The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2010

The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2010 provides a wealth of information on the state of Australian Indigenous health today.

Key messages from this report include :.

* The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population comprises around 2.5% of the Australian population and is relatively young.
* Indigenous Australians have lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous Australians.
* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and culture is being maintained.
* Socioeconomic outcomes for Indigenous Australians continue to improve, but remain below those for non-Indigenous Australians.
* Educational attainment among Indigenous Australians continues to increase.
* Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with improved health outcomes.
* Indigenous Australians have poorer self-assessed health and were more likely to report higher levels of psychological distress than non-Indigenous Australians.
* Both tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are major health risk factors. Latest results show a decline in Indigenous smoking rates, while alcohol consumption remains steady.
* There are a number of positive findings in relation to maternal health and factors affecting childhood development including high rates of breastfeeding and physical activity among Indigenous children.

The National Primary Health Care Strategy

The National Primary Health Care Strategy represents the first comprehensive national policy statement for primary health care in Australia. It provides a road map to guide current and future policy and practice in the Australian primary health care sector.

The Strategy identifies 5 key building blocks which are considered essential system-wide underpinnings for a responsive and integrated primary health care system for the 21st century:

Regional integration
Information and technology, including eHealth
Skilled workforce
Financing and system performance

Drawing from these are 4 priority directions for change:

Key Priority Area 1: Improving access and reducing inequity
Key Priority Area 2: Better management of chronic conditions
Key Priority Area 3: Increasing the focus on prevention
Key Priority Area 4: Improving quality, safety, performance and accountability

Guidelines for the treatment of alcohol problems

The Guidelines for the treatment of alcohol problems are an update of the 2003 guidelines. They provide up-to-date, evidence-based information to clinicians on treatments for people with alcohol problems. The guidelines are directed to the broad range of health care professionals who treat people with these problems and include a comprehensive review of treatment options. The guidelines do not provide advice on methods of treatment delivery and it is noted that some treatments will not be suitable for all populations and settings.

Service Delivery for People with Co-existing Mental Health and Addiction Problems - Integrated Solutions 2010

This service delivery guidance document from the New Zealand Ministry of Health provides advice to assist mental health and addiction services to enable the provision of more integrated care for people with co-existing mental health and addiction problems. It is designed as a companion to the clinical guidance document Te Ariari o te Oranga: The Assessment and Management of People with Co-existing Mental Health and Addiction Problems.

ADCA recommends...Alcohol and other drugs resources for the health library and researcher

The National Drugs Sector Information Service is a project of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia. The Information Service has produced the third edition of ADCA recommends... Alcohol and other drugs resources for the health library and researcher.

"ADCA Recommends" is a list of recommended books, journals, databases, DVDs and Australian guidelines relating to Alcohol and other Drugs. It is an essential list for anyone seeking Australian resources in the alcohol and drugs fields. Experts from within both the ADCA membership and outside the organisation were called upon to assist in creating this list. All items in the list are available from the NDSIS, Canberra or contact your local GWAHS library for further information.

5 new national hepatitis and STD strategies endorsed by Australian Health Ministers' Conference

Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mark Butler, launched last week Australia's first ever national strategy for Hepatitis B and an updated national strategy for Hepatitis C to coincide with World Hepatitis Day and Hepatitis Awareness Week. The strategies will provide a framework to reinvigorate the nation's efforts to prevent new cases of Hepatitis B and C over the next four years. They also provide an action plan to better support and care for people already living with these conditions. They form part of five government strategies to address the problems of hepatitis and blood-borne diseases. The strategies are :

The Sixth National HIV Strategy

The First National Hepatitis B Strategy

The Second National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy

The Third National Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Strategy

The Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy.

Reducing the harmful use of alcohol improves health and communities

For the first time, delegations from all 193 Member States of World Health Organization (WHO) reached consensus at the World Health Assembly on a resolution to confront the harmful use of alcohol .

In addition to the resolution, a global strategy developed by WHO in close collaboration with Member States provides a portfolio of policy options and interventions for implementation at national level with the goal to reduce the harmful use of alcohol worldwide. The resolution endorses the strategy and urges countries to complement and support national responses to public health problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol.

Caring for Older Australians : Issues Paper and Call for Submissions

On 21st May 2010, the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot welcomed the release of an issues paper by the Productivity Commission for its public inquiry into the future of Australia's Aged Care system. This issues paper is intended to assist those preparing a submission to the Commission. It covers a range of issues on which the Commission is seeking information and feedback.

To ensure due consideration of your input prior to release of the draft report, your submission should have reached the Commission by Friday 30 July 2010.

General practice interpretive guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed a new resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.
The Interpretive guide of the RACGP Standards for general practices (3rd edition) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services aims to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services in using the RACGP Standards for general practices more effectively for the communities which they serve.

Media release

Hear us: Inquiry into hearing health in Australia

Hearing health is a mainstream health issue which touches the lives of most Australians in one way or another, yet as a public health issue it is not ranked as a national health priority. Australians with hearing loss must live with the paradox that their disability is so prevalent in our community, and yet suffers from a generally low level of awareness and understanding.The report Hear Us gives the message to a hearing society from people with a hearing loss who live the terrible isolation and frustration that is often their daily lot. It is the message to governments and funding bodies from the many volunteer support and representative groups who advocate to improve the lives of people with a hearing impairment. It is the message to program administrators frohearing health practitioners working within systems that need an overhaul. It is the message from researchers striving to advance our understanding of the causes of hearing loss, and the technologies that can improve the lives of future generations. It is the message from Indigenous Australians, for many of whom hearing loss is so pervasive it has become a normal and accepted part of growing up.

Primary carers of people with arthritis and osteoporosis (AIHW)

Family members known as 'primary carers' provide significant assistance to people with disability associated with arthritis and osteoporosis to help them cope with their restrictions and continue independent living. The demand of caring however can have significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the carers.

Primary carers of people with arthritis and osteoporosis brings together the latest data to highlight the impact of caring. The information provided in the report should be useful to the broader community, policy makers and anyone with an interest in carers and caring issues.

Media release

Taking Preventative Action

Taking Preventative Action outlines the Government's response to Australia:the Healthiest Country by 2020, the final report of the National Preventative Health Taskforce, which put forward a range of strategies to address the growing economic and health burden associated with obesity, tobacco and alcohol.

In developing its response, the Government undertook over 100 consultations with health practitioners and the general public on this report and that of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.

An essential read for those interested in tracking the Government's progress with reforming our health system.

Australian rural football club leaders as mental health advocates: an investigation into the impact of the coach the coach project

Mental ill health, especially depression, is recognised as an important health concern, potentially with greater impact in rural communities. This paper reports on a project, Coach the Coach, in which Australian rural football clubs were the setting and football coaches the leaders in providing greater mental health awareness and capacity to support early help seeking behaviour among young males experiencing mental health difficulties, especially depression.

Asthma in Australia : 2 new reports (AIHW)

Two new reports from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory diseases in Australia

In 2004-05, Australia spent $3.3 billion directly on the management of respiratory conditions. In 2007-08, general practitioners managed respiratory problems more than any other condition and in 2006 conditions of the respiratory system were the third most common underlying causes of death. This report presents the epidemiology of each of the main respiratory conditions and highlights their differences and similarities. The conditions addressed include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, influenza, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and sleep apnoea.

Media release

Asthma among older people in Australia

Over 92% of the 402 asthma deaths in 2006 were among people aged 45 years and over. Asthma in older Australians is distinct in many ways. The presence of comorbid conditions makes the management of asthma in older people more complex. The disease itself is also more persistent and severe than in the younger ages.

Media release

Study of rural Canadian psychologists' ethics - implications for Australia

Research about the professional ethical issues faced by psychologists working in rural Canada has implications for psychologists in rural and remote Australia, according to a Charles Sturt University (CSU) PhD graduate.

Dr Judi Malone, a psychologist from Alberta, Canada, who studied in the School of Psychology at CSU in Bathurst, undertook an in depth interpretive study consisting of a series of three interviews with each of 20 practising psychologists from across rural Canada to explore their experience of professional ethical issues.

“The main research question I wanted to answer was, ‘what ethical issues arise for you as a practising rural psychologist and how do you deal with these?’,” Dr Malone said.

World Health Statistics 2010

The World Health Statistics series is WHO's annual compilation of health-related data for its 193 Member States, and includes a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) and associated targets. Taken together, these indicators provide a comprehensive summary of the current status of national health and health systems in the following nine areas: mortality and burden of disease; cause-specific mortality and morbidity; selected infectious diseases; health service coverage; risk factors; health workforce, infrastructure and essential medicines; health expenditure; health inequities; and demographic and socioeconomic statistics.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Australia's new national registration and accreditation scheme begins on 1 July 2010. From this date, a new National Law (the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009) will come into effect and 10 health professions will be regulated by nationally consistent legislation.

For the first time, there will be one National Board setting standards and policies for the regulation of each of the 10 Australian health professions covered by the National Law. Each National Board will be supported in this task by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which will be providing services to the National Boards.

The 10 professional Boards covered under the legislation are Chiropractic, Dental, Medical, Nursing & Midwifery, Optometry, Osteopathy, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Psychology.

Outback Healers and Heroines: Women GPs in Rural Practice,

Outback Healers and Heroines: Women GPs in Rural Practice, a half-hour documentary which focuses on women GPs who are passionately committed to rural practice, will air for the first time anywhere on SBS One at 3.30pm on Thursday June 3rd.

Outback Healers and Heroines was produced in association with the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), and features on-location interviews with inspirational women GPs who share their varied experiences of working in rural Australia and discuss issues such as practice models, work-life balance, their children's education, and being part of a rural community.

Dr Nola Maxfield, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, says: "Being a doctor in rural Australia makes for a fascinating career, where you treat an enormous range of conditions,meet some incredible people, and mix the rewards of general practice with the excitement of fields like emergency medicine and obstetrics - all the time providing a critical service for your local community. We want to get the message out to more people that rural practice is a career choice you will never regret..."

Highlights of Outback Healers and Heroines: Women GPs in Rural Practice include interviews filmed on location with Dr Jennifer Delima, who currently works in Alice Springs but who began her rural practice at Kintore (540 km west of Alice Springs), and Drs Annette Newson and Elizabeth Parsimei (an International Medical Graduate from Kenya),who are partners in a group practice in Barmera, in the Riverland district of South Australia.

Outback Healers and Heroines: Women GPs in Rural Practice (26 mins) - 3.30pm Thursday June 3rd on SBS One.

Online viewing : Outback Healers and Heroines: Women GPs in Rural Practice will also be available on the Rural Health Education Foundation website post-broadcast, at

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australia : Summary Booklet

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey(NATSISS) was conducted from August 2008 to April 2009 and aims to provide a broad social picture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Cardiovascular health and nutrition

The Heart Foundation has published its latest report on cardiovascular health and nutrition: Summary of evidence : Antioxidants in food, drinks and supplements for cardiovascular health. The main recommendations for Australian adults are:

1. Consume at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day.
2. As part of a healthy balanced diet, drink black or green tea or cocoa made from raw cocoa powder (without sugar and with low fat milk).

Normal chocolate, red wine and antioxident supplements are not recommended for improving cardiovascular health.

Australian Government Invests $6m to Strengthen Indigenous Fathers and Families

Minister for Indigenous Health and Rural and Regional Health, Warren Snowdon today announced $6 million would be invested in a new parenting initiative called Strong Fathers, Strong Families for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
The funding is part of the Rudd Government’s $16.7 million commitment to tackle health challenges facing Australian males, and was launched with the nation’s first male health policy.

"The aim of the Strong Fathers, Strong Families initiative is to strengthen the knowledge, skills, confidence of Indigenous males in their roles as fathers, grandfathers and significant male relatives in the lives of their children, by increasing their participation," Mr Snowdon said.

Call for GP health checks for mentally ill

THE government has been called on to introduce a Medicare Benefits Scheme item number as a way of getting more GPs to conduct health checks on people with a mental illness.The call comes after the latest SANE Australia data found that 90 per cent of the mentally ill also had a chronic physical condition such as diabetes, heart disease or circulatory problems.

SANE Australia chief executive Barbara Hocking said people were falling "through the gaps" because of missed opportunities to prevent or pick up signs of chronic illnesses in the mentally ill population.

Keys to Living Together (5 DVD set)

For most of us, at any given time, there is a special relationship which affects our lives and wellbeing more than any other. Despite its importance we often don't think about how this central relationship is working or if it can be improved.

The Keys to Living Together kits aim to provide you with useful tips, advice and ideas to enhance your relationships. Each kit consists of a DVD and mini magazine.

The five DVDs in the series are :

Keys to Living together - Taking the first step (making a commitment)

Keys to living together - Instant families (relationships and moving into a new family)

Keys to living together - Then there were 3 (Becoming a couple WITH children)

Keys to living together - Staying strong (Staying strong as a family and adjusting to rural life)

Keys to living together - Life-changing journeys (dealing with life changes including disability)

To order a free copy of the full kit, phone 1800 050 009 or email :

National Psychostimulants Initiative (NPI)

The National Psychostimulants Initiative (NPI)aims to reduce harms and prevent harms associated with psychostimulant use in the Australian community. NPI undertakes research, develops the drug and alcohol workforce, disseminates evidence based information to help reduce the impact of psychostimulant drugs in Australia, and educates young Australians about the risks and harms associated with psychostimulant drug useincluding ice. Lots of free publications and resoources available.

Reposted from NCAHS Library Clippings

Clinical Handover Program

Clinical Handover refers to the transfer of professional responsibility and accountability for some or all aspects of care for a patient, or group of patients, to another person or professional group on a temporary or permanent basis.The purpose of the Clinical Handover Program is to identify, develop and improve clinical handover communication. Safe health care delivery for patients depends on effective communication between health care providers.

Developing and implementing more consistent and reliable approaches to clinical handover is a key strategy to reduce communication errors. The Clinical Handover program looks at the improvement of handover communication across a range of settings of care -including public and private hospitals and primary and ambulatory care settings. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care links to a number of guides, presentations and tool on the Clinical Handover site.

Reposted from NCAHS Library Clippings

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The New Zealand Guidelines Group has been working on a set of web-based services that assist people who might be concerned that a person they know has ASD, or who are in the process of referring a person for specialist
assessment. This web service contains:

* printable summaries about recognising ASD, and referring for specialist
* video tutorials and powerpoint presentations that may be saved and used
* a professional self-test that can be used for the accumulation of
continuing medical or nursing education
* order-form for quick reference cards
* links to relevant sites from the partners who helped with the development of the web-service.

Reposted from NCAHS Library Clippings

National Male Health Policy

The National Male Health Policy has been developed through extensive consultations with health services, health professionals, and men themselves in 26 public forums attended by 1,300 people. It encourages men of all ages to take action to improve their own health and recognises that this requires information, assistance and support,across 6 priority areas.

The Policy provides a framework for improving the health of all males and achieving equal health outcomes for population groups of males at risk of poor health. It provides practical suggestions for action designed to guide directions into the new decade especially in areas where we know we can make a difference in improving the health of Australian males, and those with the poorest health. The National Male Health Policy - Building on the Strengths of Australian Males, has nine supporting documents providing in-depth analysis of some of the issues raised in the Policy. It also has some practical suggestions for males about what they can do to improve their own health, and some guiding principles that can be used when developing programs and policies affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males.

Priority areas are :

* Optimal health outcomes for males. Deliver initiatives and services that take into account the needs of Australian men and promote optimal health outcomes for all Australian men.

* Health equity between population groups of males. Recognising that some groups of men have worse health outcomes than others, such as those living in rural and remote communities and that different initiatives and services may be needed.

* Improved health for males at different life stages. Deliver initiatives and services that consider the health needs of Australian men in different age groups and at key transition points from youth to old age.

* A focus on preventive health for males. Deliver preventative-health initiatives that take into account the needs of Australian men.

* Building a strong evidence base on male health. Build the evidence base in Australian male health and use it to inform the development of policies, programs and initiatives.

* Improved access to health care for males. Tailor health care services and initiatives to facilitate access by men, particularly for population groups of men at risk of poor health.

Press release

Gynaecological cancer projections 2010-2015 (AIHW)

This report provides information on the projected incidence of gynaecological cancers for the calendar years 2010 to 2015, by state and territory and at the national level. The purpose of the data is to help inform the national gynaecological cancers service delivery and resource framework. This document will provide information on the predicted incidence of gynaecological cancers in the next five to ten years and how the workforce is best able to meet the future service delivery requirements of women affected by gynaecological cancers.

National strategies for blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections

Five new national strategies for blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) have been endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers' Conference. For the next three years, these documents will guide policies in relation to the prevention, testing, treatment and more in relation to BBVs and STIs. The documents were developed with significant contributions from community stakeholders, research organisations, medical professionals and state and territory health departments. The five strategies are:

* The Sixth National HIV Strategy;
* The First National Hepatitis B Strategy;
* The Second National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy;
* The Third National Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Strategy; and
* The Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood
Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy.

Mental Health Social

Mental Health Social has launched the first beta version of its Mental Health Social Network.

Mental Health Social allows users to create profiles where they can choose to share information about themselves, post videos, upload audio or photographs, and offer or receive help from likeminded members of the community.

Membership of this social networking site is open to people who have a mental illness, those who work in the mental health industry, and anyone concerned with their mental health.

Press Release

Flying psychologists to support vulnerable children in remote NSW (media release)

A new flying psychologist service is set to be introduced in NSW to help protect the welfare of children at risk of abuse and neglect in remote regions of the state.

Community Services Minister Linda Burney announced the move today as part of a wider $2.7 million recruitment plan to expand the range of psychological support available to frontline child protection workers.