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 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

For further details please contact the Committee Secretariat by phone: (02) 6277 3515, fax: (02) 6277 5829 or email to

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). 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

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

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

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.

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."

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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"

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)

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)


Authored by AIHW cat. no. HOU 214

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.


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

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.

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,

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

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.