Medication use for arthritis and osteoporosis (AIHW)

Medicines are central to managing arthritis and osteoporosis, to improve musculoskeletal functions, slow disease progression and reduce pain and inflammation. Pharmaceutical innovations over the last several years have improved the efficacy and diversity of medicines available to manage these conditions. However, the adoption of new and more effective drugs is often costly. This report provides information on what medicines Australians are using to manage their musculoskeletal problems, how much these medicines cost them and trends in the prescription of newer medicines.

Media release

Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2010

This is the second report of the federal government's Closing the Gap program to deal with Indigenous disadvantage.

Commentary by Larissa Behrendt & Richard Downs.

Shadow Report on Closing the Gap - 2010

The Steering Committee of the Close the Gap Campaign coalition of peak Indigenous and non Indigenous health organisations has produced a Shadow Report that provides the perspectives of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous health sector on the Government's progress in closing the gap. The AMA is a key member of that Steering Committee. The Shadow Report shows that the Government has not developed a long-term, comprehensive national plan to close the gap and that it falls short when it comes to developing a genuine partnership with Indigenous people and their representative organisations.

Ovarian cancer in Australia : two reports

Ovarian cancer was the most common cause of gynaecological cancer death and the sixth most common cause of cancer-related death among women in 2006. Although the prognosis for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer was relatively poor compared with a number of other cancers, the prognosis has improved over time. These and other data in this report provide a comprehensive picture of ovarian cancer in Australia including how ovarian cancer rates differ by age, Indigenous status, country of birth, socioeconomic status and geographical area.

Media release.

The Health Report on ABC's Radio National this week featured ovarian cancer research. The high mortality rate of ovarian cancer is partially due to the fact that it is often not diagnosed until it's in the advanced stage and has spread. This program examines new research into ways to diagnose the disease and screen for it in order to save lives, and how this often comes at a high cost. Read the transcript or podcast the program on their website. This week also had a look at the relationship between breast cancer and some chemicals.

10 out of 10 deadly health stories: nutrition and physical activity

The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council has compiled these stories from NSW Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to demonstrate the success and potential of these Aboriginal community initiatives. An excellent collection showcasing the possibilities and range of community nutrition programs.

Fair Society, Healthy Lives, The Marmot review final WHO report

This must-read WHO report on health inequality was authored by Chair of the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health, Michael Marmot. This much talked about WHO report proposes new ways to improve everyone's health and reduce inequalities that it describes as 'unfair and unjust'. A central question behind the WHO report was "why treat people...without changing what makes them sick?". The challenge posed by Marmot is that we cannot afford inaction.

Marmot outlines 6 policy objectives which will require action from all governments :

* Give every child the best start in life
* Enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities.
* Create fair employment & good work for all
* Ensure a healthy standard of living for all.
* Create & develop sustainable places & communities.
* Strengthen the role & impact of ill health prevention.

Commentary by Melissa Sweet on the relevance to the Australian context.

Identifying the risks for Indigenous violent victimisation

It is not a new observation that Indigenous people in Australia experience violence at a higher rate than the general population. The impact of violence on Indigenous people and their communities has been widely documented by government and non-government inquiries, reports and commentaries. As in all populations, some individuals, families and communities are more likely to be victims of violence than others. Identifying who is at risk, and the circumstances that increase those risks, is important for the implementation of targeted preventative strategies, such as night patrols and family counselling, and other services, including hospitals and child protection. This paper summarises the demographic and social factors associated with being a victim of violence.

Indigenous allied health website

This website is for Indigenous allied health professionals and students wishing to network together, share information and ideas and join in the activities of this Indigenous lead allied health professionals association. The website is also for non-Indigenous allied health professionals and students who wish to be better informed about Indigenous Australians’ culture, society and requirements of health services and who wish to contribute to strategies to improve Indigenous health in Australia.

Report on the reproductive health of Australian women

Reproductive health: findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health is a report by Women's Health Australia. It examines contraception, women's aspirations for motherhood, reproductive histories, problems with fertility and related treatment and advice-seeking behaviour, maternal health and wellbeing, and participation in the paid workforce. The Longitudinal Study has been examining the health and wellbeing of Australian women since 1996 and surveys over 40,000 Australian women who were aged 18-23, 45-50, and 70-75 when the study began. The study has provided invaluable data about the health of women as they age and this particular report has extracted the data on reproductive health.

Roadblocks in radiotherapy : patient experiences and possible solutions.

Families with experience of the difficulties of finding accessible radiotherapy treatment in the bush can certainly relate to the patient journeys described in a NSW Cancer Council publication, Roadblocks to radiotherapy the stories behind the statistics.

The stories of burgeoning costs, huge distances, and delays in obtaining treatment (even  sometimes in outer suburbia)  form part of the background to a submission to the NSW government Improving radiotherapy in NSW : where to from here ?. [See here for media release] Both these reports are also available from the Cancer Council in print copy.

A third report, Improving radiotherapy in NSW : answering the tough questions. responds to comments on some of the grim findings in the first two documents and emphasises that there is much to be done before equity in access to affordable radiotherapy treatment is a reality.

Social Justice Report 2009

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, welcomed the release of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma's final Social Justice Report. The Social Justice Report 2009 focuses on solutions to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system; the protection of Indigenous languages; and sustaining Aboriginal homeland communities. It also emphasises the importance of cultural healing programs - both in their effectiveness in diverting young people from the criminal justice system and their capacity to help rehabilitate people affected by substance and alcohol abuse.

Tom Calma reflects on his 5 years as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Alcohol. drug and mental illness treatment guidelines released

Health professionals will be able to better treat people with alcohol abuse problems, as well as people with coexisting alcohol and other drug use and mental health conditions thanks to two sets of guidelines released last week. The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre(NDARC) at the University of NSW were funded by the Australian Government to produce up-to-date, evidence-based information on the management of co-morbid drug and alcohol and mental health problems.
The Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings include guiding principles for working with clients with co-morbid mental health problems and practical information for managing these problems, their treatment and appropriate referral processes.

The Guidelines aim to:

* Increase AOD workers' knowledge and awareness of mental health conditions.
* Improve the confidence and skills of AOD workers working with clients with comorbid mental health conditions.
* Provide guiding principles for working with clients with comorbid mental health conditions.
* Improve AOD workers' ability to identify mental health conditions.
* Provide practical information on the management of comorbid mental health conditions.
* Provide information regarding the treatment of comorbid mental health conditions.
* Provide information regarding referral processes.
* Provide resources that may be used to facilitate all of the above.

Uni hopes to learn from students (mental health focus)

A TEAM of researchers from the University of Sydney are recruiting students to be part of a groundbreaking study on adolescent health and wellbeing. According to the senior lecturer at the University of Sydney’s school of rural health in Orange Dr Catherine Hawke, initially her team will undertake a small pilot study with focus groups of 10-15 year olds.

“We’ll look at their attitudes and understanding of medical research in an effort to find out the best ways to approach them,” she said.

Dr Hawke said it’s hoped that the information gleaned from these focus groups, which will be conducted in both Orange and Dubbo, will lead to more successful research practices in the future.

First aid helps to understand mental illness (Orange)

MENTAL Health First Aid features in this year’s Slow Summer program as more people become aware of the impact of mental illness on society. This year’s first aid program has already seen an overwhelming response from community members who have rushed to sign up for the two-day course, which will teach participants how to recognise the signs of mental illness and how to help.

Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) mental health promotion coordinator Meg Simpson says mental illness affects one in five Australians.

Caring for the carers of those with mental illness (Uni of QLD)

The University of Queensland has joined a consortium trialling a new support program for families caring for relatives with mental illness. The Manager of UQ's Research Centre for Youth Substance Abuse, Dr Angela White, said families in this situation often experienced significant levels of emotional and practical stress, trauma, anxiety, disruption and strain.

Musculoskeletal Guideline Series (Free on DVD)

This Musculoskeletal Guideline Series includes four programs that will be broadcast simultaneously across the Rural Health Education Foundation satellite network as well as webcast between December 2009 and March 2010.

Upon completion of the broadcasts the series will be compiled as a DVD set of four programs on two discs and will be ready mid 2010. You can pre-order now by clicking the 'add series to cart' button on the website. Program ID : 1001s Free. Duration 240 minutes.

The programs that make up the series are:

1001a Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Clinical Guideline for Diagnosis and Management (9 February 2010)
1001b Early Rheumatoid Arthritis: Clinical Guideline for Diagnosis and Management (9 March 2010)
1001c Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: Guideline for Non-surgical Management (23 March 2010)
1001d Osteoporosis: Clinical Guideline (20 April 2010)

Diabetes Matters - Free Audio Series

The Rural Health Education Foundation in collaboration with the Australian Diabetes Educators Association and the Australian Diabetes Society will soon release Diabetes Matters, an audio interview series on diabetes issues for health and medical professionals. The target audience for these programs include doctors, diabetes educators, nurses,pharmacists, allied health professionals and Aboriginal Health Workers.

The audio series will consist of ten x twenty-minute interviews on specific diabetic related topics. The aim of the series is to up-skill health professionals in diagnosing and managing diabetes through the provision of current information and explanation of evidence basedtechniques.

The series consists of the following programs (each 20*):

1 - Diagnosing and managing pre-diabetes
2 - Diagnosing and managing GDM (pregnancy in diabetes)
3 - Diabetes and mental health
4 - Ambulatory initiation of Insulin in type 2 diabetes
5 - Oral diabetes medicines (and algorithms in care and targets)
6 - The Diabetic Foot
7 - Managing chronic diabetes complications
8 - Supporting self management
9 - Diabetes in childhood and adolescence
10 - Treatment options and regimens in type 1 diabetes

How to Listen
The programs will be freely available here in February 2010 to listen
and download.

A CD edition will also be available.

Windows into safety and quality in health care 2009

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission), in consultation with clinicians, consumers, public and private hospitals, and other healthcare provider organisations, has identified the priority national safety and quality areas for action in Australia. Throughout 2009, the Commission has continued a comprehensive work plan to address these priority areas. This report examines a number of the key issues.

Windows into Safety and Quality in Health Care 2009 is the second in a series of reports by the Commission. It includes a brief update on topics considered in the first report and expands to reflect the additional activity undertaken in other identified priority areas.

Authors: Professor David Ben-Tovim (Measuring hospital mortality); Professor Lynn Gilbert (Antimicrobial stewardship); Ms. Jenny Hargreaves (Measuring and reporting on safety and quality in hospitals); Dr. Sophie Pointer (Measuring hospital mortality).

The impact of racism upon the health and wellbeing of young Australians 2009

This report by the Foundation for Young Australians explores the attitudes of Australian youth in relation to key issues in contemporary race relations, such as cultural diversity, tolerance and privilege.

Understanding the direct experiences of young people facing racism who are from Indigenous, migrant or refugee backgrounds is critically important as we re-imagine the roles and values placed upon all young people, in all communities across Australia. One of the clearest messages to come from this report is a reminder of the critical role that our schools play and the core responsibility that is bestowed upon school communities to instil values and behaviours that contribute more directly to building a diverse and dynamic nation.

The key objectives of the project were:

* to examine the experiences of racism for young people in Australia of mainstream (English-speaking background), Indigenous, migrant and refugee backgrounds;
* to investigate how young people in Australia report and respond to racism; and
* to explore the attitudes of mainstream youth in relation to key issues in contemporary race relations, such as cultural diversity, tolerance and privilege.

2010 Intergenerational Report Australia to 2050: Future Challenges

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has launched the 2010 Intergenerational Report Australia to 2050: Future Challenges. The report provides a comprehensive study of the challenges that Australia will face over the next 40 years, including an ageing population, escalating pressures on the health system, and the environmental and economic challenges of climate change.The report shows that population ageing and escalating pressures on our health system will put major pressures on the federal budget over the next 40 years. Population ageing will place greater demands on government services, while escalating health costs driven by better technology and demand for higher quality health services over longer lifespans will add to these pressures.

Suicide prevention services 'concerning' (SANE Australia)

Healthcare providers have been told to improve suicide prevention services, after a report found an alarming lack of follow-up treatment for people who had attempted to take their own life. Mental health group SANE surveyed 285 people diagnosed with mental illness who had attempted suicide or self-harm.