Mental health framework highlights role of pharmacists

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, in partnership with mental health consumers, carers and care coordinators, mental health policy and practice experts and health professionals has released a mental health framework which highlights and promotes the expertise of pharmacists and the roles they undertake as partners in mental health care.

National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the framework was intended to be used to articulate current and explore future pharmacist roles as partners to enhance mental health care service delivery to Australian consumers and carers. "This framework will be used to engage with a variety of audiences including consumers, carers, mental health care organisations, health care practitioners and governments to promote the role of the pharmacist as a partner in the delivery of mental health care," he said.

Touch Surgery: the iPad app that teaches surgeons how to operate

Touch Surgery, the new mobile surgical simulator lets you tap and swipe your way through the steps of an operation in a radical new model of interactive training. With an effortless swipe of the finger, you slice open the patient's skin. A gentle pinch and the flesh is prised apart to reveal layers of tissue. Another swipe and a pair of scissors descends into view and begins to cut into the muscle. A few more swipes, taps and pinches and, hey presto, you've removed an appendix.

Touch Surgery, is a new iPhone and iPad app designed to help trainee surgeons learn the steps of their operations. Touch Surgery takes simulation to a whole new level: every step of each procedure is animated in graphic 3D detail. It's not for the squeamish.

Profile article from The Guardian

Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2012 (OECD)

OECD and WHO have recently published Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2012. This is a set of key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, healthcare resources and utilisation, healthcare expenditure and financing and healthcare quality in 27 Asia/Pacific countries. Broad based health workforce indicators are included (staff: population ratios).This is a diverse region with some very low resource countries (e.g.: PNG, Cambodia and Laos PDR) and some highly developed countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.

Study reveals molecular networks of mental health disorders

Early diagnosis and intervention for ADHD, autism and schizophrenia could be made possible after Australian scientists discovered the molecular networks in the brain showing psychiatric and developmental disorders. Scientists at The University of Queensland's (UQ) Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) said their discovery of the molecular networks of the disorders was a step up from existing behavioural testing used to diagnose ADHD, autism, schizophrenia and X-linked intellectual disability - a mental retardation affecting men who have a single X chromosome.

QBI's Associate Professor Charles Claudianos said the discovery would allow for a hypothetical "gene network model" that could be used to analyse the many candidate genes and predict the association of genetic screening data with autism, ADHD and schizophrenia.

The study was published in the February 2013 issue of Molecular Psychiatry

Australian hospital statistics: National emergency access and elective surgery targets 2012 (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics: National emergency access and elective surgery targets 2012 presents 2012 data for performance indicators in the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services. Included are measures of the extent to which states and territories met targets for emergency department lengths of stay of 4 hours or less and for lengths of time spent waiting for elective surgery.

In 2012, 65.5% of patients presenting to a public hospital emergency department in Australia had their visits to the emergency department completed in 4 hours or less.

In 2012 there were almost 671,000 hospital admissions in Australia from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists, as either an elective or an emergency admission. Median waiting times ranged from 27 days in Queensland to 55 days in the ACT.

Media release

Culture of Resistance: Australia's response to the inappropriate use of antimicrobials

Culture of Resistance: Australia's response to the inappropriate use of antimicrobials by the Australia Institute, looks at how Australian governments have responded to anti-microbial resistance (AMR) since the problem became evident in the 1980s.

"Unless we solve the problem of antimicrobial resistance to drugs, we will be facing a post-antibiotic era where things as common as a strep throat infection or a child's scratched knee could once again kill." Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2012.

The Australia Institute's paper concludes that it is necessary to devise a much more accountable and transparent system of management of AMR in Australia if we are to avoid another largely wasted decade. Given the pressing nature of the problem and the catastrophic impact of antimicrobial resistance, effective action must be taken urgently.

The current Senate Inquiry into AMR by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committees provides an opportunity for development of a strong and credible Australian response to this global public health threat.

Media release

Global Library of Women's Medicine

The Global Library of Women's Medicine (GLOWM) is a major not-for-profit initiative to provide medical professionals worldwide with free and universal access to a vast and constantly updated, peer-reviewed resource of clinical information and guidance. The principal features of the site consist of 442 specialist chapters plus surgical videos, diagnostic atlases, laboratory tests and a special section on Safer Motherhood. A series of 12 expert videos on laparoscopic surgery by Professor L. Mettler have recently been added.

Edited by Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran of St George's University of London, UK, the site is made possible by 750 clinicians providing contributions.

Virtual issues on disaster medicine and resuscitation

Emergency Medicine Australasia has released 3 free virtual issues dealing with disaster medicine subjects. Anyone with an interest in disaster triage, burns disasters, floods, flu pandemics, chemical spills or even tsunamis and earthquakes will find a lot to interest them here. The latest Australasian Resuscitation Guidelines for adults, children and infants are also available. The 3 issues are:
* Disaster Medicine
* International Emergency Medicine
* Latest 2010 Australasian Resuscitation Guidelines for adult BLS / adult ALS / Paediatrics and Newborn Infants

Close the Gap shadow report 2013 (Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee)

In April 2008, the Australian Government committed to providing an annual report to Parliament on progress towards closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non- Indigenous Australians.

Each year the Campaign Steering Committee provides a complementary "shadow" report representing its assessment of the Australian Government's progress against its commitments to achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality. This is the Campaign Steering Committee's fourth shadow report.

Part one of this report assesses progress against the COAG Closing the Gap Targets for health equality. It maintains a focus on evaluating the implementation of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent commitments(particularly in relation to partnership and the ongoing development of the Health Plan). As a part of this it examines the renewal of the Indigenous Health NPA.

Part two examines developments in relation to partnership and planning. The development of the Health Plan is underway. It is essential that the Health Plan be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative bodies including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector

The Life and Work of a Chocolate Health Researcher

Karin Ried, Ph.D., is research director for the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, and is one of the leading chocolate researchers in the world. Her main interest is in chocolate's effect on blood pressure. Her research, along with that of others, has shown that regularly eating small amounts of chocolate can lower blood pressure enough to improve heart health.

Read more about this irresistible research

The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013 (NHMRC)

The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013 use the best available scientific evidence to provide information on the types and amounts of foods, food groups and dietary patterns that aim to:

* promote health and wellbeing
* reduce the risk of diet-related conditions
* reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The Guidelines are for use by health professionals, policy makers, educators, food manufacturers, food retailers and researchers.

The content of the Australian Dietary Guidelines applies to all healthy Australians, as well as those with common diet-related risk factors such as being overweight. They do not apply to people who need special dietary advice for a medical condition, or to the frail elderly.

Nutrition experts welcome long-awaited release of Dietary Guidelines

Dietary Guidelines provide authoritative advice - but missed opportunities on breastfeeding and environment

The Infant Feeding Guidelines (2012) (NHMRC)

The Infant Feeding Guidelines (2012) are aimed at health workers to assist them in providing consistent advice to the general public about breastfeeding and infant feeding. They support optimum infant nutrition by providing a review of the evidence, and clear evidence-based recommendations on infant feeding for health workers.

The Guidelines are a revision of the 2003 edition (and incorporate the latest scientific evidence). They were prepared by experts in paediatric nutrition, nutrition research, nutrition communication, public health and primary health.

The Guidelines provide advice and recommendations on breastfeeding, supporting mothers and parents, the introduction of solids, preparing infant formula and other common health related concerns.

The Infant Feeding Guidelines are relevant to healthy, term infants of normal birth weight (>2500g). Although many of the principles of infant feeding described here can be applied to low birth weight infants, specific medical advice is recommended for pre-term and underweight infants.

Development of a prototype Australian mental health intervention classification: a working paper (AIHW)

Development of a prototype Australian mental health intervention classification: a working paper presents a brief history of the development of the Mental Health Intervention Classification (MHIC) that has been designed for use in Australian health-care settings, and details the most recent iteration of the classification scheme.

The rationale for developing a MHIC is to allow collection of mental health intervention information using a standard classification scheme that enables nationally comparable and consistent reporting of trends, patterns and best practice in the provision of mental health services.The first iteration, known as MHIC 06, was developed by the National Centre for Classification in Health in 2006. Following the development of this proposed classification scheme, the MHISS agreed to undertake a reappraisal of the MHIC 06.

As part of the reappraisal, a revised classification scheme was developed, which became known as MHIC 09. In 2011, the MHIC 09 was piloted at a number of trial sites. After feedback from participating sites, further refinements have been made. This report presents the 2012 revision of the MHIC.

Cochrane Library iPad app

The Cochrane Library iPad Edition presents the latest up-to-date evidence from The Cochrane Library in a convenient, easy to navigate format. Monthly issues feature Cochrane Systematic Reviews selected by the Editor in Chief and specifically abridged to provide the best possible iPad reading experience. The reviews are enriched with the addition of multimedia content, including podcasts, videos and slide decks.

In this app, you can easily access abstracts, read selected reviews, and view full-page summary of findings tables. With access to a range of topics each month, you can create a reading list tailored to your own interests. All content in the app is free, and new issues will be downloaded regularly to your Newsstand.

Special features:
*Read full editorials, listen to integrated podcasts and watch videos associated with reviews wherever you are
*Use multitouch gestures for easy viewing of tables and images
*Bookmark articles, images, tables and figures for convenient reading
*Read and access content offline even when on a plane, train, subway etc. without a network connection
*Export article PDFs to your document manager or view PowerPoint article slide sets in a presentation app

Social Determinants of Health Alliance

The Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDOHA) is a collaboration of like-minded organisations from the areas of health, social services and public policy established to work with governments to reduce health inequities in Australia.

Abundant evidence shows that the higher your income or level of education in Australia, the better your health will tend to be. People in the most disadvantaged social groups are also far more likely than those in the higher socioeconomic groups to have long-term physical or mental health problems. They are less able to gain an education or maintain a job to retirement and are more likely to die at a younger age.

The Alliance membership includes Australia's leading health equity researchers -- some of whom were involved in the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health -- as well as leading health promotion and social service organisations. The website includes links to major research reports, links to member organisations and links to other sites containing information on the social determinants of health

Cancer of the bush or salvation for our cities? Fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out workforce practices in Regional Australia

On Wednesday 13 February 2013, the House Standing Committee on Regional Australia tabled its report on the inquiry into the use of "fly-in, fly-out" (FIFO) workforce practices in regional Australia entitled Cancer of the bush or salvation for our cities? Fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out workforce practices in Regional Australia.

The parliamentary inquiry has heard fly-in fly-out work pays very well and provides large blocks of time off but it is also damaging some communities, where health and other services are under pressure. It also found FIFOs are not participating in community life.

The inquiry chairman Tony Windsor says the high cost and low supply of housing means many workers choose to "cash in" rather than living in the communities. He says all levels of government need to provide an opportunity for workers to live full-time in the communities where they are employed. "There could be incentives put in place to encourage people to reside in the community rather than the current practice," he said. "When you analyse it the incentives are not to live in the community and that's a shocking indictment."

The chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia Mitch Hooke says the report is upsetting. "Most people in our industry will take that as being quite offensive, to liken their choice of work arrangements as a cancer on regional Australia. I think it just underscores the continuing challenge about what community engagement's all about, what social stewardship is all about."

Report says FIFO damaging regional communities (ABC News)

Indigenous mental health Closing the Gap Clearinghouse resource sheets

Strategies to minimise the incidence of suicide and suicidal behaviour
This resource sheet provides a review of policies and programs that aim to prevent suicide and suicidal behaviour, and considers suicide prevention policies and programs that have been implemented in both remote and non-remote parts of Australia and internationally. It assesses their strengths and limitations and their actual, or likely, effectiveness in relation to Indigenous Australians.

Strategies and practices for promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
This resource sheet reviews programs that aim to promote social and emotional wellbeing and identifies those that have been evaluated and shown to be effective in relation to Indigenous people.

Media release

Free breast cancer and exercise booklet

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has launched a new Breast Cancer and Exercise booklet to provide women with reliable and comprehensive information about exercising after a breast cancer diagnosis. The new resource provides women with information about how exercise may benefit them, as well as offering practical tips about keeping active from the experiences of other women.

Breast Cancer and Exercise is the latest in a number of resources which can be ordered from BCNA by calling 1800 500 258 or downloaded from the BCNA fact sheets and booklets page.

Other new titles available are:
Menopause and breast cancer
Hormone therapy and breast cancer

Cochrane Library Special Collections

The latest evidence on Tuberculosis is the latest addition to the Cochrane Library Special Collections page. Drawn from the latest Cochrane Reviews, the Special Collections feature significant reviews on a selected clinical topic which define current practice. Amongst the many Special Collections now available, try the following topical subjects:

Resources for burns

Treatment of obesity


Breast cancer detection


Papers from the 2010 SARRAH National Conference:

Services for Australian Rural & Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) have now mounted several papers full-text from the 2010 SARRAH Conference on their website.

Amongst the many available are the following :

Allied Health Professionals in Remote Aboriginal Health - What is the Best Mix of Service Delivery

Boab Health Services and Broome Libraries Books on Prescription Scheme

Developing primary health care guidelines for remote and Indigenous practice - A Partnership Model

Extending the Scope of Physiotherapy - An inter-professional and collaborative approach to improving patient-centred care

Nurturing allied health pearls in the bush - Alison Dymmott

Review of retention strategies and model of care for the delivery of allied health outreach services across North West Queensland

Many of the papers from 2008, 2006 and 2004 conferences are also available from the new SARRAH website (follow links under "Events" tab)

Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2013

Closing the gap: Prime Minister's report 2013 is the 5th annual report outlining progress made towards meeting the targets set for Closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage in the seven key building blocks:

*early childhood
*healthy homes
*safe communities
*economic participation
*governance and leadership.

The report includes new data from the 2011 Census and provides the most comprehensive assessment to date of progress against the targets.

The report highlights 2013 as the year the first target - ensuring all Indigenous four-year olds living in remote communities have access to early childhood education within 5 years - falls due and claims this target will be met.

The report states that continued and sustained effort is needed to close the gap, but that the expected achievement of the early childhood education target in 2013 will support a commitment to ensuring that benefits flow through to the other Closing the gap targets to further address Indigenous disadvantage.

Make Research Matter (Research toolkit website)

Make Research Matter (MRM) is an online toolkit that assists developers of public health and health services research interventions to increase the dissemination and implementation (D&I) potential of their interventions.

The MRM website consists of four main tools:

> Planning Tool - an interactive survey which provides a tailored report that aids researchers with their dissemination plan;

> Resource Library - a searchable database consisting of a compilation of D&I related articles from multiple sources which is updated monthly;

> Narrative Library - a freely accessible online library containing video vignettes and transcripts with junior and senior D&I experts of "how-to" knowledge to D&I problems;

> Glossary-containing over 100 definitions of terminology used in D&I health research. Additionally, users of the MRM website can learn more about current publications and presentations, and current news related to D&I.

The Health of Senior Australians and the Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs They Face

The Health of Senior Australians and the Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs They Face by the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre, aims to better understand how the prevalence of chronic conditions is associated with burdensome out-of-pocket health care costs.

To answer this question, researchers from the Australian National University conducted a survey of older Australians living in the community - with unique measures pertaining to the healthcare costs faced by respondents as well as questions about their health and wellbeing and general demographic characteristics. This report shows that although many costs are subsidised through Australia's Medicare arrangements, a sizeable minority of mature age people face considerable out-of-pocket health care costs.

Living longer. Living better: National lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) ageing and aged care strategy

The Living longer. Living better: National lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) ageing and aged care strategy addresses older Australians with diverse needs who find it difficult to access aged care information and services that are sensitive to their backgrounds and circumstances.

This government strategy aims to ensure that LGBTI people have the same opportunities and options in aged care that are available to all Australians. It is designed to not only raise awareness of the issues but also, in a very concrete way, improve the ageing and aged care experience of LGBTI people, recognising and valuing the diversity of this group. Although LGBTI people rarely want to be solely defined by their sexual orientation, sex or gender identity, for many it is an important part of who they are. Aged care services need to ensure that they provide a consumer directed approach to meeting the care needs of older LGBTI people, resulting in appropriate and targeted services.

World first consumer resources launched on World Cancer Day

Cancer Australia has launched two new online multimedia resources to increase the involvement of people affected by cancer in cancer control efforts. Cancer Australia CEO Professor Helen Zorbas said that World Cancer Day provided an opportunity to acknowledge the unique perspective that cancer consumers provide to improving cancer care and services. The two new resources are the Consumer Learning website which is designed to enhance consumer knowledge and confidence to participate in cancer research and clinical trials, and the Consumer Involvement Toolkit which will support CEOs, managers, health professionals, researchers and policy makers to effectively involve consumers in their organisation's work.

The Consumer Learning website was developed in collaboration with the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA). This site has been developed to enhance the contribution of people affected by cancer to clinical trials research. Consumers working with the Cancer Cooperative Trials Groups (CCTGs), and consumers more broadly, now have access to a suite of learning and support initiatives to enhance knowledge and skills in partnering with researchers to conduct quality patient-centred clinical trial research.

The Consumer Involvement Toolkit was developed with the assistance of the Health Issues Centre and was based on the National Framework for Consumer Involvement in Cancer Control released by Cancer Australia in 2011. Cancer Australia has developed web-based practical tools to assist, CEOs and Executives, Service Managers, Health Professionals, Researchers, Policy Makers and Consumers to actively engage with consumers around a shared focus and vision.

Press release

National Indigenous Cancer Network launched

The National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) has been launched. NICaN is an online resource established by a partnership of the Menzies School of Health Research, the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, the Lowitja Institute, and Cancer Council Australia. It aims to encourage and support collaboration around Indigenous cancer research and delivery of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer, their carers and families.

The network is one of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet yarning places.

NICaN is a milestone of the Lowitja Institute project Towards a national approach to improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.