A new report released by the Tasmanian Cancer Registry has shown that cancer survival rates in Tasmania have improved significantly over the past 20 years.

The report, Cancer Survival and Prevalence in Tasmania 1978 - 2008 is the first survival data published by the Tasmanian Cancer Registry, which is managed by the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania.

Survival at five years after diagnosis for all cancers diagnosed in 2004-2008 was 64 per cent, a major improvement from the 42 per cent seen for cancers diagnosed between 1984 -1988. This means at least 3 out of 5 Tasmanians diagnosed with cancer survived beyond five years.

The Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has launched the Health eTowns TelehealthNT Network initiative that will give remote communities in the Northern Territory better access to healthcare.

The new Director of Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research says his focus will be to ensure that high quality research is effectively translated to health practice and policy so that it makes a real difference to the lives of children and families. 


The University of Western Australia's Winthrop Professor Jonathan Carapetis started in the role last week after heading the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.


Professor Carapetis was appointed to replace Founding Director Professor Fiona Stanley, who retired at the end of last year.


Professor Carapetis said he was very keen to forge strong links with the people delivering health services at hospitals and the Health Department.


"As a paediatrician I know how important it is to have that strong connection between practice and research.  It not only means that we're working on the basis of the latest evidence but that what we see in clinics can also be fed back to shape and inform the type of research that's undertaken," Professor Carapetis said.


"The Telethon Institute has an outstanding record of advocacy and influence and I'll be very keen to see that continue and grow.


"In particular, Aboriginal child health research will continue to be a priority area and I am committed to pursuing that agenda at both the Institute level and through my own research interest in rheumatic heart disease."


Professor Carapetis said he was also excited by the Telethon Institute's strong focus on scientific discovery.


It's very important that we better understand the biological basis underpinning the disease process at the cellular and molecular levels as well as the influence of genetic and environmental factors.


"I think the mix of translational and discovery science is very powerful and gives the Institute a breadth and depth that sees it very well positioned for the future."


With the Institute's geographical position on Australia's west coast, Professor Carapetis said he was keen to increase its activity in international health issues.


"Our proximity to Asia and Africa and our expertise in child development and Indigenous child health research presents some excellent opportunities within the broader region," he said.


The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research was founded in 1990 and has more than 500 staff and postgraduate students investigating major diseases, disabilities and disorders affecting children and families.

Acting NSW Minister for Health, Kevin Humphries, has announced that more than 4000 positions for Junior Medical Officers (JMOs) in NSW are to be advertised.

The Royal Women’s Hospital and La Trobe University have conducted the world’s largest clinical trial of one-to-one (caseload) midwifery care. 

Three external reports on potential savings and efficiencies in Health have been released for public consultation by the South Australian Government.

Liberal state governments have been accused of lack of leadership and political point scoring following the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra which failed to reach agreement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Federal Government will develop a National LGBTI Aged Care Strategy to support the implementation of the $3.7 billion aged care reform package, Living Longer Living Better, that was announced on April 20 this year.

Learning how to run, jump, kick and catch are skills many children are struggling to accomplish, with major implications for their general health, according to a landmark study led by the University of Sydney.

NSW Minister for Mental Health Kevin Humphries has announced the appointment of John Feneley as the inaugural Commissioner of the NSW Mental Health Commission.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King has invited health professionals working in the organ and tissue sector to apply for international training and development opportunities through the Janette Hall Professional Training and Development Scholarship Program.

Ms King said, “This scholarship program provides a unique opportunity for health professionals to benefit from international training and development in the field of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

“The training being offered this year will stimulate learning in a wide range of interesting topics, including specific training on the clinical and technical aspects of organ, eye and tissue donation for transplantation.

Three applicants from the current round will be selected to undertake international training in 2012 to enhance their levels of knowledge and expertise in this field. Two scholarships will be offered to successful applicants to attend courses run by Transplant Procurement Management in Spain, and one applicant will be sponsored to attend the 2012 European Organ Donation Congress and associated clinical workshops in Croatia.

The Janette Hall Professional Training and Development Scholarship Program is funded by the Organ and Tissue Authority. The Authority established the Scholarship Program in 2011 in memory of Janette Hall, a South Australian Hospital Senior Nurse who became an organ and tissue donor after she died in December 2010.

Ms King said “Janette’s dedication and support of organ and tissue donation lives on through these scholarships, encouraging other health professionals to further their education and involvement in organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

The inaugural round of the Janette Hall Professional Training and Development Scholarship Program enabled two applicants to attend internationally-recognised best practice training programs on organ and tissue donation in Philadelphia and Barcelona.

The closing date for applications is 17 August 2012.

For more information on how to apply the Application Guidelines, Application Form, and an example Scholarship Agreement are available at the DonateLife website.

Australian researchers will translate their discoveries into commercial products faster thanks to a newly established Queensland Node of the Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA).

The Tasmanian Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne, has announced that a new lead clinicians group and a community advisory body would be formed to help ensure Tasmania's health system responded to the needs of the community.


Ms O'Byrne said with national reforms now underway and the Tasmanian Health Organisations in place, these bodies would play a vital role in health care delivery.


"There are significant reforms underway in how health is delivered, leading to greater local control and local decision making.


"Tasmanians now have more information, more involvement and more control over how health is delivered than ever before.


"We will engage directly with clinicians and consumers to ensure we are taking all perspectives into account as we deliver health services.


Ms O'Byrne said she had also discussed potential membership and scope of the Federal Commission into the Tasmanian Delivery of Health Services with the Federal Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, this week.


"The lead clinicians group will inform the work of the commission agreed to under the Federal Government's $325 million health funding package.


"The Tasmanian Health Plan has delivered much for our health system during the past five years, and these groups will engage with the review of the plan as we work together to respond to the changing nature of our health system under national reforms," Ms O'Byrne said.

A new online mental health tool, myCompass, designed to support people living with a mental health issue has been launched.

Developed by a team of health professionals at the Black Dog Institute, and funded by the Australian Government, myCompass is an online tool that assesses user symptoms, then provides a personalised support program.

The interactive program includes online psychological tools, round-the-clock monitoring of moods and behaviours and motivational tips via email and SMS.

The tool is part of the Government’s recently launched e-mental health strategy.

myCompass developer Associate Professor Judy Proudfoot said the tool was evidence based and complimented traditional health services.

“myCompass has been designed to support people that may not seek help because of lack of time, lack of access to face-to-face, services or a fear of stigma,” said A/Prof Proudfoot.

“It provides a suite of simple strategies that will educate people to self-monitor and self-manage unhelpful thoughts and behaviour. It’s easy to access and simple to understand so you can improve your long-term mental health while you’re waiting for the bus or having lunch.

“Most importantly of all, clinical evidence shows that it works.”

The report by Richard Chesterman QC into a whistle blower’s allegations of medical malpractice within the Queensland health system has been tabled in the Queensland Parliament.

New treatments to lessen the severity of the more than 21,000 Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) cases that occur in Australia each year are on the horizon.

Curtin University has been awarded more than $5 million by Health Workforce Australia (HWA) to refurbish and provide innovative healthcare solutions at its public clinics.

More must be done to ensure the booming number of medical graduates have access to adequate internship placements according to a report published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The AMA has released its AMA Chronic Disease Plan: Improving Care for Patients with Chronic and Complex Care Needs, responding to the growing challenge of chronic disease in an ageing population.

A new framework to provide a faster, more flexible and transparent approach to assessing the impact of industrial chemicals on human health and the environment has been launched by the Federal Government.

The Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP) framework has been designed to accelerate the assessment of industrial chemicals..

It uses a staged approach to look at the impact of unassessed industrial chemicals listed on Australia’s national inventory, the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS).

The  framework has been developed by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), the Australian Government regulator for industrial chemicals, in consultation with community, industry and government stakeholder groups.

The IMAP framework will be implemented in stages. Stage one which began on 1 July this year, will run over four years and see the assessment of about 3,000 chemicals on Australia’s national inventory that have been identified as priorities for early consideration.

They are chemicals for which NICNAS already holds information about their quantity or use in Australia, chemicals identified as a concern or for which regulatory action has been taken overseas, and chemicals reported in international studies analysing the blood in babies’ umbilical cords.

Stage one will also include an external review of the framework, which is expected to make recommendations on the most efficient and effective approach to assessing and prioritising the remainder of the chemicals on the national inventory.

Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) have released the results of a long-running study into the carcinogenic effects of coal mining in  response to growing concerns raised by the employees over the prevelance of cancer rates in the workforce.

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