Australian hospital statistics 2012-13: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian public hospitals (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics 2012-13: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian public hospitals shows that, in 2012-13, all states and territories had rates of hospital-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) below the national benchmark, with rates ranging from 0.7 to 1.3 cases per 10,000 patient days.

There were 1,724 cases of hospital-associated SAB reported for Australia, which occurred during approximately 18.8 million days of patient care.

Media release.

Endorsed ANZCA clinical guidelines

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) has endorsed a selection of guidelines developed by other organisations.

They include anaphylaxis, malignant hyperthermia crisis management, central line insertion, OSSIE Guide to Clinical Handover Improvement and patient blood management guidelines.

Health system expenditure on cancer and other neoplasms in Australia 2008-09 (AIHW)

Health system expenditure on cancer and other neoplasms in Australia, 2008-09 presents an overview of cancer expenditure focusing on the 6 cancers with the highest health system expenditure in each of four life stages 0-14, 15-24, 25-64 and 65 years and over. Findings include:

- Cancer and other neoplasms ranked sixth in terms of estimated health system expenditure on chronic diseases, accounting for 6.9% of total health system expenditure on all chronic diseases;
- Expenditure on national population screening programs totalled $332 million;
- From 2000-01 to 2008-09, total health system expenditure on cancer increased by 56% from $2,894 million to $4,526 million.

Media release

Australasian Clinical Indicator Report for 2005-2012

One of the most comprehensive reports on the status of national clinical performance of 670 healthcare organisations over the last 8 years has been released by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. The Australasian Clinical Indicator Report 2005-2012 presents a detailed statistical analysis of clinical indicators for HCOs in the Australasian region.

Notable improving trends over the 8 year period include:

- Emergency Department triage goals. The proportion of patients seen within the recommended times for Triage categories 2,3,4 and 5 has improved over the last 8 years, with all categories reaching their highest level in 2012,

- Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis: a steady increase in rates ofinitiation for this process in two patient groups, adults in ICU and women undergoing caesarean section,

- ICU non-admission due to inadequate resources. The three indicators measuring this have declined significantly to 1.7%, 0.81% and 0.69%.

Notable deteriorations, where the potential to make improvements exist are:

- Unplanned discharge delays in day surgery. The rate of patients with an unplanned discharge greater than one hour beyond their day surgery procedures has increased from 0.28% in 2005 to 0.52% in 2012,

- Seclusion of mental health patients deteriorates further with inpatients having seclusion for more than 4 hours is now 49%, an increase from 35% in 2005,

- The rate of patients spending 8 or more hours in Emergency declined slightly, but remained high.

The full reports for each specialty will be available online from the 20th December 2013.

Press release

Health Libraries - Worth Every Cent and More

Health Libraries Inc in Victoria and Health Libraries Australia commissioned SGS Economics and Planning to investigate the return on investment of health library and information services in Australia, and their report has just been published.

Worth every cent and more: an independent assessment of the return on investment of health libraries in Australia used surveys and case-studies to indicate that health libraries return $9 for every $1 invested.

This is considered to be a conservative estimate of libraries' real worth as, for example, it takes into account the time saved by medical practitioners in searching for answers, but it does not take into account the improved quality of the results supplied by trained information specialists. It looks at how much it would cost users to have to buy the information they gain for free from the library, but it does not assess the savings achieved by library staff negotiating advantageous prices with information suppliers.

New online resource for women with anxiety

With 32% of women in Australia experiencing anxiety over their lifetime, Jean Hailes for Women's Health has partnered with MLC Community Foundation to develop an innovative evidence-based online resource aimed at preventing common mental health problems in women.

Anxiety: Learn, Think, Do is a proactive 'hub' of information that will help women to understand worry and anxiety, helping to reduce the prevalence of anxiety-related disorders across Australia.

Press release

Australia's mental health system - can we achieve generational change?

Australia's mental health system requires urgent reform or we risk failing to address key challenges of increasing workforce participation and productivity, according to a new white paper, Australia's mental health system - can we achieve generational change?

The paper, developed following a 2-day workshop of more than 40 of Australia's leading thinkers in mental health, health and social services, and hosted by beyondblue and Medibank, is intended to reinvigorate discussions for mental health reform and presents some ideas for a better mental health system.

The paper lays out 5 philosophies to drive reform and force change to current mental health system practices, saying a new mental health system should be built around:

1.individuals, their families and carers exercising choice and control
2.fully-integrated funding and service delivery for health, wellbeing, housing, employment, education and other human services across people's life stages
3.investment based on complexity of needs, evidence and measured outcomes
4.barriers to social and economic participation identified and dismantled
5.equitable investment, tailored to individual and population needs to strengthen natural and informal supports, and build "mental capital" (the population's ability to cope with life's swings and roundabouts).

Press release

A snapshot of poverty in rural and regional Australia.

The National Rural Health Alliance and Australian Council of Social Service have released a joint report, A snapshot of poverty in rural and regional Australia.

The report says that people who live in poverty in rural and regional Australia face additional burdens, including reduced access to health services, transport difficulties, inadequate local infrastructure, and vulnerability to drought and other natural hazards. Limited employment opportunities, combined with the centralisation of services, are major causes of rural and remote poverty.

Other resources

The 'double whammy' of being poor in a rural area

Nursing and midwifery workforce 2012 (AIHW)

Nursing and midwifery workforce 2012 outlines the workforce characteristics of nurses and midwives in 2012. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of nurses and midwives employed in nursing or midwifery increased by 7.5%, from 269,909 to 290,144. During this period, nursing and midwifery supply increased by 0.5%, from 1,117.8 to 1,123.6 full-time equivalent nurses and midwives per 100,000 population. In 2012, the proportion of employed nurses and midwives aged 50 or older was 39.1%, an increase from 35.1% in 2008.

Media release

New Bereavement Search Filter (Caresearch - Palliative Care Knowledge Network)

CareSearch has developed and validated a Bereavement Search Filter for use in PubMed, the free online version of Medline. The death of a loved person is a significant loss and people respond differently to such a loss with some experiencing intense and persistent grief. Bereavement is therefore an important part of care and care planning. The search filter is an experimentally derived, tested and validated tool that makes finding existing and emerging evidence easy.

The Bereavement Search Filter has been combined with 21 topic searches dealing with important aspects of bereavement care such as therapies or assessment, and bereavement in specific population groups. The Bereavement Search Filter and the PubMed Searches are now available in the Clinical Evidence section of the CareSearch website.

eHealth Clinicians User Guide (National E-Health Transition Authority.)

The eHealth Clinicians User Guide includes material that is relevant to both general practices and private specialist practices, however other healthcare professionals, e.g. allied health and in aged and community care, may also find this guide useful.

The eHealth Clinicians User Guide supports medical practices in navigating the complexities of eHealth (including the national eHealth record system) from planning, preparation, registration and implementation through to meaningful use. It covers key eHealth topics of interest to medical practices (including quality improvement) and focuses on the foundation products (e.g. Healthcare Identifiers, NASH, Secure Message Delivery), the national eHealth record system and other functionality currently available and being released by software vendors. Importantly it includes practical step-by-step implementation advice.

International profiles of health care systems, 2013

International profiles of health care systems, 2013: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States by The Commonwealth Fund presents overviews of the health care systems of 14 major developed countries.

Each overview covers health insurance, public and private financing, health system organization and governance, health care quality and coordination, disparities, efficiency and integration, use of information technology and evidence-based practice, cost containment, and recent reforms and innovations. 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.

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey: first results, 2012-13. (ABS)

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey: first results, Australia, 2012-13. The survey focuses on long-term health conditions,health risk factors, selected social and emotional wellbeing indicators, health measurements and health-related actions, and includes Indigenous people living in both remote and non-remote areas.

The survey expands on the information collected in previous Indigenous health surveys conducted by the ABS, and includes:

*estimates of the prevalence of certain chronic diseases, conditions, and selected behavioural risk factors (including physical activity)
*objective measures of selected chronic diseases, nutrition status and other risk factors which can be combined with self-reported data about health status and conditions (e.g. diabetes)
*health risk factors and outcomes for different population groups of interest, such as different age-groups and people living in remote and non-remote areas.

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

* after age-adjustment, Indigenous people aged 15 years and over were around half as likely as non-Indigenous people to report excellent or very good health (rate ratio of 0.6)
* in 2012-13, 1-in-6 (18%) Indigenous people reported having asthma
* in 2012-13, around 1-in-8 (12%) Indigenous people reported diseases of the ear and/or hearing problems
* rates for diabetes/high sugar were between 3 and 5 times higher for Indigenous people as those for non-Indigenous people in all age-groups from 25 years and over
* in 2012-13, 41% of Indigenous people reported daily smoking, which was lower than the levels reported in 2008 (45%) and 2002 (51%)
* in 2012-13, 60% of Indigenous men aged 18 years and over had a waist circumference that put them at an increased risk of developing chronic diseases, while 81% of Indigenous women had an increased level of risk
*between 2001 and 2012-13, consultation rates for general practice/specialist and dental professionals have remained largely unchanged.

Media release

Reports on general practice in Australia

General practice activity in Australia 2012-13; Britt H. et al. (2013). General practice series no.33. Sydney: Sydney University Press

General practice activity in Australia 2012-13 describes clinical activity at, or associated with, general practitioner (GP) encounters, from April 2012 to March 2013, inclusive. It summarises results from the 15th year of the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program, using a nationally representative sample of 97,800 patient encounters with 978 randomly selected GPs. After post-stratification weighting, 98,564 encounters were analysed in this report.

A decade of Australian general practice 2003-04 to 2012-13; Britt H, et al. (2013). General practice series no.34. Sydney: Sydney University Press

A decade of Australian general practice 2003-04 to 2012-13 is the 34th book in the General Practice Series from the Bettering the Evaluation of Care and Health (BEACH) program. It includes summary results from the most recent 10 years of the program, from 2003-04 to 2012-13 inclusive.

The needs of stroke survivors in Australia

The increasing number of people surviving strokes is leading to a crisis in service provision as the health and community support systems struggle to keep pace with demand. A new report, The needs of stroke survivors in Australia was released recently by the National Stroke Foundation. It shows Australians are struggling every day due to a lack of access to essential support - a situation that is set to worsen as the number of stroke survivors grows. The report shows services are fragmented and access is dependent on where survivors live.

Press release

Alcohol Action Plan (The Australian National Council on Drugs )

1 in 8 deaths of Australians aged under 25 is now related to alcohol consumption, a report has revealed.

The Australian National Council on Drugs Alcohol Action Plan report (ANCD) also found 60% of all police call outs - up to 90% at night - are alcohol-related.

ANCD chairman Dr John Herron says the report shows more work needs to be done to tackle the problem. "The level of alcohol-related damage occurring in our communities is simply appalling," he said. "The health, social and economic costs associated with alcohol use simply cannot be allowed to continue at the current level."

The report found 20% of Australians are now drinking at levels that put them at risk of lifetime harm from injury or disease.

One in eight deaths of young Australians attributable to alcohol (ABC)

Press release

Treatment resistance in Eating Disorders: a thematic series from BMC Psychiatry

This special series from BMC Psychiatry presents a collection of research articles that shed light on the resistance to treatment in eating disorders.

The presented articles cover a wide range of fields, all aiming to promote and encourage more research on the resistance to treatment in eating disorders, particularly in the areas of biological factors, therapeutic relationships, and emotional responses in individuals and their families. Below are a selection of highlighted articles :

Resistance to treatment and change in anorexia nervosa: a clinical overview

A multi-centre cohort study of short term outcomes of hospital treatment for anorexia nervosa in the UK

Cognitive behaviour therapy response and dropout rate across purging and nonpurging bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder: DSM-5 implications

There are 14 articles in all.

Palliative care services in Australia 2013 (AIHW)

Palliative care services in Australia 2013 is the second in a planned series of annual reports providing a detailed picture of the national response to the palliative care needs of Australians. Information from a range of data sources from 2011-12 and where indicated, 2010-11 are presented, as are changes over time.

There were almost 24,500 palliative care-related separations reported in public and private hospitals in 2010-11. Almost $3.5 million in Medicare Benefits Schedule payments was paid for palliative medicine specialist services in 2011-12.

Media release

Prostate cancer in Australia (AIHW)

Prostate cancer in Australia is the first comprehensive national report on prostate cancer in Australia. It presents an overview of the condition and analysis of key summary measures including incidence, mortality and survival.

Findings include:
- Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), with 21,808 new diagnoses in 2009.
- Prostate cancer is the fourth leading cause of mortality among Australian males, with 3,294 deaths from prostate cancer in 2011.
- Around 9 in 10 (92%) males diagnosed with prostate cancer survive 5 years from diagnosis. This is higher than for all cancers (65%).

Media release

Managing madness: mental health and complexity in public policy

Managing madness: mental health and complexity in public policy explores the concept of collaborative care, particularly in relation to a range of new models of organisation and service that are emerging in response to one of the most problematic areas of public policy : mental health.

There are few areas seemingly as complex as mental health, given that responsibility for policy and service lies across all three tiers of Australian government and across multiple jurisdictions. It also engages public, private and non-government sectors. Co-morbidities are commonplace, particularly drug and alcohol problems among younger people.

Governments in Australia have traditionally taken responsibility for policy, programs and services, either as direct service providers or through contracting outputs from others. Yet the evidence indicates that for people with a mental illness, the best solutions are often not found in government but in the community and in organisations outside of government. New organisations and new structures are attempting more holistic management approaches, combining clinical care, community support, housing, employment and other services.

This paper considers some of these new models in the light of existing evidence. The key challenge facing continued reform in mental health is not uncertainty regarding programs or services, but rather how to drive coordinated care for consumers across departments, governments and providers. This review highlights the key changes that must be made for the benefit of the millions of Australians with a mental illness.

Pain management webpage

The Australian Medicare Local Alliance has launched a webpage dedicated to pain management education.

It includes information about forthcoming online education programs, a webinar series for multidisciplinary care teams including GPs, nurses and allied health care professionals, and a symposia scheduled in capital cities early next year for nurses, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists and pharmacists.

At present, there are useful links to pain resources, the National Pain Strategy, other education resources for health professionals, and consumer information.

The social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous youth

The social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous youth is the result of years of work by Muru Marri at the UNSW at the behest of the former Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs.

Too much bureaucratic effort and media attention in Indigenous affairs has focused on the negative: how government programs and policies can fail and why, how resources can be wasted and lives broken. The constant negativity only reinforces the harm being done to Indigenous people. This report takes the opposite approach. It seeks to identify what exactly makes good programs succeed in supporting and enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to thrive and succeed.

6 programs, from Sydney, regional NSW, the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia, which have been working successfully for extended periods are analysed in detail, and the factors essential to their success identified.

No health without mental health: the link between chronic disease and mental illness.(Free online training)

Many physical health conditions increase the risk of mental illness, while poor mental health is known to increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. To address the issue of unacceptably poorer health outcomes of people with chronic disease and the associated mental illnesses, nurses and midwives need to have the knowledge and skills to identify manage and refer their patients.

As such, the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses has released a series of free online resources aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of nurses to identify and manage mental health conditions associated with chronic disease.These online resources attract continuing professional development points and focus on 4 chronic disease areas: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory disease.

The 5 available modules are as follows : (non-members must complete free registration to use the modules)

Module 1 - Mental health issues are common in people with Chronic Disease
Module 2 - Mental health issues can impact on anyone
Module 3 - Is this a problem?
Module 4 - Asking about mental health - it's not always a can of worms!
Module 5 - Grief and Loss

For further information, and to access these resources, go to

What works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage: key learnings and gaps in the evidence 2011-12

What works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage: key learnings and gaps in the evidence 2011-12 summarises the findings of the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse on what works to reduce Indigenous disadvantage in relation to 3 Council of Australian Governments building blocks, namely, 'early childhood', 'health' and 'safe communities'. The report also identified gaps in the evidence in these three areas.

The principles and practices that underpin successful programs for Indigenous Australians include flexibility in design and delivery, community involvement and engagement in both the development and delivery of programs, the importance of building trust and relationships, a well-trained, well-resourced and retained workforce, and continuity and coordination of services.

Report Appendices

Diabetes and disability: impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions and comorbidities (AIHW)

Diabetes and disability: impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions and comorbidities examines the association between diabetes and disability in Australia using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2009. People with diabetes were twice as likely to have a disability (39% compared with 17%) and almost 3 times as likely to have a severe or profound limitation (14% compared with 5%) than people without diabetes.

Among working-age people with diabetes and disability, 40% said they were permanently unable to work compared with 20% of people with a disability who did not have diabetes. People with diabetes reported higher rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, depression, vision loss and kidney related disorders than people without diabetes.

Media release

My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families.

"My breast cancer journey: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families" has been developed in response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women highlighting the need for culturally appropriate, supportive breast cancer information. It contains practical information to help navigate the breast cancer journey and improve understanding about breast cancer, treatment options and follow-up care.

This resource has been created in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with various stages of breast cancer, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women working in the health sector and family and friends of women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Details, ordering & online version.

The women's health portal (Aboriginal women's health)

Jean Hailes for Women's Health is proud to announce the development of a new online health information hub for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, The women's health portal.

Developed in partnership with the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (AIH), the new online resource aims to provide health workers with access to evidence-based key information about a variety of women's reproductive life stages.

"We are delighted to be partnering with HealthInfoNet to provide a relevant and accessible online resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers across Australia," said Jean Hailes project leader, Louise Browne. "Together, our organisations have combined research translation, expertise, knowledge transfer and community education and outreach to be able to provide the highest quality information on women's health."

Topics include the menstrual cycle, contraception, pregnancy planning, fertility issues, polycystic ovary syndrome and menopause.

Vital signs 2013: the state of safety and quality in Australian health care

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has released VitalSigns 2013: The State of Safety and Quality in Australian Health Care. This report provides an overview of a series of key topics in relation to the safety and quality of Australia's health care system.

Professor Debora Picone, Chief Executive of the Commission noted "Vital Signs 2013 focuses on 3 important questions that members of the public may ask about their health care. Will my care be safe? Will I get the right care? Will I be a partner in my care?"

Each question is considered in its own section using examples of key health issues in Australia, such as medication safety and stroke care. These sections are followed by three case studies, which focus on the quality of care in some important clinical areas. These case studies present a detailed description and analysis of key quality issues that affect outcomes for patients. Vital Signs 2013 is the first release of what will be an annual publication.

Media release

Australian hospital statistics 2012-13: emergency department care (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics 2012-13: emergency department care

In 2012-13:

- There were more than 6.7 million presentations to public hospital emergency departments
- 73% of patients received treatment within an appropriate time for their urgency (triage) category
- 67% of patients spent 4 hours or less in the emergency department
- 1.8 million patients were admitted to the hospital from the emergency department, and 36% of these were admitted within 4 hours.

Media release

A problem worth solving: the rising cost of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia

A problem worth solving: the rising cost of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia, produced by Arthritis Victoria and Osteoporosis Victoria based on analysis by Deloitte Access Economics, details the rising cost of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia and makes a case for why there needs to be a proactive, strategic response.

Key findings include:

* $55.1 billion cost to the Australian economy, including direct health costs, lost productivity and reduced quality of life
* 6.1 million Australians already affected, of which 58% are of working age in peak income earning years (25-64 years)
* 43% growth in musculoskeletal cases projected over the next two decades, including a surge in older Australians living with the conditions

Chronic kidney disease: regional variation in Australia (AIHW)

Chronic kidney disease is a common and serious problem in Australia and its management can be resource intensive, particularly for the most severe form of the disease: end-stage kidney disease.

Rates of chronic kidney disease vary by geographic location. Chronic kidney disease: regional variation in Australia shows:

- people from Remote and very remote areas were 2.2 times more likely to die from chronic kidney disease than people from Major cities.
- people from Very remote areas were at least 4 times more likely to start kidney replacement therapy (dialysis or kidney transplant) than people from non-remote areas.

The report also investigates the likelihood of patients moving while receiving kidney replacement therapy (dialysis or kidney transplantation) for end-stage kidney disease. More than half (57%) of patients who lived in Very remote areas at the start of their first treatment changed to less remote areas during their first year of treatment.

Media release

Depression in residential aged care 2008-2012 (AIHW)

Entry into residential aged care can be a challenging experience and the presence of depression can add to this challenge. Depression in residential aged care 2008-2012 provides the first in-depth review of available administrative data to explore the prevalence and characteristics of people with symptoms of depression in residential aged care. In 2012, over half (52%) of all permanent residential aged care residents had symptoms of depression. Between 2008 and 2012, residents admitted to care for the first time who had symptoms of depression were more likely to have high care needs, and were more likely to have behaviours which impacted on care needs.

Media release

Global Handbook on Noncommunicable Diseases and Health Promotion [Free full text]

Global Handbook on Noncommunicable Diseases and Health Promotion (book) McQueen David (Ed.) ISBN: 978-1-4614-7593-4 (2013).

This book is divided into sections: Section 1 is on theoretical and methodological issues arising with both Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and health promotion; Section 2 is called "lenses for understanding NCDs"; Section 3 focuses on approaches to try and change the burden of NCDs using perspectives ranging from treatment to policy. Finally Section IV looks at institutions and organizations that have NCDs and health promotion in their remit.


Quality Improvement Made Simple

The Health Foundation (UK) Has released a second edition of its guide Quality improvement made simple: What everyone should know about healthcare quality improvement.

This is not a "how to" guide. Instead, it offers a clear explanation of some common approaches used to improve quality, including where they have come from, their underlying principles and their efficacy and applicability within the healthcare arena.

It is written for a general healthcare audience and will be most useful for those new to the field of quality improvement, or those wanting to be reminded of the key points.

Mental health services in brief 2013 (AIHW)

Mental health services in brief 2013 provides an overview of data about the national response of the health and welfare system to the mental health care needs of Australians. It is designed to accompany the more comprehensive data on Australia's mental health services available online at AIHW's Mental Health Services in Australia (MHSA) website.

The following sections of the MHSA website have also been updated.
* Mental health services provided in emergency departments
* Background to mental health services in Australia
* Technical information
* State and territory summary data tables

Media release

Out of Sight - a report into diabetic eye disease in Australia : a grim forecast

Ahead of World Sight Day (October 10), a new national report on diabetic eye disease casts a dark shadow on the eye health of future generations of Australians with diabetes. Almost all people with type 1 diabetes, which typically develops in childhood, and 60 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes, will develop some form of diabetic eye disease with many going on to experience vision loss or blindness within 20 years of their diabetes diagnosis.

Out of Sight - a report into diabetic eye disease in Australia by Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), provides an overview of the impact of diabetic eye disease, specifically diabetic retinopathy on Australians.

Diabetes, the nation's fastest growing chronic disease, poses a 25 times greater risk of blindness for the almost 1 million Australians diagnosed with the disease (and the 700,000 who presently have undiagnosed diabetes) than for the general population.

"One of the serious complications of diabetes is its considerable impact on vision: an area of diabetes management where timely diagnosis and treatment is not at its optimum. With the number of Australians affected by diabetes expected to double in the next decade, including the rise in type 2 diabetes in young people and the prevalence of type 1 diabetes increasing by approximately 3% every year, particularly in very young children, diabetic eye disease will continue to pose significant personal, public health and economic challenges," said Associate Professor Jonathan Shaw, Head of Clinical Diabetes and Epidemiology, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

Affecting an estimated 300,000 Australians, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Australians under 60, affecting them during the prime of their working lives.

Media release

beyondblue's National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students

A world-first survey of thousands of Australian doctors and medical students has revealed they are burnt-out, more likely to experience psychological distress and suicidal thoughts than the general community and are drinking too much alcohol.

beyondblue's National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students found that medical students and young or female doctors are most at risk and identified that significant levels of stigma towards people with mental health problems. Some respondents also reported that they were bullied or experienced racism.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said more must be done not only to help doctors and students, but also patients. "If doctors do not deal with the mental health issues they are experiencing, it can affect their ability to deliver the best care," she said. "This survey identifies the challenges the medical community faces and outlines how they can be tackled".

"This includes initiatives such as the development of a mental health strategy for the Australian medical community to promote good mental health, the development of guidelines around working hours, better mental health education in universities to reduce stigma, and awareness campaigns".

1 in five medical students and 1 in 10 doctors had suicidal thoughts in the past year, compared with one in 45 people in the wider community, according to the report. More than 4 in 10 students and a quarter of doctors are highly likely to have a minor psychiatric disorder, like mild depression or mild anxiety. Indigenous doctors and those working in rural or remote health also reported high levels of stress.

Media release and summary findings

Full report

Executive summary

Australian hospital statistics 2012-13: elective surgery waiting times (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics 2012-13: elective surgery waiting times

In 2012-13:

- about 673,000 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 265 days.

Media release

Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia: an overview (AIHW)

Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia: an overview brings together the most up-to-date data available from a wide range of sources to describe the status of cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Information on difference across age, sex and remoteness areas are presented and key issues are highlighted. The report provides a comprehensive picture of cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia that should be useful to health professionals, policy makers and others with an interest in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Media release

Top 10 patient safety strategies that can be adopted now (AHRQ)

Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices (AHRQ Evidence Report No. 211) updates the 2001 report, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices (AHRQ Evidence Report No. 43). The 2001 report analyzed the strength of evidence for patient safety practices in use at that time. The 2013 report analyzed a growing body of patient safety research to determine the level of evidence regarding the outcomes, as well as implementation, adoption, and the context in which safety strategies have been used.

After analyzing 41 patient safety practices, an international panel of patient safety experts identified 22 strategies ready for adoption based on the strength and quality of evidence:. Enough evidence exists that health systems and institutions can move forward in implementing these strategies to improve the safety and quality of health care.

Of the 22 strategies identified in Making Health Care Safer II, 10 are "strongly encouraged" for adoption based on the strength and quality of evidence:

1.Preoperative checklists and anesthesia checklists to prevent operative and postoperative events.
2.Bundles that include checklists to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections.
3.Interventions to reduce urinary catheter use, including catheter reminders, stop orders, or nurse-initiated removal protocols.
4.Bundles that include head-of-bed elevation, sedation vacations, oral care with chlorhexidine, and subglottic-suctioning endotracheal tubes to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia.
5.Hand hygiene.
6."Do Not Use" list for hazardous abbreviations.
7.Multicomponent interventions to reduce pressure ulcers.
8.Barrier precautions to prevent healthcare-associated infections.
9.Use of real-time ultrasound for central line placement.
10.Interventions to improve prophylaxis for venous thromboembolisms.

Links to resources and further information.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services report 2011-12: Online Services Report - key results (AIHW)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services report 2011-12: Online Services Report - key results is the fourth national report on health services, Aboriginal community controlled and non-community controlled health organisations, funded by the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

In 2011-12:
- primary health care services provided 2.6 million episodes of care to about 445,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, a 5% increase from 2010-11;
- substance use services provided treatment and assistance to about 32,600 clients, a 14% increase from 2010-11;
- Bringing Them Home and Link Up counselling services were accessed by about 9,800 clients, 96% of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

Remote Australia Online Database (Ninti One)

Remote Australia Online is a free online platform that delivers authoritative research on topics that impact on remote Australia region and its people, including education and its pathways, policy, business, social and cultural welfare, infrastructure, communication and natural resource management.

Remote Australia Online is for those who want to delve deeper into the complexities of remote Australia: its intricate and interconnected networks, the geographical, social, cultural and environmental influences, its opportunities, challenges, and to understand just what makes this unique region tick.

The keyword-searchable database contains a diverse range of material, including links to much hard-to-get report and conference material.

National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The 2nd edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has just been published.

This second edition of the National Guide comprises:

* the National Guide, which contains evidence statements, recommendations, risk calculation tables and an outline of the development of the guide
* the evidence base: the collection of evidence underpinning the guide and recommendations
* Searching the evidence base and drafting recommendations
* a child and adult lifecycle summary wall chart listing activities recommended at each age group.

The National Guide can be used in conjunction with the RACGP Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice "red book" and with the Medicare Benefits Schedule rebate item 715: Health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Access all areas: new solutions for GP shortages in rural Australia

More than a million Australians living in rural and remote areas are denied the access to basic medical care that most city dwellers take for granted. In 7 areas containing 1 in 20 Australians, limited access to GPs is imposing severe costs on individuals, doctors and the health system. The areas include Tamworth, Goulburn and Mount Isa, as well as the Northern Territory and most of Western Australia.

The shortage of GPs is not just unfair, it is irrational. People in rural areas with low access to GPs are more likely than other Australians to face serious health risks. An inability to get care is likely to cost the taxpayer much more in the long-run than the cost of the changes proposed in this report.

An investment of around $30 million a year would go a long way towards solving Australia's worst shortages. The funds would support a greater role for pharmacists, especially in providing repeat prescriptions and vaccinations, and the introduction of a new health worker, the physician assistant, to expand care in remote areas. Without compromising quality and safety, the changes would free up GPs to do the complex work they are trained to do. The health benefits generated by the reform could reduce the cost of hospital visits by an amount equivalent to the $30 million investment.

For decades, successive government policies have failed to fix the problem. At current rates of improvement it would take more than 65 years for very remote parts of Australia to catch up to the levels of GP services that big cities have today.

Access all areas: new solutions for GP shortages in rural Australia by Stephen Duckett and Peter Breadon proposes a relatively cheap and straightforward solution that could be in place within 5 years, if policymakers are willing to adopt new responses to an old problem.

Working with Indigenous patients

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Indigenous health podcast series has been developed to provide an introduction to working with Indigenous patients.

This series focuses on providing resources to Australian rural and regional Fellows, trainees and international medical graduate specialists, though the principles discussed also would usually apply in urban practice. The underlying importance of respect applies to all cross-cultural interactions. Topics covered to date are :

* Asking about Indigenous status
* Communication
* Consent
* Culture
* Culture shock (IMGS)
* Diffusing anger
* Pain management
* Pre-operative visit
* Traditional parenting

Health expenditure Australia 2011-12 (AIHW)

Health expenditure Australia 2011-12 was estimated to be $140.2 billion, up from $82.9 billion in 2001-02. This expenditure was 9.5% of GDP in 2011-12, up from 9.3% in 2010-11 and up from 8.4% in 2001-02. The estimated recurrent expenditure on health was $5,881 per person. Governments funded 69.7% of total health expenditure, a slight increase from 69.1% in 2010-11. The largest components of health spending were public hospital services ($42.0 billion, or 31.8% of recurrent expenditure), followed by medical services ($23.9 billion, or 18.1%) and medications ($18.8 billion, or 14.2%).

Media release

Movement between hospital and residential aged care 2008-09 (AIHW)

Movement between hospital and residential aged care 2008-09 examines movements between hospital and residential aged care by people aged 65 and over in 2008-09. Overall, almost 10% of 1.1 million hospitalisations for older people were for people already living in residential aged care. A further 3% of hospitalisations for older people ended with the patient being newly admitted into residential care. This report also describes the characteristics of people moving between the two sectors, and short-term outcomes for people going into residential care.

Media release

Social Media GP

Social Media GP is run by a group of GPs, GP Registrars and Medical Students who are passionate about increasing the awareness and use of social media by Australian general practitioners.

Social media provides nearly unlimited opportunities in medical education, social and political advocacy, networking with your peers and overcoming professional and personal isolation in rural communities. It's free, easy and we're here to help, so why not take the first step and get involved?

The Social Media GP website features several training videos on using diverse social media applications including FOAMED, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Adult oral health and dental visiting in Australia (AIHW)

Adult oral health and dental visiting in Australia: results from the National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2010 reports oral health and dental visiting patterns of Australian adults in 2010, and trends from 1994 to 2010. While most adults reported good oral health in 2010 and 60% had visited a dentist in the previous 12 months, almost 38% reported a financial barrier or hardship associated with dental visits. Adults from lower income households, or those who held a concession card, reported poorer oral health status, more toothache, less dental visiting and greater difficulty in paying a $150 dental bill than those from higher income households and non-cardholders.

World-first clinical trial of online suicide intervention launched

Around 2,300 people in Australia take their lives every year and many thousands more experience thoughts that life isn't worth living. It is an issue that is on the increase internationally, particularly amongst young people.

A world-first program developed by researchers at the Black Dog Institute and the Australian National University aims to empower people to take charge of unhelpful thoughts and learn ways to manage them on an ongoing basis. Called "Healthy Thinking" the web-based, self-help program has been designed to circumvent the issues of stigma that often stop people from seeking face-to-face help.

"We know that many people are reluctant to acknowledge their thoughts of suicide," says Professor Helen Christensen, Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute. "The Healthy Thinking trial is offering people a confidential self-help service that can be accessed 24/7 by anyone with internet access."

Australians who have experienced suicidal thoughts are invited to register their interest in the "Healthy Thinking" Trial at

About "Healthy Thinking"

New asthma reports from AIHW

Asthma hospitalisations in Australia 2010-11

This report provides an overview of hospitalisation patterns over time and across population groups. Asthma hospitalisation rates decreased between 1998-99 and 2010-11, by 33% for children and 45% for adults. The rate of hospitalisation for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 2.1 times the rate for Other Australians. Asthma hospitalisation rates were also higher for people living in areas with lower socioeconomic status.

Media release

Monitoring asthma in pregnancy: a discussion paper

Asthma in pregnant women may have adverse effects on maternal, fetal and infant outcomes, particularly if expectant mothers experience an exacerbation of asthma while pregnant. Pregnancy, in turn, may have adverse effects on asthma control among expectant mothers. This report outlines a proposed approach to monitoring asthma during pregnancy by capitalising on existing data sources as well as identifying data development opportunities.

Allied health workforce 2012 (AIHW)

Allied health workforce 2012 outlines the workforce characteristics of 11 allied health professions for 2011 and 2012. In 2012, more than 4 in 5 registered practitioners were actively employed in their profession (from 76.2% for psychologists to 92.3% for podiatrists). For most professions there were more women than men employed. The average working week for employed practitioners ranged from 31.8 hours for Chinese medicine practitioners to 40.5 hours for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners.

Media release

CareSearch Allied Health Hub Launched

Allied health professionals now have access to high quality online palliative care information to better support clients who are approaching the end of life.

CareSearch, the palliative care website which hosts the Nurses Hub, GP Hub and the Residential Aged Care Hub, is excited to announce the launch of the brand new Allied Health Hub!

The new Allied Health Hub is specifically designed to meet the information needs of allied health professionals who work with palliative clients.

Allied Health Hub


Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Exposure to a potentially traumatic event (PTE) is a common experience, with up to three quarters of the population likely to experience at least one during their lifetime. PTEs involve exposure to an event involving threat, actual or perceived, to the life or physical safety of the individual, their loved ones or those around them. They can be experienced on a single occasion or repeatedly.

A degree of psychological distress is very common in the early aftermath of traumatic exposure and can be considered a part of the normal response. When the individual's psychological distress following exposure to a traumatic event persists, and is severe enough to interfere with important areas of psychosocial functioning, it can no longer be considered a normal response to traumatic exposure. The possibility of a posttraumatic mental health disorder such as PTSD should be considered.

The Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder aim to support high quality treatment of people with PTSD by providing a framework of best practice around which to structure treatment. While there has been growing consensus about the treatment of ASD and PTSD in recent years, approaches are varied and there is still a gap between evidence-based practice and routine clinical care.

A suite of products that accompanies the main Guidelines includes:

*an easy to read summary booklet of the recommendations contained in the Guidelines for mental health professionals
*a booklet for adults affected by trauma
*a booklet for teenagers affected by trauma
*a storybook for children who have experienced trauma
*a practitioner guide for mental health professionals who work with children, adolescents and their families.

Children and teenagers get factored into the new guidelines for PTSD treatment (ABC)

Workshops aim to raise awareness of stress (Rural Mental Health)

Rural counsellor Lynn Stuart helps bush people battling depression or suicidal thoughts.
The experienced local mental health worker is running a series of workshops supported by the Southern Downs Regional Council across the region focused on helping rural people affected by the floods.

She said the series aims to raise awareness about how disaster and subsequent stress can trigger mental illness and suicidal behaviour.

Free Male Health Education DVD "A lot of Aboriginal men sort of keep it to themselves"

"A lot of Aboriginal men sort of keep it to themselves" Andrology Australia's Male Health Education DVD, provides health professionals with the knowledge and skills to initiate dialogue and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males about the potentially tricky topic of male reproductive health.

The DVD includes a series of interviews with a number of health professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and medical specialists with expertise in male reproductive health issues, and covers a number of themes such as male friendly health services, strategies when starting to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and talking about sexual health issues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males. Information about the causes and management of erectile dysfunction and links between chronic disease and ED is also included.

A limited number of DVDs is available - to request a copy of the DVD, or to enquire about its availability, please contact or call 1300 303 878.

The Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide

SANE Australia has released a practical and easy-to-understand resource which helps people working in mental health to support a person who may be at risk of taking their own life.

"Supporting people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours can be a challenging and daunting task," explains Charmaine Smith, Acting CEO of SANE Australia. "The Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide aims to inform a range of mental health workers about different ways to address the issue of suicide with their clients."

According to Ms Smith, preventing suicide is a core function of what mental health services do, and although not everyone with mental illness will experience suicidal thoughts and behaviours, people with schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and mood disorders such as depression and bipolar have a higher risk of suicide than others in the community.

"This guide encourages people working in mental health, in both community and hospital settings, to consider a holistic approach toward the person they are caring for, including them in decision making and encouraging individual responsibility. "

About the guide

Australian mental health sector : scoping study

Media release

Intellectual disability mental health e-learning

idmh e-learning is a new e-learning website which promotes better mental health care for people with an intellectual disability Free training is now available for health and disability professionals around Australia, to increase skills and confidence in the mental health care of people with an intellectual disability.

People with an intellectual disability are at an increased risk of developing a mental disorder, compared to the general population. In the past, mental health professionals have often not had access to specific training to respond to this vulnerable group.

The new e-Learning website is a practical, free resource with a focus on the fundamental skills and knowledge needed for clinical training this area. This includes communication, assessment and management of mental disorders.

Additional modules for carers and consumers are in development

For more information, go to or contact

Understanding research: A guide for primary health care nurses

Primary health care (phc) nurses see hundreds of patients every year : some frequently, some rarely. In every consultation, phc nurses will be aiming to provide the best possible care, and patients will be expecting it. But how do we determine what is the best possible care? The best possible care must be determined by evidence that has arisen as the result of research, preferably conducted in the primary care setting.

The 10 learning modules in Understanding research: A guide for primary health care nurses are for primary health care nurses who wish to provide the best possible care but who would like to understand more about research. They have also been written for GPNs who want to know how to get involved in research.

This resource is listed on the AML Alliance webpage under 'Orientation and Training'.

This resource is the latest in a series of free training courses for phc nurses which include Nurse Practitioners in Primary Care, Leadership in Action, Teaching & Learning in the Workplace, and the Nursing in General Practice Recruitment and Orientation Resource.

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2011-12 (AIHW)

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2011-12

Almost 700 agencies provided over 150,000 treatment episodes for alcohol and other drug issues in Australia in 2011-12. Most of the closed episodes provided in 2011-12 were for clients receiving treatment for their own drug use, and these clients tended to be male and in their 20s and 30s. Alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern, accounting for almost half of these closed episodes, and counselling was the most common type of treatment.

Media release

Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010-11: an analysis by remoteness and disease (AIHW)

Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010-11: an analysis by remoteness and disease provides a detailed analysis of health expenditure for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in 2010-11. Estimates are disaggregated at the regional level, as well as for specific disease and injury groups. For selected services, expenditure increased with remoteness for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The disease groups that accounted for the highest proportion of admitted patient expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were genitourinary diseases ($195 million or 11% of Indigenous admitted patient expenditure), which includes the cost of dialysis treatment.

Media release

Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia: 1999-00 to 2010-11 (AIHW)

Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia: 1999-00 to 2010-11 focuses on trends in hospitalisations due to injury and poisoning that occurred over the period 1999-00 to 2010-11. Information is also presented on the incidence of hospitalised injury in the financial year 2010-11. Age-standardised rates of injury cases increased from 1999-00 to 2010-11 by an average of 1% per year. Increases per year across the period were found for injuries due to: falls (2%), intentional self-harm (1), assaults (0.5%) and other unintentional injuries (1.4%). Significant decreases occurred in the rate of hospitalisations due to poisoning by pharmaceuticals (5%) and by other substances (4%), and drowning and near drowning (1%, and 3% for children 0-4).

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people rates of injury increased from 3,268 cases per 100,000 population in 2007-08 to 3,708 per 100,000 in 2010-11. Analysis of different injury types revealed increases in rates of poisoning by pharmaceuticals, falls, intentional self-harm and other unintentional injuries during this time.

Media release

AusDiab Study paints a disturbing picture of the nation's battle with diabetes and obesity.

One of the most comprehensive studies tracking the health of Australians has released findings that paint a disturbing picture of the nation's battle with diabetes and obesity. The AusDiab study was funded through a National Health and Medical Research Council grant and followed 11,000 Australians for 12 years.

Researchers found the incidence of diabetes remained very high, with almost 270 adult Australians diagnosed each day, and people aged 25-34 were gaining more weight than other age groups. Patients with diabetes were also found more likely to suffer other conditions as well. Prevalence of depression in patients with diabetes was 65%, which was much higher than those without diabetes.

Study leader Professor Jonathan Shaw says the link between diabetes and depression is complex. "It appears there's a bit of a two-way street here. People with depression are more likely to develop conditions like diabetes, partly because they feel less able to pursue healthy lifestyles."

Professor Shaw says people with diabetes also had twice the rate of cognitive impairment compared to those without diabetes. "One of the biggest contradictions is that we are seeing people living longer but with higher rates of chronic diseases. So their quality of life is compromised by disease," he said.

Aus Diab 2012 report

List of available reports from the study

Long-term study finds Australian adults increasingly at risk of diabetes and obesity (ABC)

"Getting Started" in primary health care

PHC RIS Getting Started Guides (formerly infoBytes) are designed to introduce the fundamentals of primary health care and expand on key primary health care topics.

The Getting Started Guides are suitable for anyone looking for a basic introduction to key primary health care topics or to expand their knowledge of a familiar topic. Main areas covered include primary health care, writing, presenting, engaging, research methods and data & information collection.

The latest guides in the series are :

* Using social media in primary health care

* Accessing the Grey literature

* Understanding the social determinants of health

Australia's welfare 2013 (AIHW)

Australia's welfare 2013 is the 11th biennial welfare report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This comprehensive and authoritative report provides an overview of the wellbeing of Australians across domains of healthy living, autonomy and participation, and social cohesion. It includes information on:

- population factors underpinning the demand for welfare services
- particular needs and assistance provided to key groups
- the resourcing of welfare services in Australia.

Areas where there were signs of improvement included rises in Indigenous home ownership, falls in overcrowding among Indigenous households, and improving education and labour force participation rates.

The report shows that people outside major cities experience several areas of disadvantage, including higher death rates, higher disability rates, lower educational attainment, and higher unemployment rates.

Other Australia's welfare 2013 fast facts:

*Australians are better educated than a decade ago: 67% of people aged 25 to 64 held a non-school qualification in 2012 compared with 54% in 2002.
*Adoptions have fallen to their lowest level ever-at just 333 in 2011--12 compared with around 9,800 in 1972.
*The number of children in substantiated (confirmed) abuse and neglect cases rose by 18% between 2007-08 and 2011-12. The number of children living in out-of-home care increased by 27% between 2008 and 2011.
*Just over half (52%) of children aged 0 to 12 usually attended child care in 2011.
*House prices were more than 7 times the average household income in 2011 compared with 4 times at the start of 2002, and houses are increasing in size.

The report is accompanied by a companion mini publication, Australia's welfare 2013-in brief.

Media release

Cases Database (Biomed Central)

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 has developed a new resource Cases Database, a continuously-updated, freely-accessible database of thousands of medical case reports from multiple publishers, including Springer, BMJ and PubMed Central. By aggregating case reports and facilitating comparison, Cases Database provides clinicians, researchers, regulators and patients a simple resource to explore content, and identify emerging trend.

Indigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership Agreement: first annual report on health performance indicators (AIHW)

Indigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership Agreement: first annual report on health performance indicators provides the latest available information, as well as trends on the 6 health-related indicators in the NPA. Key findings include that Indigenous mothers had higher rates of low birthweight babies than non-Indigenous mothers and more than half of Indigenous mothers reported smoking during pregnancy. There was a 46% decline in the infant mortality rate for Indigenous infants between 2001 and 2010.

The health of Australia's males (AIHW)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released two reports on male health :

The health of Australia's males: from birth to young adulthood (0-24 years)
This report is the 3rd in a series on the health of Australia's males, and focuses on health conditions and risk factors that are age-specific (such as congenital anomalies) and those where large sex differences are observed (such as injury). Findings include: - Male babies born in 2009-2011 can expect to live to the age of 79.7, nearly 5 years less than female babies born the same year (84.2). - While males aged 0-24 are more likely to be hospitalised or die from injury than females of the same age, they are similarly likely to be overweight or obese and less likely to smoke tobacco daily.

The health of Australia's males: 25 years and over
This report is the 4th in a series on the health of Australia's males. It continues and completes the life course by focusing on males aged 25 and over. Findings include: -Males aged 25 and over in 2011 can expect, on average, to live to 80 or over. -One in 10 males aged 50-59 (11%) and 60-69 (10%) are, on a daily basis, at risk of injury resulting from excessive alcohol Employed -males are less likely to rate their health as fair or poor (11%) compared with unemployed males (37%) and males not in the labour force (41%).

Media release.

Two Hearts One Future : report highlights gaps in care for heart attack survivors

One of the largest studies assessing the perceptions of Australian heart attack survivors and those who care for them has uncovered a concerning level of patient complacency, and has highlighted the emotional burden faced by carers of those living in the shadow of our nation's biggest killer.

The report, Two Hearts One Future, led by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and sponsored by AstraZeneca, revealed that many heart attack survivors underestimate their risk of having a future heart attack, and fail to follow their GP's advice or attend rehabilitation (carers maintain that around half of survivors do so). Conversely, carers appear to be more deeply affected post-event, carrying a greater emotional burden and expressing concern that nearly half of survivors (45%) hadn't taken responsibility for their future heart health.

According to Professor Simon Stewart, Head of Preventative Cardiology at Baker IDI, the study serves as a major wake up call to Australians living with coronary heart disease (the primary underlying cause of heart attack) and highlights the need for more effective secondary prevention and ongoing support programs for heart attack survivors.

"The findings suggest that heart attack survivors are failing to make the necessary lifestyle changes to mitigate their risk of a repeat heart attack," said Professor Stewart.

"Nearly one in four people who are fortunate to survive a heart attack will go on to have another episode or require medical intervention. Within a year, one in 11 of these people will die. But despite the odds, many of the survivors we surveyed weren't following optimal care strategies. I think we need to place greater emphasis on patient education, supported by innovative strategies such as telephone support and in-home care," he added.

Press release

State of preventive health 2013 launched

The Australian Government has released the State of Preventive Health 2013 Report, a comprehensive overview of the current health challenges facing Australians in relation to chronic disease. It highlights the substantial leadership and effort that is underway in Australia to reduce the key risk factors for chronic disease, including obesity and physical inactivity, tobacco use and the harmful use of alcohol.

Feature Articles include :

*Professor Chris Baggoley : The challenge of chronic disease - a Chief Medical Officer's perspective
*Pat Anderson: Prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
*Stephanie Alexander : Growing, cooking, eating and enjoying good food
*Mayor Felicity-Ann Lewis: Local government's role in prevention
*The Hon Justice Annabelle Bennett: Prevention of chronic disease creating evidence for action
*Associate Professor Leslie E Bolitho : Improving access to specialist care in the community

There are also a large number of case studies (including several from Indigenous settings), as well as statistical figures and tables.

New SANE Australia report calls for action to reduce stigma against mental illness

A new study from mental health charity, SANE Australia, reports that stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness is widespread, harmful to recovery, and is a major barrier to participation in society for those affected.

A Life without Stigma concludes that a national strategy to tackle stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness is vital, and should be a non-negotiable component of mental health policies and plans.

Media release

Injury of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to transport: 2005-06 to 2009-10 (AIHW)

Injury of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to transport: 2005-06 to 2009-10 looks at death and serious injury of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia due to transport accidents in the five-year period 2005-06 to 2009-10. Land transport accidents accounted for 26% of all fatal injury cases and 9% of all serious injury cases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The age-standardised rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 2.8 times the rate for Other Australians for fatal cases, and 1.3 times the rate for Other Australians for serious injuries.

Media release

Ambulance turnaround times improving in NSW hospitals

Health Minister Jillian Skinner has welcomed the release of a report by Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat into ambulance turnaround times in NSW hospitals. The Reducing Ambulance Turnaround Time At Hospital report shows 83% of ambulance patients are transferred into a hospital's care within the target 30 minutes, with 33% transferred within 10 minutes. Mrs Skinner said Mr Achterstraat's report aligns with the objectives of current reform programs in NSW Health, including the Reform Plan for NSW Ambulance, which she released in December.

Press release

2013 PHC Research Conference presentations now available on-line

Presentations from the recent 2013 PHC Research Conference, Allies for better primary health care, are now available. Over 150 of the 250 presentations are shared on-line. The keynote speakers' presentations have been videoed for delayed streaming, the concurrent sessions are presented in synchronised audio and slides and posters can be viewed in PDF.

This conference contains several presentations on Indigenous health, and several on rural primary health care. Other conference themes included migrant & refugee healh, preventive health, mental health services and healthy ageing.

Game On: Exploring the Impact of Technologies on Young Men's Mental Health and Wellbeing

The first Young and Well National Survey, Game On: Exploring the Impact of Technologies on Young Men's Mental Health and Wellbeing, a scientific study of young men from across Australia, uncovered alarming statistics that suggest our current mental health system is failing young men:

* Nearly one in five felt that life is hardly worth living.
* Nearly one in 10 thought about taking their own life.
* 42 % experience psychological distress.
* Unemployment and moderate to very high levels of psychological distress trigger suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

The research also identifies new methods of engagement with young men via technology that matches their current usage and behaviour online, offering new hope for improving their mental health and wellbeing.

Young men with moderate to very high levels of psychological distress were more likely to:

*Talk about problems on the internet, with 66% finding it helpful.
* Use the internet to find information for a mental health, alcohol or other substance abuse problem (48%).
* Be somewhat to very satisfied with the information they received online (95%).

Young men who reported higher levels of psychological distress were more likely to access health information, listen to (or download /upload) music and play games with others on the internet.