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.