Network for Indigenous Cultural and Health Education portal

Welcome to the NICHE (Network for Indigenous Cultural and Health Education) portal – an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and cultural learning portal for medical practitioners.

NICHEportal is an initiative of the Specialist Medical Colleges of Australia. It is a central information point for educational resources for doctors who care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and patients. It aims to ensure that these health and cultural learning resources meet the aims and standards of the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Specialist Framework.

NICHEportal seeks to encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care through easier access to learning activities, engagement with other professionals and the formation of networks and communities of practice.

Pain series from The Conversation

The Conversation has recently published a series of articles by academics, scientists and other experts about various aspects of pain. They are clearly explained with lots of links back to the evidence.

The right words matter when talking about pain from Michael Vagg (Barwon Health) explains how to talk to people about pain and how sometimes the use of cliches can make their pain worse.

What dictates how much pain you feel after injury? by Malcolm Hogg (University of Melbourne) explains how education levels and other social factors can effect how much pain people feel and how long it lasts.

Not helping a partner with chronic pain may be the quickest road to recovery is from Toby Newton-John (University of Technology Sydney), who writes that partners who do everything for the chronic pain sufferer may actually be hindering their recovery.

Pain drain: the economic and social costs of chronic pain by Christopher Williams (University of Newcastle) discusses our neglect of effective pain management and how this leads to an increased economic and social burden.

Psychiatric evaluation of adults - updated US guidelines

The American Psychiatric Association has released the third, updated edition of its Practice guidelines for the psychiatric evaluation of adults. 9 separate guideline modules cover:

• Review of Psychiatric Symptoms, Trauma History, and Psychiatric Treatment History
• Substance Use Assessment
• Suicide Risk Assessment
• Assessment of Risk for Aggressive Behaviors
• Assessment of Cultural Factors
• Assessment of Medical Health
• Quantitative Assessment
• Involvement of the Patient in Treatment Decisions
• Documentation of the Psychiatric Evaluation

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian public hospitals 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics (18 Dec 2015)

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian public hospitals 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics.

In 2014-15, 1,490 cases of hospital-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) were reported in Australian public hospitals. The national rate of SAB in public hospitals was 0.77 cases per 10,000 days of patient care, and all states and territories had rates below the national benchmark of 2.0 cases per 10,000 days of patient care.

Between 2010-11 and 2014-1 5, rates of SAB decreased from 1.10 cases to 0.77 cases per 10,000 days of patient care.

View the media release and download the full report.

Health expenditure Australia 2013-14: analysis by sector (AIHW)

Health expenditure Australia 2013-14: analysis by sector extends the analysis presented in Health expenditure Australia 2013-14 to further explore expenditure on particular categories of health goods and services.

In 2013-14, $58.8 billion was spent on hospitals in Australia, $54.7 billion on primary health care and $32.0 billion on other health goods and services.

A further $9.1 billion was spent on capital expenditure. Unreferred medical services attracted the highest share of primary health care funding in 2013-14, at 19.3%. This is different to earlier in the decade, when benefit-paid pharmaceuticals attracted the most spending from 2008-09 to 2011-12. Growth in expenditure on benefit-paid pharmaceuticals slowed in the last 3 years compared with the rest of the decade. This slower growth in expenditure was in contrast to a steady increase in the number of prescriptions dispensed over the same period.

View the media release and download the full report.

Breast Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline

The Breast Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline is advice from the American Cancer Society and the American Society of Clinical Oncology to help doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals provide care for breast cancer survivors who have finished cancer treatment. The cancer survivorship care guideline addresses issues that can occur in breast cancer survivors after their treatment.

* Starting at diagnosis and until the end of treatment, patients with breast cancer receive most of their health care from specialists such as a surgeon, medical or radiation oncologist, etc. Once treatment is finished, most of the medical care for these patients will be provided by their primary care clinician.
* Breast cancer occurs mostly in older women, and many of them have other health issues that are treated by primary care clinicians.
* Problems can be caused by the cancer or by the treatments. It is possible for side effects or complications to go on or even occur after treatment is complete. Here are some examples:

* ○ Numbness or discomfort in the hands and feet (neuropathy).
* ○ Swelling in the arm, breast, or chest wall (lymphedema).
* ○ Early menopause; hot flashes.
* ○ Distress, depression, and anxiety.
* ○ Fatigue.
* ○ Thinning of bones (osteoporosis); broken bones.
* ○ Memory issues; difficulty concentrating.
* ○ Body image concerns.

Study finds climate change triggers mental health problems for farmers

A study has found that farmers' mental health is being negatively impacted as weather patterns become more erratic and unpredictable.

Over a two-year period, Murdoch University post doctorate associate Neville Ellis interviewed 22 farmers from the Wheatbelt town of Newdegate, in Western Australia's Great Southern, about how they were responding emotionally and psychologically to climate change.

Mr Ellis specifically chose the Wheatbelt because it is one of the most climate change-affected parts of Australia, having lost 20 per cent of its winter rainfall since the 1970s.

See more at:

Mental health workers to join police on call-outs in world-first trial

Health workers will join police on call-outs to 'de-escalate' mental health emergencies in a world-first attempt to decriminalise' mental illness in WA.

Nurses, social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists will get police response training, and 20 police officers will get training in recognising and defusing mental health-related situations, for the trial to start next month.

Each team of one senior clinician and two officers will travel in an unmarked car to peak-time call-outs to deliver emergency mental health care in an effort to curb the flood of mentally ill people into emergency departments and courtrooms.

Read more:

Wellbeing works

A unique exhibition has opened in Smithton, promoting the benefits of art as therapy for positive mental health.

The ‘Rural Art Roadshow: Promoting Positive Mental Health in Rural Communities’ was launched at Time Out on Emmett on Tuesday night.

The roadshow forms part of the University of Tasmania’s (UTAS) 125th anniversary celebrations, and is a collaboration between MI Fellowship and the UTAS Centre for Rural Health. Managing the project is Centre for Rural Health’s Heather Bridgman. “The project came about with the recognition that particularly in rural communities there’s a lot of stigma and not a lot of access to mental health support services,” Dr Bridgman said.

See more at:

Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14.

The National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) has released the report Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14.

The report finds:

* Nationally there were 600,267 hospitalisations for the 22 conditions for which hospitalisation is considered potentially preventable, representing 6% of the 9.7 million hospital admissions in 2013–14. Hospitalisations from both public and private hospitals are included.

* Potentially preventable hospitalisations accounted for nearly 2.4 million bed days – equivalent to 8% of all public and private hospital bed days in 2013–14.

* The age-standardised rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations was almost three times higher in some PHN areas compared to others, ranging from 1,702 hospitalisations per 100,000 people in Northern Sydney PHN to 4,891 per 100,000 in Northern Territory PHN.

* Across more than 300 local areas (SA3s) the age-standardised rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations were nine times higher in some areas compared to others, ranging from 1,406 per 100,000 people in Pennant Hills-Epping (NSW) to 12,705 hospitalisations per 100,000 in Barkly (NT).

This report is accompanied by an interactive tool allowing users to explore the data in depth for their area and compare with other local communities.

Australia's mothers and babies 2013-in brief (AIHW)

Australia's mothers and babies 2013-in brief presents key statistics and trends from the AIHWs National Perinatal Data Collection.

The report is accompanied by updates to the AIHWs Perinatal data portal, which provides an overview of mothers and babies, maternal demographics, the antenatal period and labour and birth.

View the media release and download the full in brief report

Concerns about whether Closing the gap targets will be reached

A report released by the Productivity Commission this week has raised concerns about whether the Federal Government will meet the Closing the gap targets, which aim to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.

The report, National Indigenous reform agreement: performance assessment 2013-14 monitors the progress against the Closing the gap targets, which include life expectancy, health, education and employment outcomes.

Improving life expectancy, access to preschool, and reading and numeracy rates aren't showing any change, whilst the employment target has fallen further behind. However, the report shows that good progress has been made in reducing outcomes gaps in child mortality and Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment rates at a national level.

'If we are to see improvements in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Islander Australians we need to move further into the detail, examining which policies and programs work better than others and why. Our current focus is on settings targets and monitoring outcomes. This must be complemented by evaluation,' said Peter Harris, Chair of the Productivity Commission.

This is the first year the Productivity Commission has produced the National Indigenous reform agreement: performance assessment. The assessment was previously undertaken by the COAG Reform Council.


* View information: National Indigenous reform agreement: performance assessment 2013-14 <>
* View news item: Government will fail to meet five out of six Closing the gap targets: Productivity Commission <>
* View media release: A change in approach is needed to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians <>
* View website: Productivity Commission <>

Asthma Primer: Current Concepts in the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma



Asthma Primer: Current Concepts in the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

This special free issue <> from the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology would be useful for practitioners who diagnose and treat patients with asthma. Subjects covered include epidemiology, risk factors, comorbidities, diagnosis, asthma in children, inhalers and treatment of asthma.

Special Issue: Asthma Primer: Current Concepts in the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.<> September 2015, Volume 5, Issue S1, Pages S1–S81

Focus on local and flexible mental health services

Tailored, flexible and local mental health services are the focus of the federal government’s mental health reforms.

The reform package announced on Thursday included increased digital delivery of services, a single phone line help service and a shift to integrated care.

The current ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach has been scrapped as people needing complex care services will be eligible to access a package of integrated health services provided through Primary Health Networks (PHNs).

While no more funding was announced, $350 million will be redirected to PHNs, a move supported by the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).

Read more at:

Emergency service workers to benefit from world-first PTSD treatment guidelines

More than 10% of Australia’s emergency service workers have experienced the debilitating symptoms of PTSD due to their frequent exposure to potentially traumatic experiences

Emergency service workers exposed to traumatic events are set to benefit from the world’s first guidelines to help diagnose and treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

The NSW Minister for Mental Health, Pru Goward, and Minister Emergency Services, David Elliott, have joined industry leaders to launch the Black Dog Institute guidelines.

Developed by 9 leading Australian clinicians and researchers, including 3 UNSW experts, the national guidelines provide evidenced-based protocols for identifying and managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The guidelines also address common and related disorders such as depression, anxiety and substance use.

See more at:

The health of Australia's prisoners 2015 (AIHW)

The health of Australia's prisoners 2015 is the 4th report produced by the AIHW on the health and wellbeing of prisoners. The report explores the conditions and diseases experienced by prisoners; compares, where possible, the health of prisoners to the general Australian community and provides valuable insight into the use of prison health services.

New to the 2015 report are data on the disabilities or long-term health conditions of prisoners entering the prison system (prison entrants), self-assessed mental and physical health status of prisoners and data on smoke-free prisons.

View the Media Release and download the full report.

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (AIHW)

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is 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 (CVD), diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

This report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presents up-to-date statistics on risk factors, prevalence, hospitalisation and deaths from these 3 chronic diseases. It examines age and sex characteristics and variations by geographical location and compares these with the non-Indigenous population.

Download the report and read the media release.

Body dysmorphia disorder: People with BDD share torment of perceived defects in appearance

You're beautiful" is a phrase Melbourne woman Bessie has heard many times, but the 23-year-old has always struggled to believe it. Instead, a body image disorder has made her believe she was so ugly that she considered taking her own life.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental illness that involves an obsession with perceived or imaginary defects in a person's appearance.

For Bessie, it began 10 years ago with a fixation on her nose, then her skin.
"The mirror became my best friend and my worst enemy. I was disgusted by what I saw, but at the same time I sought reassurance and thought next time I looked I might get that reassurance," she said.

Read more at:

One study does not indicate the trend

A response to Gilbody et al : Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) as treatment for depression in primary care (REEACT trial): large scale pragmatic randomised controlled trial : BMJ2015;351:h5627

The reaction to the Gilbody paper has been swift. Following its publication, commentaries in the Guardian, the BMJ and New Scientist all cast doubt on the effectiveness of online treatments for depression. The Australian Doctor headline reads: “GP researchers slam online CBT programs for depression”. Gilbody suggests that the previously reported positive findings from online CBT are due to the studies having been undertaken by the developers, lack of adherence and poor engagement.

However, we believe the Gilbody paper, and the subsequent media publications give the wrong impression about online CBT.

Please read more at:

Emergency department care 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW)

In 2014-15: there were almost 7.4 million presentations to public hospital emergency departments; 74% 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; 2.2 million patients were admitted to hospital from emergency department, and 47% of these were admitted within 4 hours.

View the Media release

Download the full report

Study finds on-farm deaths could be halved through simple safety measures

A study has found on-farm deaths could be almost halved if producers took simple safety measures like wearing seatbelts and helmets.

James Cook University canvassed about 120 farmers and fishers from Cairns to Hobart to find out what is stopping them from improving their safety practices. The study also found there were major barriers to change, including people's attitudes and the perceived cost, time and inconvenience.

Study finds on-farm deaths could be halved through simple safety measures (ABC)

Download "Exploring the barriers and facilitators to adoption of improved work practices for safety in the primary industries"

It’s complicated. The OECD details problems with Australia’s health care system

The OECD has this week released a report<> of their evaluation of the quality of Australian health care. The bad news is that compared to other countries with a similar federal system, the Australian health care system is particularly complex. Responsibilities are split between federal and state governments and according to the OECD, this has led to a system that is fragmented and difficult for patients to navigate.

It's complicated. The OECD details problems with Australia's health care system.

Download Report

Quality of care in Australian hospitals lacks oversight

Australia needs to collect more information to measure the quality of care that hospitals provide to patients nationally, an OECD report says.The OECD's review of Australia's health system, to be released on Monday, said that it was performing "remarkably well" despite its "fragmented nature" and "sometimes strained" relationship between federal, state and territory governments over health funding.

Australia was the OECD's fifth most obese country, it said, and its health system would in future have to deal with an increasing number of patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions.

While Australia had improved its national standards for health care, it said: "A surprising lack of data on the quality and outcomes of care marks out Australia from its peers."

Read more:

International experts meet to devise protocol on mental illness triggered by disasters

An international group of mental health professionals has been meeting in Sydney to devise a new protocol for dealing with mental illness triggered by natural and man-made disasters.

Professor David Forbes from the Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health at Melbourne University is co-convenor of the meeting.

Fierce rivals UNSW and University of Sydney team up to improve mental health

Two of Sydney's top universities will no longer compete but collaborate to tackle one of Australia's most devastating health problems - mental illness and addiction.

In a first, Sydney University and UNSW Australia on Thursday announced a partnership across an entire field of research, affecting hundreds of researchers and staff, multiple faculties and research institutions.

"It's also a model for future collaborations", said the vice-chancellors, UNSW's Professor Ian Jacobs and Sydney's Professor Michael Spence .

Read more:

Radiotherapy in Australia: report on a pilot data collection 2013-14 (AIHW)

In the first report on Radiotherapy in Australia: report on a pilot data collection 2013-14, data were received from 53 (out of 72) service locations across Australia. These services contributed information about 47,700 courses of radiotherapy delivered in 2013-14.

For non-emergency treatment, 50% of patients started treatment within 13 days and 90% started within 33 days. For those who needed emergency treatment, 90% began treatment within the emergency timeframe.

Media Release.

Download Report.

New to Indigenous health? Dietetics and nutrition with Indigenous communities: a starting point

New to Indigenous health? Dietetics and nutrition with Indigenous communities: a starting point by the Dietitians Association of Australia is intended for dietitians and nutritionists who are new to the area of Indigenous health in Australia and would like to learn more about working with this diverse cultural group. The resource is not just for students or new graduates; it is applicable to dietitians and nutritionists with any level of experience who are looking to learn more about working with Indigenous Australians.

This resource has been written with the intention of providing a starting point for your continuing professional development (CPD) and reflective practice in this area. There are 7 topics which have been designed to flow in order. Each topic is briefly outlined along with suggested readings and practical activities. Indigenous communities are complex and heterogeneous, and so the practical activities included ask you to reflect on your own background and beliefs, deepen your understanding about the communities that you are working with, and identify their specific needs.

Working with Indigenous people and communities can be a challenge but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Indigenous culture in Australia is rich and has a long history. The opportunity to experience this first hand is a privilege that few Australians are afforded and your role can contribute to the improvement of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Basic structure of the resource:

* Overview of the topic
* Readings
* Practical activities for you to complete.

A Wellbeing Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Living with Chronic Disease

The cost of providing health care to people with chronic diseases continues to rise. Current chronic disease care implemented in primary health care settings focuses on efficient use of resources, safety and quality of health services, teams of providers and well informed and involved patients. The role of culture and family in maintaining a person's well-being are rarely considered. Findings from the Kanyini Qualitative Study, however, have raised important questions about what care means, and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience life-long illness.

A study was undertaken to develop a Wellbeing Framework which could assist primary healthcare services to improve the quality of life and quality of care, as well as the health outcomes, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living with chronic disease. Guided by our National Reference Group, the study resulted in a Wellbeing Framework which incorporates not just physical but also social, emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects of health and wellbeing.

About the framework.

Framework as PDF.

Indigenous people with mental health issues 'on a train' to jail: UNSW study

Hundreds of Indigenous Australians with mental health and cognitive disabilities are being warehoused in jails rather than being supported in the community, according to a new study by the University of New South Wales.

The research paints a grim picture of life for more than 670 Indigenous prisoners in the state, tracking their interactions with police and courts for up to 30 years. Please see more at:

Report "A predictable and preventable path". 

Project page

National framework for action on dementia 2015 - 2019

The National framework for action on dementia 2015 - 2019, produced by the Australian Department of Social Services, is designed to inform strategies and initiatives to: improve the community's understanding of dementia, including the risk factors of dementia, so they may take advantage of opportunities to reduce the risk of developing dementia, or delay its onset; improve access and provision to appropriate assessment and timely diagnosis services by skilled and knowledgeable professionals; improve access and provision to post-diagnosis information and support services for people with dementia; ensure that services are person centred and support engagement, good health, well-being and enjoyment of life; Increase understanding that dementia is a life-limiting condition that diminishes cognitive capacity over time.

Leading Change in Primary Health Care

Leading change in primary care: boards of primary health networks can help improve the Australian health care system by Stephen Duckett,et al. explores the need for change in the primary health system, with a focus on how this can be achieved within the limited parameters faced by Primary Health Networks. The book examines how PHNs can structure their organisations and manage their resources to circumvent these limitations and pursue meaningful system reform.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 - New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Victoria (AIHW)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released 3 new reports :

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2014 report: New South Wales, Victoria; Northern Territory.

These reports give the latest information on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory are faring according to a range of measures of health status and outcomes, determinants of health and health system performance. Indicators are based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. The reports highlight the main areas of improvement and continuing concern.

Australians understand depression, so why don’t we ‘get’ anxiety?

Australians have come a long way in understanding depression. Most recognise the symptoms and believe in the value of professional help.

But anxiety disorders have been left behind. National surveys of “mental health literacy” show Australians are far less likely to recognise symptoms of anxiety.

Around 15% of Australians suffer an anxiety disorder in any given year. This includes generalised anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

See more at:

National key performance indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: results from December 2014 (AIHW)

National key performance indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: results from December 2014 is the 3rd national report on the national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs) data collection.

It captures data from more than 230 primary health care organisations that receive funding from the Australian Government Department of Health to provide services primarily to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It presents data for 21 process-of-care and health outcome indicators, which focus on maternal and child health, preventative health and chronic disease management. The report shows improvements against almost all of the indicators.

View the Media release and download the Full report.

Breast cancer in young women: key facts about breast cancer in women in their 20s and 30s (AIHW)

Breast cancer in young women: key facts about breast cancer in women in their 20s and 30s is the first national report presenting key data specific to breast cancer in women in their 20s and 30s. This report provides an overview of breast cancer, risk factors for young women, breast cancer detection and diagnosis methods, and key summary measures including incidence, hospitalisations, survival and mortality.

'In 2015, it is projected that 795 young women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 65 will die from it, which is an average of 2 diagnoses a day and 1 death a week,' said AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey.

In 2007-11, women aged 20-39 had an 88% chance of surviving for five years after diagnosis, compared to the 90% survival rate for women aged 40 and over. This is an improvement from 1982-1986, when five-year survival for this age group was 72%.

View the media release and download the full report for free online.

There is also a bookmark and a slide pack available.

Launch of grass roots online toolkit to help communities combat suicide

The NSW Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Pru Goward MP today launched Communities Matter: suicide prevention for small towns and communities, a practical online resource for local communities to use to help prevent suicide.

Developed through a partnership between the Mental Health Commission of NSW and Suicide Prevention Australia, and based on extensive consultation across the state, the resource helps community groups to apply evidence-informed strategies to prevent suicide and combat stigma.

See more at:

Mental health expert warns it's 'toxic' to describe mental illness as permanent

In all the discussion around mental healthincluding the ABC's Mental As campaignthere's an emphasis on raising community awareness and acceptance of mental illness.

But a British expert says a key word is too often missing from the conversation: recovery. Please also download audio to listen to the discussion from Professor Mike Slade.

See more at:

Elective surgery waiting times 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW)

Elective surgery waiting times 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics

In 2014-15: about 700,000 patients were admitted to Australian public hospitals from elective surgery waiting lists; 50% of patients were admitted for their surgery within 35 days; fewer than 2% of patients waited more than a year for their surgery.

Media release

The future of public physiotherapy

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) commissioned the Nous Group (Nous) to explore the strategic drivers which will shape the role of physiotherapy in the Australian Public Healthcare System to 2025.

The strategic drivers of change for the Australian health system present both opportunities and challenges for the profession. It is becoming increasingly important for the APA, its members and the broader profession to chart a path toward a future vision for public physiotherapy services, and not leave success to chance. Clarity and foresight into the future operating environment will inform the APA's vision, strategy and key activities to support public physiotherapy services.

The scope of this report focuses on physiotherapy in Australia's public healthcare system ('public physiotherapy') and aims to answer one key question: "What does the public physiotherapy Service of the Future look like in 2025?"

The outcome is to provide an informed view of the profession's current and future state, and on that basis explore how the APA can best support the Service of the Future.

The paper comprises 4 key sections:

1. Public physiotherapy services today.

2. Eight strategic drivers significantly influence the future of public physiotherapy.

3. The Service of the Future will be defined by seven key features.

4. Implications for today's public physiotherapy services.

The APA intends to use the report for 3 primary purposes:

1. Provide insights to the profession and its key stakeholders to guide strategic and workforce planning.

2. Inform future development and growth of the profession in the public health system.

3. Shape APA's activities and professional development programs to enable future growth of the profession.

Access the report.

Redesign and innovation in hospitals: foundations to making it happen

This policy issues brief by the Deeble Institute, describes key features of hospital redesign processes in Australia by analysing Victorian, NSW and other models. It discusses frameworks and drivers of large scale change in health systems including challenges and barriers to success.

The use of systems thinking and entrepreneurship to support achieving change is described. Insights are provided to enable policy development that can support hospital innovation and system redesign.


About the brief

Text to prevent repeat heart attacks

Sydney researchers are calling for the implementation of a simple text message system to improve the health of heart attack survivors after it was shown to help reduce weight, blood pressure and cholesterol and was well received by patients.

Westmead Hospital cardiologist Clara Chow said the Tobacco, Exercise and Diet Messages (TEXT ME) trial used a very simple mobile health strategy that could be provided routinely by hospitals as part of a discharge program for heart attack survivors as well as other conditions like stroke.

The TEXT ME trial used an automated, computerised message management system to send texts selected from a bank of messages to trial participants. The messages gave advice and motivational reminders about diet and nutrition, exercise and smoking, based on freely available resources such as those provided by the Heart Foundation.

The trial involved 710 people attending Westmead Hospital with proven coronary heart disease. Half received 4 text messages a week for 6 months in addition to standard care, while the remainder received their standard care.

At 6 months, levels of LDL-C were significantly lower in the intervention group, with concurrent reductions in systolic blood pressure and body mass index. It also saw significant increases in physical activity and a significant reduction in smoking.

Effect of Lifestyle-Focused Text Messaging on Risk Factor Modification in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial; Clara K. Chow, et al. JAMA.2015;314(12):1255-1263. (Available through CIAP).

About the trial.

Trends in methylamphetamine availability, use and treatment, 2003-04 to 2013-14 (AIHW)

Trends in methylamphetamine availability, use and treatment, 2003-04 to 2013-14 reveals that there have been several corresponding trends in the availability, use and treatment of methylamphetamines since 2003-04. Following a decline between 2006-07 and 2009-10, there have been increases across many factors relating to methylamphetamines to 2013-14. Arrests, seizures and detections have all increased.

Users are now favouring the crystal form of methylamphetamine. They are using it more frequently, and, there appear to be more new users of crystal. There are more people in treatment reporting smoking as their usual method of use for amphetamines than previously.

Media release.

Health expenditure Australia 2013-14 (AIHW)

Health expenditure Australia 2013-14 reveals that total expenditure on health was estimated at $154.6 billion in 2013-14, up by 3.1% on 2012-13 in real terms. Growth in expenditure per person was $6,639, which was $94 more in real terms than in 2012-13. Despite this relatively slow growth, total expenditure was 9.8% of GDP in 2013-14, up from 9.7% in 2012-13.

Governments provided $104.8 billion (or 67.8%) of total health expenditure, which represented about 25% of taxation revenue (unchanged from 2012-13).

The non-government sector share of total expenditure increased from 30.0% in 2011-12 to 32.2% in 2013-14, despite generally falling throughout the decade. Funding by individuals was the fastest growing area of non-government sector expenditure over the decade.

View the Media release and download the Full report.

Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care


This UK national framework urges health organisations and local authorities to act together to improve end of life care for people of all ages. It sets out 6 principles for how people near the end of their lives should be cared for. The 6 'ambitions' for palliative and end of life care are:

  • Each person is seen as an individual
  • Each person gets fair access to care
  • Maximising comfort and wellbeing
  • Care is coordinated
  • All staff are prepared to care
  • Each community is prepared to help
  • Reposted from HealthInfo Blog.

    Brain Basics

    Changes in the brain can lead to mental disorders, such as depression. Brain Basics, from NIH's National Institute of Mental Health, provides information on how the brain works, how mental illnesses are disorders of the brain, and ongoing research that helps us better understand and treat disorders.

    Brain Basics will introduce you to some of this science, such as:

    • How the brain develops
    • How genes and the environment affect the brain
    • The basic structure of the brain
    • How different parts of the brain communicate and work with each other
    • How changes in the brain can lead to mental disorders, such as depression.

    Reposted from HealthInfo Blog

    Palliative care services in Australia 2015 - tranche 1 (AIHW)

    Palliative care services in Australia 2015 - tranche 1 is the first of two scheduled updates of the Palliative Care Services in Australia (PCSiA) online publication for 2015. This first update includes An overview of palliative care, Admitted patient palliative care, Palliative care facilities and services, Palliative care-related medications, Services provided by palliative care medicine specialists and 4 supporting technical information sections (classifications, data sources, identifying palliative care hospitalisations and technical notes).

    View the web report and media release.

    New Indigenous healing portal

    Edith Cowan University's Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet, in partnership with the Healing Foundation, has launched a Healing portal on the Health InfoNet website.

    The Healing portal will engage users from a broad range of areas including health, justice, child protection and family violence. At the heart of the portal and Yarning place is the connection with culture, knowledge systems and information sharing.

    The portal brings together information about what is working in Indigenous healing and includes examples of best practice healing initiatives, the latest research from around Australia and tools people can use to develop healing opportunities in their communities.

    An introduction to trauma informed care (Free paediatric e-learning)

    ACATLGN has recently announced the launch of a free online learning website - An Introduction to Trauma Informed Care.

    This online learning has been designed to increase information and knowledge on the impact of experiences of adversity and trauma on children and young people. It contains information, resources, videos and links to provide a comprehensive introduction to trauma informed care. The program is designed as an easily accessed on-line introduction and learning program for families, carers and other professionals with responsibilities for the care of children who may need support as a result of challenging and potentially traumatic experiences. There are 6 modules that you can work through at your own pace, with free resources to download that accompany the modules.

    The Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network is based at the Australian National University and is funded by the Australian Government.

    Free e-learning-An Introduction to Trauma Informed Care

    Reposted from: HealthInfo Blog

    BHI reports show how the NSW health system compares internationally

    BHI has today released two complementary reports that show how the NSW healthcare system compares internationally, and also how well it is accommodating the increasing health demands of the ageing population.

    The 5th annual performance report Healthcare in Focus 2014: How does NSW fare? places the performance of NSW's healthcare system in an international context by comparing it with Australia and 10 other countries including the UK, the USA, Canada and France.

    Insights: Healthcare performance across the life span, Volume 1 is the first instalment in othe new miniseries Healthcare performance across the life span and looks at the relationship between ageing and healthcare, particularly in terms of how people aged 55 years and over use and experience healthcare services.

    The reports draw on international data, including the results of the Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults 2014 and OECD data, as well as information from local sources including the NSW Patient Survey Program, the AIHW and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

    Acute kidney injury in Australia: a first national snapshot (AIHW)

    Acute kidney injury (AKI) is increasing in incidence globally. Acute kidney injury in Australia: a first national snapshot presents the first national statistical snapshot on AKI and its impact in Australia.

    The key findings show that AKI accounts for a considerable number of hospitalisations and deaths and further, that the burden of this condition is not equally distributed across the Australian population. These inequalities were seen in relation to all population characteristics examined, namely sex and age, remoteness of residence, socioeconomic disadvantage and Indigenous status.

    Media release

    A better way to care: actions for health service managers

    A better way to care: actions for health service managers, produced by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, describes a pathway to improve the early recognition of, and response to, patients with cognitive impairment to reduce harm and ensure they receive safe and high-quality care in hospital. Cognitive impairment impedes communication, attention, memory, thinking and problem solving. Dementia and delirium are the two most common conditions associated with cognitive impairment. People with dementia are also at a greater risk of developing delirium.

    For some people with dementia and/or delirium and for their carers and families, a hospital stay can be a negative experience. Staff can also struggle to provide the right care in the absence of appropriate education and training. Dementia and/or delirium in hospital is often associated with adverse outcomes, including functional decline, increased risk of falls, increased morbidity and mortality. These adverse outcomes can lead to a longer length of stay in hospital and an increased risk of entry into residential care.

    There are evidence-based ways to improve the care of patients with cognitive impairment in acute care and considerable work is under way within health systems at all levels to implement these improvements. However, there are currently no mechanisms for requiring best practice and few processes that support a systematic approach to the provision of care.


    Project page

    Mental Health Rights Manual

    Consumers, carers and mental health workers struggling to understand their rights within the NSW mental health system have a new resource to guide them through. The fourth edition of the Mental Health Rights Manual has been published this week by the Mental Health Coordinating Council

    Written in plain English, the Manual is an invaluable readily accessible resource, bringing together vital information crucial to anyone having to navigate the mental health system, enabling them to become acquainted with their rights, the legal and service system, and access support and guidance.

    A key objective of this Manual is to provide a resource which covers many of the areas which may at some time or other be of concern to people with mental health conditions, their carers and families, and the workforce that supports them that they can access in one place.

    Indigenous collections on the Cochrane Library.

    Since 2002, Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research(CIHR), and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) have been working together on initiatives to improve Indigenous people's health. To commemorate this year's event, contributors from these organizations and Cochrane have prepared a series of Special Collections focusing on health issues relevant to Indigenous people.

    The Special Collections, available on the Cochrane Library, focus on available Cochrane evidence in three topic areas, each of which has significant health implications for Indigenous populations: diabetes, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and suicide prevention.

    Special Collection

    Special Collection

    Special Collection


    Health of Indigenous peoples: suicide prevention

    National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework

    The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework was developed to identify evidence-based priorities for the many communities, organisations and governments whose combined efforts are required to address the disparities and improve cancer outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

    This response aims to address the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a higher incidence of cancers that are preventable, are less likely to participate in screening programs and are more likely than other Australians to be diagnosed with cancer that has progressed to an advanced stage.

    The 7 identified priority areas which, based on the evidence, will have the greatest impact in addressing the disparities and improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, are:

    • improving knowledge and attitudes about cancer;
    • focusing prevention activities;
    • increasing participation in screening and immunisation;
    • ensuring early diagnosis;
    • delivering optimal and culturally appropriate treatment and care;
    • involving, informing and supporting families and carers;
    • strengthening the capacity of cancer-related services to meet the needs of Indigenous people.

    Download the Framework

    Media release

    Trends in hospitalised injury Australia: 1999-00 to 2012-13 (AIHW)

    Trends in hospitalised injury Australia: 1999-00 to 2012-13 shows that the rate of injury hospitalised cases in Australia rose from 1999-00 to 2012-13 by an average of 1% per year. In 2012-13, case numbers and rates were higher for males than females for all age groups to 60-64, and higher for females for age groups 65-69 and older.

    View the Media release and download the Full report.

    Australia's welfare 2015 (AIHW)

    Australia's welfare 2015 is the 12th biennial welfare report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This comprehensive report provides an authoritative overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of relevant topics.

    This edition combines analytical feature articles on a variety of contemporary welfare issues with short statistical snapshots following a life-course approach. It covers: Understanding welfare; Australia's welfare spending and workforce; Child wellbeing; Young people; Working age; Growing older; Diversity and disadvantage in Australia; Indicators of Australia's welfare.

    View the Media release and download the Full report for free online.

    The main report is accompanied by Australia's welfare 2015-in brief: a summary report presenting highlights from Australia's welfare 2015 .

    Nursing and midwifery workforce 2014 (AIHW)

    Nursing and midwifery workforce 2014 a web report by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, outlines the workforce characteristics of nurses and midwives in 2014. The total number of all nurses and midwives registered in Australia increased from 330,680 in 2011 to 352,838 in 2014 (6.7%).

    In 2014, 91.7% of all registered nurses and midwives were in the nursing and midwifery workforce (323,711). Of these, 9,110 were looking for work in nursing and midwifery, up from 8,151 in 2013. In 2014 the overall supply of employed nurses and midwives was 1,134 full-time equivalents or FTEs for every 100,000 people. This compares with the figure of 1,107 FTEs per 100,000 in 2011. In 2011 and 2014, there were more employed nurses and midwives in the 50-54 year age group than any other age group. The proportion aged 50 and over grew from 38.3% to 39.4%.

    View the Media release and Web pages.

    The mental health of children and adolescents: report on the second Australian child and adolescent survey of mental health and wellbeing

    The mental health of children and adolescents: report on the second Australian child and adolescent survey of mental health and wellbeing is a report based on a survey conducted in the homes of over 6,300 families with children and/or adolescents aged 4 to 17 years, and presents a comprehensive picture of the mental health of young Australians.

    It documents the prevalence and type of mental health problems, the impact of those problems on families and young people themselves and the role of health and education services in providing assistance. While the primary sources of information were parents and carers, the survey also engaged directly with young people 11 years and older who completed their own survey. This information provides unique insights about aspects of their emotional lives and behaviour that are generally not visible to parents and carers.

    Proposed Suicide Prevention Network for NSW

    The number of suicides in NSW might potentially be reduced by as much as 20%, if all strategies known to be effective were implemented simultaneously, said NSW Mental Health Commissioner, John Feneley, today.

    "There is abundant evidence about what works to prevent suicide, but it is often patchily implemented," Mr Feneley said. "By combining these proven strategies within an overarching systems approach, we believe we may have a chance to amplify their effect and make a dramatic difference to the number of lives lost."

    Mr Feneley was commenting on the launch of the Proposed Suicide Prevention Framework for NSW, developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council's Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention with the Black Dog Institute.

    The researchers, led by Professor Helen Christensen, identified 9 strategies that could be applied in parallel at a local or regional level to reduce the number of completed suicides. They are:

    1. Reducing access to lethal means
    2. Responsible reporting of suicide by the media
    3. Promotion of national suicide awareness programs
    4. School-based peer support and mental health literacy
    5. Gatekeeper training for those like to be in contact with high risk individuals, including teachers, clergy, and community social workers
    6. Regular suicide prevention training for emergency services
    7. Training GPs to assess risk and start conversations
    8. Adequate access to tailored evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to high risk groups
    9. Targeted support for people who have made a previous attempt or are in current crisis through phone and online counselling, training for emergency department staff and out-patient support.

    The Proposed Framework,responds to a key Action (3.4.2) within Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024, adopted as the Government's mental health reform policy in December 2014.

    We need to move beyond the medical model to address Indigenous suicide

    Despite efforts to prevent suicide among Indigenous Australians, especially the young, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide rate is at least twice as high as – and in some instances, such as at Mowanjum near Derby, 100 times the national rate.

    We have an array of prevention agencies, lifeline programs and public mantras about “being in life”. So why don’t they seem to work in rural and remote communities?The obvious – but always avoided – response is that we don’t know why people, particularly young people, take their lives.

    We can’t get to the soul of the suicide. And prevention is a somewhat pretentious term: suicide isn’t measles or smallpox and there are neither overt symptoms nor vaccinations to hand.

    See more at:

    Nearly half of all patients hospitalised after suicide attempt receive no follow-up mental health treatment, research shows

    40% of patients admitted to hospital after a suicide attempt do not receive any follow-up mental health treatment and only 10% receive specialist in-patient psychiatric care, new research shows.

    Every year, more than 60,000 Australians attempt to take their life and the majority of these people will be taken to a hospital setting.

    Research by the Black Dog Institute shows, of the patients who do receive follow-up mental health care following a suicide attempt, more than half receive one 30-minute session.

    See more at:

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and dementia: a review of the research

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and dementia: a review of the research outlines the prevalence of dementia and modifiable risk factors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience dementia at an earlier age then the general population and this, combined with the steadily growing number of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, will result in the number of people effected by dementia growing significantly in the coming years.

    Although higher rates of dementia have been reported in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the disease is often overlooked by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, health workers and service providers. Geographical constraints in the provision of services, a lack of education and awareness in communities and by health workers and the prevalence of other chronic diseases have all posed considerable barriers to the recognition of dementia as an emerging health issue.

    This paper includes recommendations to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, family members and communities have access to awareness, information, and appropriate support services for people with dementia.

    Workshop report : Addressing Dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

    Other Alzheimer's Australia Indigenous dementia resources

    Genetics Home Reference

    Genetics Home Reference is the National Library of Medicine's web site for consumer information about genetic conditions and the genes or chromosomes related to those conditions.

    The website includes Condition Summaries, Gene Summaries, Gene Family Summaries, Chromosome Summaries and a resources section providing links to other online resources based on users ie families, researchers or health professionals.

    Genetics Home Reference also provides a free printable version of the entire Handbook, complete with illustrations. One of the latest additions to the site is Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis.

    Reposted from: HealthInfo Blog.

    Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people (AIHW)

    Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people examines the available evidence on cultural competence in international and local literature.

    It defines cultural competency; reports on available evidence; identifies approaches and strategies that are effective in improving cultural competency among health services staff, examines the relationship between cultural competency and health outcomes, and documents an evidence-informed conceptual framework.

    Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: first national report 2015 (AIHW)

    Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: first national report 2015 is the first national report on the 21 Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    It shows that: the age-standardised death rate due to cardiac conditions for Indigenous people was 1.6 times that for non-Indigenous people; mortality from cardiac conditions for Indigenous Australians decreased by 41% between 1998 and 2012, while access to cardiac care has improved over time.

    Media release

    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alcohol and Other Drugs Workers' portal

    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alcohol and Other Drugs Workers' portal provides information on alcohol and other drug use, including tips for workers, practical tools for assessment and treatment, health promotion resources, publications and programs.

    Suicide and suicidal behaviour in women

    Suicide Prevention Australia has just published a report which looks at the data relating to suicide and suicidal behaviour in women. Suicide and suicidal behaviour in women – issues and prevention outlines the risk factors, the impact of attitudes about gender and the policy environment.

    The key findings include the fact that women have higher rates of suicidal behaviour than men - that includes planning and attempting suicide. In 2013, 637 women died by suicide in Australia, and it especially effects younger women, and where there has been a reduction in suicides for young men since the 1990's, this has not been the case for young women.

    Hanging is the most commonly used method of suicide for women (as it is for men) with poisoning by drugs being second most common. The number of women aged 15 - 24 years who injured themselves so severely that they require hospital treatment has increased by more than 50 per cent since 2000. The issue of self-injury is discussed as an important indicator for women's health.

    Medical Research and Rural Health – Garvan Report 2015

    Medical Research and Rural Health – Garvan Report 2015, the first in a series of Garvan Institute health reports, provides an up-to-date insight into the main health issues facing rural and regional communities today; who in those communities are affected; why the challenges exist and what is the outlook and way forward in starting to rectify some of these major health issues.

    Examining health in line with the National Priority Health Areas,

    • there is a 40% higher death rate in remote areas than in major cities

    • life expectancy is 2.5 years lower for males and 1.3 years lower for females for outer regional, remote and very remote areas compared with major cities and inner regional areas
    • 5-year relative survival for cancer decreases with increasing remoteness
    • diabetes ranks higher as a cause of death among people living in remote and very remote areas compared with regional and major city areas
    • the prevalence of asthma is significantly higher in people living in inner regional areas compared with those living in major cities or outer regional and remote areas
    • adults living in outer regional and remote areas of Australia are more likely to be overweight or obese(69.5%) compared with adults living in major cities (60.2%).

    Press release

    Rural health poorer than in cities: report

    Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey

    The latest report on antimicrobial prescribing practices provides important information about the rate and appropriateness of antimicrobial use in Australian hospitals.

    The report, National Antimicrobial Prescribing Practice: results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (NAPS), was released by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS) at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.

    The 2014 report summarises the results of a voluntary annual audit of 248 hospitals (197 public and 51 private) from across Australia. This resulted in a data set of almost 20,000 prescriptions.

    The report shows:

    • Approximately one-quarter (24.3%) of the 19,944 prescriptions surveyed were non-compliant with guidelines, and 23% were deemed to be inappropriate.
    • Only 74% of antimicrobials prescribed had their indications documented in the medical notes (more than 95% is considered best practice).
    • Surgical prophylaxis continues to be an issue with 35.9% of the survey prescriptions continuing beyond 24 hours (less than 5% is considered best practice). 2% of prescriptions for surgical prophylaxis were also considered inappropriate, mainly due to incorrect duration and dose, and absence of an indication for an antimicrobial.
    • Infective exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was poorly prescribed (36.8% were deemed inappropriate), as were other respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis (50.7% inappropriate) and exacerbation of asthma (70.0% inappropriate).
    • The most common prescribed antimicrobials were cephazolin, ceftriaxone and metronidazole.

    Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (Report)

    Press Release

    Electroconvulsive Therapy: New ultra-brief depression treatment 'more effective', with 'fewer side effects', research shows

    Researchers say a new type of short-pulse Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) could treat thousands of Australians who suffer from severe and treatment-resistant depression more effectively than standard procedures.
    The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, has been described as one of the most significant developments in depression treatment in decades.

    The first analysis of a new type of ultra-brief ECT has found the shorter procedure is effective and has fewer cognitive side effects than standard ECT.

    See more at:

    Indigenous mental health: leaders to tackle 'most confronting challenge'

    Three federal government ministers will sit down with Indigenous leaders and mental health advocates on Wednesday to tackle Indigenous mental health, which they say is the nation's "most confronting health challenge".

    Health Minister Sussan Ley, Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion will meet 17 mental health advocates and seven respected Indigenous health leaders at Parliament House to discuss reducing the suicide rates of Indigenous people and associated mental health issues.

    "The focus of the roundtable will be on how we can best reduce the incidence of mental health conditions and suicide, and improve social and emotional wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," Senator Scullion said.

    Read more:

    Spatial variation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's access to primary health care

    The report shows that overall, Australian Government funded Indigenous-specific primary health-care services appear to be well positioned relative to the geographic distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to the distribution of other GP services. However, there are a number of areas where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have very limited access to both Indigenous-specific services and GP services in general.

    The report includes maps and analyses that identify areas where critical service gaps exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with respect to their access to primary health care. It also examines the types of services provided by ISPHCS, with a specific focus on maternal health services and diabetes management.

    See more at:

    Pain management resources

    1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain, with the prevalence increasing to one in three for people aged over 65 years. The incidence of chronic pain is greater in rural areas due to the physically demanding nature of work and the lack of effective, timely care for acute pain.

    Pain is the most common reason people seek medical help. The incidence of chronic pain is higher in rural and remote areas due to the physically demanding nature of work and the lack of effective, timely care for acute pain. Painaustralia has put togther a collection of key education and training resources on pain management for health professional's and those living with chronic pain.

    Fact sheet: "Chronic pain-a major issue in rural Australia (National Rural Health Alliance)

    Palliative care training modules

    The AHHA has launched an expanded palliative care online information and training portal, with new training materials and extensive resources.

    Two new free online training modules launched on July 1 build on the success of the AHHA's first four online units on community based palliative aged care. All six units are now available at no cost, at

    The Pain Management module examines pain from a holistic perspective, and provides insights into discussing, assessing, treating and managing client pain. The module Recognising Deteriorating Clients assists with managing the many diverse and complex aspects of end of life care involving clients, carers and family members.

    Mental health patients in rural areas could wait months to see psychologists due to problems with Primary Health Networks

    Mental health patients in rural and regional areas could wait months to see psychologists because of problems with the Government's new Primary Health Networks (PHNs), former employees claim.

    Several former staff from Medicare Locals have contacted the ABC and said patients in rural and regional areas are being told they will have to wait months to see psychologists, because service contracts for the new organisations have not been signed.

    See more at:

    NACCHO begins production on Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands video series

    The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has begun work on a 20 episode series that will highlight how investing in Aboriginal community controlled health will lead to generational change, and will contribute to closing the gap.

    Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands for health futures will showcase the members of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) on the role and function ACCHOs are making in the health system, and towards the Close the gap initiative, to improve understandings of the purpose of the ACCHOs for politicians, bureaucrats, the general public and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

    See more at:

    Anytime Fitness fundraiser fit to boost mental health prospects

    Centre for Rural And Remote Mental Health executive officer of programs Trevor Hazell and Anytime Fitness manager Megan Griffin hope a recent treadmill challenge can make meaningful change for those living with mental illness.

    ANYTIME Fitness manager Megan Griffin knows the benefit of exercise for those living with mental illness. Ms Griffin lives with anxiety herself and is passionate about helping people manage their mental health issues.

    See more at:

    Focus on illicit drugs puts Australia’s drinking problem on ice

    Recent discussions of Australia’s “ice epidemic” have culminated in a A$9 million government-funded media campaign to raise community awareness of the drug’s harms, particularly in rural areas. We do need to address the harms of illicit drugs, but, in doing so, we mustn’t overlook the greater social impact of excessive alcohol consumption.

    A number of commentators have cautioned about the possible negative effects of government fear-mongering on parents, families and communities. Experts have also highlighted the substantial evidence that drug education campaigns are, at best, ineffective and, at worst, encourage experimentation.

    See more at: