax: (02) 6277 5829 or email to community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au.

HandsOnScotland Toolkit

The HandsOnScotland Toolkit is an online resource for anybody working with children and young people.

This website is designed to help you make a difference to children and young people's lives, by giving you tools to respond helpfully when they are troubled.

It is a one-stop shop for practical information and techniques on how to respond helpfully to children and young people's troubling behaviour, build up their self-esteem and promote their positive mental wellbeing.

This website was developed by Playfield Institute (NHS Fife) in partnership with Barnardo's and the University of Dundee. It was commissioned by HeadsUpScotland, the national project for children and young people’s mental health.

Independent Evaluation of Headspace

Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation is an Australian Government initiative first funded as part of the Federal Budget commitment to the Youth Mental Health Initiative (2005–06 to 2008–09), and launched in 2006. It aims to promote and facilitate improvements in the mental health, social wellbeing and economic participation of young Australians aged 12-25 years.

The Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) was contracted by headspace and the University of Melbourne (UoM) to conduct the first independent evaluation of headspace in early 2008. It is a longitudinal evaluation with two Waves of data collection (2008 and 2009). This interim report presents data from the first Wave (2008).

http://www.sprc.unsw.edu.au/reports/2008/Headspace_ evaluation_plan.pdf

Cough and cold remedies for children

Over-the-counter cough and cold remedies for children under two years of age have recently been rescheduled to prescription-only.This will mean that doctors and pharmacists will encounter more consultations for such medicines. These drugs are no longer recommended in children because of the lack of efficacy and reports of serious adverse events.

(Aust Prescr 2009;32:122-4)

Mental Health of People in Rural and Remote Areas

Resources from HealthInsite, which is an Australian Government initiative, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. It aims to improve the health of Australians by providing easy access to quality information about human health.

Mental Health of People in Rural and Remote Areas

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Virtual Health Care Team

The site contains a variety of cases of interest to health professionals. The topics include managing obesity, arthritis and exercise, and using a team approach to help older adults with complex medical problems. The cases have also been viewed by numerous people with particular medical problems.


The Virtual Health Care Team® was developed by the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri-Columbia under the direction of Dean Richard E. Olive

Case Studies

Dermatology Image Atlas

The purpose of this Web site is to enable health care professionals, parents, and patients to access high quality dermatology images for teaching purposes. It has 11,294 IMAGES. The material is allowed to be used for teaching, but only allows linking to the site or use of thumbnail images.

© DermAtlas, Johns Hopkins University; 2000-2009

http://dermatlas.med.jhmi.edu/derm

Proposed national strategy on body image

Minister for Youth Kate Ellis has received an important report to help the Australian Government address the growing problem of negative body image amongst young people. The Proposed National Strategy on Body Image was developed by the National Advisory Group on Body Image.

"Negative body image is a serious problem that affects the lives of many young people - both men and women," Ms Ellis said. "Self-esteem, confidence and resilience are so important to growing up happy and healthy and we want to give that precious gift to all young people." Young people rated body image as their top concern in Mission Australia's National Survey of Young Australians in 2007 and at third in 2008.

The report encourages advertisers, the media and the fashion industry to promote more positive body image messages. The report includes a Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image which recommends using healthy weight models, realistic and natural images of people and disclosure when images of people have been digitally manipulated. The report also recommends building resilience in young people through a focus on peer interactions, parenting, and the role of schools and community groups.

YWCA response

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Warming harms mental health (Dr Helen Berry and CRRMH)

This article describes how as climate change causes extreme weather events, drought, financial strain and changes in work and migration patterns, people will be at increasing risk from mental health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder and depression, according to Dr Helen Berry from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University (ANU).Despite the risk, this is an area that has received little attention, she added.

She spoke at an Australian Science Media Centre online briefing on 16 October alongside Professor Brian Kelly, Director of the Centre for Rural and Remote Health at the University of Newcastle, and Dr Lyndall Strazdins, a Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and the ANU.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Breast cancer in Australia an overview 2009 (AIHW)

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australian women with over 12,000 new cases diagnosed in 2006, and projections suggest that the number of new cases will continue to grow. A total of 2,618 women died from breast cancer in 2006, making it the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths for women. Trend data indicate that breast cancer mortality rates for females have been declining since the mid 1990s and that outcomes for women diagnosed with breast cancer have improved over recent decades. These and other data in this report provide a comprehensive picture of breast cancer in Australia including how breast cancer rates differ by Indigenous status, country of birth and geographic area.

Media release

Indigenous issues in rural emergency departments

"They just don't like to wait" - a comparative study of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who did not wait for treatment, or discharged themselves against medical advice from rural emergency departments' is a paper recently published in The Australasian Emergency Nurses Journal by Leanne Wright of the North Coast AHS.

Her research found that Aboriginal people were 1.5 times more likely to leave rural emergency departments prior to being seen by the medical officer, and 2.5 times more likely to 'discharge against medical advice' than non-Aboriginal people. "The study replicated urban trends for rates of 'did not wait' and 'discharge against medical advice' for Aboriginal people, supporting indirect evidence of service dissatisfaction for this group. Rural communities often provide limited or no choice for alternative after-hours health care arrangements, leading to potential adverse outcomes for this vulnerable group."

Friday, 23 October 2009

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Guidelines for Early Childhood Settings (Get Up and Go)

The Government has committed $4.5 million over five years from 2007-08 to 2011-12 to develop and distribute guidelines on healthy eating and physical activity in early childhood settings. This forms part of the Government's Plan for Early Childhood and Plan for Tackling Obesity.

A consortium consisting of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute Centre for Community Child Health, Early Childhood Australia and The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne was contracted to develop, field test and produce the Guidelines. Extensive and inclusive consultations with state and territory governments, child health experts, the early childhood sector and families were undertaken to inform and guide the development of the Guidelines.

The Guidelines were finalised on 30 June 2009 with the launch of the Get Up & Grow resources by Minister Roxon and Minister Ellis on 22 October 2009. The Guidelines provide evidence based, practical information and advice to support and promote healthy eating and physical activity in children attending early childhood settings including centre based care, family day care and preschools.

The Guidelines are linked to the new National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care currently being developed by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Website

Co-Ordinators Handbook

Family book

Cooking for children book

Early childhood guidelines press release

ABC Coverage

Online counselling, therapy and dispute resolution

This report outlines a range of benefits and challenges related to online therapy.

Studies evaluating the effectiveness of online therapy have emerged in recent years, indicating that treatment programs are largely effective, particularly for anxiety, stress and depression. There are still many questions, however, regarding the right mix of online programs and face-to-face therapy, how it is best delivered and under what circumstances people will benefit.

Online provision of services shows promise for dispute resolution, with implications for separating families, but research is in its infancy. The paper concludes that online therapy has potential for use in family relationship services, either as an adjunct to face-to-face services or as an intervention in its own right, but ongoing and quality evaluation of such programs is needed.

The past is the future for public hospitals

This paper by John R. Graham for the Centre for Independent Studies argues that there is no bigger issue facing the Australian health system than what to do about public hospitals.

Public hospitals provide 60% of the hospital care needed in Australia each year and treat the majority of the oldest, sickest and most complex patients. They also consumed $28 billion in 2007-08. This represents approximately 40% of federal and state health spending, or just under one-third of the total amount spent on health care in Australia. Despite the ever-increasing sums that Australian governments pour into public hospitals each year, waiting times for elective surgery grow even longer. Emergency departments continue to be clogged with patients forced to endure long waits on trolleys in overcrowded corridors before being admitted to a hospital bed.

Until there is major structural reform of the governance, funding, and delivery of taxpayer-funded hospital services, the public hospital system will continue to monopolise and lock up billions of valuable health dollars in the least productive segment of the health sector.

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08 Report and findings from the National Minimum Data Set (AIHW)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released two new reports today:

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08 Report on the National Minimum data Set
Around 154,000 alcohol and other drug treatment episodes were provided during 2007-08, an increase of about 7,000 episodes compared to 2006-07. Younger clients were more likely to receive treatment for cannabis use and older clients for alcohol use. Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: report on the National Minimum Data Set presents data such as these on publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services and their clients. AIHW catalogue number (HSE 73).

Click on the link to view the media release and report .

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08 findings from the National Minimum Data Set
Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: findings from the National Minimum Data Set summarises data on publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services and their clients, including information about the types of drugs for which treatment is sought and the types of treatment provided. The data contained in this bulletin are derived from the comprehensive AODTA-NMDS 2007-08 annual report. AIHW catalogue number (AUS 118).

Click on the link to view the media release and report .

Commentary : Alcohol remains number one on drug treatment list

eviQ Cancer Treatments Online - new website

The Cancer Institute of NSW is replacing its CI-ScAT website with this new, more user-friendly point of care resource. The eviQ CancerTreatments Online site will provide all breast, colorectal, lung, gynaeoncology, lymphoma, myeloma, and radiation oncology treatment information, as well as some nursing information. The other areas will be gradually migrated from CI-ScAT, which still remains operational until mid-December. Registration is free and the site includes such evidence-based goodies as : Cancer treatment protocols, all with accompanying patient information available as PDFs ; Chemotherapy dosing calculator and a Biological Equivalent Dose (BED) calculator.

Reposted from NCAHS Library Clippings

In their own words: Insights into the concerns of young Australians (Mission Australia)

In 2008 Mission Australia conducted its seventh annual National survey of young Australians with over 45,000 young people aged 11-24 years. The survey aimed to identify the important and emerging issues for young people through a series of questions on what they value, their issues of concern, where they turn for advice and support and who they admire.

The top four issues were body image, drugs, family conflict and suicide, with each of them of significant concern to around a quarter of respondents.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The State of Australia's Young People

The Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, has released The State of Australia's Young People: a report on the social, economic, health and family lives of young people. This report presents a comprehensive picture of how young Australians are faring. The report's findings were based on national data sources, existing literature, stakeholder interviews and focus groups with young people.

Overall the report presents a positive picture, showing how important young people are to our country and why it makes good economic and social sense for governments to invest in lifting outcomes for all young people.

Essentially, young people are healthy, happy and productive and the report underlines the important role that families, education and employment play in young people's development. However, some areas of serious concern are also raised.

* Not all young people are on the same footing. Indigenous young people, those not engaged in education or work, young people with a disability and those living in low socio economic households are at serious risk of social exclusion.

* 1 in 4 young people are living with a mental disorder and 1 in 3 young people experience moderate to high levels of psychological distress

* Almost 1 in 3 young people are an unhealthy weight (either over or under weight)

* Male and female teenagers aged 15-19 years had the highest hospitalisation rates for acute intoxication from alcohol among all age groups

* Young people are more likely to become victims of violent crimes (including sexual offences and assaults) and are less likely than older victims to report a violent crime

The report also highlights emerging issues such as the increasing risk that cyber bullying is posing to young people's wellbeing.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Draft National Pain Strategy and National Pain Summit

The Draft National Pain Strategy is now available for expert and community consultation on the Pain Summit website and a feedback form is available for comments

The closing date for comments is 31 January 2010.

The date for the National Pain Summit to be held at Parliament House, Canberra, has now been set for Thursday 11 March 2010, but this is awaiting confirmation of parliamentary sitting dates.

If you have any queries about the plans for the summit, please email Lesley Brydon, Executive Director for the National Pain Summit

PHCRIS Research Roundup

The PHCRIS Research Roundup is a quarterly resource which profiles current research on a primary health care topic. The latest issue, October 2009, profiles "Health Promotion of physical activity". Previous topics include : "Chronic disease self-management", "Depression and primary health care", "Improving access to rural health care" and "A new climate for indigenous health".

Performance of Public and Private Hospital Systems

A new report has found there is no difference in cost between public and private hospitals in Australia. The Productivity Commission says comparing total costs, they are at about the same level per procedure.. But looking at what makes up those costs, doctors cost more in the private centres, while nurses, salaries and supplies are more expensive in public facilities. The finding has some calling for the private system to be brought into calculations in trying to tackle long public waiting lists.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs: Children & Youth

This web resource from the Canadian Center for Addiction and Mental Health provides the health practitioner with current evidence-based approaches in the application of mental health promotion concepts and principles for children and youth. It is envisioned that these guidelines will support both the inclusion and the sustainability of mental health promotion concepts. This resource is intended to support practitioners in incorporating best practice approaches to mental health promotion interventions directed toward children (7-12 years of age) and youth (13-19 years of age.

All-in communities will be death of the Yolngu, elder says

Gawirrin Gumana , the most senior traditional leader in Arnhem Land is deeply troubled. He says he fears government policies that are starving ancestral homelands of funding will destroy his people if they have to move and live on the land of other clans in bigger communities warns that white men's politics threaten his Yolngu people's future.

He says he fears government policies that are starving ancestral homelands of funding will destroy his people if they have to move and live on the land of other clans in bigger communities.

Teen net addicts at risk of mental health problems

OBSESSIVE use of the internet could create a mental-health epidemic, with up to 10 per cent of adolescents at risk, a Sydney academic warns.

World studies have documented dangerous levels of "internet addiction" – computer use that interferes with daily lives – says Lawrence Lam, a behavioural epidemiologist at the University of Sydney and the Children's Hospital at Westmead.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Domestic Violence Laws in Australia

Domestic Violence Laws in Australia provides an overview of Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand legislation and will be used to develop the Australian Government's National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. The report also provides an analysis of overlaps and potential gaps between the Family Law Act 1975 and State and Territory domestic violence protection orders.

Mental health of people on Australian farms


This chartbook provides available relevant data relating to the mental health and wellbeing of the people in agriculture : the changing structure of family farms, the ageing profile of farmers and farm managers, common pressures reported by farmers that are difficult to cope with, available data relating to prevalence of mental health disorders, and suicide data relating to the farming population in Australia.

The target audience for this Chartbook includes policy maker, program planners and those who deliver programs that aim to influence the mental health and wellbeing of the farming population in Australia. This will include those in agriculture industries, the health industries, and rural communities.

Farming has long been associated with a unique set of characteristics that can promote great satisfaction with quality of life. However, apart from the well recognised risk of physical injury and accidental death, people living and working on farms are also subject to a number of environmental, climatic, economic and social stressors which may impact on their sense of wellbeing and also on their mental health

Carers' Stories of Hope and Recovery (Free DVD)

To coincide with Carers Week (18 - 23 October), beyondblue is launching a new DVD - Carers' Stories of Hope and Recovery. The DVD features interviews with people who care for or support a family member or friend with depression/anxiety or a related disorder.
In August, beyondblue published a free booklet for carers: Guide for Carers: Caring for others, Caring for yourself. Both the booklet and DVD can be ordered at www.beyondblue.org.au or by calling the beyondblue info line 1300 22 4636.

Nursing and midwifery labour force 2007 (AIHW)

Nursing and midwifery labour force 2007

In 2007, the total number of registered and enrolled nurses estimated by the Nursing and Midwifery Labour Force Survey was 305,834, an increase of 12% since 2003. The nursing workforce continued to age between 2003 and 2007; the proportion of nurses aged 50 years or over increased from 28% to 33%. The number of full time equivalent nurses per 100,000 population increased by 8% since 2003, and the profession continued to be predominantly female, with females comprising 90% of employed nurses in 2007.

Media release

Medical labour force 2007 (AIHW)

Medical labour force 2007

The supply of employed medical practitioners increased between 2003 and 2007, from 279 to 305 full-time equivalent practitioners per 100,000 population. This increase reflected a 20% rise in practitioner numbers. The gender balance continued to shift, with women making up 34% of practitioners in 2007 compared to 32% in 2003. The average hours worked by male practitioners declined from 47.5 to 45.9 hours, while hours worked by female practitioners remained steady at 37.6 hours.

Media release

Rural Doctor's Association response "An appalling shortage of rural doctors"

Thursday, 15 October 2009

AMA Public Hospital Report Card 2009


The AMA Public Hospital Report Card 2009 is an analysis of the most up-to-date national data on public hospital performance plus more recent feedback from doctors working in public hospitals in all States and Territories. It shows that Australia's public hospitals continue to be seriously under-funded and are struggling to meet growing public demand for their services. People still experience excessive waits in emergency departments and excessive waits for admission to a hospital bed. Waiting times for elective surgery have been getting longer.

More than half the Australian population depends on the public hospital system, yet the hospitals do not have the capacity (funds, workforce, or infrastructure) to adequately meet their needs.

Rudd accepts bleak hospitals report card (ABC Interview)

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Investing in the early years - a national early childhood development strategy

The strategy from the Council of Australian Governments is based on clear evidence from Australia and overseas that the early years of a child's life have a profound impact on their future health, development, learning and wellbeing. It is of concern therefore that Australia is seeing increases in poor outcomes for children and young people in a number of key areas, and a widening of inequalities in outcomes between groups of children.

There are also signs that social changes over recent decades have impacted on family functioning and that some early childhood development and family support services struggle to meet diverse family needs. In particular, more and more families rely on early childhood services to support their workforce participation and the choices they make about how they balance work and family responsibilities.

These problems accrue to the whole society in the form of increased social inequality, reduced productivity and high costs associated with entrenched intergenerational disadvantage. There is good evidence that many programs aimed at alleviating disadvantage during the early years of life are both effective for improving child outcomes and often yield higher returns on investment than remedial interventions later in life.

National reform initiatives that seek to improve early childhood outcomes include:

* a National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education to achieve universal access to quality early childhood education for all children in the year before school by 2013
* a National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood
Development to establish 35 new Children and Family Centres and to increase access to antenatal care, teenage sexual health and child and family health services for Indigenous children and families
* a six-year National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health with a focus on strategies to prevent chronic diseases that commence in early childhood
* a national quality agenda for early childhood education and care which includes stronger standards, streamlined regulatory approaches, a rating system and an Early Years Learning Framework
* national workforce initiatives to improve the quality and supply of the early childhood education and care workforce
* the Closing the Gap initiative which includes ambitious targets for Indigenous children related to infant mortality, literacy and numeracy and participation in quality early childhood education
* a National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children
* the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians
* a National Family Support Program which brings together eight Commonwealth programs for children, families and parenting
* paid parental leave arrangements
* a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children
* development of an Early Intervention and Prevention Framework under the National Disability Agreement
* a National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, with a focus on intervening early for children and their families at risk of homelessness.

2009 H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) web site helps the general public learn about the H1N1 flu. The homepage is well-organized, and it contains latest guidelines, news items and alerts, and helpful social networking buttons, along with direct links to email updates, and an RSS feed.

Voices from the campfires: establishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation

In February 2009 the Australian government announced $26.6 million over four years to establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, to be operational from January 2010. This report summarises the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about how the foundation should operate.

More than 450 people attended 17 workshops and forums across Australia, and 48 written submissions were received. The report recommends that the new foundation:

* focus on funding grassroots healing initiatives, and health promotion, education and skills training in the prevention and treatment of trauma, and
* build an evidence base through the evaluation and documentation of best practice in healing.

The Healing Foundation will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people support to help them overcome the cycle of trauma and grief arising from forced removals and other past government policies.

Asthma in Australian Children (AIHW)

Asthma in Australian Children: Findings from Growing up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Within the first 3 years of life, 16.9% of infants experience asthma or wheeze. Among non-asthmatic children aged 4 to 5 years, 4.1% will develop asthma by the seventh year of life. These and other new insights into the incidence, natural progression and outcomes associated with childhood asthma are presented in this report, based on analysis of Growing up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.

Indigenous housing needs 2009: a multi-measure needs model

The Indigenous population experiences higher rates of homelessness and overcrowding than the non-Indigenous population. Whilst non-Indigenous Australians experience higher rates of affordability need, houses are least affordable for Indigenous Australians living in major cities. The number of additional dwellings required to address these problems is estimated to be 9,795. Since the 2005 report, connection to essential services and levels of overcrowding have improved, however, dwelling condition has deteriorated. Indigenous housing needs 2009: a multi-measure needs model presents the most recent data on the level of Indigenous housing need across five dimensions, estimates the current dwelling need gap and provides projections of Indigenous housing need.

Full publication Indigenous housing needs 2009: a multi-measure needs model (538KB PDF)

Summary

Authored by AIHW cat. no. HOU 214

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Australian Social Trends, Sep 2009

The September issue reveals that extra hours, multiple jobs and weekend work are all cutting into Australian family life, while one-quarter of our children are overweight or obese. People may also find it hard to balance employment and care, while Australia's links to China and India continue to grow through migration, trade and education.

Incontinence

Several million Australians experience bladder and bowel control problems during their lifetime. Most of them never seek the professional help that could give them back their quality of life.

Incontinence on ABC Health & Wellbeing

Diabetes prevalence in Australia: an assessment of national data sources

Diabetes series no. 12 by AIHW.

Diabetes is known to cause substantial morbidity and mortality in Australia, however the number of people with the condition is uncertain. Different estimates of the prevalence of diabetes are regularly reported on. This report compares measures of diabetes prevalence from a number of national data sources across two time-periods to best determine the current prevalence of diabetes in Australia.

link to full publication


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Does improving quality save money?

Does improving quality save money? A review of evidence of which improvements to quality reduce costs to health service providers by John Øvretveit reviews the evidence of whether improving quality can also save money for health service providers. It explores the cost saving potential of initiatives to improve quality and the barriers to success.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Wall charts on infection control 2009

The essential guidelines and latest procedures in infection control have now been presented in two information wall charts titled "The National Guide to Hospitals and Healthcare 2009" and "Your Guide to Hospital Care 2009".

The wall charts, endorsed by the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association, are published in full colour with a wipe-clean surface. The editorial is concise and easy-to-read and provides detailed advice on such issues as medication management, needle-free systems, post-operative nausea and vomiting and medical conditions relating to hypertension, dyslipidaemia, inflammatory bowel disease and anaphylaxis.

The wall charts are published by Setform Limited. To receive a free copy of the charts, please contact : Angie Beacham, production@setform.com.au.

Newborn and child survival in Australia

Newborn and Child Survival in Australia, a new report from Save The Children Australia shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are nine times more likely to die from respiratory conditions and four times more likely to die from injuries. It also found Indigenous children under four are 29 times more likely to suffer from malnutrition

The report also says that Indigenous children have the same rate of survival as children born in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

ABC news report and commentary

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Medication safety in acute care in Australia

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care conducted a two-part literature review examining medication safety in the Australian acute care setting to update a previous national report on medication safety conducted in 2002.

Studies published since 2002 continue to suggest approximately 2%-3% of Australian hospital admissions are medication-related. Results of incident reporting from hospitals show that incidents associated with medication remain the second most common type of incident after falls. Omission or overdose of medication is the most frequent type of medication incident reported. Studies conducted on prescribing of renally excreted medications suggest that there are high rates of prescribing errors in patients requiring monitoring and medication dose adjustment. Research published since 2002 provides a much stronger Australian research base about the factors contributing to medication errors. Team, task, environmental, individual and patient factors have all been found to contribute to error.

The first part of the review examines the extent and causes of medication incidents and adverse drug events in acute care.

Part 2 of the review examined the Australian evidence base for approaches to build safer medication systems in acute care.

Closing the gap in a generation (WHO)

Social justice is a matter of life and death. It affects the way people live, their consequent chance of illness, and their risk of premature death. A girl born today can expect to live for more than 80 years if she is born in some countries, but less than 45 years if she is born in others. Within countries there are dramatic differences in health that are closely linked with degrees of social disadvantage. Social and economic policies have a determining impact on whether a child can grow and develop to its full potential and live a flourishing life, or whether its life will be blighted.

In the spirit of social justice, the Commission on Social Determinants of Health was set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005 to marshal the evidence on what can be done to promote health equity, and to foster a global movement to achieve it.

The Commission's final report, "Closing the Gap in a Generation" is now available.

Review of report

GWAHS Librarians present at International Congress on Medical Librarianship


GWAHS Librarians Don Keast, Jocelyn Morris, Sandra O'Neill & Gnana Segar recently attended the 10th International Congress on Medical Librarianship in Brisbane. Jocelyn, Don & Sandra presented papers on serving isolated users in the Rural Health session. Don also presented a paper on the use of the Koha platform to produce the new combined GWAHS libraries catalogue and website.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Health expenditure Australia 2007-08 (AIHW)

Health expenditure in Australia in 2007-08 reached $104 billion. As a percentage of GDP it was 9.1%, the same level as in 2006-07. The area of health expenditure showing the highest growth was public health expenditure which grew by 21% in real terms, mostly due to extra spending on immunisation. This report examines expenditure on different types of health goods and services in the decade to 2007-08. It describes funding by the Australian and State governments, private health insurance and individuals; compares health expenditures in the different states and territories and compares Australia's spending with other countries.

Media release

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Achieving quality use of medicines in the community for palliative and end-of-life care

Deprescribing, opioid-phobia and disposal of unused medicines have been identified as significant issues in palliative care in a report prepared by the National Prescribing Service (NPS) and Palliative Care Australia. Achieving quality use of medicines in the community for palliative and end-of-life care, released last week at the 10th Australian Palliative Care Conference, is the first to document a shared understanding of the barriers to the best use of medicines during the end stages of life. Informed by submissions from more than 70 healthcare organisations and individuals, the report describes medicines use issues in palliative care and documents ways in which it can be improved.

Primary health care research discussion

Researchers examining better ways to provide primary health care to rural and remote communities today gathered in Alice Springs to showcase and share the results of their work.

Delivering the opening speech at the Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development Tri-State Conference, the Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery, Warren Snowdon, said research and reform go hand in hand, and at this critical juncture for Australia’s health service delivery, the collaboration of universities and researchers is essential.

Sydney centre to tackle youth mental illness

Researchers hope to be a step closer to working out why 75 per cent of major mental illnesses strike Australians before they turn 25. The University of Sydney and the New South Wales Government are opening a $16 million youth mental health centre in Sydney for people aged between 12 and 25.

Towards national indicators of safety and quality in health care (AIHW)

This report sets out recommendations for a set of 55 national indicators of safety and quality in health care. The report concludes the National Indicators Project, a major project funded by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission).

$5.67 million in support for Central West families (media release)

Minister for Community Services Linda Burney today announced continued funding of more than $5.67 million over three years for early intervention services in the Central West. Ms Burney said this funding is part of a $20.8 million investment by the NSW Government in its early intervention program, Brighter Futures, for Western NSW.

“Brighter Futures helps struggling families by intervening before problems escalate or turn into a crisis,” Ms Burney said.

National Indigenous Eye Health Survey


A national report into Indigenous eye health shows adult Indigenous Australians suffer higher rates of blindness and other eye related health problems than non-Indigenous Australians.

The National Indigenous Eye Health Survey found that 1.9 per cent of Indigenous adults were blind, over six times the rate of non-Indigenous adults. The major cause of blindness in Australia is blinding cataracts, and this is 12 times more common in Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous.

The survey found that 94% of vision loss is preventable or treatable, but 35 per cent of Indigenous adults have never had an eye examination. The report however also made positive findings for Indigenous children, as vision loss in Indigenous children was found to be five times less common than non-Indigenous children.

Media Release

Friday, 25 September 2009

Injury deaths, Australia 2004-05 (AIHW)

Accidental falls, suicide and transport-related injuries are common causes of death in the Australian community. This report finds that overall, rates of injury death in Australia during 2004-05 increased with the remoteness of the injured person's residence, with those who resided in very remote areas having a rate more than double that of the national rate. When considering only deaths resulting from motor vehicle transport accidents, the mortality rate for those who resided in very remote areas was 4 times the national rate. When considering state and territory of residence, those who resided in the Northern Territory, where much of the population lives in remote and very remote areas, had mortality rates almost 3 times the national rate for motor vehicle transport-related deaths, more than double the national rate for suicides, and more than 4 times the national rate for homicides.

Media release

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Paediatric Emergency Guidelines e-learning package (NSW Health)

A statewide, web-based, Paediatric Clinical Practice Guidelines e-learning package, based on the 12 current guidelines, has been launched. The interactive modules promote as well as test understanding of the key clinical principles behind the CPGs and also facilitates monitoring of the clinician engagement across the health system. The package is available online and enables access from anywhere in the state by internet or local intranet. It is free to register.

This is the latest course available from the NSW Health Online Training portal. Also available :
* Open disclosure training
* Incident Information Management System Training

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A healthier future for rural and remote Australians

National Rural Health Alliance response to the Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission

More Than 35 Million People Have Alzheimer's And Dementia Worldwide (World Alzheimer's report)

More than 35 million people worldwide will have dementia in 2010, according to the 2009 World Alzheimer's Report from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI). The new report was released on September 21st, which is World Alzheimer's Day. This is a 10 percent increase over previous global dementia prevalence reported in 2005 in The Lancet. According to the new report, dementia prevalence will nearly double every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

"The information in the 2009 World Alzheimer's Report makes it clear that the crisis of dementia and Alzheimer's cannot be ignored," said Marc Wortmann, ADI's Executive Director. "Unchecked, Alzheimer's will impose enormous burdens on individuals, families, health care infrastructures, and global economy. There is hope in taking action by improving and funding dementia care and services, and increasing investment in research. Australia, France, Korea and the UK have developed national Alzheimer's action plans, and several more are currently in development. We strongly encourage other countries to follow their example and make Alzheimer's a priority."

Chapter 2 of the report focuses on the impact of dementia. Dementia has physical, psychological and economic impact not only the person with the disease, but also caregiver(s), the person's family and friends, healthcare system(s), and society. For example, statistics cited in the new report suggest that 40-75% of carers have significant psychological illness as a result of their caregiving, and 15-32% have depression.

The report also outlines challenges faced by governments and healthcare systems worldwide and offers eight global recommendations based on report findings.

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