Retention of allied health professionals in rural new south Wales

Retention of allied health professionals in rural new south Wales: a thematic analysis of focus group discussions is an interesting article by Sheila Keane, Michelle Lincoln and Tony Smith, published in BMC Health Services Research (2012, 12:175 doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-175).

Allied health professionals were attracted by advanced work roles in a context of generalist practice. Access to CPD and inequitable resource distribution were strong 'push' factors in this group. Health policy based on the assumption of transferability between professions may be misguided.

Profiles of disability Australia

In 2009, four million people in Australia reported having a disability (18.5%), according to new profiles released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The main conditions associated with disability were back problems (15.6%), arthritis (14.8%), hearing loss (6%), leg damage from injury/accident (3%), depression (3%) and asthma (3%). Most (87%) people with disability had specific restrictions, meaning they had limitations in one or more of the everyday core activity areas of self-care, mobility and communication or that they had a schooling or employment restriction. The remainder (13%) had disability that was non-restricting.

Other key findings: most young people (92% or 260,000) with disability aged 15-34 years used internet in last 12 months; almost half (46% or 132,000) of young people with disability aged 15-34 years contacted family and friends via the internet at least once a day; the prevalence of disability has decreased since 2003 from 20% to 18.5%; and an estimated 23,700 people in Australia, or around 1 in every 100,000 people, have Multiple Sclerosis.

Media release

Profiles of disability Australia 2009

Disability, ageing & carers Australia : Summary of findings

Health and illness in a connected world: How might sharing experiences on the internet affect people's health?

"The extent to which patients and members of the public have turned to other people's experiences on the Internet has provoked both surprise and, in some quarters, concern. The value of first-person accounts, the appeal and memorability of stories, and the need to make contact with peers all strongly suggest that reading and hearing others' accounts of personal experiences of health and illnesss will remain a key feature of e-health. But the act of participating in the creation of health content (e.g., through blogging and social networking) is also affecting patients' experiences and has implications for our understanding of the patient's role in health care management and information. This review presents a new focus for exploring health and illness in a connected world."

Full reference :
Health and illness in a connected world: How might sharing experiences on the internet affect people's health?
Ziebland, S., & Wyke, S. (2012). Milbank Quarterly, 90(2), 219-249.
[Available full-text through CIAP].

Nursing and midwifery workforce 2011 (AIHW)

Between 2007 and 2011, the number of nurses and midwives employed in nursing increased by 7.7% from 263,331 to 283,577. Over this period, the supply of nurses and midwives decreased by 1.3% from 1,095.1 to 1,081.1 full-time equivalent positions per 100,000 population.The average age of the workforce increased from 43.7 to 44.5, and the proportion of nurses and midwives aged 50 or older increased from 33.0% to 38.6%.

Despite the increasing numbers of registered and employed nurses and midwives, when compared to the population, supply decreased by 1.3% between 2007 and 2011, from 1,095 to 1,081 full-time equivalent nurses and midwives per 100,000 population based on a 38-hour week.

"Supply also varied regionally, ranging from 1,102 full-time equivalent nurses and midwives per 100,000 population in Major cities to 995 in Outer regional areas to 1,336 in Very remote areas based on a 38-hour week," said AIHW spokesperson Vicki Bennett.

Full report

Media release

"No Smokes" website

No Smokes is a new tool in the anti-smoking campaign kit, designed for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This is a very interactive site : plenty of facts and information, but presented with music, quizzes, online games, videos and other tools.

Decline in young male suicide hides rise in remote areas

A sharp decline in the overall suicide rate among young Australian men has masked a rise in remote areas and low socioeconomic groups, according to a series of papers examining global trends in suicide.

The papers, published in The Lancet today, consider a variety of factors that have contributed to a 60% global increase in suicide over the past 45 years. “To voluntarily end one’s own life is incomprehensible for most of us,” writes Michael Lewieck, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and Sara Miller, a Research Fellow in Genetics at Harvard University.

“In The Lancet, three reviews help us to better understand the incomprehensible, each with the aim of contributing to strategies to reduce the risk of self-destructive behaviour.” One of the reviews, which addresses the issue of suicide in young men, notes that a series of studies have shown that rural or remote residence increases the risk of suicide among that group in Australia.

New Group Appointed to Help Shape Mental Health Reforms

Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler today announced the establishment of a Consumer Reference Group to set up the new National Mental Health Consumer Organisation.

Mr Butler said the Consumer Reference Group would help guide the establishment of the new organisation announced as part of the National Mental Health Reform package.

“I’ve appointed ten people to the Consumer Reference Group who have the necessary expertise and experience to make a profound impact on the responsiveness and accountability of the mental health system."

Australia's health 2012 (AIHW)

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

Australia's health 2012

Australia's health 2012 is the 13th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of national information on health in Australia. It provides answers to questions such as:

- How healthy are Australians?
- What major milestones affect health over the life course?
- How can we protect and promote good health?
- What are the major causes of illness?
- How do we treat people who are sick?
- Where do our health dollars come from and where do they go?
- Who works in health?
- What is being done to find out more about our health?

Media release

Australia's health 2012: in brief

This report presents 50 pages of highlights from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's 13th biennial report on the nation's health.

Lowitja Institute Congress 2012 : Knowledge Exchange and Translation into Practice

The Lowitja Institute, Australia's National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research incorporating the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, will hold the second biennial Congress Lowitja on 14 and 15 November 2012. .

Congress Lowitja 2012: Knowledge Exchange and Translation into Practice will be an interactive event bringing together end-users of health research, researchers and policy makers.

Held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, Congress Lowitja 2012 will explore the emerging area of Knowledge Exchange in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Keynote speakers include Australian leaders in the field and International experts. Places are strictly limited and discounted earlybird registration closes on 1 September 2012.

Keeping people safe : working safe in rural and remote Australia

Teachers, police, doctors and nurses in rural and remote areas feel vulnerable to violence in the workplace when working alone in isolated settings and working unsociable hours, according to "Keeping people safe", a recent survey of more than 600 rural and remote professionals. The survey was carried out as part of the Working Safe in Rural and Remote Australia project.

The results of the survey showed that there was an acceptance that there is a level of risk which comes from working in these jobs or in these locations. Working long and unsociable hours and working alone in isolated settings were identified as contributing to feelings of being unsafe in their workplace. While only 50% of respondents reported any incident in the prior 12 months, all respondents felt increased stress and anxiety resulting from concerns about workplace violence.

Press release

National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection: 2011 report

This report presents data from the 2011 National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data (NOPSAD) collection. Specifically, it highlights the prescribed drug that clients in Australia took to help manage opioid dependence. Characteristics of the clients, prescribers and dosing point sites where the pharmacotherapy drugs were dispensed are also presented. The data are based on a ‘snapshot’ period—usually a day—in June 2011. On the snapshot day in 2011, there were 46,446 clients and 1,444 prescribers.

Survey highlights rural health problems

A survey has highlighted the divide between city dwellers and their rural counterparts in the areas of health, unemployment and wealth.

The nation-wide survey of 50,000 people by Roy Morgan found country people have more health issues and are more likely to be overweight compared to people in the cities.

The report says rural people are more than 8% more likely to have some health issues, compared to people in metropolitan areas.

The health of Australia's males: a focus on five population group (AIHW)

The health of Australia's males: a focus on five population groups is the second in a series on the health of Australia's males. It examines the distinct health profiles of five population groups, characterised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, remoteness, socioeconomic disadvantage, region of birth, and age.

Findings include: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males generally experience poorer health than the overall population, with higher rates of chronic diseases such as lung cancer, diabetes and kidney disease; Socioeconomic disadvantage is frequently related to poorer health status among males, with rates of rates of obesity and tobacco smoking higher among males from more disadvantaged areas.

Media release

Trends in the Australian Dental Labour Force 2000 to 2009 (AIHW)

Trends in the Australian Dental Labour Force, 2000 to 2009 presents findings from the 2009 national dental labour force data collection and explores trends since 2000. The collection includes all dentists (general dental practitioners and specialists), dental hygienists, dental therapists, oral health therapists and dental prosthetists across Australia. There was an overall increase in the number of dental professionals over this period.

The number of dentists per 100,000 people in Major cities was double that in Outer regional areas, and almost triple that in Remote/Very remote areas. "While the number of dentists in regional and remote areas is still well below major cities, there have been increases in the number of dentists in all remoteness areas between 2000 and 2009," said AIHW spokesperson Professor Kaye Roberts-Thomson. These increases have ranged from 9% in Outer regional areas to 40% in Remote/Very remote areas

Media release

A quick guide to drugs and alcohol

The second edition of the popular easy-to-read resource A quick guide to drugs and alcohol has been published. It includes information on a range of drugs including:
* alcohol, tobacco, methamphetamines, hallucinogens and cannabis drug effects,
* drugs and driving,
* drugs and pregnancy,
* treatment and statistics
* drugs and the law
* an introductory chapter that covers drug classification,
* why people use drugs,
* dependence and mental health.

A quick guide to drugs and alcohol was written by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and is published by drug info @ your library, a partnership between NSW Health and the State Library of NSW.

A quick guide to drugs and alcohol is also available in all NSW public libraries.

To order free print copies of the Guide email your name, organisation, contact details (including phone number) and number of copies to:

Should healthcare organisations use social media?

"Should healthcare organisations use social media?" is a report from the Global Institute of Emerging Healthcare Practices. Some healthcare organisations are using social media as an important tool to connect and influence consumers and providers and accomplish strategic healthcare goals.

The report provides numerous examples of providers, patients and organisations that have benefited from adopting social media technology. Some organisations have turned to social media to enhance their communication and marketing strategies, while others have reported using social media to improve their recruitment processes. The importance of social media in health education is highlighted, with tools such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter being used to make health information more accessible to consumers. Similarly, social media has been used to enhance health professional education and collaboration through the use of Twitter journal clubs and professional networking sites.

The authors argue that organisations cannot afford to take a "wait-and-see" approach. Even if organisations do not currently have an active social media presence, their employees and customers are already using social media, so they should start now.

SARRAH National Conference "Rural and Remote Practice: Totally Wild!" 20-23 September 2012

SARRAH National Conference "Rural and Remote Practice: Totally Wild!" 20-23 September 2012 Hotel Grand Chancellor, Launceston for current and future rural and remote allied health practitioners.

The conference themes are Celebrating Client Centered Care, Chronic Conditions and Coordinated Care, Creating Community Capacity, Cultivating Champions, Confident Competent Clinicians, and Curious and Captivating Conversations.

Addressing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in Australia,

The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) has released its position paper, Addressing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in Australia, which calls on government and health services to implement several recommendations to combat the preventable condition, and to support sufferers and their families.

It suggests implementing broad ranging social marketing campaigns to raise awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and the risks to the fetus or baby if the mother consumes alcohol while pregnant and breastfeeding. It is also recommends supporting health professionals and services through the development of national policy and clinical practice guidelines, as well as workforce development and training.

Press release

Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work

Fans of the "Alcohol Handbook for Frontline Workers" published a few years ago for use in Western N.S.W. will find much to like in this new publication from The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) . An excellent simple and practical tool for workers "at the coalface".

Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work; Lee K, Freeburn B, Ella S, Miller W, Perry J, Conigrave K [editors] (2012), Sydney: University of Sydney, p. 446.

"Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work is a practical tool written for Aboriginal drug and alcohol workers, mental health workers and others working in this field. It offers a detailed look at alcohol and drug work from clinical, through to prevention, early intervention and harm reduction. This handbook is also likely to help people working to improve policy and those advocating for change. The idea for it came from workers all over Australia. They told us that they needed an easy to use handbook that can help them respond to the range of alcohol and drug issues they face every day. They also told us that such a book needs to take into account the complex challenges facing workers when helping clients, their families and, sometimes, whole communities." ....From the preface.

Available in a free online version or in hard copy at $22.50 per copy (postage included)

Online version

Order hard copies from : The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)

Cardiac ARIA Index: Measuring accessibility to cardiovascular services in rural and remote Australia via applied geographic spatial technology

Heart attack by postcode: how fast and close is due treatment? Australians considering where to have a heart attack can now do a postcode check on the speed and quality of medical treatment they are likely to receive.

The Cardiac Accessibility and Remoteness Index for Australia (Cardiac ARIA) rates neighbourhoods by the level of emergency and preventative care available in the potentially life-threatening event of a heart attack and afterwards when residents return home..

The Index brings home the vast disparities in rural & remote cardiac care vs what is available in urban areas.

Full description of project

Discussion at "The Conversation. "Heart attack by postcode: how fast and close is due treatment?"

Launch of research network for rural mental health

Improving mental health services in regional Australia is the focus of a Collaborative Research Network (CRN) launched at the University of New England in Armidale on 6/12/2012.

UNE, along with five partners – the Universities of NSW, Sydney and Newcastle, La Trobe University, and the Hunter New England Local Health Network – will investigate and implement strategies to improve the education of health professionals working in regional settings and to expand existing rural health strengths.
Press release

Project to tackle high Indigenous suicide rate

Darwin-based health research institute has been selected to assist a Federal Government project aiming to tackle the high rates of Aboriginal suicide.

The Menzies School of Health Research will help develop Australia's first national Indigenous Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Associate Professor Gary Robinson says a government advisory group will hold consultations around the nation and propose initiatives for individual communities and regions. He says suicide is a much greater problem among Aboriginal people than in the wider population.

Insurance and use of dental services: National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2010 (AIHW)

Australians are significantly more likely to visit a dentist - particularly for check-ups and preventive care services - if they have dental insurance, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Insurance and use of dental services: National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2010, shows a higher proportion of Australian adults with dental insurance had made a dental visit in the last 12 months (70.9%) than those who did not have insurance (48.3%).

Provision of scale and clean services in the previous 12 months varied by insurance status with a higher proportion of adults with insurance receiving scale and clean services (83.5%) than adults without insurance (63.6%). A higher proportion of adults without insurance had extractions (19.0%) than adults with insurance (10.4%).

Media release

Hospitalisations due to falls in older people (AIHW)

Hospitalisations due to falls in older people, Australia 2008-09

This report is the fifth in a series on hospitalisations due to falls by Australians aged 65 and older and focuses on 2008-09. For the first time in this report series, the rate of hospitalised fall injuries involving older females exceeded 3,000 per 100,000 population. The incidence of injury has continued to increase substantially over the decade to June 2009, despite a sustained decrease in the rate of hip fractures due to falls. Of note, falls that resulted in head injuries and those described as an 'other fall on same level' increased significantly over the study period.

Also available :

Hospitalisations due to falls in older people, Australia 2007-08

Hospitalisations due to falls in older people, Australia 2006-07

Media release