Allied health professionals: Can we measure quality of care?

In a comprehensive report from QualityWatch in the UK, researchers examined the role and quality of care of allied health professionals in the NHS. Allied health professionals: Can we measure quality of care? looks at a diverse group of 12 professions who often work across mulidisciplinary teams and across sectors of care.

The authors of this report express concern that the contribution AHPs make to overall healthcare is undervalued. The different AHP groups include chiropodists, dieticians, music therapists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, radiologists and speech and language therapists. They found that AHPs made up 6% of the NHS workforce in 2013. "We suggest that a better understanding of both the levels of care and the quality of care provided by AHPs will be increasingly important in a financially constrained NHS."

Call for smarter ways to deliver regional mental health help

A national mental health body says more innovative ways are needed to tackle mental health issues in regional areas. Chief executive Jennifer Bowers said greater awareness was needed about the hardships regional Australians faced, particularly in relation to mental health.
Please see the link below for more details:

Cheaper and pure meth hooks Dubbo

Meth use in Dubbo and the wider western region is increasing dramatically because of cheaper and more pure product being available but is still isn’t as damaging as alcohol abuse, according to the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSW LHD).

People who would have previously used speed have now turned to ice because it is more readily available and more affordable and occasional users are turning into habitual users.

Please see the link below for more details:

Unique opportunity for GPs in mental health

The PULSAR project (Principles Unite Local Services Assisting Recovery) aims to implement and evaluate recovery-oriented practice in mental health across primary care sites and specialist mental health services in the catchment of Monash Health.

Recovery-oriented practice aims to support people in their personal recovery goals by improving their mental health and wellness, live in a self-directed life, and reach their full potential.

Please see more details of this project at the link below:

The fight to save rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

From the late 1800’s to the 1970’s, Australia’s Federal and State and Territory Governments, together with church missionaries entered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia, and began removing their children.

They had no idea the damage and disastrous repercussions their actions would have on Australia’s First People, who not only lost their children, but also their pride, culture and land. This article discusses the resulting Aboriginal suicides which have occurred as a consequence and some measures taken to overcome this.

Please see more at the link below:

Bennett heads bush for mental health

TWO southern Queensland communities will have an opportunity to learn more about the importance of resilience when rugby league coaching legend Wayne Bennett and ABC sports broadcaster Craig Hamilton host two special evenings on mental health in Goondiwindi and Roma in November.

Please see more details at the following link:

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts mortality (AIHW)

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts mortality is one in a series of 5 reports by the National Centre for Monitoring Vascular Diseases at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that describe the combined burden of cardiovascular disease (including coronary heart disease and stroke), diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

This report on Mortality presents up-to-date statistics as well as trends on deaths from these chronic diseases. It examines age and sex characteristics, and variations across population groups, including among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, by geographical location, and by socioeconomic disadvantage.

Media release

Ice use in Orange is a concern, but experts say alcohol is the real issue – Poll

THE prevalence of the drug ice in Orange and other regional areas is taking second place to the impact of alcohol on the community, according to Orange-based drug and alcohol experts.
Lyndon Withdrawal Unit deputy chief executive officer Dr Julaine Allan and Western NSW Local Health District drug and alcohol clinical nurse consultant Melissa Romeo say the release of NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics figures showing a doubling of ice use in rural areas in the last year needs to be measured in the context of overall drug use in the area.

Please see more details at the following link:

OUR TOWN, OUR UNIVERSITY: Student projects address rural health issues

Troy Belshaw, Diviya GK and Talal Lakmas explored factors which determine why general practitioners (GPs) choose to practise in the Western NSW Local Health District.
The study found 60% of GPs working in the district were of non-rural origin and 40% of rural origin.

Please see more details of article below:

Australian hospital statistics 2013-14: emergency department care (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics 2013–14: emergency department care

In 2013–14:
• There were almost 7.2 million presentations to public hospital emergency departments;
• 75% of patients received treatment within an appropriate time for their urgency (triage) category;
• 73% of patients spent 4 hours or less in the emergency department;
• 2 million patients were admitted to the hospital from the emergency department, and 45% of these were admitted within 4 hours.

Media release

Impacts of climate change on public health in Australia (Deeble Institute)

Impacts of climate change on public health in Australia: Recommendations for new policies and practices for adaptation within the public health sector by the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, aims to:
  • draw attention to the potential impacts of climate change on health in Australia;
  • discuss the policies and issues related to the impacts of climate change on health;
  • present prioritised recommendations to decision-makers on policies and practices which may assist mitigation of and adaptation to the most serious of the identified impacts;
  • provide guidance which will assist appropriate people and agencies to allocate resources to the highest priority problems; and
  • provide a comprehensive list of references which provide reliable evidence about the potential impacts of climate change on health in Australia


Researchers, communities, government and not-for-profit sector band together to improve Indigenous health outcomes

Health and medical researchers have teamed up with Indigenous community organisations, policymakers, businesses and others on the frontlines of health care delivery to help improve the health of Indigenous communities, as part of five National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership project grants announced today.

Please see more details at the link below:

Psychosis fears after 'ice' use rises among injecting drug users

Hospitals and drug clinics are bracing themselves for more patients presenting with psychosis and cardiovascular problems after a significant increase in use of the drug "ice".

The number of injecting drug users who used ice in the last six months has increased from 55 per cent to 61 per cent in the last year, according to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre's annual survey released on Monday.

Please see below for more details of this article:

Healthy living program aids recovery from mental illness (Curran Centre-Orange)

People battling depression or anxiety have been offered a greater understanding of their illness by taking part in an older and wiser, active and healthy program.
The program is run by the Curran Centre Orange. See more details below:

Australian hospital statistics 2013-14: elective surgery waiting times (AIHW)

Australian hospital statistics 2013-14: elective surgery waiting times

In 2013-14:

- about 700,000 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 262 days.

Media release

Companion animals and the health of older people

The International Federation on Ageing has published Companion animals and the health of older persons as one response to the projected costs associated with caring for ageing populations. A literature review examined the relationship of older people living both independently and in long-term care facilities, including dementia sufferers and people with a mental illness, with their pets.

The study focused on the physical, mental, emotional and social health of these people, as well as the role of animals in their perceptions of inclusion in their community. The economic impact of animals interacting with older people was also examined and some promising initiatives explored, including one in Victoria and one in NSW. It was acknowledged that research on this topic has been very limited.

Press release

Re-Posted from "HealthInfo Blog"

Dying Well : how we die in Australia

 The Grattan Institute has published Dying Well,a report by Hal Swerissen and Stephen Duckett about how we die in Australia. According to the report, 70% of Australians would like to die at home, but only 14% actually do so. About 50% die in hospital and a third in residential care. Dying in Australia is more institutionalised than most other countries and this is linked to medical and community attitudes as well as a lack of funding for home-based care.

The report recommends more public discussion, including an education campaign, about the limits of health care as death approaches and the need to focus on end-of-life care. It also proposes the widespread adoption of advance care plans that ensure people's desires for the end of life are met. "The baby boomers are growing old and in the next 25 years the number of Australians who die each year will double," Professor Swerissen says. "We need the courage to promote a national discussion about a subject that we might dislike but cannot avoid."

You can also read Swerisson and Duckett's article in The Conversation, A Good death: Australians need support to die at home. It's a good summary of their full report.

Re-Posted from "HealthInfo Blog"

Fact check: Does a farmer commit suicide every four days in Australia as Bob Katter says?

Australian agriculture is "closing down" and farmers - "the toughest people this nation has ever produced" - are folding, federal MP Bob Katter says.

Speaking as part of a mental health special on the ABC's Q&A's program on October 6, Mr Katter said Australia's four big agricultural sectors - sheep, cattle, dairy and sugar cane - were all "going straight down the chute at 100 mile an hour".

Please see more at the link below:

Parental sexual offending – new study

Diversion programs that offer community-based treatment for low-risk parent sexual offenders can reduce re-offending and heighten protection for young children and their families, a new study has found.

The study, 'Parental sexual offending: managing risk through diversion' published recently by the Australian Institute of Criminology, is by Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty, a leading researcher at the CSU Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security and the CSU School of Psychology, and doctoral candidate Ms Kate O'Brien at the School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University.

Please see more details of this CSU research at the following link:

Women, work and the menopause

According to this report, 78% of women aged between 45 and 54 participate in the Australian workforce, representing over a million women potentially experiencing menopause while at work.

Women, work and the menopause: releasing the potential of older, professional women is a report from the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society at La Trobe University and authored by Gavin Jack and colleagues. It explores:

  • Older women's health and well-being
  • The relationship between menopause-related symptoms and work outcomes
  • Actual and desired levels of organisational support for women experiencing menopause
  • Work-related and organisational factors that exacerbate or ameliorate women's experiences of menopause in the workplace
  • Women's first-hand experiences, beliefs and attitudes towards menopause at work.

Re-Posted from "Health Info Blog"

Common mistakes made when interpreting research

Two researchers at the Australian National University have written a useful article in The Conversation, The 10 stuff-ups we all make when interpreting research. Will J. Butler and Rod Lamberts explain very simply simply some of the pitfalls we can easily fall into when trying to critically appraise a study.

Some of these "stuff-ups" include using the results of just one study to prove a point, confirmation bias (where we look for studies that confirm what we already believe), confusing the merits of qualitative and quantitative results and giving too much weight to significance and peer review.

Re-Posted from "Health Info Blog"

Primary Health Districts : the successor to Medicare Locals

The Department of Health (DoH) has released the long-awaited boundaries for the new Primary Health Networks (PHNs) that are set to replace Medicare Locals.

30 PHNs have been established – more than the expected 20 or 24 – which DoH says will align with Local Hospital Network (LHN) boundaries.

A strong emphasis on the role of PHNs in predominantly assisting general practice is apparent in the overview, with no mention of community pharmacy or aged care.

It states that PHNs will have 5 primary roles, including analysing and planning for the health needs of their local communities; helping general practices to assist patients in avoiding hospital admissions; supporting general practices in safety and quality measures; assisting GPs to use eHealth systems; and purchasing or commissioning clinical services for population health issues such as chronic disease and mental illness.

For Western NSW, one large PHN will be created, incorporating the territory of the Far West Local Health District, The Western NSW Local Health District, plus a large section of the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Summary of proposal

NSW Primary Care Networks Map.

Stopping a tsunami - world first effort to prevent dementia in high-risk people

Dementia will soon engulf more than 100 million people across the globe, but an international research group is leading a world-first effort to prevent dementia in people who are at high risk of this insidious disease.

"Intervening early is critical to the success of averting the onset of dementia," says research leader, A/Prof Sharon Naismith of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney.

See details of current Australian and International research below:

Ombudsman calls for better reporting about incidents involving restraint of mental health patients

Victoria's ombudsman Deborah Glass says psychiatric and mental health facilities should be required to make incident reports available to community visitors when patients are restrained.

Ms Glass investigated complaints made by the visitors, a group of 443 people who volunteer to protect the rights and interests of people with a mental illness or disability.

See more details at the link below:

Problem gamblers' hidden shame: 'all of a sudden they're living on the streets' (Orange)

SALVATION Army major Greg Saunders says Orange’s problem gamblers are so ashamed of their habit, many wait until  it’s too late before admitting their secret.
“It’s hidden, a bit like any other sort of addiction, and sometimes people don’t speak about the problem for years, until it’s too late,” he said.

Please see more details of article below:

Speaking out: Rural men share their battles and victories with mental health (includes links with individual stories)

Rates of suicide among men in rural and remote Australia are 33 per cent higher than those of men living in cities. Battling droughts, floods, bad seasons and isolation is often compounded by a culture of keeping quiet about emotional issues.
Please click on the pictures in the article, to get the indiviual stories from farmers on battling mental health issues. See link below:

Speak up on mental health

LAST week, during Mental Health Week, NSW Farmers launched the Glove Box Guide for Mental Health in partnership with the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health and The Land.

The guide was released during the NSW Rural Mental Health Network meeting held at NSW Farmers' head office in Sydney. It brought together a range of agencies to discuss issues surrounding mental health and initiatives being rolled out.

Please see more from the article below:

Estimating the prevalence of osteoporosis in Australia (AIHW)

Estimating the prevalence of osteoporosis in Australia presents information about the prevalence and impact of osteoporosis in Australians aged 50 and over. A broad range of data sources show that osteoporosis prevalence markedly increases with age and is more common in women than in men.

Osteoporosis is one of several risk factors for minimal trauma fracture, with minimal trauma fracture of the hip being one of the most serious possible outcomes of osteoporosis. Although the rate of minimal trauma hip fracture for people aged 50 and over has decreased over the last 10 years, the number of hip fractures continues to increase due to the increasing number of older adults in Australia.

Media release

BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2011-2012 (AIHW)

BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2011-2012 presents the latest national statistics on this national screening program, which aims to reduce illness and death resulting from breast cancer through organised screening to detect cases of unsuspected breast cancer in women, thus enabling early intervention.

Around 55% of women in the target age group of 50-69 took part in the program, with more than 1.7 million women screening in 2011-2012. Breast cancer mortality is at an historic low, at 44 deaths per 100,000 women.

Media release