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.

The health of Australia's prisoners 2012 (AIHW)

The health of Australia's prisoners 2012

Prisoners have significant health issues, with high rates of mental health problems, communicable diseases, alcohol misuse, smoking and illicit drug use. 38% of prison entrants have been told they have a mental illness, 32% have a chronic condition. 84% are current smokers, but almost half of them would like to quit. 37% of prisoners about to be released said their health was a lot better than when they entered prison.

Media release

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan

The Australian Government has released the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, an evidence-based policy framework to guide policies and programs to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health over the next decade.

Over the next 10 years, projected funding for health programs specifically designed and targeted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is estimated to be around $12 billion from 2013-14 to 2023-24. This $12 billion is in addition to health services provided and funded for the whole population through the Commonwealth's commitment to hospital funding, Medicare and the PBS, and other multi-billion dollar investments being made by the Commonwealth to improve the social determinants of health, including for education, employment and housing.

The four principles of the Health Plan are:

* Health Equality and a Human Rights Approach
* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Control and Engagement
* Partnership
* Accountability

The Health Plan is accompanied by a supporting Companion Document, which outlines the substantial current Commonwealth activity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and the social determinants of health. The Companion Document will be updated annually.

Plan website

Press release


ECHOpedia is an open access wiki echocardiography course. The site features the ECHO Textbook, case studies and echocardiography images.

The Mental Health Advice Book (Dept. of Veterans' Affairs)

The Mental Health Advice Book has been updated to assist practitioners to deliver effective mental health treatment for veterans, and offers best-practice in assessment, formulation and treatment of mental health problems, including DVDs of case studies. The resource is available on DVA's website At Ease Professional.

Visit for information.

Thinking Ahead: Report on the inquiry into dementia: Early diagnosis and intervention

Australia's population is ageing and over the next 20 years the number of people with dementia is predicted to more than double. Early diagnosis and intervention has been shown to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, as well as for family members and carers.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing has released its report Thinking Ahead: Report on the inquiry into dementia: Early diagnosis and intervention. The 17 recommendations include :

* A national public awareness campaign to aid recognition of early signs of dementia and to reduce stigma.
* Establishment of a national dementia training program for GPs
* A review of MBS items to determine whether new items need to be added for appropriate support.
* Training for rural primary care providers to implement timely diagnosis and treatment
* The implementation of Clinical Nurse Specialists in dementia, and a Cognitive Impairment Identifier in public hospitals

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health search filter [PubMed]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health literature is now easier to find following the launch of a search filter.

Funded by The Lowitja Institute, provides easy access, as simple as clicking a hyperlink, to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health literature in PubMed.

The project was led by Associate Professor Jennifer Tieman and Dr Ruth Sladek with the project team including Raechel Damarell and Mikaela Lawrence, all of whom work for Flinders Filters at Flinders University. adds to a suite of search filters developed by CareSearch and Flinders Filters in areas of national significance. features 27 topic searches of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. These pre-written searches combine with the search filter on topics ranging from health services to risk factors. A build your own search feature makes it easy to narrow to your area of interest.

The benefits of a search filter include: it is open access, it is easy to use, it saves time and it was developed using evidence based methods ensuring quality.

Diabetes expenditure in Australia 2008-09 (AIHW)

Diabetes expenditure in Australia 2008-09.

Between 2000-01 and 2008-09, health-care expenditure allocated to diabetes increased by 86% from $811 million to $1,507 million. The health-care sector where the largest increase took place was hospital admitted patients for which expenditure more than doubled in this period. Type 2 diabetes accounted for 60% of diabetes expenditure in 2008-09.

Media release

Perrformance audit: managing operating theatre efficiency for elective surgery

This report by the Audit Office of New South Wales finds that NSW public hospitals are treating patients within national clinical timeframes, however increased operations will be required as targets increase and demand grows.

Elective or planned surgery is defined as any form of surgery that a patient's doctor believes to be necessary and can be delayed by at least 24 hours. Examples are hip replacement, cataract extraction and breast surgery. In 2011-12, approximately 210,000 patients had elective surgery in over 270 public hospital operating theatres in New South Wales. The cost of elective surgery within hospitals is estimated to be $1.3 billion each year or about 17% of NSW Health's inpatient hospital services budget. Across the NSW public hospital system, 45% of all admissions to operating theatres are for elective surgery, 27% for emergency procedures and 28% for non-surgical procedures such as endoscopies. This balance in individual hospitals varies, as does the range and complexity of the surgical procedures undertaken.

Over the last 3 financial years elective surgery numbers have grown by 6%. Public hospitals are now treating patients from waiting lists substantially within national clinical timeframes. However, NSW Health is not meeting its 3 key elective surgery efficiency targets for theatre utilisation, cancellations on the day of surgery and first case starting on time. There is also wide variation against these efficiency targets between LHDs and hospitals of similar types across New South Wales.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012: detail analysis (AIHW)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012: detail analysis provides the latest information on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are faring according to a range of indicators on health status, determinants of health and health system performance that are based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. It highlights the main areas of improvement and continuing concern. For example, while death rates for avoidable causes and circulatory diseases have declined since 1997, more than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers smoke during pregnancy and about one-quarter of Indigenous Australians aged 15 and over live in overcrowded housing.

Everything you always wanted to know about Medicare Locals but were afraid to ask

To mark the first anniversary of the Australian Medicare Local Alliance, Croakey contributors were asked to suggest questions about the organisation and the 61 Medicare Locals. Their questions fell into 6 categories: * Where is the value? * Indigenous health * Governance and resourcing * Population health * Rural health * Mental health.

Snapshot of Australian primary health care research 2013

The Snapshot of Australian primary health care research 2013 was launched at the 2013 PHC Research Conference in Sydney by the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP Federal Minister for Health and Medical Research. This publication reports on the 8 Centres of Research Excellence funded by the Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development (PHCRED) Strategy.

The research being conducted by the Centres covers: access to care, microsystem integration, Indigenous chronic disease care, the prevention and management of chronic diseases in rural and remote populations, urban Aboriginal child health, the finance and economics of primary care, primary oral health care, and obesity management and prevention.

Health Policy Evidence Briefs : The Deeble Institute

The Deeble Institute is an initiative of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, the independent, national membership body and advocate for the Australian public and not-for-profit healthcare systems. The Institute was established in November 2011 and is funded through its membership, which includes Founding Partners, Partners and Institutional/Academic members.

Policy Evidence Briefs and Health Policy Issue Briefs are available online. They are short, easy to read, objective publications for policymakers that synthesise and interpret the evidence in an area of health policy.

Latest in the Health Policy Evidence Briefs is "Accreditation of health services: is it money and time well spent? ". Other recent topics include midwifery led models of care, schizophrenia and alcohol warning labels.

About the Deeble Institute

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: July 2011 - June 2012 monitoring report (AIHW)

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: July 2011 - June 2012 monitoring report presents statistics on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program for Australians invited to take part between July 2011 and June 2012. Just over 320,000 people were screened in that time, with about 22,500 found to require further assessment. One out of every 15 assessments recorded detected an advanced adenoma (pre-cancerous lesion), and a bowel cancer was detected in 1 out of every 32 assessments.

Media release

Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy

There is a big divide between the health of metropolitan Australia and that of Australians living in remote and rural areas. There is also a divide in terms of the health services available. In essence, if you live in rural or remote Australia your health will on average be poorer, and your access to health services more limited.

The Rural and Remote Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategy outlines multiple strategies that, if implemented, will redress this health and health workforce imbalance.

The strategy focuses on key areas including: capacity and skills development, leadership, workforce policy and planning, workforce funding and regulation, and workforce reform targetted at more effective, efficient and accessible service delivery.

The RRHWIR strategy complements the National Health Workforce Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework for Action 2011-2015, the National Strategic Framework for Rural and Remote Health 2012 and the findings of Health Workforce 2025 Doctors, Nurses and Midwives.


Proceedings of 12th National Rural Health Conference

The full proceedings of the 12th National Rural Health Conference are now available. They include the transcript and streaming of all Keynote Addresses, papers and streaming for concurrent speakers in streams 1 to 4, plus papers from other concurrent sessions, posters, and with ancillary information such as the Communiqué, priority recommendations, presenters' bios and a photo album.

Stroke and its management in Australia: an update (AIHW)

Stroke and its management in Australia: an update examines the impact of stroke on patients, their carers, the health system and aged care services. In particular for stroke patients, the report includes information on incidence, prevalence, hospitalisation, disability, treatment and deaths. The report also examines trends and inequalities in stroke and its management in Australia; and makes international comparisons; and identifies data gaps.

Media release

Quality health records in Australian primary healthcare: A guide

Quality health records in Australian primary healthcare: A guide was developed by an inter-professional Advisory Group in consultation with colleagues across the Australian primary healthcare sector. The guide is:

*designed to assist health professionals produce, manage and use high quality health records that are fit for a range of purposes including safe clinical decision making, good communication with other health professionals, trustworthy partnerships with patients and effective continuity of patient care.

*applicable to all health professionals operating in the Australian primary healthcare sector whether as solo practitioners, members of single-discipline practice teams, members of multidisciplinary practice teams or members of larger organisations.

*comprehensive in covering electronic health record systems, paper-based health record systems and hybrid health record systems and describes a set of core principles and practical examples to illustrate particular principles in day-to-day clinical practice.

New website for Medicare Locals

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has launched a new government website which gives Australians information about important health services being provided by Medicare Locals in their local communities.

Ms Plibersek said the website ( shows a map of Australia split up in to the 61 Medicare Local regions. By clicking on a region, patients are taken to a page which displays health services provided by the Medicare Local and a list of frontline health workers employed by the service, including total staffing numbers. Links are also provided to the individual websites of Medicare Locals.

Press Release

Western NSW Medicare Local website

Far West NSW Medicare Local website

Patient Safety - Handover of care between primary and acute care (APHCRI)

The transition of care between different sectors of the health system is a key point in the delivery of health care where adverse events and disruptions in the continuity of care can occur. Much of the patient safety focus on transfer of care or "handover" has been on transfer between staff within the same care delivery team and system (e.g. between shift changes of nurses or doctors). However, the interface (or multiple interfaces) between primary and community-based care and acute care also present a preventable safety risk to patients and their carers.

These care transitions are also therefore a source of preventable additional health care expenditure, due to factors such as preventable hospital readmissions and redundant tests. The Integrated Care Working Group (ICWG) of the National Lead Clinicians Group (LCG) commissioned the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) to undertake a review of evidence and policy around patients' transitions between the primary and acute sectors.

Patient Safety - handover of care between primary and acute care examines clinical and non-clinical issues, cost saving opportunities and experiences both in Australia and overseas.