NMJG : Portal directing nursing and midwifery graduates to jobs

Health employers are being encouraged to advertise graduate-suitable positions on an online jobs board for new nursing and midwifery graduates looking for work in the health workforce.

The Nursing and Midwifery Graduate Jobs Information Portal (NMGJ) was launched by Health Workforce Australia (HWA) in January 2012 to address concerns that many new graduates were having difficulty finding positions in the health workforce at the end of their training. The website, which targets Australian-trained new nurses and midwives from the 2012 cohort, directs users to graduate-suitable job opportunities advertised in public and private hospitals, aged care, primary health care and general community care sectors.

A total of 2175 graduates had registered with the portal up to 1 December 2012. Both private and public sector employers can advertise their graduate-suitable jobs for free on the website.

Employers can register through HWA via www.nmgj.org.au or by emailing: graduatejobs@hwa.gov.au

Inventory of Innovation (Health Workforce Australia)

An online community is sharing examples of inspiring health workforce innovation occurring across Australia on a new website set up by Health Workforce Australia (HWA). Launched on 17 December,Health Workforce Innovation in Australia - a National Inventory showcases how individuals and organisations are driving change across the health, higher education and training sectors.

The website acts as a showcase for Australia-wide innovation in a one-stop location. It will also provide a platform for users to interact with contributors if they are interested in applying an innovation in their own setting and would like further information.

Contributors can submit their examples of innovation around 5 topic areas from the National Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework for Action 2011-2015. The topics are workforce reform and delivery; capacity and skills; leadership; workforce planning; and policy, funding and regulation. Currently, there are 264 contributions featured on the website.

Contributors to the website can edit their information at any time, keeping users updated through a progress icon. Registered users can share, email, print examples, save particular contributions to their own personal collection, search for accounts by topic area, target group and state and territory, and praise a particular innovation by clicking on an applaud button.

Examples of innovation are continually being accepted. To register or make a submission, go to www.hwainventory.net.au

Further information

New clinical guidelines for lung cancer treatment

New clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of lung cancer have been published in an electronic "wiki" format to assist doctors and their patients to make informed treatment choices based on the most current research available.

Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Lung Cancer, commissioned and co-funded by Cancer Australia and developed by Cancer Council Australia, revise the treatment section of the 2004 "Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and management of lung cancer". The evidence base for the treatment of lung cancer has grown almost exponentially since the 2004 printed guidelines and it continues to grow with emerging research.

The guidelines are available online on Cancer Council Australia's Cancer Guidelines Wiki: http://wiki.cancer.org.au

Healthcare in Focus 2012 : Health of NSW on par at home and internationally

Health Minister Jillian Skinner said a new report released by the Bureau of Health Information demonstrates that the NSW health care system compares well in Australia and internationally.

The Healthcare in Focus 2012 report compares NSW with states across Australia as well as 10 other countries.

"It is heartening to see that the hard-work of our state's doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and hospital staff is paying off and ensuring our health care system is on par and in some cases better than those across the globe," Mrs Skinner said. "Another encouraging element of the report shows that the majority of NSW patients rate their experience in the health system positively."

Other highlights of the report include: · Fewer years of life were lost to heart disease than almost all other comparative countries; · NSW has one of the lowest rates of potential years of life lost to cancer; · Rates of sepsis infection in NSW are about 40% lower than the average across the country; · Fewer years of life were lost to stroke in NSW than in almost all other comparative countries.

Vaccination uptake among people with chronic respiratory disease (AIHW)

Research has shown that vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal infection can benefit people with obstructive airways disease, which includes asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Vaccination uptake among people with chronic respiratory disease reviews the limited information available in Australia on how many people with asthma and COPD have the vaccination, and finds that the uptake rate is not as high as would be expected if recommendations were being followed. It presents a range of data improvement options that would enhance our ability to monitor vaccination uptake in this and other at-risk population groups.

Media release

One21seventy (Indigenous mental health audit tool)

One21seventy provides a mental health clinical audit tool that is designed to improve the quality of care provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. One21seventy is a not-for-profit organisation set up by Menzies School of Health Research and the Lowitja Institute and now works with over 200 services across Australia. The One21seventy mental health clinical audit tool was first developed in with the support of beyondblue and has since been refined.

The tool supports mental health care provider's to measure and improve the quality of care:

* by measuring the quality of care services provide through data collection, analysis and reporting
* improving their overall systems for high quality care by setting goals and measuring progress
* understanding how they are performing on prevention and management of mental illness or mental health problems
* improving staff morale and motivation

To find out more about the One21seventy Mental Health audit tool please call 1800 082 474 or email one21seventy@menzies.edu.au

Cases Database (Bio Med Cantral)

Documenting a patient's case history to inform physicians how the patient has been evaluated and the subsequent progression of his or her disease is arguably the oldest method of communicating medical evidence. In the 21st century case reports play an equally important role.

Biomed Central have developed a valuable new resource the Cases Database, a continuously-updated, freely-accessible database of over 11,000 medical case reports from multiple publishers, including Springer, BMJ and PubMed Central.

By aggregating case reports together and facilitating comparison, Cases Database provides clinicians, researchers, regulators and patients a simple resource to explore content, and identify emerging trends


Paying the Price: economic and social impact of eating disorders in Australia

Paying the Price: economic and social impact of eating disorders in Australia, Australia's first socioeconomic impact report on eating disorders, launched by the Butterfly Foundation this week, has highlighted the need to improve the level of service delivery to some of Australia's most vulnerable people. More than 913,000 people in Australia currently have an eating disorder, at a socioeconomic cost of $69.7 billion.

The report also estimated that the mortality rates are almost twice as high for people with eating disorders than in the general population, with up to 1,828 deaths from eating disorders in 2012 (515 males and 1,313 females).

"I commend the Butterfly Foundation on the publication of this important work, which I hope will be the foundation for a lot more work to come", said Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan, CEO of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. "The Federal Government has committed just over $1.9 million to the Butterfly Foundation for its support and information services for people with an eating disorder, and I hope this funding continues. The Government's commitment to supporting those with an eating disorder is to be commended, but this report shows us there is still much more that needs to be done. We know that eating disorders are not well understood across both health and the broader community. Up-skilling health and mental health professionals in understanding and identifying eating disorders will be essential in addressing this unacceptable mortality rate and socioeconomic cost."

Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (the red book)

The Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice 8th edition (the red book) is a synthesis of evidence-based guidelines from Australian and international sources and provides recommendations for everyday use in general practice. The red book provides a single entry point to common conditions seen in Australian general practice and offers practical advice on the kind of screening and services that should be provided to the general population.

Australia's mothers and babies 2010 (AIHW)

In 2010, 294,814 women gave birth to 299,563 babies in Australia, according to Australia's mothers and babies 2010. The average age of mothers has increased gradually, from 29.2 years in 2001 to 30.0 years in 2010. The caesarean section rate has shown an upward trend over the last 10 years, increasing from 25.4% nationally in 2001 to a peak of 31.6% in 2010.

Smoking while pregnant was reported by 14% of all mothers and by 37% of teenage mothers. About half of Indigenous mothers reported smoking during their pregnancy. Indigenous mothers were also generally younger than non-Indigenous mothers, with an average age of about 25 years.

Media release

Open-i : New NLM image search engine

The Open-i project aims to provide next generation information retrieval services for biomedical articles from the full text collections such as PubMed Central. It is unique in its ability to index both the text and images in the articles.

Open-i lets users retrieve not only the MEDLINE citation information, but also the outcome statements in the article and the most relevant figure from it. Further, it is possible to use the figure as a query component to find other relevant images or other visually similar images. Future stages aim to provide image region-of-interest (ROI)based querying. The initial number of images is projected to be around 600,000 and will scale to millions.

More information

NSW Aboriginal Health Plan 2013-2023

The NSW Government will overhaul the way Aboriginal health care is delivered through a 10-year plan to improve health services and outcomes for the state's Aboriginal people.

Minister for Healthy Lifestyles and Western New South Wales, Kevin Humphries, last week launched the NSW Aboriginal Health Plan 2013-2023, which outlines a vision, goal and strategic direction for the NSW health system to meet the challenge of closing the health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. "Through this plan we will reform the way Aboriginal health services are delivered to Aboriginal people and ensure services meet the needs of local communities," Mr Humphries said.

Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, said the NSW Aboriginal Health Plan 2013-2023 will provide strategic direction to the NSW Ministry of Health as to how Aboriginal health should be organised, funded and delivered over the next 10 years.

Media release

The health of Aboriginal people of NSW: Report of the Chief Health Officer 2012

The health of Aboriginal people of NSW: Report of the Chief Health Officer 2012 focuses on Aboriginal health in NSW. It presents population health and health service delivery data in the areas of: life expectancy and child mortality; mothers, babies and child health; risk and protective factors for health; and burden of ill-health.

The Report provides trend data comparing the health of Aboriginal people to that of non-Aboriginal people, to show where improvements have been made, and where ongoing disparities still exist or have widened.

Incontinence in Australia (AIHW)

Incontinence in Australia: prevalence, experience and cost reports on the number of people who experienced severe incontinence in 2009, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. It also presents information on prevalence rates and how much was spent on incontinence (excluding residential aged care costs) in 2008-09.

Media release

Questions of life and death : a new report into the value of health libraries and information services

Health Libraries Inc and the Australian Library and Information Association have produced a joint report, Questions of life and death, describing the value of health library and information services in Australia. The report is based on surveys carried out in August/September 2012, with responses from 250 library staff and users across the nation.

The report shows how people use health library and information services and the impact this has on their work and study. Library and information service users were asked how they believed their use of the service over the last year had helped them.

Cancer in Australia (AIHW)

Cancer in Australia: an overview 2012

Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2012 presents the latest available information on incidence, mortality, survival, prevalence, burden of cancer, hospitalisations and national cancer screening programs. It is estimated that the most commonly diagnosed cancers in 2012 will be prostate cancer, bowel cancer and breast cancer. For all cancers combined, the incidence rate increased by 12% from 1991 to 2009, but the mortality rate decreased and survival improved over time. Cancer outcomes differ by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, remoteness area and socioeconomic status.

Cancer in Australia: in brief 2012

Cancer in Australia: in brief 2012 presents key points and trends from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's latest biennial report about cancer in Australia, Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2012.

Media Release

Best practice governance framework for allied health education and training (HETI)

Best practice governance framework for allied health education and training has been developed by The Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) following a review of existing accreditation, policy frameworks and current evidence to support the development of allied health capabilities in the delivery of person-centred care through the creation of learning organisations and promotion of a culture of lifelong learning. The guidelines are based on a set of key overarching principles of education and training.

The Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022 (NSW Health)

The Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022 provides a high level overview of the strategies that need to be implemented to ensure that NSW can train, recruit and retain doctors, nurses, midwives, oral health practitioners and allied health professionals in order to continue to provide a quality health service to the people of NSW. The Plan identifies who is responsible for the development and delivery of initiatives, recognising that there are many organisations that contribute to the successful provision of health services across NSW Health.

Diabetes among young Australians (AIHW)

Diabetes among young Australians is the first report from the National Centre for Monitoring Diabetes to examine the management and impact of diabetes in youth in Australia. Diabetes affects a considerable number of young people: in 2010, about 31,300 Australians aged 0-30 years with diabetes were registered with the National Diabetes Service Scheme. Most (79%) had Type 1 diabetes. This report explores how young Australians with diabetes are managing their condition, their use of health services and the diabetes-related health problems they experience.

Media release

More nursing research from the Journal of Advanced Nursing

Publishers of the Journal of Advanced Nursing, Wiley, have developed a new Online Open method of publishing where authors may opt to make articles in their journal freely available to all without subscription. The first 6 articles to employ this option cover an interesting range of nursing topics

Health-related quality of life and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in accident and emergency attenders suffering from psychosocial crises: a longitudinal study

Systematic review of the management of incontinence and promotion of continence in older people in care homes: descriptive studies with urinary incontinence as primary focus.

Experiences of drug use and ageing: health, quality of life, relationship and service implications

Critical thinking dispositions among newly graduated nurses

Ginger compress therapy for adults with osteoarthritis

Nursing Services Delivery Theory: an open system approach

New and evolving nursing roles (Free articles from the Journal of Advanced Nursing)

New and Evolving Nursing Roles is the latest free virtual issue from the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Articles in this issue include:

Time to clarify - the value of advanced practice nursing roles in health care

Clinical nurse research consultant: a clinical and academic role to advance practice and the discipline of nursing

Nurse prescribing roles in acute care: an evaluative case study

..... plus lots more.

This virtual issue is the latest in a series of virtual issues available from the JAN site. Others available are :

Virtual Issue: Cancer Care
Virtual Issue: Older People and Stroke
Virtual Issue: Dementia
Virtual Issue: Self- Care
Virtual Issue: Healthy Lifestyles
Virtual Issue: Diabetes
Virtual Issue: End of Life Care
Virtual Issue: Methodology
Virtual Issue: Workforce

New "quick and easy" reference guides for health professionals treating young people with depression

Following the development of NHMRC-approved Clinical Practice Guidelines for Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults in 2011, beyondblue has produced several "quick and easy" reference guides for busy health professionals.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said busy people such as doctors and psychologists don't have time to search a thick document for the information they need when they have a young person with depression sitting in their clinic and needing help. "Health professionals told us that the beyondblue Clinical Practice Guidelines are an excellent resource for in-depth research, but for use on a day-to-day basis, they wanted the information in a more succinct and easily-accessible format. As a result, beyondblue developed these new resources to provide them with a summary of the main points in the Clinical Practice Guidelines to which they can refer quickly during a consultation with a young person," she said. The new guides are :

- Depression in young people - Executive Summary: A guide for primary care health professionals
- Assessment and management of depression in young people: A guide for primary care health professionals
- Engaging young people in health care: A guide for primary care health professionals
- Depression in young people: A desktop guide for primary care health professionals

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?link_id=6.1247 Download the guidelines and the companion guides that support the guidelines

Literacy program may spread nation-wide

Pilot of the Aboriginal Adult Literacy
 Program in Wilcannia
A new foundation to support adult literacy in Indigenous communities will oversee the expansion of a successful program that has been running in Wilcannia. The Literacy for Life Foundation has been set up by construction company Brookfield Multiplex, and will start work early next year.

This year, 16 adults in Wilcannia graduated from Yes, I Can, an adult literacy project that started in Cuba.

The Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council's chief executive, Jack Beetson, will work with the foundation, and he says the key objective will be to push for that project to be rolled out nationally. "It's not only important in Wilcannia, this is about doing something first of all in New South Wales, but then taking it out nationally, that's why there's a need to set up the foundation to be the body that attempts to roll this out on a national basis, ultimately," Mr Beetson said.

Literacy for Life: Brookfield Multiplex to establish Foundation to boost Aboriginal literacy

Literacy program may spread nation-wide (ABC)

Mental health report card welcomed, but rural issues ignored

ALTHOUGH the first Mental Health Report Card has been praised and welcomed by the Western NSW Local Health District, there is some regret that rural issues in NSW weren't addressed.

The report; A Contributing Life: The 2012 Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, was launched on Tuesday by the National Mental Health Commission (NRMC).

It recommended reducing the early death of Australians with severe mental illness and improving their physical health; increasing access to home-based visits to support families and children; providing local interventions to prevent suicide; and minimising the use of seclusion and restraint.

Director of mental health at the Western NSW Local Health District, Dr Russell Roberts welcomed the report but said it was with regret the mental health issues of rural NSW and Australia wasn't addressed.

CSIRO report extols benefits of fast broadband for outback health

The CSIRO says Australia will be a world leader in providing telehealth through the high speed national broadband network. Caring for the last 3%: telehealth potential and broadband implications for remote Australia, a CSIRO report presented at the 2nd International Conference on Global Telehealth 26-28 November 2012 in Sydney says specialist consultations will mean early diagnoses and better management of chronic diseases, like diabetes, for the 3% of the population who live in remote areas.

Lead author Dr Sarah Dods says precise surgery will never be possible because of the one-second delay on the satellite, but she says Australia's tele-consultations will help close the health gap for Indigenous people. "We're going to be one of the first countries in the world that has national broadband," she said. "Telehealth and health outcomes have been talked about since the early days of the national broadband network being discussed. It's a real point of difference for Australia where we are, very much, leading the world."

CSIRO report extols benefits of fast broadband for outback health(ABC)

International profiles of health care systems

International Profiles of Health Care Systems: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States has been published by the Commonwealth Fund.

Each overview covers health insurance, public and private financing, health system organisation, quality of care, health disparities, efficiency and integration, care coordination, use of health information technology, use of evidence-based practice, cost containment, and recent reforms and innovations. Summary tables compare overall results on such factors as health care spending, hospital utilisation, patient safety, disease prevention and public views.

In addition, summary tables provide data on a number of key health system characteristics and performance indicators, including overall health care spending, hospital spending and utilization, health care access, patient safety, care coordination, chronic care management, disease prevention, capacity for quality improvement, and public views.

Ward rounds in medicine - best practice guidelines

Ward rounds in medicine: principles for best practice has recently been published by the Royal College of Physicians with the Royal College of Nursing. It sets out core recommendations and principles for best practice for conducting medical ward rounds, including their structure, preparation and scheduling, as well as patient participation and protection, nursing involvement, the use of safety checklists and discharge planning.

It calls for the multidisciplinary team - doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and allied health professionals - to be given dedicated time to participate, with clarity about individual roles and responsibilities during and after ward rounds.

Common drug reduces depression in diabetics

People living with diabetes may be able to reduce the risk of developing depression and other mood disorders by including a common medication in the management of their condition. The major 12-year study based on a Taiwanese adult population cohort has shown the onset of diabetes increases the risk of mood disorders, mainly depression, by more than two and a half times. However the study, by researchers from Monash University and the National Health Research Institutes Taiwan, also found when metformin is included in the treatment of diabetes, the incidence of mood disorders was reduced by more than 50%.

Metformin is the most commonly used medication for type 2 diabetes. Taken orally, it helps control blood sugar levels. Lead author, Emeritus Professor Mark Wahlqvist said the increasing prevalence of diabetes is revealing complications beyond the well-known ones affecting the cardiovascular system, the eyes, peripheral nerves and feet.

Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning: Australia 2009-10 (AIHW)

Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning: Australia 2009-10 is the 8th in a series on hospitalisations due to injury and poisoning in Australia, and covers the financial year 2009-10. A total of 421,065 injury cases required hospitalisation during the 12 months (242,478 males and 178,586 females). Overall rates of injury were higher among people aged 65 and over, and lower in children aged 0-14. The leading causes of hospitalised injury were unintentional falls (38% of cases), followed by transport accidents (13%).

Media release

Suicide in Rural and Remote Areas of Australia

A new report launched by the Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, has found that rural and regional communities face unique challenges in preventing and recovering from suicide. Mr Butler said the report - Suicide in rural and remote areas of Australia confirms the need to address suicide in rural and remote Australia in a way that recognises the specific experience of those communities. "Suicide is devastating for families and communities, and we know that rural, regional and remote communities face rates of suicide around 20-30% higher than in metropolitan areas," Mr Butler said.

Those groups most vulnerable to suicide appear to be males, youth, farmers and Indigenous people. Data from the Queensland Suicide Register showed that, between 2005 and 2007, male suicide rates in remote areas were significantly higher than male suicide rates in non-remote areas.

Examining suicide in regional and remote Australia, this report aims to provide a better understanding how the rural cultural paradigm affects suicidal behaviours so we may develop and implement appropriate and effective suicide prevention strategies. In this way, those people most vulnerable can be protected from the tragedy of suicide.

Ministerial press release

Recognition and Respect: Mental Health Carers Report 2012

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disability and Carers, Jan McLucas have welcomed the release of a new report on carers of people with mental illness.Recognition and Respect: Mental Health Carers Report 2012 surveyed more than 500 mental health carers on the services available to them and to the people they care for.

"Mental health carers reported that their role is not well understood by the community, professionals, workplaces and schools and that they struggle to get information about the help available," Mr Butler said. "The Government's $2.2 billion mental health reform plan has provided a significant boost for people with mental illness and their carers, however many carers still experience stigma, discrimination and difficulty gaining support. Carers reported that their role impacts on their finances, physical and mental health, employment prospects, and social connections." Senator McLucas said the research reaffirms the significance of the Australian Government's commitment to supporting Australia's 2.6 million carers.

Press release

People with dementia in hospitals in New South Wales 2006-07 (AIHW)

People with dementia in hospitals in New South Wales 2006-07 examines the experiences of the 252,700 people aged 50 and over who stayed for at least one night in a New South Wales public hospital in 2006-07. Slightly more than 8% of patients (20,800 people) were identified as having dementia. Even allowing for age and sex differences, people with dementia had much higher hospitalisation rates than those without dementia: 26% compared with 12%. They also tended to stay longer in hospital and were more likely to enter or return to residential care on discharge from hospital, or to die in hospital.

The main report is accompanied by a technical paper: Deriving key patient variables: a technical paper for the Hospital Dementia Services Project

Media release

A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (National Mental Health Commission)

A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, is the independent National Mental Health Commission's inaugural annual report card and is a world first of its kind. Built on the personal stories of people who aren't often heard : people with a lived experience of mental health difficulty, their families and supporters : the report card views mental health as an issue affecting every aspect of the life of a person; a "whole-of-life approach". Its theme, "A Contributing Life", recognises that people with mental health difficulties need the same things as everyone else: a stable home, a decent education, a job, family, friends and healthy relationships, good treatment and access to services and rights.

Launching the report card, Prof Fels said: "It is important that the Prime Minister gave mental health a seat at the top table, making it a matter for Premiers and Chief Ministers, and putting mental health in her portfolio. The Commission has been given the independence and permission we need to 'tell it like it is'. This report uncovers some difficult truths that it will be very difficult to walk away from.

Australia leads the world in progressive mental health policy, but it falls down in delivery. The report card paints a big reform picture, makes 10 specific recommendations, and calls for change in a range of areas where the Commission believes action can and must start now. For example:

· reducing the early death of Australians with severe mental illness and improving their physical health
· minimising the use of seclusion and restraint
· increasing access to mental health services from 6-8 to 12% of Australia's population
· making the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a higher priority
· stopping people from being discharged from mental health services into homelessness or unstable homes
· increasing the employment rates of people with mental illness and paying greater attention to supporting them at work
· increasing access to home based visiting to support families and children
· providing effective, local interventions to prevent suicide

A series of short videos telling the real stories of real people has also been developed to help engage Australians in the theme of each chapter and bring mental health into the public spotlight as well.

Mental health services need to be improved: report (ABC)

Mental Health Commission reports 'massive' problems with services

Media release

The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers

Common myths about immunisation have been laid to rest in a comprehensive new booklet written by the nation's top immunologists and published by the Australian Academy of Science. Devised by a national panel of experts in response to confusion created by contradictory information in the public domain, The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers explains the latest immunology science in accessible language. Based on a series of key questions, the publication aims to increase awareness of the science upon which public and personal health policy decisions responses should be based.

The booklet was prepared by a Working Group overseen by Professor Tony Basten and Professor Ian Frazer, and an Oversight Committee chaired by Sir Gus Nossal. Launching the booklet today, Academy President Professor Suzanne Cory urged all parents to use it as an aid to making crucial
decisions about their children's health.

Australia’s first national online mental health clinic launched

Access Macquarie was announced as the provider of a new online clinic by the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon. Mark Butler during Mental Health Week in October 2012.

The new online clinic provides confidential assistance to people nationally via the internet, phone or email. This initiative is part of the Australian Government’s mental health reform package and will improve access plan to expand to mental health services in remote areas across Australia. This online clinic will bridge this gap as well as provide a powerful complement to traditional face-to-face services.


Community action on alcohol consumption finds success in west (Central West)

PARKES and Forbes are among NSW towns reported to be getting on top of their booze blues because of a world-leading research project.

The five-year and multi-million-dollar Alcohol Action in Rural Communities (AARC) project tested a community action approach to reducing risky alcohol consumption, too often resulting in harm.

NSW Minister for Western NSW, Mental Health and Healthy Lifestyles, Kevin Humphries, yesterday said the project had been effective in reducing alcohol consumption in rural communities, as well as rates of binge-drinking, alcohol-related crime and residents' experience of alcohol abuse.

He said the project demonstrated communities had an important role to play in complementing state and federal government interventions.


Disability program planned for Trangie

It is hoped a program in Trangie will help people with physical and mental disabilities learn life skills. Challenge Disability Services plans to establish a day program for at least five people in the town's dis-used girl guide's hall.

The chief executive Barry Murphy says the group is working with the council to work out how much it will cost to repair the building. He says the program will be tailored to each participant.


Changes in life expectancy and disability in Australia 1998 to 2009 (AIHW)

Changes in life expectancy and disability in Australia 1998 to 2009 shows that older Australians are living longer and, on average, getting more years of life without severe or profound limitation in basic daily activities. On the other hand, the ageing of the Australian population and increasing longevity are leading to a greater number of older people with disability and severe or profound activity limitation.

Media release

PDQ Evidence : new search engine for evidence about health systems

PDQ ("pretty darn quick")-Evidence facilitates rapid access to the best available evidence for decisions about health systems. It includes systematic reviews, overviews of reviews (including evidence-based policy briefs), primary studies included in systematic reviews and structured summaries of that evidence.

In addition, it includes translations of the titles and abstracts of included records to facilitate searching in different languages and it is continually updated by searching multiple sources of systematic reviews and overviews of reviews, including the Cochrane database of systematic reviews (CDSR), the Health Technology Assessment Database, the EPPI-Centre Evidence Library, the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, NICE public health guidelines and systematic reviews and several others.

Three million Australians will develop dementia by 2050

A new report commissioned by Alzheimer's Australia forecasts that three million Australians will develop dementia between 2012 and 2050. The report, Modelling the impact of interventions to delay the onset of dementia in Australia, was prepared by the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre: Assessment and Better Care at the University of New South Wales.

"Our analysis shows that if we can develop an effective intervention or treatment to delay the onset of dementia by just 5 years, we could spare close to one million people from the personal tragedy of a diagnosis of dementia," Centre Director, Scientia Professor Brodaty said.

Dementia research in Australia is significantly underfunded in comparison to other chronic diseases, and Glenn Rees, the CEO of Alzheimer's Australia, said "While the Government has made some positive moves, such as the establishment of a new Partnership Centre for research on cognitive decline, we still need an immediate injection of funds to boost the number of Australian researchers working on dementia over the next 10 years."

Media release

Engage - a Gastro-Intestinal (GI) cancer diagnosis need not be a lonely journey

Being diagnosed with cancer inevitably leads to many questions. That is why the GI Cancer Institute has launched Engage, a free online information network to help gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer patients, survivors, carers and family members persevere through this tough time. GI cancers are cancers that affect the digestive system. This includes cancers of the oesophagus, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, stomach and colorectal organs.

Engage is a place to learn about the latest GI clinical trials and to share experiences regarding treatments. A community of people whose lives have been impacted by GI cancer, members can receive online information from survivors and carers who understand the challenges of GI cancer.

Engage is a forum that provides trustworthy, practical, and accessible information for patients and their carers. This information includes:

*Real stories from GI cancer survivors and carers about their cancer journey;
*Information about clinical trials
*News about research conducted by the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG), and GI Cancer Institute fundraising events;
*Recommended resources such as books and links to helpful websites, and;
*Nutrition information such as great recipes.

As well as a wealth of online information, Engage members will be sent a quarterly Engage eNewsletter, which will provide regular updates and stories from health professionals, researchers, survivors and trials participants.

The Learning Guide: a handbook for allied health professionals facilitating learning in the workplace

HETI (The Health Education & Training Institute) has produced The Learning Guide: a handbook for allied health professionals facilitating learning in the workplace in response to requests from many allied health professionals for practical guidelines to facilitate clinical education and learning in the workplace. Along with their roles in supervision, operational management and leadership, many allied health professionals are involved in facilitating clinical education and learning on a day-to-day basis, particularly in skill development and practice.

This guide is not a policy document. It provides information and guidelines based upon published evidence that supports effective methods of promoting education, learning needs and professional development of allied health professionals working in clinical settings, to contribute to the safety and quality care of patients.

The Learning Guide follows the earlier production by HETI of The Superguide - a handbook for supervising Allied Health professionals.

Trends in hospitalised childhood injury in Australia 1999-07 (AIHW)

Trends in hospitalised childhood injury in Australia 1999-07 provides summary data on trends in hospitalised childhood injury for 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2007. Information is provided for three age groups (0-4, 5-9 and 10-14 year-olds) for each year.

Overall, falls were the main cause of hospitalised injury among children, with just over 193,100 cases in 1999-2007, followed by transport-related injury with almost 66,900 cases. The most frequent causes of hospitalised falls in children aged 9 years and under involved playground equipment. Older children were more likely to be injured roller-skating and skateboarding.

Media release

Research reveals the alarming cost of postnatal depression

New ground-breaking research from PANDA, the Post and Antenatal Depression Association, reveals 1800 Australian parents are diagnosed every week with post and antenatal depression at a cost to the economy of $433 million. The Deloitte Access Economics research has been released in the lead-up to Postnatal Depression Awareness Week.

The cost of perinatal depression in Australia (Summary report) Deloitte economics

Research reveals the alarming cost of postnatal depression (PANDA)

Mark Butler, Ministerial Press Release

Lab Tests Online-Au launches free pathology information app

Lab Tests Online-Au, the award-winning, not-for-profit website providing independent information about pathology testing has launched a free app for iPhone with versions for Android (Google Play) phones and Amazon Kindle available in the coming weeks.

"Whether you are a patient looking for answers that might reassure you about your health or a medical practitioner, health professional or student seeking quick confirmation of a test, this new app puts the information into the palm of your hand," Lab Tests Online-Au Chair, Professor Leslie Burnett said.

Information on Lab Tests Online-Au is prepared by pathologists and scientists working in pathology laboratories and is reviewed by an editorial board. The website attracts more than 80,000 visits a month. Professor Burnett said research had shown that just over half of users were medical and health professionals and students. "They can now get up-to-date information about pathology testing on their smart phones whenever and wherever they need it."

The Lab Tests Online-Au app has information on hundreds of pathology tests, diseases and clinical conditions and specimen collection and processing, as well a general overview of pathology laboratories, the way they work and the people who work in them. It has been developed by the Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists (AACB) with support from the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA). It has been funded under the Quality Use of Pathology Program of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. The site is accredited by and complies with the international standards of the Health On the Net (HON) foundation.

Lab Tests Online-Au is part of an international network of similar sites. There are now 17 sites world-wide in 14 languages. To download the free app go direct to https://itunes.apple.com/app/lab-tests-online-au/id574299717?ls=1&mt=8 For more information go to http://www.labtestsonline.org.au/

Health Workforce 2025 : Medical Specialists

The third volume of Health Workforce Australia's landmark projections for doctors, nurses and midwives has just been released, with modeling for medical specialties reinforcing earlier findings that Australia cannot afford to continue a business-as-usual approach if it is to avoid workforce shortages in the future.

Volume three has one clear message : the number of medical specialists is increasing, but the workforce is not evenly distributed.

"What this means is there are not enough general practitioners and some other medical specialists practising in regional and rural Australia, some medical specialties are more popular than others from a career perspective, and there is a growing trend towards specialisation and sub-specialisation, which is resulting in a shortage of generalists," Mark Cormack, the Chief Executive Officer of Health Workforce Australia (HWA), said.

"The specialities that will be in shortest supply by 2025 if reform does not take place are obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology, anatomical pathology, psychiatry, diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology," Mr Cormack said.

Health Workforce 2025 is comprised of 3 volumes.

Volume 1 contains the overall findings from a workforce planning analysis of the trends in the supply and demand of doctors, nurses and midwives in Australia.

Volume 2 contains detailed supply and demand projections for midwives and registered and enrolled nurses by area of practice, as well as state and territory projections for all professions.

Volume 3 contains detailed supply and demand projections for the medical workforce, by specialty.

Download Health Workforce 2025 - Volume 1 Workforce Planning analysis

Download Health Workforce 2025 - Volume 2 Nurses and Midwives

Download Health Workforce 2025 - Volume 3 Medical Specialists

A summary of Health Workforce 2025 : Volumes 1 to 3

National Guidelines for Clinical Placement Agreements (Consultation)

National Guidelines for Clinical Placement Agreements are being developed by Health Workforce Australia (HWA). The Guidelines aim to assist individuals and their organisations who are involved in clinical education and training to develop new, or to review existing, clinical placement agreements.

This group includes education and training providers in the health sector, service providers who provide clinical placement opportunities, clinical supervisors, students and those involved in the administration and/or organisation of clinical placements.

The Guidelines are being developed as part of HWA's Clinical Supervision Support Program (CSSP). They align with the National Clinical Supervision Support Framework and address the three focus areas of the CSSP: Common areas that need to be considered in the development of or review of a clinical placement agreement are outlined in the Guidelines. They also provide leadership by detailing minimum essential requirements that should be included in all clinical placement agreements.

Comments are welcome until close of business Friday 14 December 2012.

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia (AIHW)

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2010-11: report on the National Minimum Data Set

Around 150,500 closed treatment episodes for alcohol and other drug use were provided in Australia in 2010-11 - almost 5,000 more than in 2009-10. For almost half of these episodes, the principal drug of concern was alcohol. Cannabis was the second most common principal drug of concern. Counselling was the most common type of treatment, followed by withdrawal management.

Media release

Free virtual issues on vaccination and infection control

Two virtual issues on infection control topics. Read the full articles for free.

Clinical Microbiology and Infection
New virtual supplement
The impact of vaccines on public health [16 articles]

New Virtual Issue from International Nursing Review
The prevention of infectious diseases and their consequences: still a policy priority for nurses. [8 articles]

Mental health check-up (New Rural Mental Health study)

The UNE is embarking on one of the nation's biggest surveys of rural and regional mental health. It'll be one of the biggest studies of its size in Australia.

The University of New England in Armidale is about to start a large scale biological, medical and social study of mental health in rural and regional areas. It's being funded through a $4.8 million grant from the Federal Government.

Mental-health check-up (ABC)

ROMHAR – Rural Outreach Mental Health and Resilience Study (UNE)

Medications prescribed for people with obstructive airways disease: antibiotics and inhaled corticosteroids (AIHW)

Appropriate use of medications is important in maximising health benefits for patients, minimising the negative effects of medications, and controlling health costs. Medications prescribed for people with obstructive airways disease: antibiotics and inhaled corticosteroids focuses on the appropriate use of certain medications for the management of obstructive airways disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Data in this report suggest that antibiotics are commonly used among patients with asthma and COPD, and that supply patterns for inhaled corticosteroids are often not consistent with treatment guidelines for the management of these conditions.

Media release

Workplace screening programs for chronic disease prevention: a rapid review

This review by the Sax Institute examined the effectiveness of workplace screening programs for chronic disease prevention based on evidence retrieved from the main databases of biomedical and health economic literature published to March 2012, supplemented with relevant reports. The review found:

1. Strong evidence of effectiveness of Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) (when used in combination with other interventions) in relation to tobacco use, alcohol use, dietary fat intake, blood pressure and cholesterol

2. Sufficient evidence for effectiveness of worksite programs to control overweight and obesity

3. Sufficient evidence of effectiveness for workplace HRAs in combination with additional interventions to have favourable impact on the use of healthcare services (such as reductions in emergency department visits, outpatient visits, and inpatient hospital days over the longer term)

4. Sufficient evidence for effectiveness of benefits-linked financial incentives in increasing HRA and program participation

5. Sufficient evidence that for every dollar invested in these programs an annual gain of $3.20 (range $1.40 to $4.60) can be achieved.

6. Promising evidence that even higher returns on investment can be achieved in programs incorporating newer technologies such as telephone coaching of high risk individuals and benefits-linked financial incentives.

New AIHW oral health reports

Families and their oral health provides information on the oral health and oral health impacts experienced by Australian children using data from the 2010 National Dental Telephone Interview Survey. It seeks to determine if this experience is closely related to the oral health of their parents. Additionally, the report explores the role family circumstances play in children's experience of oral health.

Chronic conditions and oral health provides information on the impact of oral conditions on people with a chronic condition including asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure and depression.

Media release

Guiding principles for medication management in residential aged care facilities : 2012

The aim of the revised Guiding Principles for medication management in residential aged care facilities : 2012 is to promote safe, quality use of medicines and appropriate medication management in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). It is intended to assist RACFs to develop, implement and evaluate locally specific policies and procedures, support those involved in assisting residents, and support residents in the medication management process.

The Guiding Principles are based on best available evidence and are intended to be applicable to all residential settings. Their application must take into account relevant national, state and territory legislation and regulation, profession-specific licensing, guidelines and standards, and aged care accreditation standards and requirements.

Ministerial press release

Decision-Making Tool: Supporting a Restraint-Free Environment in Aged Care

A restraint-free environment is seen as a basic human right for all and care recipients are entitled to respect and protection of their basic rights and freedoms, regardless of whether the care is being provided in a residential aged care setting or within the care recipients own home. This document has been developed to assist staff and management working in both the residential and community aged care setting to make informed decisions in relation to the use or non use of restraint, in responding to behaviours of concern.

The Decision Making Tool: Responding to issues of restraint in Aged Care (2004) resource has been updated and developed into separate tool kits for the community and residential sectors.

These Tool Kits are designed to assist in the decision making process bearing in mind that any form of restraint is only to be used as a last resort. Organisational policies and procedures need to be underpinned by a restraint-free way of thinking and developed in conjunction with relevant legislation such as the Aged Care Act 1997.

Decision-Making Tool: Supporting a Restraint Free Environment in Residential Aged Care

Decision-Making Tool: Supporting a Restraint Free Environment in Community Aged Care

Ministerial press release

Measuring the quality of allied health services in Australia (Open access article)

Measuring the quality of allied health services in Australia: Is it a case of "the more we learn, the less we know" has recently been published in the open access journal, Journal of Healthcare Leadership.

This evidence-informed analytical review outlines factors that should be considered by allied health leaders when measuring allied health service quality. It describes allied health services in detail and discusses the difficulties when making these measurements, taking into account the locations and range of services provided and the complexity of the allied health discipline-mix. The authors emphasise the importance of strong, visionary, and collaborative leadership to ensure that allied health activities and outcomes are both measured and reported in an effective and efficient fashion.

Grimmer-Sommers K, Milanese S, Kumar S. (2012). Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 4, 71-81

A picture of Australia's children 2012

A picture of Australia's children 2012 provides the latest information on how Australia is faring according to key indicators of child health, development, and wellbeing. Deaths rates for infants and children have declined since 1986, rates of risky drinking and smoking among children aged 12-14 are down, and most children achieve above the minimum standards for reading and numeracy.

But there is still room for improvement. Almost one-quarter of children are developmentally vulnerable at school entry, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children in socioeconomic disadvantaged areas are likely to fare worse across a broad range of indicators.

Media release

Working Together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health

Working Together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health, produced by the Kulunga Research Network in Western Australia, provides a comprehensive overview of indigenous mental health.

The book contains 21 chapters and is divided into four parts.

Part 1 contains four chapters that outline the historical, social, cultural, and policy contexts that have shaped Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing.

Part 2 contains seven chapters on a number of issues that are particularly relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing.

Part 3 contains five chapters that focus on practice within the field.

Part 4 presents examples of models and programs for practitioners working with different groups.

Free hard copies are available by emailing enquiry@ichr.uwa.edu.au. Please provide your postal address, the number of copies you require and the intention of use of the hard copies.

Electronic pdf copy : You can download the complete book as a single pdf or download individual chapters and sections.

Australian health survey: first results, 2011-12

First results from the Australian Health Survey have some good and bad news; smoking rates continue to fall, as do rates of drinking at risky levels, but the number of people who are overweight and obese continues to rise.

Dr Paul Jelfs of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, said the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey was the largest checkup on the nation's health ever undertaken. "Compared to four years ago the proportion of overweight adult Australians has increased by more than two percentage points, meaning that nearly two-thirds (63%) of the population are now classified as overweight or obese," Dr Jelfs said. "Men were more likely to be overweight or obese (70%) than women (56%) while one-quarter (25%) of our children are overweight or obese".

He added that while Australians are not winning the battle of the bulge, the good news is we are smoking and drinking less. "Smoking rates are down across all age groups, particularly for people aged under 45," he said. "Men are still more likely to smoke than women - the rate is about one in five men compared to one in seven women. "Just over 16% of adult Australians smoke daily, a fall of nearly 3% over the last 4 years. "On a state basis, there were more smokers in the Northern Territory (23.9%) and Tasmania (21.8%) and the fewest in the Australian Capital Territory (13.4%).

"Australians are also drinking less, with a drop of 1.4% in the number of people drinking more than 2 standard drinks on average per day," Dr Jelfs said.

Results released today from the Australian Health Survey are the first in a series of results that will be released progressively over the next 18 months.

Media release

Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2010 (AIHW)

In 2010, there were 61,774 assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment cycles performed in Australia and New Zealand. Of these, 23.9% resulted in a clinical pregnancy and 18.1% in a live delivery (the birth of at least one liveborn baby). There were 12,056 liveborn babies following ART treatments in 2010.

Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2010

Media release

Study to Improve Cancer Survival for Aboriginal Peoples : Call for participants

Cancer is the second biggest killer of Aboriginal people in Australia and the death rate from cancer is 60% higher in Aboriginal people than in non-Aboriginal people.

Cancer Council NSW is seeking participants for a study that will investigate the barriers to Aboriginal people getting health care, the aim being to improve access to cancer diagnoses and treatment. Participation could help them to remove barriers to early diagnosis and treatment and improve the unacceptable cancer survival rate.

The study is open to any Aboriginal person aged 18 and over who has been diagnosed with cancer since July 2010.

Participation involves a short 20 minute phone call to discuss medical care leading up to cancer diagnosis. Participants will receive a $60 gift voucher for their time.

For more information and to register, go to the Cancer Council study http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/62523/uncategorized/join-the-aboriginal-pathways-to-diagnosis-study/?pp=62523

Mental health online forum

NEXT Thursday The Land will host an online forum with a panel of mental health professionals available to answer questions or address comments.

It is designed to build on the 56-page Glove Box Guide to Mental Health initiated by The Land and the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) and free inside the October 18 issue of The Land.

The Land's editor Sally White said the joint initiative was designed to build awareness around mental health issues and provide readers with information about where to seek assistance and how they can help their family and friends.

Schools to get help dealing with suicide

The Federal Government will pay for specialists to be sent to high schools when a student has committed suicide. The program will be run by Headspace, Australia's national youth mental health foundation.

Mental Health Minister Mark Butler says about two to three students kill themselves every week. He says the teams will help school communities spot people with mental health problems and stop copycat suicides.


The Menzies-Nous Australian health survey 2012

The Menzies-Nous Australian health survey 2012 provides key findings about the views held by Australians on their own health, on the Australian health care system and on aged-care services. The 2012 survey is the third biennial national survey conducted by the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Nous Group.

The survey was conducted via a phone interview of 1200 people in July 2012. To enable analysis of trends since 2008, a number of questions regarding the health of Australians and use of the health care system were consistently asked in 2008, 2010 and 2012. A number of questions were also asked for the first time this year, particularly those regarding Australian perspectives on aged-care reforms.

Demographic information was collected for survey participants to enable comparisons to be made in the following areas: age; financial stress; location; and level of education.

Helping hands for rural mental health

ADDRESSING causes and prevention of suicide and other mental health issues was the focus of a "Mental Health in the Bush" evening at Ceduna, as a part of Mental Health Week and the Suicide: It’s No Secret campaign.

Organised through the Mental Health team at Ceduna Health Centre, led by Julie Kurenda of Ceduna Mental Health and Uniting Church minister Reverend Sue Ellis, the information session aimed to break the silence on suicide, let the community know there is help available and to look out for the signs of mental illness or depression.

"Suicide: It’s No Secret" is a Uniting Church campaign which aims to get people to be more open about the causes of suicide and how it can be prevented.


Broken Hill DVD wins mental health award

A DVD featuring local carers has been recognised for telling their stories in a way that is useful for others in the same situation.

Sophie Angell and Tanya Clifton from the Family and Carer Mental Health Program in the Far West Local Health District won the award for family and carer involvement and engagement for their "Intangible" DVD.

Intangible was a digital storytelling project whereby we took seven carers' stories from far west NSW - mostly from Broken Hill and one from Menindee - and we put there stories on a DVD," Ms Angell said.

"It was really focused on the images around the area we live in, so it was really visual, and then we ended up making a quote book, a poster and there's even a website as well."

Broken Hill DVD wins mental health award (ABC News)

Intangible website

Progress of the nation’s first Indigenous suicide prevention strategy

Researchers from the Menzies Centre for Child Development and Education (CCDE) criss-crossed the country during August and September conducting public consultations in 16 capital cities and regional centres. Their ultimate task was to seek information that may help to reduce the distressingly high rates of suicide in Indigenous communities around Australia.

The team, lead by Associate Professor Gary Robinson, has been charged with capturing material to feed into the development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategy. It has spoken to more than 500 people and received over 50 submissions to the consultation website.

Suicide a topic to discuss

THE DUBBO Aboriginal Lands Council Meeting Room was the venue for a collaborative venture that aims to prevent and help young indigenous students cope with suicide.

About 50 people from a variety of community groups in Dubbo attended the discussion, including many Aboriginal elders.

Representatives from Dubbo public schools were also in attendance.

Palliative care services in Australia (AIHW)

Palliative care services in Australia is the first in a planned series of annual reports providing a detailed picture of the national response to the palliative care needs of Australians. Details from a range of data sources for 2009-10, and where available 2010-11, are presented, as are changes over time.

The number of palliative care hospital admissions in Australia rose by more than 50% between 2001 and 2010. The report shows that there were almost 56,000 palliative care admissions reported in public and private hospitals in 2009-10. Almost $3 million in Medicare Benefits Schedule payments was paid for palliative medicine specialist services in 2010-11. The average age of people being admitted to palliative care was 71.9 years.

Media release

BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2009-10 (AIHW)

BreastScreen Australia aims to reduce illness and death resulting from breast cancer through organised screening of women. This report is the latest in an annual series that presents national statistics monitoring the program against performance indicators. Breast cancer mortality is at a historic low, at 43 deaths per 100,000 women.

The report, Breastscreen Australia monitoring report 2009-2010, shows that more than 1.3 million women in the target age group of 50-69 were screened in 2009-2010, a participation rate of 55% .

In 2009-2010, participation was highest in Outer regional areas (58.2%), and lowest in Very remote areas (47.2%).

The difference between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous women was greater, with 36% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 50-69 having a screening mammogram in 2009-2010, compared with 55% of non-Indigenous women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). In 2008, there were around 7,000 new cases diagnosed in Australian women aged 50-69 -this equates to around 19 women aged 50-69 diagnosed with this disease every day.

Media release

New Australian Clinical Trials website

Patients suffering chronic diseases will benefit from the launch of a new website that offers easier access to clinical trials of new drugs, treatments and medical procedures. Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, said that the Australian Clinical Trials website was created in response to the needs of consumer groups, the pharmaceutical industry and research institutions.

"Clinical trials give tens of thousands of patients access to new and innovative treatments and play a vital part in the fight against disease," Ms Plibersek said. "There are many stories about recovery, improved quality of life or longer life from participating in a clinical trial conducted in Australia and this website will make it easier for patients to find out about and access clinical trials."

The website includes explanations of the clinical trial process; contact details for trials; a section for trial sponsors; real stories from patients, doctors and researchers, and a section for researchers on ethics, legislation and getting started.

Elective surgery waiting times (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics 2011-12: elective surgery waiting times

In 2011-12: - About 662,000 patients were admitted to Australian public hospitals from elective surgery waiting lists - 50% of patients were admitted for their surgery within 36 days of being placed on the waiting list and 90% were admitted within 251 days.

The surgical specialities with the longest median waiting times in 2011-12 were Ophthalmology, Ear, nose and throat surgery and Orthopaedic surgery (74, 66 and 63 days respectively). Cardiothoracic surgery had the shortest median waiting time (16 days).

Total knee replacement was the procedure with the longest median waiting time (184 days) while Coronary artery bypass graft had the shortest median waiting time (16 days).

"Over the five years from 2007-08 to 2011-12, the number of admissions from elective surgery waiting lists nationally rose by an average of 3.8% per year-but this was partly driven by an increase in the number of small hospitals reporting waiting times data", said AIHW spokesperson Alison Verhoeven.

Media release

Senate Committee on Palliative Care in Australia : final report

The Senate has released its long awaited final report into the state of palliative care in Australia, calling for a national conversation on palliative care : an issue which "belongs to all of us". The committee has made 38 recommendations in total on areas including palliative care funding, education for health professionals, education for the community, the need for improved access to information about services and supporting people to die in the place of their choice. The recommendations also focus on the needs of specific groups such as Indigenous Australians, CALD communities and children.

Dr Yvonne Luxford, CEO of Palliative Care Australia said, "The comprehensiveness of the report and the response from the Senators involved in the Inquiry is extremely encouraging. We look forward to seeing palliative care made a real priority in the current health reforms and recognised as an integral part of the health system."

Final report

Committee page

Senators call for a 'national conversation' on palliative care (Palliative Care Australia media release)

Mental health services: in brief 2012 (AIHW)

Mental health services in Australia - in brief 2012 provides an overview of the national response to the mental health needs of Australians. It includes information on mental health service provision, available mental health resources and the changes that have occurred in these over time. The publication compliments the more comprehensive data that is available online at Mental health services in Australia .

The report shows that about 1.7 million Australians (8% of the population) received public or private mental health services in 2009-10, generally receiving multiple services.

Mental health-related services are provided through hospitals and other residential care, hospital-based outpatient services, community mental health care services and consultations with specialists and General Practitioners (GPs).

There were about 13.9 million mental health-related GP visits in 2010-11. Depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance were the 3 mental health-related problems most frequently managed by GPs.

Media release

Patient Blood Management Guidelines

The first three modules of the National Blood Authority's Patient Blood Management Guidelines have been released.

Mr Leigh McJames, National Blood Authority's General Manager, said, "while blood transfusions are a recognised life-saving part of medical treatment, they can also be associated with adverse events and poorer outcomes for some patient groups. These guidelines provide healthcare professionals with the latest evidence-based approach to managing patients to minimise unnecessary exposure to transfusions where possible and deliver better outcomes for patients."

The guidelines have been developed by experts from clinical speciality colleges, societies and consumer representatives working with the NBA.

The Patient Blood Management Guidelines are a series of 6 modules that focus on evidence-based patient blood management. The modules are intended to assist and guide clinical decisions and coordination of healthcare across the primary, secondary and tertiary care settings for patient-specific groups requiring blood or blood products as part of their treatment.

Patient blood management aims to improve clinical outcomes for patients by avoiding unnecessary blood transfusion. It includes the three pillars of:

*Optimisation of blood volume and red cell mass
*Minimisation of blood loss
*Optimisation of the patient's tolerance of anaemia.

Guidelines currently available:

*Patient Blood Management Guidelines: Module 1 Critical Bleeding/Massive Transfusion

*Patient Blood Management Guidelines: Module 2 Perioperative

*Patient Blood Management Guidelines: Module 3 Medical

In development :

*Patient Blood Management Guidelines: Module 4 Critical Care
*Patient Blood Management Guidelines: Module 5 Obstetric
*Patient Blood Management Guidelines: Module 6 Paediatric / Neonate