Australian hospital statistics 2010-11 (AIHW)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released two new reports :

Australian hospital statistics 2010-11

Australian hospital statistics 2010-11 presents a detailed overview of Australia's public and private hospitals. In 2010-11, there were 8.9 million separations from hospitals including: 4.9 million same-day acute separations; 3.5 million overnight acute separations; and about 367,000 sub-acute and non-acute separations. There were also 7.7 million non-admitted patient emergency services and almost 43 million outpatient services provided by public hospitals.

Of the 8.9 million hospital admissions, 5.3 million were in public hospitals and 3.6 million were in private hospitals. The increase in admissions was higher in public hospitals (4.1%) than in private hospitals (3.9%).

The increased admissions in public hospitals were accompanied by increased spending. Expenditure on public hospitals was $37 billion in 2010-11. This spending has been increasing faster than inflation, rising by an average of 5.9% each year between 2006-07 and 2010-11 and by 8.2% between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

This report has been released in conjunction with updates to the MyHospitals website.

Media release.

Australia's hospitals 2010-11 at a glance

Australia's hospitals 2010-11 at a glance provides information on Australia's 1,340 public and private hospitals. In 2010-11, there were 8.9 million hospitalisations, including 2.2 million admissions involving surgery. Public hospitals provided 7.7 million non-admitted patient emergency services, with 70% of patients seen within recommended times for their triage category.

Work Health and Safety Statistics

The Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Booklet Australia 2012 has been published by Safe Work Australia, and is a pocket-sized summary of the main statistics on work-related injury, disease and death. Included are figures on the main types of injuries for which compensation was paid, the cost of injury and incidence rates by industry.

Rural fly-in fly-out health staff subject of Parliamentary inquiry

The chairman of the Far West Local Health District is calling for more training for rural health workers. Dr. Steve Flecknoe-Brown is planning to make a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the use of fly-in fly-out workers. He says he is concerned about the cost of flying health workers in to the region. Dr Flecknoe-Brown says the far west has a lot of fly-in-fly-out health workers, including staff to fill gaps in the system. He says training local staff is the best way to deal with a shortage of workers. "Not only training young doctors, but also training allied health professionals, have got to be supported and enhanced and backed up by training schemes for specialists and, for that matter, this category of people called rural generalists.

Rural health advocates have urged federal MPs to ensure the work of local health professionals is not undermined with the use of fly-in fly-out medical staff. Concerns about the provision of rural health services have been highlighted by the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) to the House of Representatives Regional Australia Committee's inquiry into fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in drive-out (DIDO) workers. NRHA told the committee policies and programs are needed to effectively balance the use of temporary staff and permanent workers in providing the best care possible to patients.

The NRHA emphasised in its submission to the inquiry that despite the potential for some problems, FIFO workers make a significant contribution to rural and remote health in areas of shortage and in some communities there is no other choice. But it said the design and operation of FIFO health services must provide support to healthcare workers already on the ground rather than contribute to the closure of existing health and aged care services.

The Australian Medical Association's Western Australia branch agrees. AMA WA president David Mountain told the inquiry there is a "noticeable dearth" of research and evidence into the full impact of FIFO practices on health, communities and small business. "Recent reports have shown significant health concerns around FIFO workers, ranging from diabetes, to obesity, mental health and heart issues, and it is important that any review involves this key area," Dr Mountain said.

In its submission to the inquiry the Royal Flying Doctor Service emphasised the importance of using FIFO staff to supplement local services. It also raised concerns about the impacts on its budget and ability to deliver services of increasing numbers of FIFO workers. Submissions and terms of reference are available from the Inquiry webpage.

New treatment trial for bipolar disorder (UNSW study)

Applying mild electrical currents to the brain has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression. But could the treatment also benefit people with bipolar disorder?

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a safe, non-invasive technique that involves the passing of a very weak direct current into the brain through electrodes on the scalp. Patients remain awake and alert during the procedure.

The largest randomised controlled trial of tDCS ever undertaken, conducted by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Black Dog Institute, recently confirmed the treatment’s significant antidepressant effects.

Youth disability in Australia

Youth disability in Australia: Face the facts briefing has been published by the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies. It highlights the key statistics, policy problems and development opportunities relevant to youth and disability today.

This is a particularly topical issue given current efforts to establish a national organisation to represent young people with disability, and the Australian Government's recent decision to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

See also : Youth disability - Snapshot, a short, sharp overview of the issues and the facts from the full briefing.

Forwarded from NCAHS Library Clippings

Aged care failing dementia sufferers

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today released a new Alzheimer’s Australia report on feedback received from older Australians, their families and carers through the national conversation on aged care reform. More than 1,000 people attended 16 Alzheimer’s Australia consultations nationwide.

The Alzheimer’s Australia report makes for sober reading. It is clear from the feedback received through the conversations that the issues that continue to beset the provision of care for people with dementia have not been given the prominence they deserve in the debate about the quality of aged care.

Research on Indigenous aged care and life expectancy sheds doubt on current policy

A recent study led by researchers at universities around Australia has produced results suggesting that Indigenous Australians may not be ageing prematurely, an outcome that has worried Indigenous aged care providers.

Authors from Charles Darwin University, the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, and Menzies School of Health Research, published detailed research examining the implications of life expectancy and health conditions of older Indigenous people for health and aged care policy.

This has cast doubt on the assumptions behind Federal Government policy, which uses a demographic of 50 years and over for population-based planning for Indigenous Australians. This is compared with 70 years and over for non-Indigenous Australians.

The COPD-X Guidelines

The COPD-X Guidelines are the outcome of a joint project of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and The Australian Lung Foundation. The guidelines aim to effect changes in clinical practice based on sound evidence; and shift the emphasis from a predominant reliance on pharmacological treatment of COPD to a range of interventions which include patient education, self-management of exacerbations and pulmonary rehabilitation.

The COPD snapshot (AIHW)

Fewer Australians are dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and deaths have dropped more significantly among men than women, according to COPD snapshot, the latest report in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) popular snapshot series.

Media release.

HarmFree Care: a patient safety improvement in the UK

"Harm free" care is the UK NHS national roll out of the pilot Safety Express QIPP programme. It helps teams in their aim to eliminate four types of harm : pressure ulcers, falls, urinary tract infections in patients with a catheter, and new VTE. This interesting and well presented website is worth a look.

Dementia: a public health priority

A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) calls for governments and policymakers to make dementia a global public health priority. The report Dementia: a public health priority provides an authoritative overview of the impact of dementia worldwide. In addition to valuable best practices and practical case studies from around the world, it contains a comprehensive collection of data, including hard-to-get statistics from low- and middle income countries.

Very few countries have a national dementia plan in place. The hope is that other countries will follow suit, using the report as a starting point for planning and implementation. According to ADI research, the number of people living with dementia worldwide, estimated at 35.6 million in 2010, is set to nearly double every 20 years, reaching 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

Brain training offers drug-free alternative for children with ADHD (University of Wollongong)

University of Wollongong researchers have discovered that computer games can help improve behaviour in children with ADHD. Their findings, recently published in the scientific journal ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, present a drug-free alternative for the disorder and have provided a basis for the development of a magic-themed computer game designed for children.

According to lead author and Psychology Associate Professor Stuart Johnstone, investigations into alternative ADHD treatments for children began after parents expressed worry about over-medication.

Scientists step closer to Alzheimer's blood test (University of Newcastle Research)

An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Newcastle has shown the potential of a simple blood-based test to identify people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, before any symptoms appear. The team of four spent a year studying data from the international Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database, the most comprehensive collection of Alzheimer’s data in the world.

The Newcastle team assessed the levels of 190 proteins in blood from 566 people with either Alzheimer’s Disease, mild cognitive impairment or normal cognition and showed that measuring a panel of 11 proteins in blood can provide a predictive test with more than 85 per cent accuracy. Monitoring the change in blood protein levels over time could increase accuracy above 90 per cent.

The study's findings are published in the prestigious PLoS ONE journal.

Mental health workforce (AIHW)

The mental health workforce in Australia is growing, according to recent figures by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare(AIHW).

The latest workforce information on the AIHW's Mental Health Services in Australia website shows the number of psychiatrists (including psychiatrists-in-training) per 100,000 people increased at an average yearly rate of 1.4% between 2005 and 2009.

"The number of nurses who work principally in mental health increased at an average yearly rate of 1.5% over the same period," said AIHW spokesperson Mr Brent Diverty.

The website provides workforce information on psychiatrists, psychiatrists-in-training and nurses who work principally in mental health care.

Media release.

Alzheimer's Australia report damns dementia care

Alzheimer's Australia has welcomed the release by the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, The Hon Mark Butler, of the Alzheimer's Australia report, Consumer Engagement in the Aged Care Reform Process.

Alzheimer's Australia thanked the Minister for taking part in a number of the 16 consultations that were held around the country and the opportunity provided by these consultations to empower people with dementia and family carers to tell their stories. CEO of Alzheimer's Australia, Glenn Rees, said the overwhelming feedback of those consulted was that the aged care system is not working well for people with dementia, and even less so for people from diverse communities. The report found that consumers have no clear pathway on how to access services and once consumers do find some support, it is often inflexible and cannot cope with the special needs that people with dementia and their carers require.

"There is a dramatic contrast between the experiences of the people with dementia and family carers who benefitted from timely diagnosis and referral to services, and the overwhelming majority of those who were traumatised by poor diagnosis, lack of information and care services that had next to no understanding of dementia," Mr Rees said. "People with dementia and their carers don't know where to turn to receive services and support that will actually help them even though dementia is a core function of aged care services with over 50% of aged care residents with a diagnosis of dementia.

Report on ABC "Lateline"

Media release

Supervision and assessment of hospital based postgraduate medical trainees - 2012 (AMA Position Statement)

The AMA has released its Position Statement on Supervision and Assessment of Hospital Based Postgraduate Medical Trainees (2012). AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said that achieving high quality supervision and assessment of trainees must be a top priority for the Australian health system.

Professor Dobb said "Our hospitals are currently busier than ever, we have an increasing number of medical graduates, and the total amount of time and resources that can be dedicated to supervision activities is stretched to the limit. This all means that maintaining quality clinical supervision and assessment presents a significant challenge to governments, to hospitals, to supervisors, and to trainees."

New national website on eating disorders launched

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration website, the first Government initiated national website to provide comprehensive and reliable information on eating disorders has been launched. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that cause significant physical impairment. They are far more prevalent than many are aware, and they are too often fatal.

In launching of the website, the Federal Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, said "I am delighted to see this new online resource available for all Australians, providing the latest evidence-based information about eating disorders. It is a strong collection of helpful material, designed to meet the needs of parents, teachers and health professionals, and draws from the most up-to-date international research and best practice."

The new website explains eating disorders, provides information on where to get help across Australia, and features an evidence-based clearinghouse for research and resources on eating disorders. Resources include clinical guidelines, fact sheets, school programs & statistics.

Shadow report 2012 On Australian governments' progress towards closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

The Shadow report by Christopher Holland and the Close the Gap Coalition examines progress towards closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians in areas such as health, employment and education.

The closing the gap health and health related-programs have continued to be rolled out in the past year and have the potential to make significant headway in relation to smoking cessation, infant health and chronic disease. But over 3 years after the programs were announced, we are not yet in a position to accurately assess if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy is increasing in absolute terms, let alone whether the all-important relative gains are being made to close the 10 to 11 year gap with the non-Indigenous population.

There are mixed signals in the data. If current trends continue, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander under-5 mortality rates may fall within the range of the COAG Closing the Gap Target by 2018. However, much more progress needs to be made on reducing the number and proportion of low birth weight babies. While over the past two decades mortality data indicates the life expectancy gap may have narrowed, it is of concern that progress has slowed from 2001 onwards.