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 www.acmhn.org/chronic-disease-elearning