Archived News for Health Sector Professionals - June, 2012
A new report released by the COAG Reform Council shows that under the National Indigenous Reform Agreement, which sets six targets for governments to improve health, education and employment for Indigenous Australians, only the Northern Territory is on track to make significant improvements by 2031.
Council Chairman, Mr Paul McClintock AO, said the report shows that the overall death rate of Indigenous Australians will need to fall faster to meet COAG’s 2031 target to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“We welcome the progress toward halving the gap in death rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian children in the four jurisdictions–New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory–for which we have reliable data.”
Queensland announces Hospital and Health Board membership
The Queensland Government has announced the Board Members for the State’s Hospital and Health Boards, which it says forms a major stop in restoring local control of hospitals and health services.
Epilepsy drugs increase risk of fractures and falls
New research has shed light on the high risk of fractures, falls, and osteoporosis among epilepsy patients using antiepileptic drugs with most patients unaware of the risks associated with taking the drugs.
ACT to establish NDIS reference group
The ACT Government has announced the formation of a reference group to prepare the territory for the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), as discussions between territory and Federal governments continue over the possibility of the ACT being one of the launch sites for the scheme.
AIHW releases nurses and midwives workforce snapshot
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released a snapshot of the country’s nursing and midwifery workforce, finding that while their numbers continue to grow, it’s failing to keep to keep pace with the growing population.
ABS releases disability numbers
In 2009, four million people in Australia reported having a disability (18.5%), according to new profiles released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Funding for ANU primary health care centres of research excellence
The ANU Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute has announced $7.5 million in funding to establish three new Centres of Research Excellence in primary health care.
ACT to research GP workforce
The ACT Government has announced funding for research to map the territory’s general practitioner workforce.
Hospitals a hotbed of workplace danger
A survey of health workers, including nurses, doctors and community service workers, has found that they are less confident about their workplace safety than construction workers.
AIHW releases national health report
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its national report card on health, finding that Australians are generally healthy, with the majority feeling positive about their quality of life.
Government announces mental health Consumer Reference Group
The Federal Government has announced the establishment of a Consumer Reference Group to assist the up the new National Mental Health Consumer Organisation.
NT forms new Hospitals' Governing Councils
The Northern Territory Government has announced the formation of two new Governing Councils that will oversee the Top End and Central Australian Hospital Networks.
Tasmania announces new Mental Health Act
The Tasmanian Government has tabled a new act before Parliament that will see the introduction of a new Mental Health Act for the state.
Advisory group announced for National Mental Health Consumer Organisation
The Federal Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler has announced the establishment of a Consumer Reference Group to set up the new National Mental Health Consumer Organisation announced as part of the National Mental Health Reform package.
“I’ve appointed ten people to the Consumer Reference Group who have the necessary expertise and experience to make a profound impact on the responsiveness and accountability of the mental health system.
“Members were chosen by a selection panel made up of consumers, non-government and government representatives and bring a diverse set of skills, knowledge, sector diversity and networks,” Mr Butler said.
The Australian Government has invested $4 million over five years to establish and operate the new National Mental Health Consumer Organisation as part of its landmark $2.2 billion national mental health reform package.
The Consumer Reference Group will be chaired by Mr Ian Watts who has an extensive health care background and substantial experience in leadership and organisational roles.
Mr Watts said diverse and inclusive consultation was central to Australia’s mental health reform.
“It’s critical to listen to and support people who cannot always speak out independently to improve mental health systems, particularly the safety and quality of these services, and community awareness of the issues.”
The group will lay the foundations of the new Organisation through a range of engagement activities which may include consultations, forums and membership activities.
Once established, the new Organisation will be dedicated to representing the diverse views of mental health consumers to contribute to a more responsive and accountable mental health system.
The members the Consumer Reference Group are:
Mr Ian Watts (Chair)
Dr Michelle Banfield
Mr Michael Burge
Ms Fay Jackson
Mr Darren Jiggins
Mr Keith Mahar
Mr Lei Ning
Ms Lorraine Powell
Ms Emily Todorov
Ms Lily Wu
New prospect for Alzheimer's test
Australian researchers have found biomarkers in the blood that could help develop a test to identify people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Government announces drug and alcohol research funding
The Federal Government has announced $24 million over four years to be invested into alcohol and drug research, with a particular focus on areas such as reducing harm from alcohol, Indigenous substance misuse and workforce development.
New heart surgery technique pioneered in Melbourne
The first trial of a treatment allowing doctors to insert a fully repositionable replacement heart valve without the need for open-heart surgery has been successfully conducted at a Melbourne hospital.
Doctors at the Monash Medical Centre heart unit, known as MonashHeart, saved the lives of 11 elderly women who were suffering from aortic stenosis, the degrading and narrowing of the main heart valve.
A team of cardiologists and surgeons, led by MonashHeart director Professor Ian Meredith, inserted a replacement heart valve, on the end of a wire, through a small hole in the groin of the women, who were too frail to undergo the invasive open-heart surgery often given to younger patients with the condition.
Dubbed a ‘lotus valve’, the valve opens up like a flower once inside the heart, and can be easily repositioned. The trial, which reported a 100 per cent success rate, promises to help save the lives of senior patients around the world.
Professor Meredith, from the Department of Medicine at Monash University, said the prognosis for elderly aortic stenosis patients was usually about the same as people with advanced forms of cancer.
"When you have severe aortic valve narrowing and you become breathless as a consequence of that, more than half the people won't survive 12 months," Professor Meredith said.
"Only about a third will survive up to two years."
Professor Meredith said he would now lead a wider, international trial of the lotus heart valve device.
"This will have a significant impact on patients all around the world because this is a very common problem in the elderly," Professor Meredith said.
Sixteen facilities in four countries will take part in the new trial.
The Monash Medical Centre is part the Department of Medicine at Monash University. Established in 2007, MonashHeart is an amalgamation of the former Departments of Cardiology of Monash Medical Centre, Clayton and Dandenong Hospital.
Road injuries on the rise as train incidents decline
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released a report into traffic related injuries, finding the rate of people suffering major injuries on the country’s road is rising, while the rate of those injuried in train related accidents is declining.
AIHW releases men's health report
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released a report into the health of the country’s male population, finding notable discrepancies in health based on geographical location.
Children lacking in vital nutrients
A study conducted by the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) has found that a large percentage of children aged 1 – 5 are lacking in vital nutrient intake they need to maintain good health.
Melbourne study to feed into health care policy
Dr Stavros Ktenas, who is conducting the research as part of his doctoral thesis in the School of Health Sciences, said the study would also identify integral health needs, situated in broad cultural and social contexts.