Cervical screening in Australia 2008-2009 (AIHW)

The National Cervical Screening Program aims to reduce incidence, morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer. Cervical screening in Australia 2008-2009 presents national statistics monitoring the NCSP using new performance indicators. For women in the target age group, 20-69 years, participation in the program was around 59%, with more than 3.6 million women screened over the 2 years 2008-2009. Cervical cancer incidence remains at an historical low of 9 new cases per 100,000 women, and deaths are also low, historically and by international standards, at 2 deaths per 100,000 women.

Media release

Health expenditure Australia 2009-10 (AIHW)

Health expenditure in Australia in 2009-10 increased to $121.4 billion. As a percentage of GDP it was 9.4% of the GDP, 0.4% higher than in 2008-09. Public hospital services accounted for under one-third (31%) of the total increase in 2009-10, while medications accounted for over one-fifth (21%) of the total growth. 2009-10 marks the first year of the transition to the National Health Care Agreement, a new health care funding arrangement between the Australian government and state and territory governments.

Media release

Testing Treatments: better research for better healthcare (New edition)

Medicine shouldn't be about authority, and the most important question anyone can ask on any claim is simple: "how do you know?". The 2nd edition of "Testing treatments" is about the answer to that question.

This is not a "best treatments guide" to the effects of individual therapies. Rather,it highlight issues that are fundamental to ensuring that research is soundly based, properly done, able to distinguish harmful from helpful treatments, and designed to answer questions that matter to patients, the public, and health professionals.

There is expanded coverage of the benefits and harms of screening in a separate chapter (Chapter 4) entitled 'Earlier is not necessarily better.' and in 'Regulating tests of treatments: help or hindrance?' (Chapter 9) the authors describe how research can become over-policed to the detriment of patients. In an important chapter (Chapter 12) it is asked: "So what makes for better healthcare?" and shows how the lines of evidence can be drawn together in ways that can make a real difference to all of us. The last chapter gives a blueprint for a better future and an action plan (Chapter 13)

Free download

P plate road safety research targets Dubbo & Forbes (Drivers wanted)

The P Drivers Project is a large scale road safety research project to develop and implement a behaviour change program for young P plate drivers aged between 17 to 22 years.

This project is one of the largest and most complex scientific research studies undertaken in the area of driver education in the world. The research will focus on current behaviour, decision making and risk-taking that will help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities involving young, inexperienced drivers and promote their safe driving behaviour.

The NSW trial will be held in four regions including Western Sydney, Tamworth/Armidale, Dubbo/Forbes and Lismore/Tweed Heads. The project involves assessment, education and driver training sessions.

For more information visit pdriversproject.com.au or phone 1800 019 806.

For participant information and to sign up, visit mylivetribe.com.au or call 1800 454 133

Press release by N.S.W. Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services report 2009-10: OATSIH Services Reporting - key results (AIHW)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services report 2009-10: OATSIH Services Reporting - key results

In 2009-10, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander:

* primary health care services provided 2.4 million episodes of health care to about 456,000 clients, a 14% increase in episodes of care : a 22% increase in the number of clients reported compared with 2008-09.

* substance use services provided treatment and assistance to about 26,300 clients, an increase of 14% compared with 2008-09.

* Bringing Them Home and Link Up services provided counselling to about 10,700 clients, an increase of about 27% compared with 2008-09.

Media release

Half of detained teens are indigenous

Almost half of all young people locked up in juvenile detention centres are indigenous despite the fact they make up just 5% of the population, a new report shows. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study, Juvenile justice in Australia 2009-10, shows that 7250 young people were under some kind of supervision on an average day in 2009/10.

About 86% were in the community while 14% were being held in detention. Indigenous Australians make up just 5% cent of young people, but comprise 38% of juveniles under supervision.

Report from "The Australian"

Caring in the community, Australia (ABS) ... counting the cost of caring

Being the main carer of an elderly or disabled person exacts a huge personal toll on hundreds of thousands of Australians, new data shows, and 19 per cent of the nation's primary carers have reported a "strained relationship" with the person in their care. A quarter of the 771,400 primary carers say they have also lost contact with their friends.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics report Caring in the community, Australia shows that the longer the caring role occupies each day, the more emotionally taxing it becomes, with 40 per cent of carers doing 40 or more hours a week saying they are frequently worried or depressed compared with 27 per cent for those who put in 20 hours or less.

But the snapshot of life for carers isn't all depressing news. One in three primary carers reports that the caring role had brought them closer to the person for whom they are caring.

Data cubes and other data are also available from the links page.

Links page

Media Release

Report in "The Australian"

Australia's national clinical indicator program results for 2003-10 released

The Australasian Clinical Indicator Report 2003-2010: Determining the Potential to Improve Quality of Care (12th ed.) has been released by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) and presents a detailed analysis of clinical indicators on a national basis.

ACHS Chief Executive, Brian Johnston, said the analysis of each indicator set for the last 8 years means the data is statistically more relevant than ever before, due to the increasing input from healthcare organisations (HCOs) nationwide. "With a wide range of HCOs contributing to the Report, we are receiving a wealth of rich data that point to key trends across the 22 clinical indicator sets, ranging from Adverse Drug Reactions to Surgery," he said.

Media release

The Science Museum's History of Medicine website

Palfijn obstetrical forceps,
Europe 1720-130 from
"Brough to life"
'Brought to Life', is a website provided by the Science Museum, London. It offers access to images of thousands of fascinating objects from the Museum's great medical collections. The site also incorporates detailed descriptions, introductions to major themes in the history of medicine and engaging multimedia.

This site is not only a valuable resource for teachers and student working on the history of medicine, and related subjects, in schools and universities, but it also engages people of all ages and interests in the story of medicine.

Example of interactives:

The Black Death
Try to manage an epidemic

Trends in palliative care in Australian hospitals and Identifying palliative care separations in admitted patient data: technical paper (AIHW)

Trends in palliative care in Australian hospitals

Trends in palliative care in Australian hospitals provides an overview of the nature and extent of palliative care separations in public and private hospitals across Australia for the 10-year period from 1999-00 to 2008-09. These separations may have occurred in a dedicated palliative care ward, a hospice or in other admitted patient beds in a hospital. The report indicates that there has been a substantial increase in the number of palliative care separations in admitted patient settings over time.

Media release

Identifying palliative care separations in admitted patient data: technical paper

This technical paper explores the most appropriate method of identifying those separations that occurred in Australian hospitals for which palliative care was a substantial component of the care provided. Coding and collection rules are considered, as well as national admitted patient data for 1999-00 to 2008-09.

Asthma in Australia 2011: with a focus chapter on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AIHW)

Asthma is an important health problem in Australia. Asthma in Australia 2011 brings together data from a wide range of sources to describe the current status of asthma in Australia. It includes information on the number of people who have asthma and who visit their general practitioner, are hospitalised or die due to asthma. Time trends and profiles of people who receive various treatments for asthma are also presented, along with information on those who have written asthma action plans. In addition, comorbidities and quality of life among people with asthma are also investigated. This report also includes a chapter that focuses on chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases in Australians aged 55 years and over.

Media release

Essentials of Care

Essentials of Care is a framework to support the development and ongoing evaluation of nursing and midwifery practice and patient care. Using transformational practice development methodologies healthcare teams are engaged in the evaluation and development of the clinical care provided.

The aims of the project are to improve patient safety and outcomes through the implementation of a NSW state-wide framework that focuses on the essentials of clinical care, and to enhance the experiences of patients, families and carers as well as staff involved in the delivery of care. You can watch the introductory video on EOC or read about the structure or facilitation of the program.

You can also visit the NSW Health EOC site.

Senate Inquiry : The factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas

Rural doctors have welcomed the setting up of a Senate Inquiry into the factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas. Rural incentives which classify many smaller rural towns in the same category as some large rural centres, have made recruitment of medical practitioners for small towns very difficult.

The terms of reference of the Inquiry are quite wide-ranging, encompassing all health professionals and alternative methods of incentive programs. They are as follows :

* to determine the factors limiting the supply of health services and medical, nursing and allied health professionals to small regional communities as compared with major regional and metropolitan centres.
* to enquire into the role and effectiveness of the current incentive programs for recruitment and retention of doctors, particularly in smaller rural communities,
* the appropriateness of the delivery model for the incentive programs,
* whether the current Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Areas classification scheme ensures appropriate distribution of funds and delivers intended outcomes, and
* other related matters

Submissions are currently being accepted, but a closing date for submissions has not yet been announced.

Information, Terms Of Reference, and submission guidelines

Rural doctors welcome Senate Inquiry on health services in the bush (The Land)

Health boost in bush: grants available

Rural and remote health professionals, clinics and rural private hospitals have been invited by the Australian Government to apply for grants of up to $500,000 to improve their local health equipment or build new facilities.

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon this week invited applications for grants under the Government's 6th round of its National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program(NRRHIP), which will remain open for almost 10 weeks. Over the past 3 years NRRHIP has funded 217 local projects valued at more than $43 million. The funding is available in three streams : for capital works or refurbishments worth up to $500,000; for equipment worth up to $250,000; and for strategic service planning for small rural private hospitals, worth up to $50,000.

Information about eligibility requirements and application material can be found at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/Listing+of+Tenders+and+Grants-1

Parents warned not to share beds with infants : safe infant sleeping standards

New guidelines in South Australia advise parents not to sleep with their infants. They stem from coronial findings on the deaths of five babies who were crushed to death by sleeping adults in SA since 2008. SA Health will now advise parents against sleeping with their young children. South Australian Health Minister John Hill says babies also should be put to sleep on their backs, rather than side or stomach. "Obviously families like to be close and parents like to be doing the right thing and they think sometimes putting the baby in the bed with them is a safe practice, but of course large adult bodies can crush a small child or the child can get lost in the bed and suffocate," he said. An infant health researcher at Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital Dr Susan Beal hopes the clearer guidelines will make a difference. "Get rid of bedclothes out of beds, get rid of big soft toys and [cot] bumpers," she advised.

The South Australian Safe Infant Sleeping Standards were developed by a core group of experts from Government and non-Government sectors in South Australia under the direction of the South Australian Safe Sleeping Advisory Committee.

Mental Health Services in Australia website [AIHW]

The objectives of the Mental Health Services in Australia website, from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, are to establish comprehensive, timely and regular national reporting on the progress of mental health reform in Australia; make Australian mental health services data available to all stakeholders in an interactive, graphical format; and publish Australian mental health services data progressively each year as it becomes available.

Mental Health Services data is available in four broad subject areas (Background; Services; Resources; and Additional topics), and reported in sixteen specific topic areas as per the previous hard copy reports.

Mental health and suicide

Mental Health and Suicide "Let's Talk About It" forum will be a special 3 hour live to air and online streamed broadcast, which aims to engage the community in conversation and to talk openly about the topic, tackle the issues head-on and to discuss strategies for dealing with mental illness and for teaching resilience in young people.

With special guest Professor Patrick McGorry the program will feature leading experts in the mental health field, including beyondblue Deputy CEO Dr Nicole Highet and Lifeline's Director Chris Wagner, to discuss depression, anxiety and suicide.

Changing the mental health blame game

THE ''blame and shame'' era of linking mental illness to early life events is fading as medical science identifies biological disorders in the brain as triggers, says leading mental health scientist Tom Insel.

Dr Insel, who heads the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, said scientific breakthroughs connecting brain activity with illnesses such as depression were transforming thinking about how to treat such disorders.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/changing-the-mental-health-blame-game-20111011-1lj1z.html#ixzz1acYVfzFY

Climate change blamed for health problems

More mental health problems and suicides are expected on the Monaro due to climate change.

According to a recent report ‘A Climate of suffering’ released by the Climate Institute, people living in rural Australia will feel the effects of climate change more than their city counterparts.

People living in rural communities are particularly exposed in a deteriorating climate with severe weather events, which will add to the chronic difficulties and inequities already experienced by many rural communities.

According to the Murrumbidgee and Southern NSW co-ordinator of mental health promotion and prevention Brad Moore, climate change affects whole communities and there is evidence of an increased risk of suicide in rural areas compared to metropolitan areas.

Mental health services - in brief 2011 (IHW)

Mental health services - in brief 2011 provides an overview on the characteristics and activity of Australia's mental health services, the availability of mental health resources, and the changes that have occurred in these over time. It is designed to accompany the more comprehensive data on Australia's mental health services available online at <http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au>.

Media release

Art competition for rural Australia

An art competition is being conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in partnership with the National Rural Health Alliance to source cover art for the AIHW's forthcoming publication Australia's health 2012. The theme for the artwork is the health and wellbeing of Australians. Eligible entrants are people located in rural, regional and remote Australia. A prize of $1,000 will be offered to the winning artist, with additional prizes of $500, $300 and $200 for the runners up. Entries close 5.00 pm (EDST) Friday 6 January 2012.

Entry form

Competition details

The nine current priorities in rural and remote health

At its recent face to face meeting, Council of the Rural Health Alliance has confirmed the organisation's 9 current priorities in rural and remote health.

The Alliance will throw its weight behind moves to improve oral health services in rural areas. It is proposing a pathway to help students from rural areas to access and complete health professional training, and expects the new body responsible for leading on rural health, Rural Health Australia, to report to the public on progress towards better access and greater equity. High- speed broadband access, realistic aged care funding, and mental health services in areas where specialist staff are in short supply also feature.

Online OCD treatment works (Swinburne Uni)

Preliminary results for a new online psychological treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) show it is effective in managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Developed at Swinburne University of Technology by a team of researchers led by Professor Michael Kyrios, OCD STOP (http://www.swinburne.edu.au/lss/bpsyc/clinical-and-health-research/ocd/) is a comprehensive web-based treatment.

Learning tool designed for autistic kids (Curtin Uni)

A COMPUTER-BASED interactive tool is providing parents and therapists of autistic children with high-performance early intervention learning capabilities.

A team from Curtin University's Institute for Multi-Sensor Processing and Content Analysis has developed the Toby Playpad software, which could also be used as an early stage learning tool for any child under 10.

Women with breast cancer continue to smoke, drink

New research shows that Australian women are prepared to make lifestyle changes, such as altering their diet, following diagnosis with breast cancer, however they are unwilling to give up alcohol and cigarettes - increasing their risk of further cancers. Associate Professor Robin Bell, Deputy Director of the Women's Health Group at Monash University led the research.

The longitudinal study surveyed 1500 Victorian women about their smoking and drinking habits on two occasions. The first time was between 2004 and 2006, when women were asked about smoking and drinking at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis. The participants were surveyed again two years later. Findings showed that two out of three women who were smokers when their breast cancer was diagnosed continued to smoke cigarettes. Alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for breast cancer and women already diagnosed with breast cancer are at risk of both recurrence and development of another primary breast cancer. However, one in 12 study participants continued to drink more than four drinks per occasion, at least once a week.

Physical changes to sexuality and body image are women's greatest concerns after breast cancer

Leading women's health researchers from the University of Western Sydney have completed a study of the changes to sexual wellbeing and quality of life that women experience following breast cancer. The study involved surveys with 2210 individuals as well as 159 health professionals working in the field.

The results of the study, published in Sexual wellbeing and breast cancer in Australia: experiences of people with breast cancer and health professionals, indicate that, following breast cancer 73% of the surveyed women felt less desirable; 51% felt unattractive; 44% felt uncomfortable exposing their body; and 38% experienced a loss of self-confidence. The women also experienced a number of physical effects including tiredness (in 71% of the respondents), vaginal dryness (63%) and hot flushes (51%).

Professor Jane Ussher, the lead researcher from the UWS School of Psychology, says it was these physical changes - followed by body image and physical attractiveness - that the women considered to be the most important personal issues in their post-cancer lives.

Media release

Executive summary

Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments

Ineffective communication has been identified as the major cause of critical incidents in public hospitals. Critical incidents are adverse events leading to avoidable patient harm. This project, by examining spoken interactions between health-care practitioners and patients in hospital emergency departments, identified and analysed causes of misunderstandings and breakdowns.

The Emergency Communication Project was conceived in response to the increasing realisation of the central role of communication in effective healthcare delivery, particularly in high stress contexts such as emergency departments. Over the last decade, as critical incidents have increased, growing attention has been paid to the relationship between communication (in particular, communication breakdowns) and patient safety. The research presents a detailed picture of the critical importance of communication in the delivery of effective and patient-centred care, and provides a detailed analysis of the way in which communication occurs and, at times, fails.

Executive summary

Full final report

The Clinical Ethics Resource : helping health professionals with the difficult questions

The University of Sydney has launched a new website to help health professionals deal with the wide range of challenging ethical and legal issues they constantly encounter in their work.

The site, the Clinical Ethics Resource, was developed by the University and is funded by NSW Health. With over 500 links to resources this comprehensive website provides an extensive range of material addressing the ethical and legal issues experienced by the thousands of people working in clinical environments in the NSW health system. The site includes guidelines, tools, legislation, policy, reports, articles, books and examples of legal cases. The 19 categories covered on the Clinical Ethics Resource include genetics, health care management, ethics committees, Indigenous Australians, mental illness, end of life, organ and tissue donation, consent, reproductive health, confidentiality, research, negligence and standards of care and communication.

It is the sister-site to the highly successful Ethics and Health Law News Service developed by the same two University of Sydney centres and launched in 2009.

The use of health services among Australians with disability (AIHW)

The use of health services among Australians with disability is the second in a series about the health of people with disability. It examines the use of health services among Australians with disability based on national population health survey data.

Compared with people without disability, people aged 15-64 years with severe or profound disability were:

* 10 times more likely to have check-ups with general practitioners (GPs)
at least once a month (29% versus 3%)
* 3.5 times more likely to consult specialist doctors in the 12 months before the survey period 2007-08 (56% versus 16%)
* 5 times more likely to consult both specialist doctors and other health professionals in the 12 months before the survey period 2007-08 (41% versus 8%).

The high use of health professional services was particularly related to services provided by specialist doctors, occupational therapists, and social workers or welfare workers.

Media release