Mental health policy 'fails to show results'

National attempts to improve mental healthcare have been challenged by a trio of health experts. The three experts claim it is unclear whether patients have benefited from the $8 billion in new money allocated to improving the sector by state and federal leaders since 2006.

In a scathing critique of current policy, the three experts say mental health's share of the overall health budget is shrinking instead of rising. This is the reverse of the outcome sought by peak mental health organisations, which have long argued that the mental health share of the budget -- now 5% -- should better reflect the 13% share of the overall disease burden caused by mental illnesses.

Australia's First National Mental Health Commission : Open for Business

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has launched Australia's first National Mental Health Commission. The launch marks a significant milestone in the rollout of the Gillard Government's mental health reforms.

The Commission is led by the Chair, Professor Allan Fels and 8 Commissioners, and formally meets for the first time on January 25 to begin work on Australia's first National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Mr Butler said, "The Commission will put Australia's mental health services under the spotlight. It will bring much needed transparency to our system. It will give us insights into service gaps, where we need to do more and where services are working and working well. One of the Commission's first priorities will be to deliver the first annual National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention - a key election commitment of the Gillard Government. This is important data that will allow us to monitor whether services are working effectively to deliver lasting outcomes for people with mental illness."

Press release

#qldfloods and @QPSMedia: crisis communication on Twitter in the 2011 South East Queensland floods

Report cover:
Crisis communication,
Angus Veitch / flickr
Social media sites Twitter and Facebook played a crucial role in disseminating information during the 2011 Queensland floods. That is the key finding of a new report by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI).

CCI researchers Assoc. Prof. Axel Bruns and Dr. Jean Burgess from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Assoc. Prof. Kate Crawford and Frances Shaw from the University of New South Wales focussed especially on the role of Twitter, which was prominently used by the Queensland Police Service during the crisis.

"Through their @QPSMedia Twitter account, police staff provided timely updates directly from the Queensland Premier's situation meetings," said Professor Bruns. "Many mainstream media picked up on these updates and included them in their own news tickers." Dr Burgess added that social media did much more than just improve communication between police and media organisations. "During the week of 10 January 2011, some 15,000 users participated in the #qldfloods hashtag on Twitter, sharing news, advice, photos and videos of the inundation," she said.

National strategies to address dementia (Alzheimer's Australia )

There are 35 million people worldwide living with dementia, and as the population ages this is predicted to reach over 100 million by 2050. The estimated worldwide costs of dementia in 2010 were US$604 billion, and this cost is expected to increase by 85% by 2030. The economic and social impact of dementia on health care systems and on family carers makes it the major health challenge of this century.

A number of countries have recognised that without a coordinated plan to address dementia individuals with dementia will not have access to the specialised services and supports they require. Some countries have already implemented a plan to address dementia.

This paper provides an overview of a selection of approaches that a selection of countries have taken to address dementia.

Clean slate without prejudice program in Redfern a success

A boxing program called Clean slate without prejudice has seen good results since it began in Redfern, New South Wales, in June 2009. Initiated by the Superintendent of the Redfern police force, Luke Freudenstein, in collaboration with local Aboriginal leaders, the program targets Indigenous youths at risk of offending. This includes those who have committed a crime but have not yet been sentenced, those incarcerated in Juvenile Justice Centres, and young offenders who have been released back into the community.

Support for NSW rural psychologists : Hunter Rural Mental Health Project

In 2012 the Psychology Council of NSW has seeded a grant to Hunter Health to supervise, mentor and support rural and remote area psychologists across NSW. The project has successfully supported up to 114 psychologists in 2011 through direct supervision, subsidized training, peer supervision groups, mentoring, access to an interactive blog and resources.

The project was featured in the October edition of InPsych which carries a more detailed description of the aims and outcomes.

Further information may be obtained from Graham Parry, Project Officer

What does national health reform mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? - Fact sheet

What does national health reform mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? is a fact sheet by the Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing. It provides information on the following topics:

- Improved hospital services
- More training for more doctors and nurses
- Greater support for practice nurses and Aboriginal health workers
- Improved access to health care
- Integrated GP and primary care
- Major reforms to mental health
- Building a national, secure e-Health system
- Major investments in preventive health
- Engaging Consumers

ARCHI Information Exchange

A new feature on the ARCHI site is the Information Exchange, a bulletin board which gives ARCHI users an opportunity to share interesting web pages, sites and articles about current innovations in healthcare.

Early postings include an interesting range of innovative projects from the Arts and Health Australia Awards for Excellence, the NHS Live project directory, and the new Queensland Centre for Healthcare Improvement.

The ARCHI Information Exchange is a site worth watching ..... and worth contributing to !

Implementation Guides for SAB, CDI and CLABSI

Three implementation guides have been developed for use by Australian hospitals and organisations to support the implementation of surveillance for Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB), Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI). The guides have been developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare - Healthcare Associated Infection Technical Advisory Group in collaboration with the clinical experts and the surveillance units from jurisdictions and are designed to support and standardise existing surveillance activities in line with the national definitions for SAB, CDI and CLABSI.

Each of the guides detail interpretation of the definitions, flowcharts, inclusions and exclusion for each of the surveillance topics, as well a list of examples to assist with decisions on those more difficult cases. The guides are not intended to replace or inform clinical management of infections or patient management but to standardise how key infection data is collected and reported.

Implementation guide SAB Consultation Edition November 2011

Implementation guide CDI Consultation Edition November 2011

Implementation guide CLABSI Consultation Edition November 2011

Send comments and feedback to: Comments and feedback received will be reviewed and responded to monthly by the HAI Technical Working Group.

Canrefer website to search for cancer service providers

The Cancer Institute NSW has launched a new website, Canrefer
Patients and health professionals can search for a cancer or palliative care service provider in NSW. The search can be done by tumour type (eg breast), service type (eg chemotherapy) and by Postcode. A map and contact details will be provided for services within a 200 km radius of the postcode provided.